In this episode of The 2pt5 innovator podcast my guest is Peder Asplund, the co-founder and CEO at Agapi Boat Club in Stockholm, Sweden. We are talking about boating, boat sharing, the business model and values of Agapi Boat Club, their latest partnerships with premium boatbuilders and electric boats.

(c) Peder Asplund

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Peder Asplund, the co-founder and CEO at Agapi Boat Club in Stockholm, Sweden. Agapi Boat Club offers their members a large selection of boats at a growing number of locations in Sweden, Spain, France with more to come.

It’s very much like, an exclusive golf club that you become a member. You buy into our strong club culture, which is based upon Scandinavian core values of respect and responsibility. That’s the only way you can run a premium boat club.

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More than 80 percent of our members are experienced boaters. (..) They want more value for the money. So we are aiming at sort of (…) enhancing the previous traditional boat ownership model to something different. And that is what we are now implementing.

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Peder Asplund: It’s very much like an exclusive golf club, that you become a member, you buy into our strong club culture, which is based upon Scandinavian core values of respect and responsibility. That’s the only way you can run a premium boat club. Otherwise you will never be able to keep the boats in a pristine condition. That is the fundament for how you can create a premium boat club, so to speak. It’s by making sure that you get members… As I said, exactly like a golf club: you pay an annual fee, you can go playing golf as much as you want. Of course, we have different kinds of memberships, exactly like a golf club. In a golf club, you could become a member, then you don’t play that often, then you have one kind of membership. If you’re a big player, then, you know, that’s one kind of membership and you can even invest, quite often, in a premium boat club, you buy shares into it. We have more or less copied the success story of certain golf clubs. So our concept is very similar there. So most of our members are normal, regular members, so to speak. Today we have more than 400 members in the six countries with a steady growth, and most of them are sort of regular members. So they pay a membership, a yearly membership, which is more or less between 4,000 up to 40,000 euros, depending on the choice of boats. The more expensive boat you choose, then everything else is included. And then you can also choose, so to speak, if you want different service levels. And of course, the more you pay, the better availability you get, because availability is always one of the key things. There are many, many boat clubs starting to pop up. This is one of the biggest trends, I would say, now in the boating world. We call it Membership Boating. Most of these boat clubs worldwide are what we call “affordable boat clubs”. They’re pretty simple set up, simple boats. It’s a great way for new people to get to know boating. And we have a number of examples of that worldwide. We are not competing in that segment. Most of our members, more than 80 percent of our members, are experienced boaters, a little bit sick and tired of taking care of boats and they want something more, they want more value for the money. So we are aiming at sort of enhancing the previous traditional boat ownership model to something different. And that is what we are now implementing. 

Klaus Reichert: Welcome to the 2.5 Conversations Connecting Innovators. My name is Klaus. I’m an innovation coach in Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of Germany. Innovators and creators from around the globe help each other by sharing highs and lows, their motivation and creative passions, as well as their favorite methods, tools, and ideas. The name of the podcast comes from the 2.5% innovators from Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation Theory. Find more details, all the episodes and transcripts at the 2.5 net. Enjoy the show. 

On the show today is Peder Asplund. He is one of the founders of Agapi Boat Club in Stockholm, Sweden. Hello, Peter. 

Peder Asplund: Thanks. I’m happy to be here.

Klaus Reichert: Peder, we are talking about sharing boats. We are talking about your company that you co-founded. What is the biggest issue with owning a boat?

Peder Asplund: Oh! [laughter] I have owned boats all my life. I’ve had all kinds of boats. And I think in general, it’s a big joy to own a boat. But as an old saying, you know, the two happiest moments of a boat owner is the day when he buys the boat and the day when he sold the boat. I’ve been through that for more than 45 years in my life. Well, not as a kid, then my parents were responsible, to be very honest. But, I mean, ownership is great. But when you start thinking about it, when you look at the ratio between enjoying, truly enjoying boating, and then all the hassle around it, it doesn’t really make sense. I mean, if you have a car, whatever, then it makes sense because you really need it. But boating, as a leisure activity, you know, with the average number of usage, engine hours, for example, in Sweden, which is more or less the same in Europe, it is really… when you think about it, it is really like throwing money into the open fire: a lot of work, a lot of cost, of course, some days, extremely enjoyable, but the equation doesn’t really close. And that’s the reason why we decided -well, it is 13 years ago now- we decided that we believe boating can be more enjoyable. There must be better solutions. So the whole reason why we started with what we do today was simply based upon our own findings, our own understanding after 30, 40 years of owning a boat, there must be a better solution.

Klaus Reichert: I’m in Germany, in the southwest of Germany. There is Lake Constance, a big lake, big marinas, and I have never seen any of these marinas empty except for the wintertime. Even on the most beautiful sunny days, boats are in the harbor and that’s a sign that they are underused, from my perspective.

Peder Asplund: It’s the same everywhere in the world. It’s the same statistics, it’s the same behavior. And I think most people today agree that it is not a wise thing to buy a boat in sort of the traditional way, but things are changing.

Klaus Reichert: So many boat owners today -and you have the statistics, you have the numbers- don’t spend much time on the water, on their boat, because there is so much else to do? You have to take care of the boat, you have to put it into, like, winter storage, and then there’s repairs and stuff like that. It’s a lot of extra stuff added to the time on the water with your boat. So you came up with a solution. What drove you to… or what was the main observation, for sharing boats for you?

Peder Asplund: For us, it was actually a little bit different. I mean, there are a lot of boat clubs popping up all over the world right now. And I think one thing that most boat clubs have in common is that it really reduces the hassle -actually, I would say, remove it completely- but that was not the driving force for us. Of course, when we started off this, we had three boats at the same time in the family, and of course it was just simply too much. But the main reason why we wanted to start this was simply because we realized that using the power of sharing, we could get a much better boating life. Both because we love adventure, we love taking our boats far, but, I mean, with the racing fuel prices on and with the kids, that is, you know, you don’t go far normally with your own boat. Then we came up with, you know, a boat that we could trail us, we could go far with the boat, even Norway. We went around Europe with our boats. But even that is pretty complicated. But we were driven by the adventure. That was one thing. The other thing that we were driven by was that even in Sweden, the different seasons require different boats. We actually had three boats at the time and we are not rich. It’s not that. But we did have three boats. Sometimes one boat was the best. In other cases, another boat was the best. And in the winter, we really enjoyed, you know, cabin boats with a heater and so on. But to be able to really get the boat of your choice and own all of it yourself, you know, it’s crazy. That it’s not doable. That was also one of the thoughts behind our idea, that by having a wide choice of boats you can actually choose the boat that fits your needs that specific day. And obviously -I’m sure that we will come back to this- the fact that we are now working with the most prestigious brands, we can offer our members the latest technology, the latest boats in different categories every single year. So we kind of joke about this, you know, the two happy days of a boat owner. We repeat that five, six, seven times a year by introducing new cool boats, which our members simply love. Another thing, as I said from the very beginning, was that with our life, you know, we wanted the freedom to sometimes just for the day, sometimes for a weekend, sometimes we went out for a week, and we wanted that flexibility to be a part of our sharing concept.

So, these three areas, they were the ones driving us to come up with the idea that we came up with. Not really the pain from hassle -that helped a lot, I have to say- but it was mainly pleasure driven by, you know, we could do so much more if we used the sharing economy, which has been, you know, it has been really accelerating because of the digital development, the last 5-10-15 years. And you see the whole world is going in that direction with intelligent apps and by using this, the power of very modern booking algorithms, you can actually get the sharing to get a kick off without any negative parts of it. You actually feel that you have the same kind of availability, or even better. And that’s what modern technology can do. That’s the reason why we started what we did. And it’s been a long journey, I have to say, a lot of blood and sweat and tears. But now it’s finally taking form. And I’m pretty sure today that we are most probably, to quote a famous beer commercial, most probably the most advanced concept of its kind today within premium, I would say, membership boating.

Klaus Reichert: You said that you came across the idea, say, 13-14 years ago, so that’s quite some time ago. You were very early with this idea, I think.

Peder Asplund: Yes, no, no, no. I mean, to be very honest, it was 2005-2006, but in the very beginning, you know, we even have… I still have the napkins still with me when we started to draw the boat that should be this compromise that we wanted that boat to become a part of the club. This was 2006. But I have to say that the first five or six years, I was still an executive at Ericsson and the first five-six years was mainly a pleasure case. We just, you know, we wanted to experiment a little bit. But in 2011, we took the decision. I then left my previous life as an executive at Ericsson and said that from now on, I will dedicate 150 percent of my time to really build this. So from 2011, you could say that this has been full time, very serious. Then we started taking investors as well into this. And the whole idea from the very beginning was to create a better, smarter, and more sustainable boating experience. But then as you know, sometimes things take a lot of time. Because we were so small in the beginning, no boat builder wanted to build with us. We actually had to create, develop our own boat and we started to build. So we designed, we built boats in China first, then we moved to Poland. I think we have more than 150-200 boats actually out in the market internationally. But the pure purpose of that was not to become a boat producer. It was just to supply our own club, our own idea about a boat club, a very premium boat club. So that development took place between 2011 until 2016, you could say. Then we had two boat models ready, the Agape 800 and the Agape 950. So we actually have a brand ourselves, our own boat brand, which has been very recognized. We actually got nominated Best of Boats in Germany, both in 2015 and 2016. So I quite often used to joke that all our boat models -we only had two- [laughter] had been nominated for the Best of Boats, which make us pretty unique, especially given the fact that we were not aiming at becoming a boat producer. It was solely to build our own boats for our own needs. In 2016, we started the development of the software, the club software. So we’ve been active now… this is our seventh season and the development for the last seven years has been, I mean, intense

Klaus Reichert: I bet. Yes. So you had many iterations, let’s put it that way. You sort of found the perfect boat because you built it yourself, [laughs] at least in the beginning, that was the perfect boat for you. You looked at solutions which allow you to book the boats or which allow the members to book the boats, but which also returns with, let’s say, data that probably allows you to better structure your fleet and stuff like that. So I think that is really interesting the different perspectives to take on the boat sharing. And this is actually what we’re talking about. I’m not sure if we already said that. You are doing a boat club, which allows members to share the boats in different categories, in different locations, across parts of the world.

Peder Asplund: Yes. You mentioned that the members share their boats. That is also true. I mean, we have more than 100 boats now in six countries, and with the current growth, we are looking into perhaps doubling the number of countries and tripling the number of partners for next year.

Klaus Reichert: Wow! 

Peder Asplund: I will come back to that. And most of those hundred boats we have right now, approximately 20 percent are actually privately and corporate owned boats. So that is one of our solutions, but that’s not the main one, I should say. The main one is, it’s very much like an exclusive golf club, that you become a member, you buy into our strong club culture, which is based upon Scandinavian core values of respect and responsibility. That’s the only way you can run a premium boat club. Otherwise you will never be able to keep the boats in a pristine condition. That is the fundament for how you can create a premium boat club, so to speak. It’s by making sure that you get members… As I said, exactly like a golf club: you pay an annual fee, you can go playing golf as much as you want. Of course, we have different kinds of memberships, exactly like a golf club. In a golf club, you could become a member, then you don’t play that often, then you have one kind of membership. If you’re a big player, then, you know, that’s one kind of membership and you can even invest, quite often, in a premium boat club, you buy shares into it. We have more or less copied the success story of certain golf clubs. So our concept is very similar there. So most of our members are normal, regular members, so to speak. Today we have more than 400 members in the six countries with a steady growth, and most of them are sort of regular members. So they pay a membership, a yearly membership, which is more or less between 4,000 up to 40,000 euros, depending on the choice of boats. The more expensive the boat you choose, then everything else is included. And then you can also choose, so to speak, if you want different service levels. And of course, the more you pay, the better availability you get, because availability is always one of the key things. There are many, many boat clubs starting to pop up. This is one of the biggest trends, I would say, now in the boating world. We call it Membership Boating. Most of these boat clubs worldwide are what we call “affordable boat clubs”. They’re pretty simple set up, simple boats. It’s a great way for new people to get to know boating. And we have a number of examples of that worldwide. We are not competing in that segment. Most of our members, more than 80 percent of our members, are experienced boaters, a little bit sick and tired of taking care of boats and they want something more, they want more value for the money. So we are aiming at sort of enhancing the previous traditional boat ownership model to something different. And that is what we are now implementing. And I would say that there are some other clubs in the US, I know one perhaps in Europe, but they’re very local. No one else has this international presence as we have right now. And as we have started a cooperation with Axopar Boats, a Finnish, very successful premium boat supplier, we now see an amazing possibility of growth worldwide as what we are doing is a perfect complement for their dealer network of more than 110 locations worldwide. And what makes our concept quite unique is the fact that, as I said, we have… It’s more like owning the boat, removing all the negative parts, but then adding on other things like… and I will give you just the three core differences. One is, as you mentioned in the beginning, it’s one club, one membership. So you become a member in our club and you directly get access to all our ports and this… our members love this. And I have to be very honest that we are building, we are like 90 people now investing in this company, more than 35,000 hours of development, not just the software, but the whole concept, And what we are building is, in a way, the dreaming boat life that we would like to see.

 Klaus Reichert: Yes. 

Peder Asplund: So there are no restrictions and I will come to that. So we are building something that we could… you know, you and I, Klaus, we could tomorrow go down to Ibiza and book a boat. Then we go down to Marbella. Then we fly up to Helsinki. We go to Southampton in England. We fly down to Crete. All of this we can do, you know, very simple, 10 seconds, in our hand. Of course, everything is very strict and regulated, like it is in a golf course. You cannot just fly around thinking that… every time you come to a new golf club, there are specific rules.

Klaus Reichert: Yes, you have to learn about these things. 

Peder Asplund: Exactly. But this ability of being able to travel to different parts of the world with your boat, since we have the same kind of boats, it’s just amazing. 

Klaus Reichert: I love that. 

Peder Asplund: And we have a corporation with Navionics, so we actually create the network of all our favorite destinations. So when you get to Hamble in Southampton, in your telephone, you will see all the favorite restaurants, all the places where you are recommended to go. So we build a complete ecosystem around this. And our members, they simply love it. That’s one area where we are completely unique. The other area, which is also something that… I think this is perhaps my personal favorite, is that we are working with excellent boat producers. We have very strong… not just with Axapar, who happens to be a preferred boat supplier to us, they’re the… they invested 10 percent in our companies and of course they are very strong, but they understand that we cannot work with exclusivity. Boating is different… 

Klaus Reichert: Sure. 

Peder Asplund: …in different regions and a lot of the dealers are working with other brands, but what we have in common is that we only work with really cool and premium brands. So we work with a Swedish company called Anitech, we have very strong cooperation with Candela, which is oiling and a hundred percent electrical boat, we work with X-shore. And these kinds of corporations enable our members to be able to test different boat technology as well as different kinds of boats. And this is also something… I just came back this weekend from a trip in Sweden. It was poor weather, it was rainy, windy, pitch dark when we left Friday night. Then I picked. I was selecting between a lot of boats, then I chose a cabin boat. I knew it had an excellent radar, heater, it had a front cabin because we had to stay over at the place. And, you know, the ability of picking the boat that fits…

Klaus Reichert: Perfect!

Peder Asplund: That is a paradise for boat lovers. That’s the second area. And the third area is our booking engine that we have developed together with a close partner. And we put a lot of hours into this. It is not like you can book in the morning or the afternoon. No, no, no. This mirrors a modern boating life. So you can go out an hour, a day, a weekend, a week. We even have members booking the boat for a month. Once a regional operation is big enough -so in Sweden, for example, we have more than 50 boats- then we can even allow members to book a month. Of course, you pay a little bit extra then, but still you only pay a fraction of owning that boat and then you can get a new boat every year when you come to your summer home and so on. So our booking algorithms are so flexible that we are mirroring them without any kind of restrictions. All of this wouldn’t mean anything unless we always control the quality. Because, you know, the biggest thing and the biggest challenge, I would say, for the sharing economy in general -this goes for cars, for electrical scooters, for whatever- is the fact that you don’t have a connection between the actual service and… or rather the product and the user. We are extremely strict in making sure that we’re building a culture that they feel it’s like it’s premium golf club. You know, you feel that you belong to something that is really premium. so you show the respect and you take care of it.

Klaus Reichert: That is so important. I do a lot of car-sharing cars and in some cases, I feel that this sense that you’re describing is just missing with lots of the other drivers. And that is so frustrating to see that from the other side. Yeah, I understand. 

Peder Asplund: I am convinced that this… in general now I’m talking on a high level from an industry when it comes to the sharing economy, the biggest challenge sharing economy has is to make sure that you get a premium service because if you don’t own the whole value chain, we have plenty of those examples. And if it’s more of a transportation service, if you take the electrical scooters, for example, you know, the competition there, you see them thrown in the water. They’re thrown everywhere. And that increases the cost of operation a lot. 

Klaus Reichert: Yes. 

Peder Asplund: And that makes the whole business case very difficult to close. By securing a very strong culture, that’s one part of it, you know, a culture, as I said, based upon respect and responsibility. And that is not something that you build overnight. That is something that you need to assure when you onboard the members and you need to nurture this, so they feel that they constantly belong to a premium club. But in parallel, you also need a control system, and that control system we have is based on a rating system so every single day, our staff is revising the data mining from that, and we can pick up if someone would leave a boat in a poor condition, we would pick that up almost immediately. And listen to this, this is pretty cool. We onboard every time you check in on Agape boat, you rate it like Uber, right?

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Peder Asplund:  It’s a quick process, but it’s important. We call this the Agape Handler because it is almost like a… it’s a very important process because you don’t know if it’s a cleaning guy or a crew, or if it was your neighbor who left the boat. And when you’re stepping on that boat, you need to feel exactly when you enter a nice golf course. You know you can trust that the greens are in perfect condition, that everything will work. If you don’t have that trust -and we measure this- if you give the rating four, which is good, or five, which is excellent. Those two… we have an objective of reaching 98 percent of all the bookings. If it is three, and that is okay…  

Klaus Reichert: Which is actually okay, but it’s not good enough.

Peder Asplund: It’s not okay for us. So if it is a three -and we extremely rarely have one or twos- we always call up even though it happened in Ibiza, then we call the partner and tell them what happened, call the member, something, what happened. So we have a personal follow up and this everyone knows our partners know this, our members know this, and that’s how we can assure that we are now constantly, every single week, we analyze this and I get the reports on 98.5 percent. And if you own a boat, Klaus -I don’t know if you own a boat but a lot of our members have owned a boat- when they think about, when they came down to their own dock, looked at their own boat, the condition of their own boat…

Klaus Reichert: Yeah. It’s never perfect. 

Peder Asplund: It’s never perfect. You know, you’ve been away for two, three weeks, the batteries are dead. You’ve been away one week, the seagulls have had a party on your boat. You need to spend an hour before the family can step on the boat. Most experienced boaters know about this.

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Peder Asplund: And we are constantly about 98%. And that KPI, as I said, that’s our biggest pride because it is a result of teamwork between our members and our staff.

Klaus Reichert: Great. I love to hear that there is, you said, about 400 members, still growing, that believe in the boat club, that use it, that find that it’s something that adds value to their life. Because whenever I talk about boat sharing to people, mostly at lakes, right, for example, Lake Constant, people look at me as if I were from another planet. It seems like something unimaginable for them to share a boat, to share their boat, for example, and in many, many cases, I hear that it’s not possible because X, Y, Z, right, you know, all these, these arguments. And I also know of cases where people share boats like two or three people share a boat like they own together, and they got, for example, one of these rare births in the marinas for shared ownerships. And that was prohibited some time ago because people sort of gained the system that way. And it was just not a good thing, I think. And it looks like a company or a community of boaters could solve the trick, like you do with Agapi.

Peder Asplund: This is a very interesting area, I have to say, and for the last seven years I’ve been in so many discussions in public boat clubs and so on and they look at us as “no, we cannot have any Agape Boat Club boats in our harbor because that’s commercial operation.” 

Klaus Reichert: Right! And I wonder what sort of argument is that?

Peder Asplund: Exactly. No, this is now changing. And I could talk about this for such a long time, but I think there are two major areas here. One is the fact that boating in general is very traditional.

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Peder Asplund:  There’s a lot of people that connect boating with “you have to own and take care of the boat.” Leave it to the older generation, so to speak. And then it takes time to get through that. And in parallel with that, most boat sharing concepts today -US, for example, has been in the forefront for many, many years, as always- but most boat sharing concept today are sort of big, as I said, fairly simple setups, and they have a pretty poor reputation in terms of, you know, the people using the boats are not that used to the boats, are not used to boating, as I said, there’s a lack between responsibility and… there’s a lot of small incidents. And in general… And I just came back now from Cannes for more than a week, working, and in the discussions with future potential partners in the US, they told us that it’s obvious that you have something different, so we are interested, but you should know that they tell me and I know the market a little bit in the US, but I didn’t know that most of the clubs in the US, they have a lousy reputation.

Klaus Reichert: Oops.

Peder Asplund: So if you take that in general poor reputation and then, also, traditional, then of course that is a very difficult mix. That’s why we are constantly now pushing for why we are different. And it’s kind of funny that we are now talking to one of the most prestigious clubs in Sweden, very old traditional club, but they have realized that the way we onboard our members, which is exactly like, as I said, a premium golf club, there’s an e-learning, you need to go through around two, three, four hours of training, there’s a personal meeting that we could do over Teams, but most often it’s physical. And then there’s always a practical test. Even though, Klaus, you would tell me “I’ve been boating all my life. I don’t need a test.” Well, we’ve heard this before…

Klaus Reichert: Yeah. [laughs]

Peder Asplund: …from so many people. You know, they have all kinds of… you know, they filled in that they have more than 30 years of experience and so on. And then we go out and we cannot place a 300,000 euro boat in their hands without them going through PT training with our captains and so on. Our on boating process is really unique in that way, in that we both assess, we support and we make sure that they understand our rules. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in Peru or Sweden, whatever. A strong club have their own culture, have their own rules. 

Klaus Reichert: Absolutely. 

Peder Asplund: And our members love this because they know that that’s the only way we can maintain this 98.5 percent. And that is not to say that things do not happen. You know, everyone used to boating knows that every time you’re out with the boat, something will happen. I mean, as I said, I was out for two days this weekend, and always things are popping up. We call them frogs because we don’t want to call them problems. We call them frogs…

Klaus Reichert: Nice! [laughs] 

Peder Asplund:  …because it’s a fun… you know, the game with frog heads popping up and you beat them down. We invite our members to that game because boats when they are new from the very first day, it’s not like cars. They have some issues.

Klaus Reichert: There’s always something to do.

Peder Asplund: It’s a constant dance, you could say. And we want to make that dance a fun dance, not a dance about problems. That’s why we call it frogs and we have a genuine way of managing this, making sure that the members know what issues each boat has. If they can kill one of them, perfect, we give them cash points. If they found any new ones, perfect, then we will take care of it. And this, as I said, is a constant dance.

Klaus Reichert: That way there’s also a high level of quality, a high level of involvement, and also a sense of ownership and responsibility with the members.

Peder Asplund: And to build that, since it is not ownership, to build that glue, so to speak, that you belong to something that you’re proud of, that, as I said, is one of our biggest challenges. We are doing really well here, but it’s something that you constantly need to nurture this, making sure that the members feel pride. If not, things will start going down. So it’s not that we did something and now we’re there. No. Every single week it’s about building, maintaining this culture. And also a part of this is also making sure that all our members, regardless of the level of experience, that you constantly develop. Every year we want our members to gain more points. We call them merit score. By learning new stuff, then we give them. By taking a new level of licenses, then you get more points from us. Because boating is such an amazing area, it’s so much fun. I mean… Coming back once again to my trip last night, we were out. It was pitch dark, poor weather, and you’re only driving on the instruments. Only driving on the instruments: the radar, the plotter, and we always have the Navionics app. And if you calibrate this -we didn’t see a thing- and then you cruise through 30,000 islands in the middle of the night. [Klaus laughs] You can imagine! And this is fun. This is fun. I had a friend of mine who was with me, and he was just blown away by how intense it was to do this thing. And then we got to the place where we put down the anchor in the middle of the night, and then we could have some dinner at 10 o’clock at night. And it was, you know… And that’s the kind of feeling… we want our members to dare, you know, to challenge themselves to go out boating off season. To go out boating. We have winter boating seasons when we actually go out breaking ice. Of course, this is extreme, but this is what we offer our members. You see what I mean?

Klaus Reichert: Yes. And you reward them learning stuff, getting new licenses, and expanding their own knowledge.

Peder Asplund: Yes. And that constant development is so much fun. And we work with… in every country we are present, we work with local schools, so to speak, navigation schools and so on. A lot of it we are doing ourselves. I’ll just give you a fun example. In Agapi, we have as a requirement, and it’s included in our membership that you use the Navionics app. It’s an app in your telephone. And a lot of people still say, “Why don’t you have a paper chart? The real sailor must have a paper chart.” I think paper charts are great when you learn how to navigate, so you get basic, the fundaments. But once you are sort of done with that, paper charts, I mean… today, if you come up to Stockholm, Klaus, and you rent the car, you want to go somewhere…

Klaus Reichert: …you have the GPS, right? The SatNav system.

Peder Asplund: Exactly. Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze. It’s the same thing in boating now. The development in the software has come so far that we have statistics now that… We have sometimes problems with our plotters: Garmin, Simrad, you know, the 3,000-4,000 euro units. They sometimes give us problems. Not too often, but sometimes. But our telephone, iPhones, and so on. You know, that is my safest friend. And that’s also something that we are now teaching even our experienced members. They are surprised when they realize what they can do with the modern software. And as we are sharing, then, as I said, we are collecting markers all over. So if you go to the UK, you just go into Navionics and you have our markers because you’re connected to our node, so to speak, and then you can just go and visit our favorite destinations.

Klaus Reichert: That’s such a smart concept because paper maps are always outdated, right?

Peder Asplund: Always, always.

Klaus Reichert: It’s like a law of nature. [laughter]

Peder Asplund: I remember 20 years ago when I’m Navy guy and I got quite a lot of experience, but I’m not the boat nerd that I’ve been out sailing around the world over and over, but I do have a lot of experience. And I really think that a  paper chart is for training on, you know, fundaments of navigation. Once you do that, it’s so much more important that you actually learn how to manage modern technology. If you’re stuck in the middle of the night and so on, what you need to do is to be safe with your tools. Because even though your iPhone would die, normally you have another one. And this has never happened. You know, we have more than 13,000 bookings now, and that is not bookings of one hour. As I said, it could be bookings of one month. So we’re talking about more than 2000 years of normal boating experience. And we got every single data point that we can analyze so we know exactly why people hit the ground. To share these experiences, that’s a part of our sharing concept, not just sharing assets, but by sharing the experience, the collective experience, we accelerate the development of new people, new people into boating and so on.

Klaus Reichert: Do you also offer some sort of, like, online e-learning solutions for your members?

Peder Asplund: Yes. We have built up our own e-learning system. So that’s a part of both the onboarding process that you need to go through. So it’s exactly like if you, you know, if you take a flight license or if you go to a golf course and you need to learn about the rules. Even though you’re an expert in driving a boat, that might be the case, but you still need to learn how we manage the fuel, safety, et-cetera, et-cetera, et-cetera. All our boats are presented in exactly the same way. So there’s a lot of things you need to learn.

Klaus Reichert: What your standards are also. Yeah.

Peder Asplund: Exactly.

Klaus Reichert: Yeah. Going back to the boats, you say you have new boats all the time. That is a big investment. How do you do that?

Peder Asplund: Yeah. [laughs] Tell me about it. [both laugh] That has been… Very honestly, that has been our biggest challenge for the first seven years, of course, it’s to build up the fleet. And in the very beginning you need boats, right? And boats and banks, when it comes to B2B, they don’t go hand in hand. So we have never managed to get any bank loans and so on. So we have been forced to be extremely innovative in finding ways of financing these boats. And we have looked at other companies in the charter business and see… you know, we’ve taken from other companies in the sailing charter business on taking their concept, and then we have developed. our own version of this. So today we have more or less four ways of financing the boats. Still, I would say, the biggest one, still, is we’re putting the boats in our own leasing company. We have our own leasing company, like an SPV, Special Purpose Vehicle. So we put the boats there and then we have members… a little bit like the golf club again, that members invest in the boats, but they’re owned by the leasing company, right? and at very favorable conditions But the work to get that is almost like selling a boat but for the members buying it it’s a really good deal because they get a lot of premium boating at a very reasonable cost. So approximately 25 of our boats are actually in that setup. Then we have something that we call Private Club and that is exactly like if you owned a fairly modern boat of a boat brand that is accepted by us. And you would tell us, “Peder, you know, I really don’t use my boat that often. Can you take care of it?” Then I would say, “What boat do you have?” “Well, I got an Axapar 28, two years old.” That boat is very welcome into our club. Then we have a set up there, where it’s kind of interesting, because we have realized that once a guy gains, the premium issue comes in here because you would never leave your Axapar 28 with us unless you fully trusted us and our members. You wouldn’t do it. A lot of people have left their boats for charter, they’ve rented their boats and normally the experience is quite poor. 

Klaus Reichert: Yes. 

Peder Asplund: We have our private boat members, owners, that handed their boat out there. You know, they trust us. And once again, that is not to say that things cannot happen. Of course it can happen, but we have excellent support. We have close cooperation with Yamaha, Mercury, and so we can take care of things very quickly. But if you would look at our damage statistics, it’s just appalling, you know. I think we’re up to 2700 bookings today. I think we have three or four groundings. Three or four groundings of 2700. It’s much, much better than the average private boat owner. And when the grounding happens, the boat is out the day after, because we have, as I said, we have spares. Everything is handled to me, you know, so the boats are not on land for a long time. So all of this is a part of, as I said, the private club boat concept. So they feel safe leaving the boat with us, meaning that we will take care of all the hassle. We give them a compensation, for the more we use the boat, the more compensation they get. And something they appreciate a lot, they also become members.

Klaus Reichert: And they have no hassle.

Peder Asplund: Exactly, they become members, they have no hassle, and they still own a boat. And that is kind of hybrid, that we think will exist for a long, long time, because still, ownership is very appreciated for many, but this is a smart ownership, and this is becoming more and more popular. And then we also have the same kind of setup for actual companies. That is, you know, a company that owns a boat. If that boat is then used by us, it’s a commercial management contract, where there’s, you know, a similar compensation, so to speak. And then we actually have a leasing agreement with one of the bigger, one of the bigger engine suppliers as well. As long as we put their engine on the transom, they will actually help us with the leasing setup. The bigger we become, the easier it becomes. And now Santander, the bigger banks are starting to, you know, realize that, “Hmm!”, it’s a steady growth, the boats are in perfect condition, we have trackers on the boat, you know, we have extremely few incidents, this is safer than financing a private boat. So slowly but surely, we’re now starting to attract that kind of institution as well. So I think over time, this will be less and less of a problem. But it has been, ooh…

Klaus Reichert: Yeah. 

Peder Asplund: …a big, big challenge to build up the critical mass of boats.

Klaus Reichert: I see. But I see what you mean. You have a variety of financing solutions. And I really like that you learn so much from golf clubs, because most of them, if they were not around for hundreds of years, like in Scotland or somewhere else, they always had the problem of buying or leasing some land and building the courses and the buildings and stuff like that. So it’s… yeah, I like that, that you learned from another industry and adapted certainly to the water sport industry. And, it sounds very clever. Congrats!

Peder Asplund: It’s a little bit cherry picking, I should say, because we have always, you know, said that let’s see if we have other ones doing the same thing. You know, it’s all about learning from others. It’s not stealing. It’s learning from others. But we have realized that we are sort of, we are really plowing. In this segment we are plowing. We have learned a lot from the car industry. When we started seven years ago, we worked with BMW. They had an operation in Sweden called Drive Now, which was car sharing. I knew the head of that company. We shared a lot of insights when we started to build the software. A lot of the club culture is actually cherry picking values more than anything else. You see what I mean? And that is what we’re cherry picking there. Then we were looking into the, if you think about Sixt Platinum or Hatch Gold, it’s almost like that is very high-end rental with almost like a club-like approach. If you become a platinum member in Sixt, for example, and then you get, you know, you get special… We’re learning a lot from them as well, because of the way they communicate with their members when they’ve had an incident and so on. We never… we have a no blame policy in our company. We never ever blame someone because we trust our members. We trust our staff and accidents can happen, you know. God knows why, how many reasons. So we always have a no-blame policy, analyze what has happened, learn, and then of course, if it would be that we are guilty, we always compensate our members. But this, you should know, virtually never happens. It’s quite amazing. We have a compensation system, but it’s virtually never activated. And I mean, the worst thing this year… and you know, all the issues, this is what’s so fun for me. On Tuesdays I’m getting the weekly reports and I’m always focused on “Did we have any 1s?” Normally never. That means that they couldn’t go out. “Did we have any 2s?” That’s poor. Well, every third week in one of the markets worldwide, we get a 2. And then we always go in, “What can we learn?” Because most of the learning comes from 1, 2, 3, you see what I mean? And most often they’re misunderstandings and so on. So the learning curve is still after seven years going like this, simply because we are a pretty small company, extremely agile, working very closely to our members. And everyone wants the same thing…

Klaus Reichert: …and learning is part of your DNA on the company side and on the member side.

Peder Asplund: Exactly. It’s a very fun development.

Klaus Reichert: Does that help you also to scale the concept into other countries, into other locations?

Peder Asplund: Scaling is a must for us because the whole business idea is that we own Sweden and we own one franchise, you could say, in Mallorca. That’s our own operation. This decision we took from the very beginning, since we want to learn from the very beginning, the franchise perspective. So today, all our new partners are franchise. It’s like… well, you could say it’s like a McDonald’s franchise set up, even though I don’t like McDonald’s, but the basic principle is the same. Because one should know that McDonald’s is very strict. It has to be the same service, regardless if you’re in China or… In a certain way you can have a little bit of local adaptation. I know. I remember that when I go to Spain, you can have a beer in McDonald’s, which you cannot in Sweden, but that is 90% the same. It’s exactly the same with us. 90 percent of wherever you go is… we call that their gap away. It’s our own Bible. It’s always the same, but then each country has their own specifics. And one should know that boating is not like cars homologized in Europe. You know, if you go to the UK, it’s different from if you go to Spain or Sweden. Different rules, legislations, and then of course, you know, in the UK, you need to know that you have six meters of tide. Good to know. [Klaus laughs] So you also need to do the local sort of big approval. There’s a local regional amendment that we call it. But this is great because it’s always the same template. As a member, once you’ve done one region, you know how easy it is to learn the rules of a new next region. So we see more and more that our members start planning their vacations based upon where we have our centers.

Klaus Reichert: It makes it much easier to scale the operation because you have all these things like your Bible, your operational, whatever manuals, your e-learning, your app, and so on, in place.

Peder Asplund: Yes, and that is a must to be able to scale. We franchise the setup. And in order to get this to work, to be able to scale, we are very strict in that we need to work in the same way. But this is also what our new… you know, as I said, we are tripling the countries and new partners for next year. And this is what they appreciate because they plug into something that is like moving like this. And the fun thing here is that the more we become, the merrier.

Klaus Reichert: Yes, and the franchise owners can help each other also.

Peder Asplund: Exactly. There’s a lot of sharing. Next year, we’re going to be six different regions in Spain. I think we’re going to be four to six in France. So of course there will be a lot of sharing just in between each country, but also on an international level. Every second week, all the fleet managers in all regions, they meet to share experiences, to learn from each other. And one of my favorite sayings, and I’m sure that you may have heard about this one, is an old Chinese saying, saying that it is so important to learn from other’s mistakes, thus, you do not live long enough to commit all of them yourself.

Klaus Reichert: [laughs] Yeah.

Peder Asplund: And this is one of our devices, you know, when we go into our club. So we love sharing. If someone finds a new frog, for example. Because most of the frogs we know, we have analyzed. We know, you know. So it’s just, “Yeah, we know this, then you do this.” But sometimes a new frog pops up and it’s almost like people are like, “Oh, he found a new frog. What was it?” [Klaus laughs] You see what I mean?

Klaus Reichert: Yes, sure. It’s a rewarding thing right away.

Peder Asplund: Exactly. And this is so fun because this creates a perfect ecosystem for new boat models to be placed.

Klaus Reichert: Yes. 

Peder Asplund: That’s why we are now seeing that a lot of electrical boat producers are now coming to us. We already have an excellent cooperation with Candela and X-shore and we are now bringing in… and Axopar’s also now having a new investment now into Evoy.

Klaus Reichert: Yes. We have talked to the founder of Evoy.

Peder Asplund: Ah, Leif! 

Klaus Reichert: Yes. 

Peder Asplund: Yeah, yeah. He’s a great guy. He’s a great guy. 

Klaus Reichert: Yeah.

Peder Asplund: And we share the same mission and vision and so on. So this is so fun because we build the perfect ecosystem for new technology to be able to grow, because one should know, and I don’t know how much Leif’s talked about this, but new technology means a lot of frogs.

Klaus Reichert: Yes. [laughs]

Peder Asplund: Everyone knows this. And you can, you know, you come greenwashing, you can talk about how fantastic the new technology is, but we all know at the end of the day, new technology means a lot of frogs. We can handle this in the club, because we own, so to speak, the boat, we own the member, if something happens, we just give them another boat. If the boat is in the hospital -we call that sometimes when they have to go in [laughter] and be fixed- then we always have a spare boat, so to speak. So we can introduce this new technology in a way, also, that it allows the technology to mature and grow by its own merits. Because, you know, normally today, a lot of electrical boats, they have a range problem. You can use them, but you cannot use them to go far. But with all our statistics, we know that, and I give you as an example, 80 percent of our trips in Mallorca are within 20 nautical miles. We could replace 80 percent of our fleet with the electrical technology of today and make it happen. Now, still, the electrical boat needs to think a little bit more about, you know, a more modern design and that being able to… larger boats and so on. We’re not there yet. But we have the knowledge that we could start replacing the old technology with new quite fast. And we hope that this will accelerate the transition from fossil to electricity. But this will be a slow process, taking a lot, a lot of time, and we’re talking about 10, 15, 20 years, perhaps. But we foresee that by 2030, depending on the progress of how much capital they will be able to raise, we think we could perhaps replace 50 percent of our trips or even more with electrical boats.

Klaus Reichert: And you are helping to make that transition because you’re returning or you’re helping with the bug reports, let’s put it that way, to the manufacturers, right? That helps them a lot. You buy the latest boats and that way you iterate the technology quickly. I like that a lot. And also you sort of create a yearning also with the members to use one of these boats because, frankly, I think a combustion engine on a boat is always, always, always a pain. It is too loud, sometimes there’s fumes, there’s vibrations and stuff like that. You don’t have that with an electric propulsion system.

Peder Asplund: There’s a lot of advantages with it, but as I said, the way we see it and we have a lot of experience, and I mean, what we should remember here that our sustainability strategy is one of the strongest in the market, and we put a lot of focus on this. My wife and co-founder, Alejandra, she’s also working in the sustainability department or in the HQ of Ericsson worldwide. And I have to be very honest to say that from the very beginning when we started this venture, the sustainability aspect of it has always been one of my personal driving forces behind what we’re doing, but we have to do it in an intelligent way. Because you will not be able to get people to go electricity just by saying that you need to be more sustainable. That won’t work. If you look at what’s been happening with Tesla for the last 10 years. It was not because of Tesla‘s electricity that people started to buy Teslas. It was because they could actually start replacing a normal car and they did it in a really fun way with an amazing acceleration and so on. Boats have a much bigger challenge. Much bigger challenge, since boating by default is like going with the truck uphill in terms of fuel consumption and so on, you know, the factor 10 of this reason, it’s not that simple to get the same kind of effect in boating. To a certain extent, Candela has achieved this, but that is a 500,000 euro boat. It’s a foiling boat, 100 percent electricity. That boat has that kind of, I would say, Tesla effect, not because it’s so powerful in acceleration, but simply because it’s so different. It’s quiet, you fly on top of the waves. So it’s such a pleasant ride and at virtually no cost because, you know, this is included in the membership. That you could say it’s a little bit of the Tesla effect, but that is also a lot of new technology in a very expensive boat. So we see this process being rather slow. It will come, but it will be rather slow.

Klaus Reichert: You’re talking about different designs, with electric boats. Candela foiling, for example, is one good example, I think. But what we’re also seeing in a way is new shapes and new designs of hulls in boats, like a catamaran type of thing, right, which is more efficient, much more efficient. And I just saw a blue game sort of catamaran yacht, which was powered by standard diesel engines. But the catamaran was not as wide as the standard already existing models, right? It was very narrow. So it’s kind of a new form factor also. And there’s so many things popping up which make me really excited about seeing what will change around the type of boats when we get electric propulsion systems and also about the speeds that we’re getting because,  you know, as well, it doesn’t make sense to sort of go really fast on a planing boat with an electric engine. But if you had sort of very fast, slow boats, let’s put it that way’ -I don’t know the name for the hull type- that could be something that solves the problem, right? And it’s just people don’t really rush a lot when they go boating. Maybe once in a while, but not all the time.

Peder Asplund: Now, the fun thing for us here, and I love that the position that we are now coming into is that companies are coming to us now to almost use our ecosystem to product-place because they know that we will give them visibility, we will give them a premium member based trying and testing their boats, so we have become a perfect test bed as well to reintroduce new products. We have said very clearly that we don’t take any technology risk. We take business development risk. We are plowing with a completely new concept in premium membership boating. That’s the risk we are taking and that has cost a lot of money and it still is. We will not be profitable until 25 because yes, most sharing economies, you need volume. And we have invested a lot in the development of the platform. But we are not taking any technology risk. So when we are working with companies like Candela, X-shore and so on, we don’t own those boats. We don’t do that. We don’t take that risk. It’s actually private people, or companies, coming to us because it’s smart from their point of view, and it’s smart for us as well. And that makes us able to actually analyze exactly what you’re saying now. There’s so much innovation going on, both in terms of hull, you know, you have Pedestep, you have catamarans, you have… well, Axopar is one of the leading companies using the… what do you call that?

Klaus Reichert: It’s like a three step.

Peder Asplund: Yeah, exactly. I don’t remember the word in English. So there’s a lot of innovation there. There’s a lot of innovation in the propulsion as well. And the big difference between boating and car industry, for example, is that boating is so scattered, there’s so many small players. Some of them come up and then they go away. And so one has to be a little bit careful as well, but as we don’t take the technology risk, of course, we could take a little bit risk because we don’t… at the end of the day, -well, assuming that one of these big electric companies wouldn’t proceed- yeah, we are not taking a big loss. Not a loss at all, actually. It’s actually the owner of the boat in that case. So that is something that both we, as a company, and our members love, that we could actually be a little bit of a testbed for new technology. And then you see with all our statistics and data mining, and I can tell you the story about our first electric boat. I will not tell the brand of that boat because that could be hurting our previous partner. But that was our first electrical boat that we took into operation three years ago. And we were promised a certain performance. And I still remember the day when we got the boat. It was a really nice day in Stockholm, our main port in Biskopsöden. And I took the boat and I accelerated, put the throttle max, and I left the port in five knots, waving to the cameraman. And then that video clip, I got 350,000 likes in LinkedIn. It went viral all over the world. People contacted me from Asia, from Mexico, from Latin America. My kids, you know, all this with likes and in social media, they like start to almost “Oh pappy, 350,000 likes. You’re better than you know.” [both laugh] And I was just laughing because that same boat that made us so known all over the world as two years in a row, we always… you know, we always data-collect the statistics from each boat model, that is both hard facts as quality, check ins, check outs, all these things, but also soft data, like, what do our members like. So we have a number of boat brands fighting in the top, with really top brands, and then we had another small group, and then we had nothing, and then we had nothing, and then came our first electrical boat.

Klaus Reichert: Oh, ok.

Peder Asplund: People tried it once. They felt like “This was fun, but I won’t do it again.” And now we are replacing that engine with a fossil engine, because the boat is actually quite nice, but we cannot use it. It’s just not… It was too early, lots of learning, lots of fun and same thing here. I think our members actually appreciated that we could… You know, our learning was that “no, it was too early. That was not the product.” But then we just, you know, we learn, we move on.

Klaus Reichert: I’m hoping that Marex is going to introduce something nice with electrical propulsion soon. 

Peder Asplund: We had one of those Marex in our club. Loved it. Marex 310 Norwegian. Top quality. The building is in Lithuania. I think they built it but… Really nice boats. Really nice boats. 

Klaus Reichert: Yes. And so simple to use and it’s very tailored to the needs of  a family or of a couple going boating, enjoying some time on the water and not spending time with the canvases to close…

Peder Asplund: Oh, I know. It’s a genius solution. 

Klaus Reichert: Yes. [laughs]

Peder Asplund: You know, we really liked that one. That got high scores, that boat.

Klaus Reichert: Great.

Peder Asplund: That was a PCB that was unfortunately sold, otherwise it would’ve stayed in the club. But they sold that to someone externally. [laughs]

Klaus Reichert: [laughs] Peder, we talked about the boat club, about your motivation, about also the starting up, the many iterations of the club, all these steps that you have taken, all these investments into the culture, into the Agape Bible, into the system that you have created, into the e-learning, the app and so on, that helps the members to make their life on the water much easier, but also you to make a more pleasurable experience and have a high standard, high level of quality all the time, even when you when you are scaling the concept and finding franchise, partners, to sort of pick up your concept. We have talked about electric boats that you are starting to integrate into the fleet and people have a possibility to use these boats and get sort of a sense of how they work, how they are different from the standard or the classical boats that were around with, say, combustion engines. We touched many, many things right now, and I’m very thankful for the details that you have provided, but I think we should also talk about sustainability, because sustainability on the water is not just electric boats.

Peder Asplund: No, it’s not. And then I said that the electric boat is something that journalists and so on, they love writing about. But electrical boats are not used a lot. You can’t really say and claim that that’s sustainability. And I would say that our sustainability strategy, which is… and this is not to say that this is the most aggressive sustainability strategy in the market because we love to talk about it because we want the whole business to follow us in this specific area. So it’s not something we want to do ourselves. We want everyone to go in the same direction here. And this is also where… because we should remember that leisure boating has not a reputation of being very sustainable. If you look at, in most parts of the world, how two strokes, four strokes, how fuel’s on it, and they’re terrible statistics. And there are lots of examples in Sweden as well, where it’s actually quite bad right now. When we talk about sustainability, we highlight three areas. The biggest and foremost is actually the circle economy as such. We can load up to nine, ten members on a boat without them feeling a poor availability. Just that fact reduces the carbon footprint by up to 90 percent and the fact that we maintain the boats professionally optimize the engine service.This is where you get the biggest kick out of the sustainability aspect. As you mentioned very early in our discussion, Klaus, that, you know, when you’re traveling around, most boats are just sitting. Just sitting. And then every year you need to paint them and so on. It is a disaster in many ways actually. So by being able to have the boats run every single day -sometimes we’ve had a boat out four times a day. The members didn’t even know about it. They don’t, they can’t. They’re just coming down to the boat and it’s a nice clean boat and they go out- that is our biggest contribution to the growing awareness of sustainability. Another aspect, which is also very interesting is that we are trying to get our members to actually go out. In the summer in Stockholm, for example, we have nine, ten harbors. So instead of taking all the boats from the city, and then you go for hours. You actually take your electrical car -more and more people have electrical cars- and then you go out to one of our satellite harbors. So you book the boat closer to where you want to go. Because normally it’s not just that you want to just drive and drive and drive. Normally boating is about going out at sea and then enjoying the time at sea. So we are, and we are measuring every single trip. And one of our objectives KPIs is actually to bring down the fuel consumption per trip. And how do we do this? This we do by making sure that we put out boats in the summer. So you actually can cut away a lot of unnecessary transportation with the boats. This we do by introducing electrical boats, because electrical boats have, as you know, but in zero, so the more they will use the electrical boat, obviously the average fuel consumption per trip will go down. And so this is really fun because we can measure region for region. And we should remember that the awareness is changing quite quickly in Northern Europe now. In Scandinavia, in Holland, I spoke to a new Dutch partner now, this thing about three engines, four engines… Mmm!

Klaus Reichert: Mmm!

Peder Asplund: It’s starting more and more to become politically incorrect.

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Peder Asplund: There’s a small… And sometimes I need to, you know, slap myself in the face because we are also living in a bubble. We, who know the capabilities of new modern technology. Whereas if you go down to the South or if you go to Florida, you do not see this awareness right now. It’s but it will come.

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Peder Asplund: We believe it will come, when the technology matures. But  right now there’s a pretty big difference between the Nordic countries, the Mediterranean, Florida.

Klaus Reichert: Yes. Yes. Yeah. Do you also reward your members, for example, via the app for using less gas?

Peder Asplund: I should say the whole, we call it gamification. That is in our plans and, you know, every year we develop a lot of new stuff. Right now that gamification is very manual. So we award our members by cash points, but it’s manual. If they help us clean up the boat, you know, you come down to the boat and there’s been a seagull, you know, causing a certain problem, and if you then take out the cleaning kit and you clean and so on, all of these things we compensate. Today we do not compensate our members if they use… we don’t want to create some kind of, you know, this shame of flying. 

Klaus Reichert: Yes. 

Peder Asplund: We don’t want to create that either. This is a little bit of a balance, that we want to give our members the possibility of trying new technology, the possibility of going more sustainable without coming up with some kind of blame if they don’t. Still you should be able to go out with a twin engine and if you enjoy that with your family, you should do that, and we will just make sure that next time perhaps you will at least want to try the electrical alternative. But without the shame part, because we don’t believe in creating that kind of culture.

Klaus Reichert: Have you ever thought of integrating, like a CO2 compensation scheme also?

Peder Asplund: We are in discussions with that with the companies, a Swedish company, and that I like because it will actually give our members at the end of the day, they are the ones who will pay for it. But, as I said, I think that will work perfectly for our members based in Scandinavia. I do not think that the market in Southern Europe or Florida is prepared for that today. So by having that, we can actually customize our situation a little bit depending on the region.

Klaus Reichert: Yes. But you can be at the forefront of these things and you’re sort of helping people nudge along maybe a bit in these areas. 

Peder Asplund: And this is a fascinating area because as we said initially, we have no… you know, we don’t want to create some kind of bad consciousness or anything like that, but just by being able to present different kinds of solutions, we will, as a company… because I strongly believe that as a company, we have a big, big responsibility. We should not be naive enough and think that, “yeah, once the members decide then they, you know, then we will change.” No. We, as a company, we need to take our responsibility and we need to drive it.

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Peder Asplund: But that driving, as I said, has to be balanced, so we don’t create a kind of negative energy for the people who still want to use…

Klaus Reichert: There’s another, maybe small, aspect which I don’t see enough in boats is, separate bins for the waste. Today, in Germany, for example, we have three or four bins -that might be too much, right- but there’s at least something for glass, there’s something for paper, there’s something for the plastics. And that’s something I’m not really seeing a lot on the latest boats, and I think that could help, also, drive the adoption of recycling in marinas a lot.

Peder Asplund: Yes. To be very honest here, Klaus, and I can tell you that since we have designed our own boats, we know how much a boat is a compromise. I think right now that no boat has this kind of… we are the same in Sweden as we have in Germany, which I think is great because it creates awareness.

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Peder Asplund: For boats today, and I can once again take the example this weekend when I was out, what most of our members do, because we have this from our homes, we put the cans in one bag, we put the plastic in one, and then we are getting to port, that’s where we have different bins. So I think more and more people are doing this. Our role, same thing here is not… I don’t think we will be able to develop this system inside the boats because most boats, they don’t even have a place for the bin, not one bin.[laughs]

Klaus Reichert: Right. Yeah.

Peder Asplund: So you still need to be a little bit innovative. You have three bags, for example, cans, plastic, and then the rest.

Klaus Reichert: Yes. 

Peder Asplund: Then you need to make sure that when they get back or when they get to the destination that the ports that the harbors have what we call shell sortering in Swedish, meaning that you have different bins for the different kinds of garbage. And that I think in the Nordic countries that is coming almost everywhere.

Klaus Reichert: Yeah. Yeah. It’s picking up a lot. That’s true. A final question. With boating there is lots of usage profiles, let’s put it that way, like some people might want to use a boat only a few days once in a while, others want to be out on the water all the time, and I suppose you have also solved that problem for the boat club?

Peder Asplund: Yes, our booking system is very flexible and that’s both our upside as well as sometimes the downside because this is not click and go boating. You don’t go into our homepage and just click and then you go out boating. No, that’s not us. You go into our homepage, you get a feeling for what we can offer. So, you know, we call that Pathos, if you remember Aristotle, his three logics. The first one, we want you just to get a wonderful feeling for what we can give you, an amazing boating life. Then we give, then we build in. Logos, which is trust. You know, we give you, we try to explain our amazing quality KPIs. We have a lot of testimonials. So you feel that this is not something that is just popping up. This is really working. And the third area, which is then when we start explaining how it works, that’s when we quite often want to book a meeting, exactly like what you and I have right now. We have this support from corporate, that we can have a meeting in Greece or in France. We take that over Teams, and this is when we listen to you, because you explain for me, what kind of boating life do you look for. And then we know if we’re going to place you in what we call a paygo solution if you’re only an occasional boater, you know, five, six times a year. That is very similar to a Sixt Platinum membership, you could say, or Hatch Gold. That is one booking system. It’s the same app. It’s a different booking principle. Or you say that you’re boating 10-20 times a year mainly day trips and you know, then you would become a regular member. But if you tell me that you have a summer house under the archipelago, you want to be there for a month with a boat, then I might tell you that then perhaps you should buy one of our boats. And then you place that as a PCB: you keep that boat with you for a month, when you’re done with your vacation, then you just come back with a boat to us. And then you use your membership off season. But once you have your vacation, you have your own boat. We have all solutions. We also have solutions for companies, you know, for companies with captains and so on. So we have a lot of different solutions. The most important thing for us is to understand what kind of boater are you? What do you want with your boating life? And then we will be able to customize our solution.

Klaus Reichert: That sounds very close to life, close to what people need. It sort of supports the passion of people to get out on the water, basically. Yeah, okay.

Peder Asplund: And also I have to be honest here saying that we will never let anyone go out with our boats without having to get to know them, so to speak. So that’s a part of our… You know, in the first sales call, then we stressing the these kind of respect, responsibility, because then we will tell if they perhaps are… they may have a lot of money, but they’re just looking for, you know, to rent a boat, whatever, then we can guide them somewhere else. So it’s also a way for us to vet our members and to make sure that they’re stepping into something that works for both ends, so to speak.

Klaus Reichert: You want regular users, you want members of the club, you want people that are aware of the quality and that they want basically to stay on the water every year, regularly.

Peder, thank you very much for taking the time for this conversation today. I really learned a lot. I like this concept a lot. Good luck with the expansion, with the scaling up of the concept. It is so helpful to have something as you do, and I really, really hope -and don’t take this the wrong way- that you get lots and lots of competition because it’s so, so important that we have good boat sharing. Best of luck for your own business. 

Peder Asplund: We will be faster. I’m always saying the same thing. We welcome competition because we’re going to be faster. [laughs]

Klaus Reichert: [laughs] Yeah. It’s just so important to introduce that system, that concept into the water sports world. And there is lots of work to be done. So, best of luck.

Peder Asplund: Thanks a lot, Klaus. Thanks.

Klaus Reichert: Thank you for listening to the 2.5 Conversations Connecting Innovators. You can subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcast. A transcript of this episode and additional information is also available. The link is in the show notes. My name is Klaus. I’m an innovation coach in Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of Germany.

This is the 2.5.

This creates a perfect ecosystem for new boat models to be placed. That’s why we are now seeing that a lot of electrical boat producers are now coming to us. We already have an excellent cooperation with Candela and we are now bringing in Axopar, also now having a new investment now into Evoy.

Peder Asplund

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Host of The 2pt5 Innovator Podcast - Innovation Coach in #TheLänd Baden-Württemberg in the Southwest of Germany Website / Twitter / LinkedIn

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