Former superyacht Relief Captain/First Officer Hadleigh Ford spent two years aboard M/Y Pacific (previously M/Y Dubai) before transitioning ashore as a harbor pilot in late 2011 to pilot vessels up to 260 meters.
Before launching the app in 2013, he spent his spare time working on an app that would later become SwipedOn, an app that provides a simple and easy way for users to check in and out of a workplace. “Essentially, we replace a traditional paper-based visitor book and employee in/out board with an iPad sign-in system for visitors and staff,” he says. Although most of their customers are everyday businesses and not yachts, Ford says they now have hundreds of yachts as paying customers (from 30 to 150 meters).
“I initially conceptualized the idea while I was on board the new-build yacht, M/Y Pacific and I was looking to source a crew in/out board and visitor book,” explains Ford. “There were boring, traditional options on the market, but nothing befitting a new-build superyacht.” By the time he started working on it, the iPad had recently been released, and the future CEO saw an opportunity for SwipedOn. He says he saw the app as a garage project that would solve a problem on superyachts. “Yes, it initially started out as a superyacht tool. However, I quickly realized that it had global application and at that point, changed focus to a larger addressable market,” says Ford. One of the things that excites him most is that you can do it from any front desk, in any business around the world.
In late 2018, he sold SwipedOn to SmartSpace Software, a London Stock Exchange company, but he’s staying on as CEO and reporting through to the public company. They’re currently working to expand their product suite to offer more value. “You can now manage packages and deliveries as they come on board. Not to mention,” Ford says, “visitors now have the option of selecting food or drink you may want to offer them when they arrive.” At the time of press, the product is used in more than 60 countries and has about 5,000 locations globally.
As a former crewmember, the CEO has advice for anyone looking to leave the industry: “It’s not uncommon for careers on superyachts to be fleeting or finite. I would consider using that time to think about a life after yachting. If you do manage to save a few bucks, I'd highly recommend using a portion of that money to purchase or start a new business.” www.swipedon.com
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