Capt. Matthias du Verle knows well the frustrations that comes with being a charter captain in the superyacht industry. After starting off in the merchant marine in the early 2000s, du Verle worked his way up on both the captain and engineering side before beginning his transition to yachting in 2010.
Du Verle, who has been aboard his current vessel as captain for three years, believes the industry is currently at a turning point. “The way yachts are marketed, sold, or chartered is terribly old school. From my point of view,” du Verle says, “technology and quality of service are not mutually exclusive, and some tools are now so commonplace that they are a reasonable expectation for many professionals and clients — who should accept less service and options when they hire a yacht than when they hire a taxi?” Along with his business partner Anthony Flores, du Verle is aiming to bridge that gap by creating Wolfgang, a new management software for commercial superyacht operations that aims to help make operations more straightforward. “At Wolfgang, we are here to put the right tools in the hand of the industry before some outsider comes and disrupts the market,” he says. “We build our platform with and for the industry: we interact with professionals and use their feedback to develop what fits their needs. We have the captain, the owner, the manager, [and] the broker in mind because we know that providing the best charter experience is not a one-man job, this is a teamwork.”
The software can help a vessel tackle all aspects of operations, from calculating fuel consumptions, VAT and other taxes, etc. He points to the regular influx of new regulations, which can be tough to track. “We … are not even surprised when each and every new regulation is met with anything from resentment to irrational panic instead of preparedness… Every time, lawyers eventually lay a new path, but that costs time, energy, and money,” he says. His goal with Wolfgang is to prevent those types of issues and keep vessels compliant by having all the information collected, updated, and applied for his users. “We want to offer the best digital tools (both legal and technologic) to the professionals in the charter market. We want to give an easy access to the best contracting options (better price through tax optimization instead of cuts on commissions), provide peace of mind to owners (better compliance), [and] reduce the work load of captains and managers,” he says. “We are creating this platform where all of them can work together in a secure and compliant way. Charter is the breadwinner of the industry. We want to be the support team of the charterers.”
There is no commission as Wolfgang is a tech company, du Verle says. “For the contracting tool, for example, we aim to [get] the brokers up to speed in terms of tech … and brokers, agents get to still be part of the game; they can concentrate on what they do best: caring for their clients. But we have many more tools in our box, each designed to be an efficient assist to members of the yachting community.”
Du Verle notes that there’s been plenty of interest for the system since they launched the beta version. “Particularly we found U.S. brokers to be interested in the solution we offer to deal with the European contracts,” he says. As noted, the beta version is now live and du Verle hopes to gather feedback from users before the next Med season. If you want to be part of beta testing, email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.wolfgang.pro