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Former Crew Launches Blockchain-Based Charter Marketplace

15 September 2022By Laura Shaughnessy
L8YC NFT Yachts

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd. Email Laura at laura@dockwalk.com.

Newly retired Chief Stewardess Oriana Schneps has a knack for booming industries. Using her experience in yachting, she launched a blockchain-based charter marketplace that uses blockchain technology to make chartering more accessible and efficient. Alongside two colleagues, she founded Lazy 8ight Yacht Club (L8YC) in late 2021. They came to market in summer 2022 with their NFT collection. Now that they’ve completed stage one of the company, for stage two, they’ll build their marketplace.

“We are creating a digital marketplace focused on the Millennial and Gen-Z audiences, where they can conveniently connect with yachts that are available for charter." 

This debut consists of 3D fully traversable 90-meter yachts. By owning one of these NFTs, holders can explore the yacht in the Metaverse; it acts as a membership card for their boat and yacht rental marketplace (once built). Now that their NFT collection is complete, they’re speaking with venture capital firms and fundraising to develop a two-way marketplace for yacht chartering.

Purchasing an L8YC NFT membership gives you:

  • Immediate access to their existing yacht chartering service
  • Members can inquire about yacht availability and book the hospitality services offered through their partnerships — they currently have a team of luxury hospitality professionals to help escort users through these processes.
  • Once the marketplace is built, holders will receive exclusive discounts and opportunities within Web3.

This is a big move for the former chief stew who joined yachting in 2016. For the last couple of years, she’d been working for startups in the northeast U.S. until 2021 when she met her colleagues who share her passion for the marine world.

Oriana Schneps

Leaving Behind Antiquated Business Models

“We are creating a digital marketplace focused on the Millennial and Gen-Z audiences, where they can conveniently connect with yachts that are available for charter,” says Schneps, co-founder and COO of L8YC. “Yachting is very traditional, and still uses a lot of antiquated technologies and business models. It’s important for yacht captains and crew to understand how emerging technologies are affecting the way that traditional business is being done so that they can adapt and stay ahead of the changing market,” she says, adding that consumer trends are pivoting to be more community-based with brand loyalty and incentives. “Therefore, as crew, it’s going to become increasingly important to utilize memberships and incentives to encourage repeat business within the industry,” Schneps says.

This debut consists of 3D fully traversable 90-meter yachts. By owning one of these NFTs, holders can explore the yacht in the Metaverse.

Alongside Schneps is CFO Arin Alesauskas, who grew up on the water and has always been passionate about boats. “In 2021, I was in the market for a new project; Bored Ape Yacht Club was making headlines globally and digital real estate was becoming a hot topic of discussion. It surprised me that no one was developing an NFT yacht,” he says. From there, he researched the market more, identified a gap, and took the opportunity to build 3D traversable digital marine assets that people can use in the Metaverse.

His next step was hiring people to help build the first NFT yacht prototype. “The unique thing about [my co-founders] was that, unlike most tech entrepreneurs, they both have strong marine backgrounds, being a chief stewardess and Naval specialist, respectively. At this point, both of them were already working in the Web3 space,” says Alesauskas.

Creating Immediate Value

“The first step in determining how any NFT is designed is to understand its use case. As a Web3 company, we knew we wanted to build out a marketplace, so when releasing our debut NFT collection we kept that in mind,” says CEO Gunnar Dunbar, who was a cryptologic technician in the Navy. “We wanted to make sure that the opportunities available to our community — through the use of our NFTs — were specific enough to create immediate value but broad enough that it allows for continued development as the company expands.” While most NFT projects use the traditional NFT membership card, L8YC took theirs a step further when they developed their 90-meter megayacht membership token to give members access to a more diverse toolkit of use cases.

Following this successful membership NFT collection launch, they’re ready to create their real-world chartering marketplace. This two-way platform will allow yacht owners to list their available yachts and let clients book (with discounts and incentives). “The team also is currently in the process of raising our seed funding round to accelerate company growth and development. We are looking for investors and advisers who believe in using emerging technologies to innovate and enhance proven industries,” says Schneps.

If you’re interested in getting involved or want your yacht to be listed in their upcoming marketplace, email them at hello@l8yachtclub.io

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