Prospus announced today that it will be providing $1.5mn in cash and IT services to the startup company YourYacht over the course of 18 months. YourYacht is an innovative startup conceptualized by marine captain and quality control inspector Brandon Rundquist of Fort Lauderdale. Rundquist has been working in this industry since 2001 when he earned his captain’s license for small craft. During that time, he has seen the issues that plague yacht crew and contractors and has taken it upon himself to solve those problems.
“Marine retailers hire me to perform quality control inspections on multi-million dollar yachts. It is a physical job, full of running around and sharing information with all types of contractors”, Rundquist wrote in his funding proposal. “I am responsible for getting information where it needs to be, and ultimately, ensuring the owners are safe and happy with their purchase”, he added. Rundquist performs a variety of surveys on new boats prior to acceptance by the marine retailers he represents.
“The problem is that there are no dedicated tools for performing these audits. We have teams of people taking pictures and emailing them to each other. Every retailer still uses pen and paper to share notes”, Rundquist explained. After working in this capacity for four years, Rundquist knew there was a better way. He looked enviously at other industries full of technology solutions to just these types of issues. He optimized as much as he could, but there were always limits. “I take my iPad and iPhone with me everywhere. All of my notes and images are centralized and ready to share. But everyone else I interact with is still using email and other messaging platforms”.
Rundquist spent two years thinking about his concept and ended up spending several thousand dollars buying the domain YourYacht.com. When he reconnected with long-time friend and Prospus owner Marc Ragsdale, he was surprised to learn that Prospus had launched a fund for promising startups. After discussing his idea with Ragsdale, Rundquist was invited to apply for funding through the Prospus Fund. “I didn’t really know where to start, and how to actually build this app, so I was fortunate to have Marc give me some advice. I never expected we’d actually receive funding”, commented Rundquist.
“After learning about YourYacht from Brandon [Rundquist], I could see the passion. However, it wasn’t right for Prospus because we just didn’t have any experience with that industry”, said Prospus President and Founder, Marc Ragsdale. “After discussing more over the next six months, I came to realize that Brandon was very well-positioned. His knowledge and connections were spectacular, so we decided to open with a small $50k round”. Brandon himself managed the build, working directly with the Prospus development team in India, producing the early YourYacht application.
Impressed, Ragsdale decided to go all in, committing to a larger investment for a commanding share in the company. Ragsdale himself would serve as the interim CEO, overseeing a bi-national product development team centered in the Delhi area. Ragsdale intends to take YourYacht in a slightly different direction. “While good, I feel that the revenue model needs adjustment. We will also focus on messaging and branding, to ensure we hit the right audience”. Prospus has committed to $1.5mn to Florida-based Rundsdale Enterprises, LLC. The investment will be realized in both cash and services and will be delivered in stages.