Olivier Albahary, Founder of GlobeSailor
By creating GlobeSailor in 2008, Olivier Albahary was able to combine his professional ambitions with his passion for boating and traveling by sea. Becoming the main player in Europe for pleasure boat rentals (with or without a captain), GlobeSailor has democratized cruise access over the last few years.
-What steps led to createing GlobeSailor ?
I studied Agronomy Engineering which led me to first create ‘The Guide for the Bourlingueur’, a practical guide for boaters who are looking to visit the best places when at port. This project was far from profitable. I then worked in a business incubator called Agoranov where I was able to help in the development of start up companies. That allowed me to structure my own project. I then had the idea in 2008 to create a price comparison tool for boat rentals. Many renters and boat owners suffer from a lack of internet visibility. Same goes for the clients who have trouble finding a boat to rent online. The idea was to faciliate all of this.
-Did success come quickly ?
No, rather slow. I met my current partner Evgueni Kocheliaev who left his web agency to start the company with me. In 2010, we raised 200,000 Euros through Paris Business Angel to finance the development. The boat owners would post their fleet for free on our platform and subscribe to a premium plan if they wanted more visibility. Starting in 2011, we changed the model. We became a rental agency whereby we’d make the reservations, give advice, etc. We started to book more reservations this way. In 2012, we worked on our SEO so that the rental compaies were able to provide quotes and validate the reservations more quickly anywhere in the world. Since 2013, we have seen a growth of 30%-40% increase per year with more than 7000 reservations for an estimated business volume of 30 million Euro’s in 2019.
-What are your current projects ?
Two years ago, we set up a travel agency and we offer cabin cruises around the world with our most popular cruises to Croatia and Greece. We are tour operators, a travel agency, and reservation center for boat rentals. In the same way, we can make flight arrangements as well as transfers from the airport to the port. All in all, GlobeSailor offers its clients a 360° service !
-What makes you different from competing agencies ?
It’s our expertise. At GlobeSailor, it has taken 10 years to select, with strict criteria, the boats and boat owners in each destination. We offer better quality service than our competition but for the same price. Further to that, we offer a 24 hour concierge service with the idea of accompanying clients and facilitating their cruise.
-What excites you most about your job ?
As a child, I spent my holidays with my grandmother in Brittany and my brother and I always sailed optimists. Today, I am proud to have been able to combine entrepreneurship with my passion for boating. The 45 members of my team, divided between Paris and La Rochelle, are also passionate about the sea and travel. At GlobeSailor, the customer only has to provide dates, destination, and budget and the team takes care of creating a custom holiday at sea.
-Do you have a life motto ?
“Where there is a will, there is a way” (Winston Churchill).