Selected 2019

Octavi Uyà

  • Current company Nautal

Octavi Uyà is the co-founder and CEO of Nautal, an online marketplace that connects vacationers with charter companies eager to monetize their underutilized assets.

Boats cost thousands each year in maintenance, fuel, and docking, yet even under the best weather conditions, they are often left sitting in ports. At the same time, renters are seeking convenience and variety as they seek out boats for their vacations, but charter companies are ill equipped to offer either. With over 24,000 boats from over 3,000 owners on the platform, Nautal fills this gap and provides a seamless booking experience for renters and owners alike.

Octavi grew up observing his father’s experience as an entrepreneur who ran a consulting firm for businesses pursuing new expansion strategies. He witnessed first-hand his father’s eagerness to face new challenges, assess risks, and learn his limits, and aspired to embody the same spirit in his own career. Upon graduating from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona with a degree in Economics, Octavi joined Deloitte, where he audited financial entities and led financial advisory services for Catalonia, Aragon, Balearics, and Andorra. Working with client Softonic, an app discovery portal, ignited Octavi’s interest in online businesses and he took his first entrepreneurial leap, launching Favoralia, a social network where members could exchange favors with one another. The project was ultimately unsuccessful, but Octavi gained extensive knowledge of how to build an online marketplace – knowledge that would prove valuable in his next venture.

Walking through Barcelona’s harbor one afternoon with friend and future Nautal COO, Roger Llovet, Octavi was struck by the number of boats left unused. He and Roger also observed how sharing economy marketplaces like Airbnb and Cabify were disrupting other industries. They were inspired to apply this model to the boating industry, and powered by a team of data-driven, cross-industry experts, launched Nautal as a peer-to-peer boat rental marketplace in 2013. Within a year, it became clear that the peer-to-peer model would not be scalable, because amateur owners could not provide the level of service and reliability necessary for the platform to be attractive to renters. In early 2014, the company pivoted to consolidating the fragmented charter market, a model which has seen greater success. Rather than replicating the Airbnb format, Nautal now aims to operate as the Booking.com of the boating world.

Renters use Nautal to browse a growing selection of over 24,000 boats in 56 countries. The platform allows them to filter options by boat type, location, size, price, and trip duration. Once they have found the perfect boat for their needs, they can make use of an instant booking engine with online payment processing and an internal messaging tool.

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