Telecommunications engineer José Manuel Arnaiz (62 years old) was one of the first to see how his industry would transform our lives. However, neither Jazztel nor DigiMobil nor any of the dozen companies he founded have tried to link this to his passion for the sea: “My father instilled this bond in me. I’ve been sailing for as long as I can remember and it’s one of the few things in life that I do as much as possible. A few years ago I said to my friend Miguel Ángel Santos (52 years old), why don’t we create a technology-based solution for all of us who go to sea?” he says in an interview with EL PAÍS. No sooner said than done, ShoreView adds 100,000 downloads in just three years and, for thousands of people, has become what Arnaiz and Santos dreamed up together with third co-founder and businessman Javier Lasarte (39 years old): “a Google Street View of Augmented reality to change the experience of throwing yourself into the sea”.
The opportunity was twofold: “The sea is full of uncertainties for those who go out 2, 3 or 10 times a year, for those who are not fishermen or merchants. Everything works with the help of 2D navigation charts, and in general, recreational boating is a low-technology sector, especially if we talk about tools available to everyone.” ShoreView is free and part of its success lies in collaboration, with average 1,000 daily notifications posted by its own users. The alerts indicate areas where divers, jellyfish beds, or floating debris may be found, among other short-lived threats. A service available to 240 million boaters, 35 million surfers or 15 million divers is the target audience of this application.
But who is currently using ShoreView? Currently focused on two geographic areas, the Caribbean and the western Mediterranean, “Users are all types of sailors. There are professional types, captains of rental boats and people in the service of this type of boat. But, for example, we recently spoke to an American kayaker who has covered many kilometers and is enthusiastic about the app. We also heard about a paddle surf school this summer recommending it because being a mile from the starting point can be nerve wracking for inexperienced people. Something simple that can easily be solved with ShoreView. It’s useful for people with jet skis or with a small leisure boat,” says Arnaiz.
The truth is that when you open the app in the middle of the sea, augmented reality combines last-minute alerts, weather and geological information with promotional messages. On the route through an unexpected place, we can also know where nearby there is a gas station, restaurant or all kinds of nautical services. And this is just the first of the scales of a company with headquarters in Valencia and a dozen employees, because despite the fact that the year of foundation is 2019, the founders have already made the first change of direction with the expansion of their services in a new structure: SeaCoast.
In November, ShoreView joins PortView and PaperBoat as part of this umbrella organization of boating services. The first of these is the maritime solution, which most closely resembles the Google Maps Get Directions feature, as 70% of accidents involving chartered or loaned boats happen at the precise moment of docking. The second is a berth reserve manager linked to the marina and yacht club management system and subsidized by Puertos del Estado. A service that until now, in addition to being quite cumbersome, required the sending of documents and digital certificates, but which this application, with a price comparison and encrypted files, makes an experience similar to a hotel reservation.
SeaCoast has also decided to combine its services with blockchain technology. “We don’t see tokens as a way to capture resources, but as a way to promote some services and increase user repetition on the platform,” concludes Arnaiz. A community that they also manage through Telegram and that aims to reward the most active users. “When I started DigiMobil, none of the business plans called for us to reach four million customers like we do today. At SeaCoast I don’t want to specify what the port of destination will be. Our ambition is at its maximum, because in just three years the wind has only been favourable.”
What affects most is what happens next. Subscribe so you don’t miss anything.