Wavve Boating, a navigation app for Android and IOS smartphones, added a Community Trips feature that lets users contribute routes for others to download. As part of the app’s Admiral Program, users whose routes are downloaded by other members are paid.
“Other users can vote on these pins, and that decides what lives and what dies on the app,” Adam Allore, founder and CEO of Wavve Boating, told Trade Only Today. “They can actually share the bread-crumbed route on the map and load it into their own app and follow along if they choose to do so.”
Wavve Boating, a subscription-based service, launched in 2017. Users sign up for a 14-day free trial, then pay $2.99 a month or $12.99 a year. Allore said there are approximately 6,000 members, and the app has 3,000-plus charts from the Canadian Hydrographic Services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The company, which is based in Kingston, Ontario, licenses the charts and is funded primarily through grants from the Canadian government and outside investors.
The app also provides information on the whereabouts of other members. “One of the problems before developing Wavve was being able to track down my friends when they were out on the water,” Allore said. “We allow you to see who’s out on the water.” That is, of course, provided they are Wavve Boating members.”
The Admiral Program compensates Wavve Boating members whose routes are downloaded by others. “We released the functionality for users to breadcrumb a track that they’ve created for the waterway and input information for other users, such as draft versus boat depth and interesting landmarks,” Allore said.
When another Wavve member downloads an Admiral Program chart, the creator is compensated. “Depending on the length of the trip they create, they’ll get 50 cents all the way up to $5 each time the trip is loaded,” Allore said.
He added that the app is gaining traction in the United States, with promotions through digital ads, boat shows and Facebook communities. Allore said 95 percent of users own boats that are smaller than 26 feet. “We’ve become a good solution for the customer who doesn’t want the capital expense of a GPS unit,” he said. “Since we’re on a mobile device, a lot of users will plan out their course from the comfort of their couch.”
Most Wavve Boating members range in age from 25 to 45, Allore said, and the app is “more tailored toward people who are used to using their phone.” Emergency response alerts are under development, and app creators are taking feedback for other features.
Wavve Boating is available in the United States and Canada, and Allore said his seven-person team is looking to expand into Australia and Europe. As Wavve Boating is granted licenses for a given area, coverage will continue to expand. The major expenses, Allore said, are building the team and the licensing fees for the charts.
He said the total package is what sets Wavve Boating apart from other apps. “Instead of building an app that was a substitute for a chart plotter, we wanted to take it to the next level,” Allore said. “The red interface and being able to find your friends on the water and sharing experiences and sharing routes is what sets us apart.”