Escaped 10-years of finance and started a travel & scuba diving venture. Looking for fellow divers, travel writers, bloggers, and for partners to grow the business.
'I couldn’t have thought of a better opportunity to marry my entrepreneurial drive with an industry that happens to be a life-long passion'. Read on to see how Gregor managed to do this!
Check out my LinkedIn profile and feel free to contact me if you think I can be of help. On the business front, I am always looking for people to work for unlogged - from content writers to business partners. Just drop me a mail to introduce yourself.
I've been busy working on conceptualising and bringing to the market an new online platform to help divers and snorkellers to plan and book their holidays. It's basically, a search & booking platform like Expedia or hotels.com but tailored to the adventure market of scuba diving.
I spent about 10 years at JP Morgan in various parts of the Investment Bank. During that time, I was furtunate enough to be involved in a lot of different types of transactions both on the financing and advisory side. After a long, busy life of nothing but work, I 'escaped the city' in 2009 and took a good while off to travel the world. At which point, the idea behind unlogged was also born.
In relation to unlogged, it was during a trip with my wife through South-East Asia. We were in some truly paradisical places, diving to gorgeous sites and logging tonnes of dives over three months. During that time we passed through loads of dive centres and experienced 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly', as probably every diver out there has at some point as well.
We kind of realised that irrespective of recommendations or Internet search, we made the best choice of dive centre when we decided right on the spot after a personal visit. So, we came up with the idea of unlogged being the eyes-and-ears on the ground and let divers make their own choice. I couldn’t have thought of a better opportunity to marry my entrepreneurial drive with an industry that happens to be a life-long passion.
After my travels I decided not to re-enter the job market and try it by myself. So I was able to devote my time fully to building the idea into a business. I always dreamt about starting my own business, and I can recall long and frequent discussions with my brother when I was still in high school. At that time, the idea of unlogged didn’t exist yet, but I guess that’s when I got the entrepreneurial bug.
The best thing is being independent and my own boss, building a company from scratch, and having the freedom to make decisions for the course of unlogged creatively and without limitations. I also really like the diversity of work and the learning curve involved – there is no one day like another.
The hardest thing has been working by myself, without the organizational support and the social environment you get when working for a large company. It’s a lot easier to get motivated when you are encouraged and surrounded by people. But I hope this will change soon as I’m in the process of hiring a team, and also plan to move unlogged to a larger home in the near future.
In relation to start-ups I think that the wise words of an experienced consultant I met at a trade fair have been very useful to me so far: "Go out and speak to people! Every idea is unique and it is up to you to find out what will make or break your business".
By sharing your ideas and concerns with others, you can flush out bad concepts a lot faster, saving you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Apart from the advice from family and friends, I’d say the most useful sources have been the British Library and going to trade fairs. The British Library has an excellent support service for start-ups and entrepreneurs, and access to more research material than even investment banks can provide.
Trade fairs are the best place to speak to people and get loads of free advice. Think about the topic you want answers to and go to a fair which covers it – the people there are literally waiting for you to come by their stand with your questions. I’ve even travelled to cities throughout Europe to go to fairs and always found it worthwhile.