The number of businesses owned by women in the U.S. has more than doubled in twenty years, as has their revenue. Women are starting an average of 849 new businesses per day, up 3% from last year. There are 11.6 million women-owned businesses, employing nearly 9 million people and generating more than $1.7 trillion in revenue.
“We’re encouraged to see the amount of female-owned businesses in the U.S. has more than doubled in twenty years,” said Susan Sobbott, President of American Express Global Commercial Payments. “Championing women-owned businesses strengthens our economy, individual communities and helps inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs.” Clearly investing in women brings great returns, not only financially but in terms of the economy and employment.
Yet despite these increasingly attractive figures, only 2.19 per cent of global venture capital funding in a year goes to women. As Geri Stengel at Forbes points out “Women could do even more if they were not blocked by lack of access to capital.”
It is well documented that female founders receive less venture capital funding than their male counterparts. According to venture capital database Pitchbook venture capitalists invested $58.2 billion in companies with all-male founders in 2016. Meanwhile, women received just $1.46 billion in VC money that year. The situation is not improving either, in 2016, women got just 2.19% of venture capital funding—a smaller piece of the pie than in every year this past decade, with the exception of 2008 and 2012.
Bucking that trend is Fiona Pool, the CEO and a shareholder in Hunton Yachts, a British designer and manufacturer of luxury yachts. Following a 12 month restructuring program, Pool has secured investment from private individuals in the US.“The structure of the business needed to change if we were to secure inward investment and turn the company into the global brand it so clearly deserved to be.”In the last 12 months Pool has closed the manufacturing facility and is now outsourcing the production. This has cut the fixed overheads by over 80% and made the business a much more viable investment proposition.“The monthly running costs were holding us back from realising our potential. The production was outdated and would have needed significant investment to enable us to be more competitive and efficient in building the boats. When the lease on the factory was up I saw this as an opportunity to totally change the corporate structure and focus internally on sales, design and marketing.”Hunton’s philosophy is to build the best boats of their generation. Pool’s vision is that they should be using individual experts in every aspect of the build process, rather than doing everything under one roof. The yachts will still be built in the UK and project managed by Hunton but outsourced to the industry’s elite.
Refashioning The Brand For A Global Market
Hunton is focused on building a unique communication platform and social media presence to liaise directly with clients, employing the latest mobile technology to create a truly personal luxury service, one that high net worths will find invaluable. Deploying the latest networked systems to encourage time poor, wealthy clients to engage directly with the brand and installing feedback processes to monitor hardware and software and report back immediately, ensuring maximum time out on the water, whenever and wherever required.
Under the management guidance of Pool, who was also Head of European High Yield at Bank of America in The City of London, the firm is looking to the future and seeking to expand its luxury range with modern flair that is “appropriate and targeted” to UHNW’s and provides what today’s customer is attracted by. Pool is rebuilding Hunton Yachts into a truly global business conducive to the US, European, Middle East and Asian market, creating a network of successful international distribution partners in all the key areas.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Hunton is seeking to share in the growing international demand for luxury yachts. Industry figures show that the market globally is on an upward trajectory. The growth rate in the US saw 6%-8% for 2015-16, which would brought the market back to pre-recession sales volumes and imported boats to the US are also gaining in popularity. Brazil, China, Russia and the UAE are interesting markets too.
Hunton Yachts Has A Bright Future
Historically Hunton has manufactured between five to ten yachts a year on a ‘build-to-order’ only model. Pool, however, has embarked on changing this underlying manufacturing structure to a “production-based model.”“We will be producing demonstration boats and inventory from 2018,” explains the former University of London graduate who studied French, Italian, and Economic and Political history. That said, Hunton will still produce “one-off bespoke builds” for those clients that want something totally unique. Pool has already established Hunton America LLC in the US and will be bringing the yachts in directly, “using a network of sub-agents as well as having our own Hunton sales offices, planned for 2018.”
Lucintel, a global management and market research firm, has noted that: “The majority of luxury powerboats and yachts sold in the US are imported from Europe, with strong demand for more established brands.” But it stressed that “regular innovation” of products is key for companies to sustain their successful position in this market.
New Hunton Models
Pool has focused on the creation of new models that use intelligent performance, the latest technology and advanced luxury design to appeal to a new generation of boat buyers. These designs have focused on The Golden Mean, which represents the epitome of beauty, an ideal balance between symmetry, proportion and harmony. The new Hunton yachts embody this perfect balance of aesthetics, performance, stability, comfort and intelligent technology. They are constructed to be thrilling, sexy and exciting, presenting freedom and fun on the water for enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.
Whilst the new Hunton Yachts have been crafted for a modern discerning audience, they retain the power and pedigree of their past. Both the exterior and interior possess luxury detailing, bespoke materials and user technology only seen in much larger boats. Hunton is positioning the brand as the ultimate luxury yacht with sex appeal, smooth ride, and finish to match. These aesthetically stunning marvels will also feature seamless inter-connectivity between the brand and yacht owners by including live system alerts and other user friendly technology. Mooring these new marvels will be a piece of cake using a simple remote that enables owners to safely dock in the smallest of berths.
Hunton Yachts are the most exclusive, eye catching, luxury, high performance yachts made in England, frequently compared to an Aston Martin or Bentley of the sea. These boats can display raw power and performance on the water, but they epitomise understated elegance, synonymous with British design. They don’t need to shout about it, but rest assured, they will always be the most stylish, unique boat in the marina.