Interview with Jeffrey Poole, CEO of Siren Marine
Tell Us About Your Journey
My journey was part of our CEO and founder’s journey, Dan Harper, who passed away a little over a year ago. And his vision was to connect every recreational boat in the oceans. So whether it was a sailboat, whether it was a power boat, whether it was a center console or a pontoon boat, we wanted to provide customers with the capability of knowing what was going on with their boat when they weren’t around their boat. So our journey took us from the Caribbean to the Great Lakes to New England, where we eventually set up shop in Newport, Rhode Island.
Tell Us The History of Siren Marine
The history of Siren Marine starts back in St. Bart’s about 14 years ago. And Dan Harper, our founder, was running two wooden sailboats. He would take one of the owners away down to Antigua, Down Island for a two-or-three-days sailing journey. But the other boat, he was taking care of, he wanted to understand when the bilge pump was working or not working.
So he hooked up a very simple device on the old flip phone to send him a text message every time the bilge went off. So that way he was able to monitor if the boat was leaking, if it was raining and there was issues or problems, he could call a friend and say, go out to the mooring and check on the boat. That was the very start of the connected boat.
What Makes Siren Marine Unique?
Siren Marine is unique because of the people that are there and the people that are part of it. You can go to these other larger companies and they’re just building a product, where we want to make sure that that experience, the value of your Saturday morning is truly happening. When you go down to the boat with your kids, your in-laws, your boss on a Saturday morning and you turn that key, it works, and you know that your boat is going to work, and that’s the value of your Saturday morning. And that’s what Siren Marine brings.
What Excites You About The Future Since Siren Marine Was Acquired By Yamaha?
Oh, so much. We had a tremendous journey coming up to the acquisition with Yamaha and we’re really thankful for the folks here at Gesmer for taking us through that.
They started with us with some IP work, and then they took us through our Series A, which ended up into the acquisition with Yamaha. So Gesmer was helping us and guiding us through this whole process. It’s exciting because it’s a validation for our IoT work in the marine industry and we get to work with the best marine outboard company in the industry.
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What Are Some Inspirations That Motivate You?
Building a company and bringing it from an idea to where we have a team to where we’re producing a product. The inspiration is what we feel inside of our hearts that we’re trying to make something better. We’re trying to take a problem and solve that problem that we see.
I’ve been in the marine industry for 30 years, whether it’s professional racer, yacht captain, wherever, and all of these issues we had and we really couldn’t solve when we were away from the boat. So these type of things and solving a problem for us is kind of like the natural step to go to. And I think that when you look at a problem and understand the problem and know how to solve it, it’s not easier to get up and do it every day, but it makes more sense to get up and do it every day. I think that’s really what drives us. We have a saying at Siren, By Boaters for Boaters. 90% of the people at Siren Marine are boaters. This is our passion, this is what we do, what we enjoy, and really what we want to do every day.
What Advice Can You Offer Other Entrepreneurs?
It’s a roller coaster of a journey. It’s up, it’s down, it’s left, it’s right. Persistence and getting up the next day and doing it again, and just having faith in the people that you work with, and bringing on people that are smarter than yourself. I rely on that every day, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s development and the core of Siren is the team. And we’ve been able to build a really successful team at Siren.
Where Do You See Siren Marine In The Next 3-5 Years?
Our next goal and our next point of, or I guess the next step we’re taking is to start to work a lot closer with the boat builders. So Yamaha has deep relationships with many boat builders here in the United States, as well as Europe and around the world. So we know to deliver the connected boat from the boat builder is really what’s going to work best for the customer in the long run. Over the next three to five years, we’re going to reduce the friction points that are part of the installation, the activation, and the engagement for the consumer. We want to make this as seamless as possible for all parties.
What Value Has Gesmer Updegrove Provided Siren Marine?
It’s been numerous parts, from the entrepreneur-in-residence to advice on International Privacy and GDPR laws, up to acquisitions, where due diligence, CFIUS actions. All of these things were critically important that we have the right partner to help guide us because we don’t know these things. So when we worked with Gesmer, it was easy and we got the answers we wanted. We could pick up the phone and they understood the position we were in and helped us and was able to provide a pathway for us.
Why “Go With Gesmer”?
I think the people, it’s the people that make it happen here for us. Boston is filled with law firms, and we could have picked and chosen anyone that is focused on the IoT industry, software industry, computer industry, however you want to call it. But it was the people here that knew what we were going through and understood both our passions and our challenges. So that’s what made from the acquisition, moving back to the Series A, moving back to some of the GDPR stuff, all of those things were part of bringing us, us to the next step. And Gesmer consistently brought us to the next step.
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