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Richard Rivlin, CEO of VesselsValue, Answers Our Questions

5 min read

To mark VesselsValue’s 10th anniversary we interviewed Richard Rivlin, our Founder and CEO to learn more about how he has grown the company and his plans for the future.

Q: How many are you at VesselsValue?

From the initial team of 10 when we launched in 2011, we have now grown to 170 people operating out of 7 offices worldwide, including the latest office opening in Shanghai. We are continuing to expand rapidly on a global scale and are always on the lookout for top talent across all areas of the business including mathematical modelling, development, analysis, research and sales.

Q: Where do you recruit your staff from?

We recruit people of all ages and backgrounds from both inside and outside of the Maritime industry, as we have learnt that the best people can come from unexpected places.

We are particularly proud of giving exceptional people the opportunity, freedom, tools, and support to flourish. One of our biggest successes has been the rapid promotion and development of our star performers, many of whom now sit in top positions at the company. It also helps that we provide the opportunity to develop, market and sell innovative products that significantly help our clients and the industry as a whole.

We also take pride in retaining key people. Of the team that was here from the start across VV and our sister company Seasure, all are still here; Ben Durber (CTO), Adrian Economakis (CSO), Alex Adamou (Modeller), Chris Rivlin (Modeller), Georgina Gavin (CXO), Tom Evans (COO) and Matt Freeman (CCO). I believe this is rare and a testament to the opportunities and supportive culture we endeavour to promote.

I am proud of every one of our team and truly believe in the quote, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” (Ken Blanchard)

Q. What do you consider to be your biggest achievements over the 10 years?

Firstly, that our services have been proven to help our clients considerably improve their businesses, save time and money, reduce risk, identify opportunities, make money and better position themselves for the future. This is evident in our large and continually growing client base and high renewal rate. We maintain our unique position as the only company offering daily updated, algorithm driven valuations that are widely accepted by banks and regulators. Further to this, the extensive use of our full suite of market intelligence is utilised by many of the world’s top companies.

Secondly, that we have built a fantastic global and diverse team to build and sell these services to our clients, bringing much needed transparency, objectivity, and innovation to the industry.

And thirdly, I am proud that we have made an ongoing commercial success of the company.

We are extremely ambitious and continue to reinvest profits to expand into new sectors with further innovations in trade analytics, and a huge new project currently underway.

Q. You started off valuing all Tankers and Bulkers. What other types does your service cover now?

We now cover every vessel in the global Cargo, Offshore, Passenger and Superyacht fleet. This includes seven different types of values, extensive data, AIS tracking, vessel activity and Trade intelligence.

This breadth of information allows us to work with a wide variety of clients across owners, finance, chartering, trading, regulators, insurance, legal, advisory, OEMs and others. It has also required us to employ a lot of talented people spanning all different fields, of which we are always looking for more.

Q. What has been the main driver for your ambition?

To bring vital transparency, objectivity and innovation to the valuation and information markets.

The idea for VV originated during the financial crash of 2008 when major valuation providers stopped providing values. At the time, values were produced manually on request and were heavily reliant on the individual producing them. We wanted to automate this process, make it daily (as you never know when the market may change), and bring in proper data science techniques to help the process.

As our company grew, our ambitions expanded to also providing all useful real-time and historical market information in a single easy to use and accessible place. This includes vessel data, commercial data, eight tiers of ownership, AIS, vessel activity and trade flows, all through our online platform, as well as API data feeds and custom and automated reports.

Q. What would you say to any would-be entrepreneur?

If you’re determined enough and have an appetite for risk, then absolutely go for it. Focus on creating a business that solves a problem and will substantially help people and companies. Don’t focus on making money as that will soon follow if you get the product right.

Hire, retain and reward great people. Any company reflects the people that work there. It’s easy to hire, but very challenging to hire well and a real skill to retain your best.

Once you have clients, do everything you can to help them. Never stop innovating and pushing boundaries.

Q. What are your plans for the future?

VesselsValue has become the benchmark for shipping values, a position we will continue to nurture with our number one priority always being to provide as accurate daily valuations as possible.

Following that, continuing to build an even better and bigger service across the entire Maritime space. We have significantly grown our data and trade teams to provide more cutting edge products to help clients understand and predict global shipping demand from vessel level through to the global fleet.

We have become experts in building valuation models, so it would be remiss if we did not test this expertise in a new asset class…

Q. And your biggest regret?

Leaving it until I was 55 to start VesselsValue.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to provide general information and not to provide advice or guidance in relation to particular circumstances. Readers should not make decisions in reliance on any statement or opinion contained in this blog.

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