When I got stationed in San Diego in 2010 I wanted to dive, but I wasn’t familiar with the locations or the conditions which resulted in lots of very low viz dives. I decided to get into surfing instead, and I saw how apps like Surfline had solved a very similar problem for surfers. I also saw how when I was diving I felt much more connected to and passionate about ocean conservation because I could see what was happening below the surface. I felt that DiveViz would get more people into the ocean, giving them an experience that connects them to the underwater world and motivates them to protect it.
Our app has been a dream of mine for 8 years, and we finally have it!
Advise for founders and startups: As a founder it can be a very lonely road. I would find a co-founder early, go through all the details and uncomfortable conversations early, and then set off together. Having someone else to bounce ideas off, to balance yourself out, and to help you if you’re in a rut is absolutely essential.
Biggest challenge in building the app: For me it has been building a team, but specifically letting go of control and trusting others, while not being naive or getting taken advantage of. My first business was a surfboard factory where one of the founders basically changed the locks and the lease behind my back overnight, and it’s taken a long time for me to be comfortable trusting others with my dreams...but it’s a must!
How did I build the team: I really wanted this to be something organic, and something that people were passionate about. I looked for people who were incredibly talented, but also who were familiar with the problem and passionate about creating a solution. I like having people who are creating something that will solve a problem for themselves. That being said my co-founder Nikita does an incredible job of balancing me out (which I very much need!) and has an above water perspective that is invaluable.
Where are we going from here?: Up the West Coast, then across to the East Coast, and then...everywhere! We want to get a set of sensors in each major dive area, and we also want to turn this into more of a social platform for sharing pictures, dive reports, benchmarks, and also logging dives.