Designing a One-Stop Application for Global Seafarers – Saurish Nandi’s Story

A career at sea is not for the meek. A majority of global trades happen across the oceans, demanding that the seafarers often brave their lives in order to achieve their targeted goals and serve the public. How could they be rewarded for these efforts? This is what serial entrepreneur Saurish Nandi (Executive MBA Class of 2012) wanted to address when he co-founded SeaMiles in late 2018. We caught up with Saurish to know more about the venture.

Q. What is the story behind your venture? How did you get the idea for it?

Saurish: The origin story of SeaMiles is the stuff that Hollywood biographies are made of. In April 2018, my co-founder and I were travelling to Mumbai to attend DataccioConnect, a leading technology event organised by Proternio Consulting, a Singapore based maritime procurement and supply chain company that I founded in 2017. Whilst on the flight, both of us started discussing the various aspects of the maritime ecosystem and how seafarers are usually not kept abreast of the technological changes in the industry. The discussion also veered into the area of loyalty and how we can improve the retention of seafarers. Being loyalty program enthusiasts, we considered the practicality and usability of a program which is meant exclusively for seafarers.  In the next 5 hours of our flight, we had already composed a draft business plan.

This was the birth of the world’s first loyalty program for maritime – SeaMiles.

Q. How is your venture standing out in the market today?

Saurish: Our concept of SeaMiles is the first in the world. We have an early mover advantage. Additionally, the process has also been patented. We aim to become the one-stop application for global seafarers in the near future.

Q. Would you say you are supporting any global cause with your venture?

Saurish: 90% of trade across the world happens through the sea, and seafarers are the focal point of this entire maritime ecosystem. They brave rough seas, stay away from their families for months on end, and risk their lives (facing sporadic attacks from pirates) in order to serve all of us. SeaMiles is the only loyalty program designed for seafarers which allows them to be rewarded for their efforts.

Hence, our application has a very deep social impact, seeking to celebrate the lives of seafarers and their families.

Q. Did your time at SP Jain help you in your journey?

Saurish: SP Jain gave me an all-round perspective on various topics such as brand management, financial modelling, strategy development, statistical analysis, and more. More importantly, my time at SP Jain helped me build an entrepreneurial mindset, which played a huge role in shaping my future years.

Q. What according to you are the pros and cons of working at a start-up?

Saurish: Being an entrepreneur now for the last 2 years, I can testify that working for a start-up has a lot of benefits. Start-ups enable you to become an all-rounder, instil a lot of self-discipline, and also prepare you for the bigger challenges in the future.

I personally feel that there are no cons of working at a start-up. However, you have to be ready to go through the roller coaster without complaining or losing faith in yourself. It’s not a journey meant for everyone.

Q. What do you look for in an employee?

Saurish: Our SeaMiles organisation is governed by the values highlighted below and this is exactly what I look for in an employee –

  • Trust and transparency
  • Respect for the company and for the team members
  • Welfare-driven mindset
  • Gratitude
  • Innovative mindset
  • Quality assurance and customer experience focussed approach

Q. Do you have any advice for the students who are currently starting their SP Jain journey?

Saurish: The world is going through a paradigm shift. The pace of technology change is very rapid. My advice for students will be to have an open mind, ignite an entrepreneurial fervour, and develop an all-round skill set.