Volvo used to be known as that boring Swedish car.
What is it with Sweden? It seems such a calm place, full of sensible, mild-mannered people. They don’t like to make a fuss or create a stir. And they certainly aren’t known for drawing attention to themselves.
But it’s all a lie, isn’t it?
Look at Volvo. It used to be known as that boring Swedish car company. Yet all the world has adopted their safety innovations, copied their clever designs. And now, you may have noticed, Volvo is one of the first auto companies to shake up the concept of car ownership, offering cars on a subscription service that includes insurance, maintenance, and model upgrades?
Or what about Ikea? Everyone loves to laugh at their instructions and Allen keys. But think for a moment – those jokes work everywhere you go. Why? Because when a modest man from Sweden invented the flat pack concept, he turned the world of retail furniture upside down.
What else? Well, Nobel’s dynamite is pretty much the ultimate disruptive product. Add in Spotify, Skype, and Bluetooth and the picture of Sweden start to change. Quiet on the surface, but underneath, the Swedish psyche is consumed by a restless, nagging, obsessive quest to always find a better way. To tweak and challenge and improve and innovate. It’s not just a historical thing either – Stockholm today is one of the most vibrant and active start-up hubs in the world. Sweden is all about innovation – it’s happening right here, right now.
There must be something in the water…
What’s this got to do with Agapi?
Well, we too are a modest little Swedish company. We love boats, live for boating. But… well, we always felt they were never quite right. We always thought things could be better. Our founders, Peder and Ale, went through a few. They owned a boat. Then changed to another, and another. Four boats they tried. Nice boats. Good boats. Each one had its own strengths and its own problems. But one thing was constant with each – work. Lots of work.
Like so many other great business origin stories, here we have to introduce the napkin. For this is how Agapi was born, way back in 2005.
Swedish innovation. Argentinean passion.
This is also the part of the story where we need to admit that Agapi innovation isn’t 100 percent about the Swedish mindset. Anyone who has ever spent time in a Swedish summer house knows that they are definitely not about the luxury. Swedish summer is an escape from your job, but not from work. The start of summer means rolling up your sleeves for weekends of hard work. Cleaning, fixing, patching, sealing, building. For Swedes, summer and maintenance have always gone hand in hand.
But Ale is from Argentina. And there, things are different. For her, it doesn’t matter if you are in the office or not – if you’re working hard, you’re not on holiday. So, in this Swedish-Argentinian boating company, the perfect boat was not just the one that gave you the maximum versatility for all the conditions Sweden could throw at you, it was also the boat that kept maintenance to a minimum. It was the boat that let you dream of the open water rather than dreading the days at the dock.
Together, the Swedish and Argentinian perspectives created a unique form of innovation, one that recognized it was not enough to change the type of boats that people owned, but that you also needed to change the whole concept of ownership itself. The Agapi approach was to find a way to bring the best of boating to more people than ever before and to eliminate the hurdles that kept so many people off the water.
’We mentioned above Volvo’s new approach, which recognizes that what people really want is not a car but what a car can give. We couldn’t agree more. We praise Volvo for their courage to upending the ownership concept and promote access to a car with a subscription. Yes, Volvo! Do with cars what we do with boats!
With Agapi Club, the innovation you enjoy isn’t just about the boat itself (although there is plenty there to enjoy), it’s about the way you enjoy boating. Alfred Hitchcock once said drama is life with the dull bits cut out. That’s what we do too. –
Swedish innovation. Argentinean passion. It all adds up to the best way to get you and family on the water.