Building the Bond Experience: A look back at where it started

Bond’s offices overlooking the start/finish line of the Monaco Grand Prix are a far cry from the 24m2 room in Hamburg Will Faimatea had ten years ago when he first started writing specifications for superyacht audio-visual and IT systems. But then, nothing about Bond’s evolution into one of superyachting’s most trusted companies has been anything short of impressive.

 

Today, a decade after launching his company to deliver AV/IT specification-writing, tender-management and support services for superyachts, Faimatea, founder and CEO of Bond, can reference, among others, the three largest yachts on Earth: Eclipse, Azzam and Dilbar. The technical requirements, personal expectations and level of complexity of these three spectacular new-builds points to Bond’s uniquely valuable experience. 

 

“All of our new business for consultation comes via referral,” Faimatea says. “That, to me, says a lot about the reputation we’ve built, and the quality of service we provide. That the world’s three largest yacht projects all came to Bond to manage their AV and IT integration, I think suggests we have been doing something right.”

 

“Unlike today, ten years ago, it wasn’t necessarily clear to customers what we were offering,” says Zeb Robin, Bond’s first hire. “Sometimes, people we were talking to didn’t understand why we weren’t the integrators, trying to sell TVs. We had a lot of work to do to help our contacts understand that we could help them achieve the AV/IT systems of their dreams without us also trying to sell them equipment. We are entirely focused on the owners’ wants and needs.”

 

Robin had come from designing AV/IT systems for broadcast studios across North America and had worked on Lürssen’s highly complex Octopus build. Bond’s next hire, Norman Janneck had similarly come from writing specifications for production, post-production and broadcast studios, and at the time he met Faimatea, was writing an AV/IT specification for a cruise ship.

All of our new business for consultation comes via referral,” Faimatea says. “That, to me, says a lot about the reputation we’ve built, and the quality of service we provide.

“From day one, our approach was based on Will’s experience of being really the first superyacht ETO, so he understood the pressures,” Janneck says. “We were experts in specifying superyacht AV/IT jobs correctly from the start. It saved the owners money but also made them very happy, because their systems were what they wanted, were up to date, worked and were managed in such a way as they kept working.”

 

The idea for starting Bond, Faimatea explains, came from his crew experience, where his electrical engineer’s training was called on to answer owners’ questions about their AV and IT systems when something didn’t work. After a few years, he realised there was a better way to ensure the entertainment and communication tech on board yachts matched the owners’ expectations. He started Bond in December of 2006. 

 

“The idea was simply to write functional specifications and then put them out to tender,” Faimatea explains. “It was being done in other industries, but it the yacht industry, no one was doing it at the time. Back then, yards would be told that the owner wanted 20 TVs and a Kaleidescape player. With build projects getting bigger, the ability to compare two quotes based on a loose specification like that was like comparing apples and bananas, and the yard or owner’s rep would often base their decision on price. 

 

Inserting themselves into the gap between the owner, the shipyard and the AV and IT integrators simply couldn’t have worked unless Bond was able to solve a problem and make everyone’s life easier. That was part of the inspiration for the company name: Faimatea knew that a stronger bond between all the parties would deliver success. 

 

“When yachts we managed attend to their 10-year surveys and the owner and crew are considering upgrading the AV/IT systems, they won’t need to pull out walls and ceilings to run fibre optic cabling, because we specified it 10 years ago,” Robin says. “Today, fibre-optic is the obvious choice. Back then, we used to have to fight hard to get the extra money, but it was the wise course of action. The cost of pulling cables is much cheaper in a new build than it is in a refit.”

    
Today, Bond is the recognised leader in AV/IT consultancy for superyachts. Their project list continually includes world-firsts. The company has just overseen the first yacht installation of a Bel-Air Cinema—a service that provides new releases to personal cinemas. The yacht downloads films via VSAT overnight and screens them on board the next day in full cinema quality. 

 

Other companies have started to offer technology consultancy similar to Bond’s—a development which Faimatea says validates his thinking from over a decade ago. But his feeling is that the evolving market is making things better for owners, and that’s a good thing. Bond’s open, friendly approach to the business has won the company many professional fans, as well as personal friends. 

 

And while technology has changed significantly since 2006, Bond has not only stayed on the cusp of change by informing expectations and enabling possibilities, it has remained true to its core insight: Independent management for superyacht technology integration delivers better results than the alternative. Bond’s experience makes all the difference.

 

Check back here for more insights, advice and thinking on AV/IT for superyachts over the coming year, as Bond celebrates 10 years.

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