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IDEA Data Solutions

  • Headquarters: Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Acquisition Date: September 2016
  • Vertical Market: Marine
  • Website:

IDEA Data Solutions – Navigating the Future Through Initiatives

IDEA Data Solutions (IDEA) creates ERP solutions specifically for the needs of superyachts and superyacht management. Superyachts are considered small companies, with some having crews of up to 80 people. IDEA’s software solutions ensure everything on the yacht is running in good order so the owner can depart on their yacht or charter it out at a moment’s notice.

IDEA was founded in 1999 by Sebastian and Klaus Allebrodt. While leading the refit facility at Palma, Majorca, Klaus Allebrodt realized that superyachts had specific needs unique to that type of ship. At that time, a load of manuals for the vessels were handed out to the crew after the ships were built and employees were responsible for flipping through pages of specs to find any information they needed. IDEA's solutions make information easy to find and also covers spare parts and storage management, international safety management (ISM) compliance regulations and certification, designated persons ashore (DPA) worker management, quality, technical, and crew management.

In 2008, IDEA was acquired by the SpecTec group, the leading software company in the marine industry at the time. Sebastian and Klaus thought becoming part of a larger organisation would improve growth efficiencies and effectiveness, but when SpecTec leadership broadened IDEA’s responsibilities to include commercial vessels in the German and Swiss markets, investing in IDEA’s core market became considerably more difficult. After integrating into the structure of the larger company, they soon realized that the unique requirements of superyachts were not being met and innovation was being slowed down.

Tobias Allebrodt, MD, IDEA Yacht

Klaus left the business right after the merger in 2008 and Sebastian exited in 2010, leaving his brother, Tobias Allebrodt, as the new managing director of IDEA. Tobias challenged some of the rules and regulations of the SpecTec Group after noticing that IDEA accounted for 10% of the company’s revenues while generating 30-40% of the profitability of the group over several years. At the time IDEA had limited control over the software that they had responsibility for and limited access to resources they needed to help grow their business.

Renewed Focus, Newfound Freedom

In 2014, Volaris acquired the SpecTec group. When performing financial analysis, Volaris leaders found that IDEA was operating with more disciplined cost savings practices than other parts of the business. IDEA had grown its team to 21 employees from just five back when the company was initially acquired in 2008, but a significant amount of resources was being spent on support, sales, and administration for the segments outside IDEA’s core superyacht business.

Volaris leadership decided to carve the IDEA business out of the SpecTec Group and renew its focus on superyacht customers. The carve out closed in 2018 and the company has continued to grow since, weathering the storm through the pandemic crisis of 2019-2022 while still averaging double-digit growth year over year.

“Volaris knows how to look for an opportunity and if a company is worth acquiring just by looking at their numbers. They know what success looks like and leave us in control of our own entrepreneurship and ideas.”

Tobias Allebrodt, MD, IDEA Data Solutions

Life at IDEA after the Volaris Acquisition

Since the carve out, IDEA has continued to grow steadily in accordance with Volaris best practice directives in product development, professional services and customer care. They’ve restructured their software, removed outdated sections in the basic framework of IDEA, and are now focusing on their customers and existing multipliers in the market.

IDEA employees also gained direct access to all the talent development resources Volaris was able to offer, including connecting with likeminded CEOs and attending conferences where leaders could share strategies for planning, product development and sales.

“I can find anyone in Volaris that can help me answer any questions I have to help us with our success.”

- Tobias Allebrodt, MD, IDEA Data Solutions

In the years since becoming a standalone business unit again, IDEA has continued to increase efficiencies, using less resources to do its job. Leadership realised they were now able to maintain a good work life balance without losing revenue.

“Volaris has the fairest approach I have ever seen in the industry,” Allebrodt said. “From the beginning, I understood my targets, my scorecards, my operating ratios. Everyone knows exactly what their goals are, what the strategy is and how to implement that strategy.”

The Future for IDEA with Initiatives

COVID shutdowns hit the cruise industry hard just as IDEA was beginning to refocus its business strategy. Allebrot said the uncertain environment meant cutting costs everywhere and left ships sitting idle all over the world due to lockdowns to mainland borders. Now that restrictions have lifted, IDEA expects to more than triple its business over the next ten years with a more disciplined approach to quarterly evaluations and reviews.

“In the end you have to make sure that everything fits together, and now that we have the backing of Volaris we are always working on plans for initiatives that will help generate more recurring revenue for us," Allebrodt said.

IDEA has also adopted the Volaris approach of working closely with customers to support their continuing growth. Examining customer complaints and asking for their ideas for new services provides IDEA with dozens of suggestions for product initiatives at any given time. When looking at ideas for new products or improvements to existing offerings, IDEA brings its plans to special interest groups (SIG) for evaluation. Customers participating in the development process help finance development if the idea addresses the needs of the market.

“Volaris has taught us to examine our planned initiatives through the customer’s lens. No matter how good an idea is, if a customer is not willing to invest, there is no real product.”

- Tobias Allebrodt, MD, IDEA Data Solutions

Now that the process has become more collaborative, many customers are now bringing their own recommendations to IDEA, which the company can evaluate in terms of its potential for the wider market. IDEA’s customer relationship tool collects feedback on products and support that helps the company summarize issues, look for trends, and then discuss customer input as a group.

Around 20% of IDEA’s time is focused on new features for customers that may develop into something they believe could be of interest in the long term and worth investing in continuously over longer periods. In an industry with just a handful of players, listening to the customer and having the resources to respond to their needs makes all the difference.

“If there is a new disruptive technology that is coming, with Volaris we have the freedom to expand, to grow, and to concentrate on what we are good at instead of worrying about sourcing and financing.”

- Tobias Allebrodt, MD, IDEA Data Solutions