NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – When you think of New Mexico, odds are yachting is about the furthest thing from your mind. However, New Mexico State University alum Ruben Mena was inspired by his graduate education overseas, he’s turning that impossible dream into reality. “After I graduated from Animal Sue in Las Cruces, I did my masters in Monaco, and I studied at the International University of Monaco. And when I was studying there, I had the opportunity afterward to work in the yachting industry,” said Mena.
He holds a master’s degree in luxury management and was drawn to the high-profile industry which is projected to have a $10.8B reach by 2026. “Many people think that because this industry is so expensive, it must be incredibly efficient. But there’s a lot of communication problems in this industry,” said Mena.
According to Mena, the industry has survived on a hodge-podge of platforms and apps like WhatsApp, email, and text messages to communicate. “And when a yacht brokerage, a yacht charter brokerage is chartering 15 yachts and they’re receiving all of this information from different modes of communication, things get overwhelming very quickly,” said Mena.
That’s why he created the software platform YACHTNOTES. Developed in collaboration with Manonmehta, YACHTNOTES offers one-stop solutions for chats between crews and guests, maps of the charter route, calendars showing reservations and events, as well as contact databases for stakeholders in the charter organizations. “I never thought that someone like me from New Mexico would end up working in yachting, much less end up creating a company for the yachting world,” said Mena.
Mena was born in El Paso, Texas but raised in New Mexico. He was eager to bring whatever venture he pursued back to the state after finishing his master’s in Monaco, a place many people consider to be the yachting capital of the world. “One of the reasons why I decided to come back to New Mexico is because New Mexico offers a lot of free resources to entrepreneurs. Sometimes we don’t realize how expensive these resources are elsewhere, and they’re free here,” said Mena.
As an alum of NMSU, Mena was a participant in Studio G, part of the Arrowhead Center, which helps students realize their business dreams with consulting, resources, and development assistance. Additionally, Mena has participated in a variety of start-up competitions including the Aggie “Shark Tank” styled off the popular TV series, as well as the Mark Challenge in Monaco, where YACHTNOTES took first place. “We were very proud to not only represent Monaco but New Mexico as well in this competition,” said Mena.
Just shy of two years old, YACHTNOTES is already making waves. Mena said they’re members of the prestigious “Yachting Ventures” which is featured in Forbes as well as the Princess Grace Foundation. While his short-term goal is to cultivate 28 yacht brokerages within the first three years, Mena is also hoping to cultivate a strong foundation for his software company in the state he calls home.
While Mena is eyeing further growth within his company, he said he has no plans on relocating out of the state, one of the perks he says of running a software company. “I studied in Monaco and it was a great experience, but I’m really proud of being New Mexican. I don’t take the state for granted and especially having lived in a few other countries, I appreciate New Mexico a lot more than I did before,” said Mena.
While Mena is eyeing further growth with his company, he says he has no plans on relocating out of the state. The next episode of New Mexico Frontiers premieres is Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. on Fox New Mexico.