When Mavericks collide: Marks Slats & Ohpen


Ohpen helps world record holder transatlantic rowing Mark Slats as he sets sail for cancer in gruelling solo sailing competition

Amsterdam, 6 June 2018 – Kindred spirits that like to overcome impossible challenges: That is how Mark Slats ended up with main sponsor Ohpen. However, impossible is not part of the vocabulary at Ohpen. The same applies for Mark.

Similar to Ohpen’s story of going against multi-billion giants in our industry, Mark Slats also faces giant obstacles of his own. Mark enlisted for the 2017 Talisker Transatlantic Rowing Challenge with a partner. This challenge is known as the world’s toughest 3,000 miles rowing trans-Atlantic. Mark had never rowed in his life before, so he had to take up an intense training regime to be able to compete in the race. He was set on completing the race, not only for himself, but for his mother, who became seriously ill with cancer. However, shortly before the race, his partner dropped out, leaving Mark to face the challenge alone vs the rest of the 2-man crews.

Mark not only exceeded his own expectations, but everyone else’s by finishing the race on his own and breaking the Guinness World Record by 5 days as he completed it in 30 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes. By January, when he made it back to port, he was already convinced he wanted to join the Golden Globe Race. The Golden Globe Race is extremely challenging and gruelling: sailing 30,000 miles across the world, non-stop, solo, without any modern technology or outside assistance.

For Mark, joining the race at that late stage meant that what his competitors of the Golden Globe Race had achieved in a year or more of preparation, he would have to achieve in less. He would have to accomplish everything, including getting sponsors and funding in little less than 5 months if he wanted to meet the deadlines.

Giving it ALL

Mark is willing to go all in when taking on any challenge. He had already sold his house for his previous rowing race, and he was willing to give it all again to join the 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe Race: even his old rowing boat ‘Peanuts’ with which he completed the Talisker is now up for sale. On top of that, he had to start a race of his own against time to get enough funds to cover the costs to enter this new race. But all his efforts didn’t cut it. Just when he was about to lose hope and drop out of the race, a mutual friend introduced him to Chris Zadeh, founder of Ohpen.

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This video was originally published on Water Sports TV Online.

Chris knows everything about giving it all. Approximately a decade ago, along with his co-founders, he quit his job to start from scratch something that hadn’t been done before: Build a cloud-based core banking engine, reinventing technology that hadn’t been built in over 30 years. When Chris met Mark, he immediately saw the spitting image of Ohpen’s core values in him and decided to support Mark’s journey.

Mark teamed up with Ohpen to make sure that everything gets done before the race kicks-off. What would seem impossible to other competing teams who have had a full year and more to prepare, Mark and Ohpen are doing in a week and half. A challenge the team of mavericks, the ‘Ohpen mavericks’, decided to take: give it all and exceed expectations, whilst also having fun and enjoying the ride.

About the Golden Globe Race

19 sailors will try to recreate the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world that takes place over 30,000 miles; this feat was originally completed/done by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the first Sunday Times Global Globe Yacht Race back in 1968/69. The sailors will depart from Les Sables d’Olonne (France) on July 1st, 2018. As part of the rules of the competition, the competitors will all race without modern technology or navigational aid and even weather forecasts. For more information please refer to www.goldengloberace.com.

About Mark Slats

Mark Slats (41 years), is a true adventurer. He thinks big and believes that nothing is impossible. When he became a kickboxing champion in Australia he used the price money to buy a boat and sail back to his home country the Netherlands. He sold his house to fund joining the world’s toughest Atlantic rowing challenge. He beat the world record by 5 days and rowed 3.000 miles in just under 31 days. ‘The Gentle Giant’ is now preparing for his next adventure in which he will sail in the Golden Globe Race; 30,000 miles, non-stop, solo, without any modern technology or outside assistance on his boat the Ohpen Maverick. For more information, please refer to www.markslats.nl.

About Ohpen

Ohpen uses its core banking engine to deliver BPO services and SaaS solutions to financial services providers, such as banks, insurance companies and asset managers. Founded in 2009 by a team of experienced bankers and software engineers, the Ohpen platform supports the savings and investment propositions of its clients. Employing over 150 people, Ohpen has offices in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Spain. For more information, please refer to www.ohpen.com.