Boatsetter has acquired its largest rival, Boatbound, for an undisclosed amount. Both businesses provide “peer-to-peer” boat-share rentals in which their clients rent boats for limited time from boat owners.
Jaclyn Baumgarten, CEO and co-founder of Boatsetter, told the Miami Herald that it has also raised an additional US$4.75m in funding for its international expansion. It had raised US$13m in December.
Boatsetter follows an Airbnb business model, and differentiates itself by offering licensed captains to potential renters.
“This acquisition now makes us the No 1 peer-to-peer boat rental community in the United States hands down,” Baumgarten told the paper. “It means about 5,000 quality vessels ready to be rented, it brings us 1,500 US coastguard licensed captains, it will mean about 10,000 transactions between the companies in 2017 and it brings us 300 locations.”
The Boatbound acquisition will expand its inventory in Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, DC. Boatsetter is particularly strong in South Florida, where it is based. Boatsetter’s team will grow to 27 employees.
Baumgarten said that Boatsetter plans to focus on the Caribbean and Mediterranean for its international expansion. “This market is ripe for consolidation and I believe we are strongly positioned to lead that consolidation,” Baumgarten said. “We worked with a third-party investment bank and they value the peer-to-peer and charter business at US$50bn that we expect in the years to come to grow to US$100bn. We are primed to lead a rollup strategy over the years to come globally.”