Why buy a boat when you can just rent one? That is the idea behind both Boatbound and Boatsetter, and it appears to be lucrative enough to have catalyzed an acquisition. Miami-based Boatsetter, an Airbnb for boats, if you will, has acquired Seattle-based Boatbound, creating one large marketplace from which users can select a boat for a nautical adventure.
Thanks to the addition of the Boatbound inventory, Boatsetter now boasts watercraft in more than 300 locations across the U.S. While it is unclear exactly how much Boatsetter paid for the deal, a TechCrunch source suggested that it was “valued in the low-millions range.” And seeing as the acquisition likely solidifies Boatsetter’s position as the largest peer-to-peer boat rental service in the country, and perhaps even the world, it sounds like a good deal.
“I think we’re best poised for a roll-up strategy, “Boatsetter CEO Jackie Baumgarten told TechCrunch. “There’s an opportunity to acquire and roll up several of the players. It’s ripe for consolidation.”
As it stands, the boat rental market is estimated to be worth about $50 billion a year, as more and more folks look to take on the open water for either a vacation or just a quick afternoon sail. Boatsetter also established a partnership with Airbnb, where it helps vacationers plan “experiences” that include learning how to sail in the San Francisco Bay Area, how to wakeboard in Miami, and more.
“Boatsetter is not only backed by a great board and great investors, but they have also secured many key partnerships as they have grown,” Boatbound CEO Aaron Hall said in an email. “Now, with the addition of Boatbound, the biggest boat rental marketplace in the U.S., we are well positioned to keep growing and dominate the space.”
Thanks to the creation of this new mega-boat rental company, Boatsetter now has double the inventory of boats, and Baumgarten adds that “Boatbound’s team brings fresh talent in areas of fleet development and tech.”
As the executive noted, “We’ve taken boating from being a rare pastime for a fortunate few boat owners to being a universally accessible lifestyle activity for anyone with a smartphone and a credit card.”