Aventura-based peer-to-peer boating marketplace Boatsetter reels in a round of funding in its quest to dominate a young industry.
Boatsetter announced Tuesday that it has completed $13 million of Series A funding that will help the company aggressively expand its sales and marketing efforts as well as broaden and accelerate its operations in the United States. The investment round includes existing and new investors, including Great Oaks Venture Capital, Stanford University DAPER Fund, ZG Ventures and Peninsula Ventures.
Last year, competitors Boatsetter, founded by South Florida marine and tech industry veteran Andrew Sturner in 2014, merged with Cruzin, founded by serial entrepreneur Jaclyn Baumgarten in 2012 in San Francisco but already with a large presence in South Florida. Baumgarten became CEO of the combined company and Sturner is executive chairman. Like others in the boat-sharing economy, Boatsetter attempts to make the boat rental experience as seamless as booking a room on Airbnb by connecting people seeking rentals with boat owners. But Boatsetter differentiates itself by giving users access to a large network of licensed captains as well as a global roster of high-end boat rentals for yachting, cruising, fishing or sailing, many through marinas it partners with.
“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,” Baumgarten said. Boatsetter is expected to host 10,000 high quality rental boats, activate 200 marinas and connect boating enthusiasts to 2,000 captains in 2017, she said.
Andy Boszhardt Jr., partner at Great Oaks Venture Capital, said he has watched for some time Boatsetter's growth in the boat sharing sector. “We’re thrilled that its team of marine industry heavyweights and tech startup veterans is making a global push for renters to experience the yacht life, this time from just about anywhere in the world,” he said. “Boatsetter's best-in-class marketplace tool is, without doubt, an outstanding player in the sharing economy.”
Boatsetter raised a $5 million seed round earlier this year and about $2 million before that, according to venture capital database Crunchbase.
Nancy Dahlberg: @ndahlberg