After first launching in 2017, Borrow A Boat capitalised on the boom in the yacht charter and rental sector. Offering itself as an airbnb-like platform for yacht rental, the company went from strength to strength.
From 2018 – 2019, Borrow A boat bimini tops in Australia grew their revenue 300%, putting the company in great stead for investment. Despite a troublesome few years in the travel industry, the founder decided to run a crowdfunding initiative on Seedrs.
The premise of crowdfunding is gaining small investments from a large number of small donors, typically digitally. It’s a great way to raise funds quickly, and BaB’s founder knew this.
In the first 24 hours alone, Borrow A Boat gained £1 million in pledges, surpassing their goal of £750,000.
To date, the figure stands over an impressive £3 million. Over the course of the last five years, the company has raised over £7.8 million from crowdfunding.
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What is the investment for?
The intention behind the latest crowdfunding initiative is to expand the number of vessels on offer. The strength of the market shows that there is considerable demand for yacht rental.
Every year, more and more people turn to yacht charter for their holidays. Some who chose it due to travel restrictions over the past two years now prefer it to hotels.
Some of the rentals available from www.borrowaboat.com include:
- Sailing boats
- Motor boats
- Luxury yachts
- Canal boats
You can even find superyachts available for hire. The company boasts a larger selection than any competitor in the market.
Staying ahead in this competitive market is crucial, but CEO Matt Ovenden has been so since the beginning.
His premise for Borrow a Boat is to make boating more accessible, affordable while offering flexibility. It’s also made the hiring process easier, allowing more people to choose a boat for their holiday.
Building a solid and diversified business
With Ovenden’s desire to make yacht charter for everyone, he made some savvy acquisitions. One of these was acquiring Helm, which specialises in crewed yacht and catamaran charters.
Acquisitions such as this increase the number of luxury vessels on offer. It also means benefiting from the expertise of Helm’s owners, Peter Harrison and Simon Morgan, and their extensive industry knowledge.
In the past year, Borrow a Boat also acquired Beds on Board and Barqo.
Beds on Board brought another 30,000+ potential customers to the company, and another 5,000 boats. Amsterdam-based Barqo has a registered customer list of 100,000, which can now access Borrow a Boat’s wider inventory.
Having these two competitors onboard now strengthens BaB’s position as the market leader.
Ovenden explains that he has set his sights on a new standard in the industry – an IPO by 2023. Given his achievements to date, it’s highly likely he will achieve this goal.
An attractive option for boat owners
Borrow a Boat also has peer-to-peer listings, alongside potential charter options. This allows boat owners to rent through Borrow a Boat and provides them the stability of a larger company.
It’s a win-win situation as Borrow a Boat has options such as:
- Day hire
- Weekend hire
- Full holiday hire
Which would be difficult for boat owners to manage. Now they have a platform to do so.
Running a boat is an expensive hobby. Being able to rent it out for periods where it wouldn’t be used otherwise makes financial sense.
It can help:
- Cover high marina fees
- Contribute to the maintenance costs
Providing customers extra options
With Borrow a Boat being the leading UK platform for chartering, it enables it to offer more to customers. They can take advantage of services such as:
- Plus – for luxury high end experiences
- Experiences – trips with an itinerary – drawn on the expertise of captains
Boats of various shapes and sizes are also available. This truly allows those who have never had the experience the chance to enjoy a yacht charter.
In the UK and some European cities, it’s popular to hire canal boats, for instance. So, it’s not just reserved for the open seas of the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
While people who enjoy watersports can go to the best places for:
- Water skiing or wakeboarding
The impact of digital
With the global charter market estimated to be worth $30 billion by 2027, Borrow a Boat is simply feeding demand.
The business model is one that simply couldn’t exist without digitisation. Borrow a Boat has followed in the footsteps of other brands such as:
By connecting customers with a service that they need or desire.
In the past, even customers who thought about yacht charter would have to carry out extensive searches online. Now they have a tool where they can enter their own parameters and find a suitable charter.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic also contributed to demand. More people wanted a private holiday with their loved ones, and looked at options.
Once again, having a website that made it easy made it possible for more people to book online.
This has brought the cost of chartering down, as there are more customers seeking this type of holiday.
Not only has Ovenden been on top of market trends, but he has used similar technology to other industries. This suggests that there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs that may be utilised in other industries.
Simply by using the technology available, or with slight adjustments, huge success can be achieved.