Peer-to-peer boat sharing marketplaces hope to emulate Airbnb. They haven’t managed to dominate the boating market, still led by the traditional players. Rather, their achievement lies in how they’ve revitalized and rejuvenated a sector known for its elitism and exclusiveness.
Before peer-to-peer marketplaces, boating used to be an expensive leisure: you either had to own a boat, rent a boat, or be a member of a boating club. Now, boaters in their late twenties or early thirties have become a typical clientele. Thanks to such marketplaces, anyone can sail a 35 feet sailboat for a few hundreds of dollars a day.
In the US and in Europe, most of the leading startups were founded between 2012 and 2014. Other regions of the world, such as South America, India and, the Middle East, are starting to develop as sailing destinations. Digitization has democratized and modernized the boating industry.
Our study focuses on 40 important boat sharing marketplace startups.
By important, we mean all or a combination of the following criteria:
- A large fleet size.
- A large staff.
- Important funds raised.
As the chart below shows, 22 of these startups are located in Europe, 14 in the US.
Europe, where the boating tradition is strong, is leading the boat sharing market. In fact, European players are now expanding in the US market. Compared to Europe, US marketplaces rise funding more rapidly, between $5 and $25 million. European startups, however, prove to be more resilient in a highly competitive market.
The French marketplace Click & Boat, for instance, has successfully expanded to Florida in 2016. It is now present in four different states. In June 2018, Click & Boat has raised 4 million euros and is planning to keep expanding abroad. Samboat, Click & Boat’s direct French competitor, chose another internationalization strategy: to focus on Southern Europe. It has been acquired by Dream Yacht Charter.
In Southern Spain, the French Riviera or indeed the whole Mediterranean, there is a long history for yacht rentals, and there are hundreds of small companies controlling a small number of boats. Some openings are starting to rise in Scandinavia, and Germany is a great place for client sourcing. Finally, the global leisure boat market is booming in emerging economies, particularly in Brazil and China.
A whole new horizon of opportunities is opening.The winning strategy is, no doubt, to aggregate these traditional players.
Go all in.
At Cocolabs we’re working on the standardization of services. We build custom service marketplaces. Each new project is an opportunity to further our reflection and refine our understanding of what is at stake: human interactions set in a given time and space dimension.