22. August 2013–
Yachtico, the Berlin-based company which claims to be the largest online platform for boat rentals, has just announced a low seven-figure investment (it's just over a million euros, we hear). Existing investor IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft and the Pro-FIT programme of the Investitionsbank Berlin, along with unnamed private investors, contributed to the financing round.
Founded in 2011, Yachtico is headed up by Yier Erin Bargeld, Steffen Brünn and Ron Hillmann. It sells itself as the "Airbnb of boat rentals", though unlike the apartment rental service, Yachtico performs thorough background checks before boats are hired out – ID checks and insurance are compulsory.
Yachtico is planning on using the money to step up its US expansion and improve its technology.
In a media statement, Brünn said his team sees the biggest growth potential in the US: "In the US, we see three factors that are positive for us. There is a large coastline, along with many private and commercial boat and yacht owners. At the same time, the country has greater enthusiasm for new online offers than than other countries with less open cultures. And finally, the market is currently being fertilised with the European way of individual travel, where the trend of private rentals is already well established."
At the moment, the company claims it has 17,000 boats and yachts available for private users or charter companies. Yachtico takes a commission on each rental.
From launch, the platform was available in English and German, with the site quickly gaining international interest. At the moment, more than half of its users are from Asia, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
The next financing round is already in the works to step up the company's marketing and push its US expansion – we're told it will be announced soon. In July 2011, Yachtico received a six-figure seed funding round from IBB and Mediengruppe Pressedruck.
Image credit: Flickr user johannphoto
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