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Boatsetter raises $38M, sees boost in Tampa Bay

Veronica Brezina

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Unsplah photo by Ronny Rondon.

Miami-based Boatsetter, which claims to be the world’s only legally compliant and insured peer-to-peer boat rental platform, has secured $38 million in a Series B round after seeing significant activity in the Tampa Bay market. 

New York-based Level Equity led the Series B round. Boatsetter previously raised a $10 million Series A round in 2019. 

“This funding is going to play an important role in allowing us to grow our team in the Tampa Bay area, provide more accessible and affordable boating and on-water experiences, and continue to invest in our mobile and digital capabilities…,” Rachel West, President of Boatsetter, said in a statement regarding the local impact. 

Boatsetter’s platform, which launched commercially in 2014, is similar to the home-sharing platform Airbnb, but for boat owners. It provides private boat owners a way to safely and legitimately list their boats and manage bookings. It also gives new boaters the option to hire a professional captain to take them out during their rental through the Boatsetter Captain Network. 

The newly raised funds come as Boatsetter has seen a big boom in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market with over 147% growth in all rentals year-over-year, led by a 184% year-over-year growth in fishing boat rentals and charters in the same market. 

“Tampa Bay has been the fastest growing Florida market outside of Miami as a result of our expanded fishing experiences and affordable two-to-three-hour boating options catered towards the influx of tech-savvy professionals and millennials, which are our core customer base. We’ve also seen increasingly affluent business owners and executives favor Boatsetter Lux that offers concierge services for our mid to high-end yacht rentals,” West said. 

To date, Boatsetter has over one million users and 50,000 boat listings in 700 locations across the United States, Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean. In 2017, the company partnered with Geico and BoatUS to pioneer the first-ever peer-to-peer boat rental insurance policy. It’s also acquired several of its competitors. 

The executives at Boatsetter stated they are currently planning new market expansions in Jacksonville, Orlando, Ft. Myers and in the lakes of Georgia and Carolinas. They shared that the secret to their success is having an owner-facing product and mobile app that makes it easy for entrepreneur-minded boat owners and operators to earn money by supplying them with qualified renters and managing the logistics. 

“Our aim is to become the most trusted platform for boating on demand and enable amazing on-the-water experiences globally and maybe going IPO [Initial Public Offering] in the next five years,” Boatsetter CEO and co-founder Jackie Baumgarten said in a statement. 

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