Matt Ovenden, CEO & Founder, Vay A Boat

Borrow a Boat, also known as an Airbnb for sailing, is the UK’s leading boat and yacht charter marketplace.

Founded in 2016, they are part of the vanguard of companies digitizing the large and growing global charter market, valued at $30 billion annually by 2027. The company has grown rapidly since its inception and has raised over £4.8 million in funding from its crowdfunding mix, private investors and venture capitalists.

One of the pioneers of peer-to-peer chartering, Borrow A Boat has a mission to make sailing more accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive for all, helping drive engagement and make renting a boat simpler.

Their marketplace allows customers to charter boats with or without a captain, depending on their experience, all of which meet strict requirements security code and insurance, standards and regulations for charter yachts at their respective locations. Meanwhile, boat owners can list their vessels and make their own as a captain, helping to offset the high cost of boat ownership by reducing maintenance costs and marina fees.

Vay A Boat currently has access to more than 45,000 boats in over 65 countries.

Who is your target market?

As part of our mission to make boating more accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive for all, our target market includes those already Boating lovers and curious people who want to dip their toes in the water and experience the joy of sailing on their own.

We’re working to change the quintessential meaning of sailing, and in fact, our research shows that 42% of 18-24 year olds have certainly taken inspiration from shows like Below. Deck and seeing pictures of their favorite influencers relaxing on a yacht, had hoped to charter a boat last summer.

What is your boat demand?

While the impact of the pandemic has clearly brought much of the travel industry to a halt, we’ve had a strong 2021 in terms of sales.

Many travelers are looking for self-contained and localized resort opportunities where sailing is ideal, helping us achieve an all-time monthly sales record in the second half of 2021. followed this up by grossing over £1 million, in January 2022, breaking all previous sales records.

Now, with international travel firmly back on the radar; pent-up demand is clearly visible – we expect boating demand to remain strong. In fact, 90% of our bookings for this year to date have been for international boat rentals and we have received a large number of bookings for summer 2022 with popular destinations including Croatia, Greece and the Balearic Islands.

How have you successfully navigated the past 18 months?

One of our biggest challenges came with trying to complete two rounds of crowdfunding amid a global pandemic. After a year in which venture capital investment in the travel industry fell 55%, getting investors to invest in a boating company will never be simple.

Finally, we were able to remedy this by providing insights into the recovering market, using growth examples to date to forecast the growing popularity of the industry. sailing industry, while illustrating the company’s rapid growth.

What are your plans for the future?

We are an industry disruptor and our goal is to break the glass ceiling of the sailing world, making it an accessible and affordable option for a much larger audience, while also paving the way for a renewed interest in sailing on a global scale.

After expanding into four new countries: USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as acquiring competitor businesses Helm, Barqo and Beds on Board, and successfully completed not one but several two rounds of crowdfunding totaling £1,555,334, we have now cemented our position as the largest yacht charter marketplace in the UK. Undoubtedly one of the leading yacht rental markets globally.

Future plans include bringing our products to new markets around the world. The funds raised in 2021 will therefore allow expansion and acquisition in 2022, including launch operations in Spain, France, Germany and Italy, as well as additional technological innovations , product development and digital marketing optimization.

We are also planning an IPO in 2022, which will be the world’s first in the boat rental market.

For more information about Borrowing a Boat, visit Matt Ovenden, CEO & Founder, Vay A Boat

Fry Electronics Team

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