SAN FRANCISCO -- Peer-to-peer boating marketplace Boatbound announced today they received $2.5 million in a new financing round led by Brunswick Corporation (BC), the leading manufacturer of boats and engines in the marine industry. In conjunction with this announcement, Boatbound has released a major redesign and update of Boatbound.co with over 50 new features aimed at making listing or renting a boat even faster and more intuitive.
"We took a new mobile-first approach when rebuilding the site to allow our members to find and book a boat from any mobile device, with just a touch of the thumb, further simplifying the user experience," says Matt Johnston, Co-founder/CPO of Boatbound. Further streamlining the listing process, boat owners can create or update their boat listings, add photos, and respond to booking requests from the palm of their hands, in half the time. In addition to the mobile experience, renters with no boating experience or people looking to be chauffered can now rent boats with a Captain, making boating even more accessible.
Boatbound's $2.5M raise will allow them to continue rapid expansion and inventory growth in new markets throughout the 2014 boating season. The company's initial launch was focused in San Francisco, although over their first 6 months, they quickly expanded to over 500+ cities, 45 states, and started onboarding boat listings in 70 countries (although no international launch dates have been announced). To date, there have been $3.5M in planned bookings through the Boatbound platform. This boating season will see Boatbound expand its operations into the South Florida, New York, Chicago, and Seattle markets, with other markets coming soon.
In addition to leading the investment round, Brunswick, owner of popular boat brands such as SeaRay, Bayliner, Boston Whaler, and the largest manufacturer of recreational boat engines, Mercury Marine, has also formed a strategic partnership with Boatbound. By integrating with the millions of owners within Brunswick's ownership clubs, Boatbound will make it easy for millions of boat owners to leverage the platform to offset their ownership costs.
"Brunswick has built a reputation of integrity and quality, so having them put their muscle behind us to increase awareness, and also their belief that Boatbound will change the industry for the better, is exciting," said Boatbound Founder, Aaron Hall. The partnership also extends into 4,300 Brunswick dealers nationwide, who can now use Boatbound as leverage when selling a new boat, as renting 1-2 times a month through Boatbound could offset much of the cost of ownership.
"The long-term health of our industry requires us to make boating even more accessible and affordable, especially among younger, aspiring boaters. Boatbound offers an innovative way to provide those interested in boating with actual boating experiences, which we believe will translate to boat ownership down the road," said Brunswick Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dustan E. McCoy.
Other investors in Boatbound's fundraising round include OurCrowd, and notable angels Laszlo Bock and John Thomas (Google), and others. "We had strong VC's interest but felt that a strategic partner made the most sense for us at this stage since we are heavily committed to building the inventory in key markets. Similar to how RelayRides partnered with GM to expand supply, this partnership with Brunswick not only gives Boatbound more credibility in the industry, but will help us scale rapidly," said Hall.