One start-up is trying to make a major splash in the sharing economy this summer. But instead of renting out houses and cars—this company is hitting the water.
“There’s not a boater on the planet today that gets to use their boat as often as they’d like,” Aaron Hall told CNBC. Hall is on a mission to change this with his start-up, Boatbound, a company he says will make boating more accessible and more affordable.
Hall pitched his big idea to Power Pitch panelists Yao Huang, managing partner of The Hatchery, Kanyi Maqubela, venture partner at Collaborative Fund and Peter Isler, an internationally renowned sailor and American Sailing Association board member. Will his pitch sail the high seas with this panel or be dead in the water? Watch the above video to find out.
Hall, a life-long boater, had trouble renting a boat during a family vacation. The marina said all its rental boats were booked. “Yet everywhere I looked around me, there were hundreds of boats sitting unused. I immediately saw an opportunity to solve a problem,” Hall told CNBC.
In 2012, he co-founded Boatbound, a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows boat owners to rent their boats to prescreened, qualified renters.
“Boat owners can now offset their entire cost of boat ownership by renting their boats in as few as one to two times a month,” Hall told CNBC.
People looking to rent a boat can visit Boatbound.co and search from a variety of boats to rent based on availability and location. Boatbound is available in every state, with major markets in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Miami and Tampa.
The company offers a variety of boats, including human-powered boats for a rate of $25 a day, ski/wakeboard boats from $200 a day, sailboats from $150 a day to megayachts that can cost up to $18,000 a day. Boat owners set the price for their listings. Boatbound takes a percentage of every rental to cover the costs of insurance and on-water support.
Hall told CNBC that an owner can list the boat with or without a captain. However, in the case where a captain is not listed, a renter can request one, usually for an additional fee.
The founder told CNBC Boatbound provides up to $1 million in liability and up to $2 million in hull protection during the rental period.
Full speed ahead
During the segment Huang asked Hall to discuss the market size for the boating population and asked how he planned to expand the Boatbound user base.
“The boating industry in general, here in the United States, from a recreational standpoint, is one of the largest in the world. We’re looking to target over 16 million boats that are actively registered in the U.S.,” Hall responded.
And the population is still growing. According to a 2013 industry overview by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, participation in recreational boating at least once during the year increased 6 percent in 2013. The association also reported that there were 12.2 million registered boats in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation reported in 2013 that boat owners only take their boats out on an average of 17 times a year.
But Boatbound isn’t alone at sea. Start-up Cruzin, founded in 2012, also offerspeer-to-peer boat rentals throughout the U.S., while start-up, Fun2Boat, connects boat owners and boat renters solely in the Florida area.
Hall told CNBC his start-up has averaged over $200,000 in planned bookings per day in the last five weeks. He would not disclose specifics on how many renters Boatbound has a month but did say the start-up is adding 50 to 150 boats a day to its market.
The start-up is headquartered in San Francisco and has raised $4.2 million in funds to date. It is backed by publicly traded boating company Brunswick, with a current market cap just under $4 billion.
Other key investors include 500 Startups, Kima Ventures, Structure VC and Ben Ling. Hall would not disclose any other financial specifics on profitability or revenue.
Watch Hall give his 60-second pitch to Huang, Maqubela and Isler.