By Nancy Dahlberg
Ahoy, mates! What could be more South Florida than “the Airbnb for boating” being built on our shores?
Jaclyn Baumgarten, co-founder and CEO of Fort Lauderdale-based peer-to-peer marketplace company Boatsetter, is making waves and leading the way in a $50 billion industry. Today, the company announced it has raised $10 million in a Series A “extension” funding round to help it grow its business, with investment led by WestCap Group and Valor Equity.
From the helm of Boatsetter, Baumgarten has raised about $31 million in total, acquired two competitors and has been selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur. Local investors include Miami-based venture fund TheVentureCity. Baumgarten, who was Endeavor's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018, co-founded Boatsetter with serial entrepreneur and marina industry veteran Andy Sturner, who remains on the board. Boatsetter, founded in 2013, is one of South Florida's most successful current startups.
Now with over 600 locations across the world and more than 5,000 boats of all types and sizes on its platform, Boatsetter connects owners and licensed captains with customers. It forms strategic partnerships with boat builders and marinas to grow boating participation and ownership.
"Our goal is to continue to dominate the US boat sharing market as a gateway for more affordable and accessible rentals for consumers nationwide, no matter what type of boating experience they are seeking," said Baumgarten, in a statement.
Boatsetter differentiates itself from competitors by offering insurance to boat renters, owners and captains and it recently announced a strategic, exclusive partnership with Geico to offer peer-to-peer insurance coverage in the United States.
The company plans to use the new funding to expand its product offering and its presence in important global markets as well as add key talent to the team, which now numbers about 50. Laurence Tosi, a former CFO of Blackstone and Airbnb who is a partner at WestCap, is joining Boatsetter’s board.
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