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Boat-sharing a solution for ‘more expensive and less utilized’ asset: Boatsetter CEO

Boatsetter Founder and CEO Jaclyn Baumgarten joins Yahoo Finance Live to detail the demand her company is seeing and how bookings have surged 200% year over year.

Video Transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, these days, there's a market for all kinds of rentals. There's an Airbnb to rent that swanky vacation home, Swimply to get your private pool by the hour, and then there's Boatsetter for when you want to charter your own luxury yacht or fishing boat. Well, joining me now is the CEO of Boatsetter, Jackie Baumgarten. Jackie, great to have you on the show. Now, I'm a person-- I love my fishing. But tell us a little bit about your company and the sort of array of products that are on offer.

JACLYN BAUMGARTEN: Oh, sure, Rachelle. Thank you so much for having me. So in a nutshell, Boatsetter is the leading marketplace for on-demand, on-water experiences and boat rentals. So whether you want to go boating to go fishing, sandbar hopping, sailing, water-sport activities, Boatsetter exists to be able to enable any experience on the water for anyone, anywhere.

And we make that happen across the US and across the globe simply with a few clicks on your phone or your computer. And we have been able to enable over a million people to date to enjoy the experience of being out on the water through Boatsetter.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Now, in terms of the growth that you've seen, obviously, a lot of people were sort of trapped locally during the pandemic with all the lockdowns. What did you see then versus what you're seeing now, now that more people are sort of going out and about?

JACLYN BAUMGARTEN: You know, it's a great question. I want to speak to both sides of the marketplace. Let's talk to the demand side first. A lot of people were in lockdown, and they were looking for a safe way to be able to be outdoors with their family.

And so we saw a huge spike in demand across all markets within the United States for people to get out on the water. And you may not know this, but 95% of Americans live within an hour drive to navigable waters. So Boatsetter became a viable option and a great way for family and friends to be able to get together and enjoy what the water has to offer.

On the flip side, now, some of the additional trends we've seen with increasing costs in fuel-- we wanted to make sure we adjusted the product to offer more affordable options for our users. So we've offered broader durations. So you can go out for two hours, three hours, six hours, or a day, or multi-day, if you rent a home and you have a dock and you want access to a boat for a weekend. And that's enabled a lot more activity, particularly across the US and an inland lakes.

On the flip side, as I mentioned, for the owners, Boatsetter is the only legally compliant and insured peer-to-peer boat platform, meaning that there are over 15 million recreational boat owners in the US, and their primary insurance does not allow them to rent their boats out. We have addressed that with the only peer-to-peer policy.

So most owners-- it's an amazing stat. Those 15 million owners use their boats an average of 12 to 14 days a year. So there isn't really an asset that's more expensive and less utilized. And we are enabling the sharing economy to take root with boats as a natural extension, as you just mentioned, to homes and cars. And we do that by connecting renters with boats and boat owners and US Coast Guard licensed captains. And we provide the insurance, all of the contracting and facilitat-- the entire transaction so that private owners can become entrepreneurs on the water.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And Jackie, I want to ask you, because when I was back home in London, I saw that Uber had boats. So obviously, in that market, they're trying to tap in there, more so for the commuters. But are you worried that, potentially-- that Ubers or the Airbnbs could then potentially turn to boats and sort of take some of your market share?

JACLYN BAUMGARTEN: So very different models. Uber is, as you mentioned, transportation A to B. Boatsetter is all about the recreational experience of being able to take the boat out with your friends and family, with or without a captain. And you can customize the duration and the location.

So different model. And we've also partnered with Airbnb on several occasions. So we have been their on-water provider for experiences. We've also provided all of their on-water experiences for their luxury homes and luxury retreats transactions. So no, I am not concerned about that. I think we are adding something new and unique and augmenting the experiences through the sharing economy.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: It's a very cool aspect of it, indeed. A big thank you there to Jackie Baumgarten. Thank you for joining us this afternoon.