Borrow A Boat acquires boat rental platform Barqo

UK / Netherlands: London-based boat hire and yacht charter marketplace, Borrow A Boat, has announced that it has acquired Amsterdam-based peer-to-peer [P2P] boat-sharing platform counterpart Barqo.

The acquisition marks the next stage of an expansion into European markets for Borrow A Boat, which has already launched in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It brings a further 5,000+ boats to its marketplace and 100,000+ customers from its database, adding to Borrow A Boat’s 35,000+ boat listings in more than 65 countries currently.

Founded in 2016 and launched in 2017 by entrepreneur Matt Ovenden, Borrow a Boat is aiming to make boating more accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive for all, to help drive participation and make the boat chartering process simpler. The company is part of the vanguard of firms digitising the large and maturing global charter market, which is estimated to be worth $30 billion annually by 2027.

As well as offering peer-to-peer listings and boat rental through traditional charter companies, Borrow A Boat helps boat owners to generate extra income from their vessel and reduce the high costs of boat ownership, including maintenance costs and marina fees. Boats of all sorts and sizes can be rented, ranging from canal and riverboats to sailing boats, motor boats, catamarans, luxury yachts and superyachts.

According to Ovenden, Barqo operates with the same mission to Borrow A Boat after the Dutch firm partnered with Bordeaux-based online marketplace Samboat last June, creating one of the largest inventories of boats in one place in Europe.

Borrow A Boat founder Matt Ovenden said: “After a successful 2021, including securing over £1 million in investment via crowdfunding, we’re thrilled to have kicked off the year with such a firm move into the European market. This acquisition further reinforces our position as one of the world’s leading yacht charter marketplaces and we’re looking forward to seeing what the rest of 2022 brings.”

Barqo co-founder and CEO, Thijs Janssen, told “This acquisition will strengthen Barqo’s position in the Dutch market and will fuel the growth into other European markets, thanks to the high level of synergy that our companies have together. Our system and Borrow A Boat’s ambition are a very good match.”

After raising more than £4.8 million in funding to date, including a £750,000 [$1 million] crowdfunding round on Crowdcube last year, Borrow A Boat is exploring a potential initial public offering [IPO] on the Aquis Exchange in 2022, which would represent a world-first milestone for a boat charter marketplace.