Zizoo
[Credit: Zizoo]

Borrow A Boat acquires German counterpart Zizoo

Europe: Boat rental and yacht charter marketplace, Borrow A Boat, has completed the acquisition of German counterpart Zizoo as it ramps up its growth strategy for 2024.

Part of The Boat Engine Group, Borrow A Boat is seeking to expand its operations on a global scale and consolidate other markets. Its purchase of Zizoo will now enable it to grow its inventory to more than 60,000 boats in 65+ countries, making it one of the world’s top three largest boat rental marketplaces.

It marks Borrow A Boat’s fourth major acquisition in recent years, having previously bought European platforms Barqo and Beds on Board and American business KellyBoat – all in 2022.

Zizoo’s teams in Berlin and Athens will now combine with Borrow A Boat’s respective teams in London and Amsterdam. The newly combined platform will cover all market segments in the boat rental market, from day-hires to boating holidays and luxury crewed charters.

Matt Ovenden, founder and CEO of Borrow a Boat, said: “The boat rental market is one of the fastest growing travel segments and we’re on a mission to make boating more accessible to everyone – worldwide. The acquisition of Zizoo will create one of the biggest boating marketplaces in the world, with a global footprint, customer base and reach, allowing us to enhance our marketplace of exceptional boating experiences.

“By incorporating Zizoo’s own technology, teams and solutions, we will also be able to continue to deliver a high service offering for our industry colleagues who we work with on a daily basis.

“We understand as a consumer-facing business, this process may come with some questions for customers who have booked experiences for 2024 and beyond with Zizoo, however we want to reassure everyone that we will be doing our upmost to ensure minimum disruption on any existing bookings, and will have a dedicated team on hand to help field any enquiries or questions around those for Zizoo customers,” he added.

Anna Banicevic, co-founder and CEO of Zizoo, said: “The successful closing of the sale of Zizoo to Borrow A Boat’s group is good news for our industry colleagues and customers. Zizoo has gone through a tremendous growth journey over the years which also brought some operational challenges that culminated in the last few months in a tough funding environment and we believe this is an opportunity for a new journey with a player that shares our tech vision but also a goal of stability and customer-centricity.

“We believe that joining The Boat Engine Group will allow us to collaboratively create an even more powerful engine to drive change, innovation and amazing customer experiences in the industry and wider travel market. We are very much aligned with them and their mission to make boating as accessible and easy to access as it should be, for all,” she added.

Founded in 2017, Borrow A Boat was established to make boating “more accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive for all”, as well as to help drive participation and make the chartering process more simple and efficient. The platform offers a variety of vessels to rent, including sailboats, motorboats, riverboats, RIBs, catamarans, gulets, luxury yachts and super-yachts.

The company had previously targeted a “world first” IPO for a boat charter marketplace in 2023, having secured more than £3 million in crowdfunding a year earlier.

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