Barqo unveils peer-to-peer platform for boat rentals

barqoNot many people may be comfortable captaining their own boat, but for the more adventurous out there, Dutch startup Barqo offers a peer-to-peer rental platform.

Barqo’s website is available in Dutch and English, particularly convenient for international users. In order to get a feel for the platform, I did a search for Amsterdam and found that they offer a pretty simple search tool, with users able to type in a destination, dates, and capacity in order to bring up listings. What is helpful is that the site overlays clickable prices on Google Maps, so that you quickly find the ideal option for your destination. Clicking upon a profile, I found that boat-owners list the name of the craft, the model, and build-year, as well as indicate whether or not driving it requires a license and the nature of their cancellation policy. Profiles also sometimes offer a biography for the boat-owner, as well as reviews. Prices vary wildly, with some craft available for less than 100 Euro, while others going for several thousand.

Like many other marketplaces, Barqo has opted for a commission-based monetization model, taking a 15% cut on each transaction that they process.

Barqo already claims 2,500 users and 5,000 boats, but the service did not officially launch until this week. For the moment, they are focused on their native Dutch market, but have an eye towards international expansion in 2017 (though they already provide listings from around the globe), particularly in northern Europe. They have also recently expanded their team.

In terms of funding, the team at Barqo initially turned to family and friends in order to get the business going, taking in 20,000 Euro worth of convertible notes. They have since followed that up with 50,000 Euro from an undisclosed angel and then another 500,000 Euro from other undisclosed angels.

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