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In the eyes of the boating industry, BoatBound is a gateway drug for early adopters who will hopefully grow attached to the experience and become lucrative customers later in life.

Boatbound, a peer-to-peer marketplace for boat rentals, announced this week that it raised $2.5 million in funding, bringing the startup’s total funding to just over $4 million.

The latest round was led by Brunswick, a marine industry leader that owns several popular boat brands, with participation from Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd and angel investors.

Since launching just over a year ago, Boatbound has increased its rental listings to 1,800 with the majority of rentals taking place in San Francisco.

Boatbound founder Aaron Hall says about 98 percent of the listings are real people renting out their personal boats, not listings generated from a single rental company.

Whether boats are listed by individuals or scraped from charter sites is a point of contention between BoatBound and competitors including GetMyBoat and Incrediblue.

Hall recently relocated Miami to build BoatBound’s community of owners and renters in the area and plans to target more U.S. cities including Seattle, New York and Boston next.

Hall says that he wants the company’s user base to grow quickly with the backing of big-name boating brands. Companies like Brunswick up the service’s credibility among boat owners and help grow BoatBound’s marketing network.

Big brands are in it with expectations for a payout down line thanks to the startup’s ability to attract younger boaters.

“We see BoatBound really changing the industry. We see it making boating more accessible, which then gets more people into boating and more people ultimately buying boats, insurance, and accessories,” explains Hall.

Hall’s peer-to-peer service is also reaching a demographic that’s traditionally evaded larger boat brands. BoatBound renters, who are most likely to rent 18 to 30 foot power boats for up to $500 a day, are usually younger than 45 years old.

“That’s one of the key factors on why people in the boating industry are perking up their ears and starting to get behind us,” says Hall.

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Tags: fundraising

Photo credit: BoatBound is a peer-to-peer marketplace for boats. BoatBound

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