The Airbnb of the Sea

Popeye, Samboat and Sailwiz; new business models plow the waters.

 The arrival of the collaborative economy to different sectors is unstoppable. Transportation, accommodation, insurance, kitchen. And also in nautical. Examples of this are the French steamboat, the Spanish platform Sailwiz and the Uruguayan Popeye.

The French Nicolas Cargou and Laurent Calando are the founders of Samboat, a platform for renting boats between private individuals and professionals that allows you to manage reservations online. “It all started in 2013 when I received Laurent for a job interview,” explains Cargou.

“We both connected from the first moment and discovered that we were both convinced users of collaborative economy platforms like Airbnb, we felt that this business model was the future, Laurent was a big fan of the nautical world and he knew how to see the gap that existed. in the market, and that it was obvious to apply that model to this sector, since a boat is used very few days a year, between 10 and 12 days according to our users, and the maintenance costs are too expensive for the owner.

“So they were launched in early 2014 in Bordeaux and created Samboat, which counts currently with a fleet of 22,000 ships in 500 ports around the world, available to be rented with and without skipper. “The most complicated thing has been that the owners trust the system and want to rent their boats to strangers. That held them back since each ship is a world and you have to count on the sea and weather conditions. The difficult thing, and what has become our differential value, has been to secure the owners and create confidence. ”

The Uruguayan Emiliano Bar considers that “he was born on top of a boat” since his parents lived in a sailboat during his first months of life. His friend Daniel Cleffi was a Navy officer and comes from the sailors’ family. Together they launched the Popeye platform earlier this year, which they explain as a kind of Airbnb for boats, which consists of uniting owners with people who seek to have nautical experiences in any type of boat, from a yacht to a motorcycle, water or surfboard.

Popey’s idea came after several trips from Bar to the United States, where he tried out these types of services and noticed that nothing similar existed in Latin America.

Within the platform, you can rent boats to use them with or without their owners. To sail on large or medium-sized ships without their owner, you must have the corresponding permit (Brevet).

The Spanish platform Sailwiz was launched in May 2017 with the aim of breaking the barriers to access to the sea, as it allows to rent individual seats on board.

It is the project of three entrepreneurs who met in the Executive MBA of Esade in Madrid, with an initial investment of 59,000 euros. With it it is possible to navigate without having a master’s degree, and it is not even necessary to rent a whole boat or form a large group that makes it feasible to meet the rental cost, since they have adapted the Blablacar system to the nautical one: they offer the rental of individual seats instead of the complete boat.

The Airbnb of the Sea

The project has been awarded at the II Investment Forum of the Barcelona International Boat Show as the best “startup” in the sector and, with more than 1,500 registered users currently, seeks its expansion to the countries of northern Europe for next year.


Source: El Observador