Having grown up just 9 miles (14.5 km) south of the Queen of American Lakes, I was able to pilot a boat long before I could drive a car. I’ve experienced firsthand just how refreshing to mind, body, and soul a day out on a body of water can be. Whether it’s dawdling along at the pace of a puffer fish or throwing the throttle open to full, there’s nothing quite like boating.
I was lucky enough to have a grandad that loved his boats, and time and distance permitting, still have the privilege of enjoying it during the summer months. However, as with many things in our modern age that were once affordable to the masses, the cost of owning, maintaining, and storing a boat is cost prohibitive to many.
This is where Helsinki-based Skipperi is taking a page from the shared mobility playbook and applying it to the pleasurecraft arena. The platform’s Skipperi Fleet is a service that offers would-be-captains a boating subscription service whereby they gain unlimited access to any of the 400+ boats in 6 countries with just a few taps on an app.
With zero sign-up fees, and costs incurred only during the boating season (whichever hemisphere they might fund themselves on, see below), plus fuel, Skipperi is aiming to put more skippers and their friends and family out on the water.
Doubling down on its efforts, Skipperi also offers up a peer-to-peer rental service, Skipperi Rental, helping captains spread out the cost of ownership, via other qualified boaters. And when I say qualified boaters, did I fail to mention that Skipperi will train you too via Skipperi Academy?
“We want to create low threshold access into boating and create room in the boating community for everyone. Boating has been traditionally quite hard to access, requiring a lot of time and money. We see that over 53 percent of our users subscribe due to owning a boat being too expensive,” says Skipperi CEO and co-founder Kristian Raij.
In so much, the company has raised €7 million in a Series A round that will see a ramping up of its international operations, namely to Brisbane, Australia as well as several locations around the US (let’s hope Lake George is on the list). The Series A round was led by Yamaha Motor, with Baltiska Handels Sverige, Matu Capital, and HP Capital also participating.
“Skipperi is an essential partner for us,” says Toshiaki Ibata, Chief General Manager of Marine Business Operations at Yamaha Motor. “It’s the only tech company that has developed and is already operating an efficient digital platform capable of providing seamless services to help more people enjoy the ocean and solve the inefficient and high-cost daily operations many boat club businesses face. We hope to create a stronger relationship and accelerate the development of the sharing economy through this investment.”