Zizoo, a charter boat reservation platform, has raised $7.4 million (€6.5 million) in Series A funding, according to techcrunch.com. The company, based in Berlin, Germany, said it has seen its revenues more than double each year since it was founded three years ago.
Launched in 2015 by Anna Banicevic, Zizoo plans to use the funding to accelerate its global expansion. The boat reservation platform includes 21,000 customer-reviewed boats from 1,500 charter companies in 30 countries. Most of its 50 destinations are currently in Southern Europe.
“The yacht charter market is one of the most underserved verticals in the travel industry despite its huge potential,” said Cenk Bayrakdar, managing director of Revo Capital, which was the lead investor in the recent funding.
Banicevic said that Zizoo would “continue to empower” yacht charter companies to meet “massive market opportunities” represented by millennials. “We’re seeing millions of annual website visits and fantastic revenue growth rates,” she said.
Banicevic said that Zizoo (a nickname for Jacques Cousteau) has more than 100,000 registered users.
“We’re looking to strengthen our presence in the US, where we’ve seen the biggest YoY growth while also expand our inventory in hot locations such as Greece, Spain and the Caribbean,” Banicevic told the website. “We will also be aggressively pushing markets such as France and Spain where consumers show a growing interest in boat holidays.”
The company plans to hire 40 more employees in the next year to meet increasing demand from mostly 20- to 40-year old clients. Zizoo’s employees are also mainly 20-somethings.
Banicevic told techcrunch that the main competition is in the offline world, “where 90 percent of business is conducted by a few large and many small travel agents.”
A few other charter platforms have emerged, but Banicevic says her company has managed to outgrow competitors, “thanks to our unique vertically integrated business model, offering suppliers a booking management system and making it easy for the user to book a boat holiday.”