Finland-based Skipperi says it has a mission to make boating ‘easy, affordable, sustainable, and hassle-free’.
Skipperi, a shared-use boating subscription service and peer-to-peer boat rental platform, has successfully closed a €7m series A funding round.
The round was led by Yamaha Motor, with Baltiska Handels Sverige, Matu Capital, and HP Capital also participating. The company will use the money to fund its international expansion to Brisbane, Australia, and several locations around the US while strengthening its platform and tech team.
Skipperi Fleet is a shared-use boating subscription service where registered members are given unlimited use of any of the 400-plus boats in six countries via an app – with boats in Australia and the US on the way. Skipperi Fleet users pay a monthly fee during the season and cover their own fuel costs. The firm’s other service, Skipperi Rent, is a peer-to-peer rental platform where boat owners can rent out their boats to other qualified boaters.
Booking a boat, with access to the dock and keys for the boat, is done through the Skipperi app. Once the day’s boating is complete, users must refuel the boat and return it to the dock. The Skipperi boat subscription model takes care of the boats’ maintenance, equipment, insurance and boat availability.
“We want to create low threshold access into boating and create room in the boating community for everyone,” says Kristian Raij, CEO and co-founder of Skipperi. “Boating has been traditionally quite hard to access, requiring a lot of time and money – we see that over 53 per cent of our users subscribe due to owning a boat being too expensive. So we aim to get more new people into boating, and this investment means we can expand our operations to get more people safely enjoying this wonderful hobby.”
Since it was established in 2017, Skipperi has raised a total of €12.6m and currently operates in over 40 locations in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, and Canada.
To mitigate potential safety issues, Skipperi says it offers “theoretical and practical training” through its Skipperi Academy and requires boaters to pass Skipperi’s boating exam or have all locally required permits. The boats in Skipperi Fleet are also kitted out with life jackets for passengers of all ages, in addition to other necessary safety equipment.
“We also want to encourage that it’s okay to be a beginner in boating – it’s okay to miss the buoy and practice parking. We need to get rid of the judgmental attitude many people have about beginner boaters,” says Raij.
Skipperi says it is also working hard to get more women into boating. In a bid to turn things upside down and get more women at the helm, Skipperi provides training to new users, the boats in its Finnish fleet have male names, and the company has cooperated with organisations promoting female boating, such as She Captain in Sweden.
“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.”
Last year, Skipperi and Q Yachts launched a new electric boat as part of the Skipperi fleet-sharing service. Skipperi says it plans to bring hundreds of electric boats to Finland and abroad in the next few years.