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Click&Boat, Europe's leading boat rental, opens an office in Miami

by Click&Boat 26 Apr 2019 04:00 PDT
The Click & Boat team © Click & Boat

Click&Boat, a leading boat rental platform based in France, is opening its first full-scale U.S. outpost in Miami, Florida. The company's new office is hosted in The Lab, a co-working space in the bustling Wynwood Arts District.

Through its Miami-based team, the company aims to expand its operations in the U.S., focusing on key boat rental markets such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale in Florida and Annapolis in Maryland.

Miami, a gateway to the U.S. boating market

For a French boat rental platform, Miami, the world capital of yachting along with Fort Lauderdale, is an ideal location to set up an office. Edouard Gorioux, Click&Boat co-founder, said: "We picked Miami because of its strategic location in Florida, its reputation as a boating hub that hosts the prestigious Miami International Boat Show, and the city's sheer vibrancy." Dubbed 'Airbnb of the Seas' by CNN, the platform has 350 boats listed in Miami and over 400 in the state of Florida.

Founded in 2012, The Lab is Miami's original co-working space and an ideal launchpad for a tech start-up seeking to scale up its presence in the U.S. Over 130 start-ups and entrepreneurs are based in a former warehouse of 10,000 ft2. The site offers a convivial work environment, an important asset for a company that values well-being at work, as well as networking opportunities with the local start-up ecosystem.

South Florida's recreational marine and boating industry has an estimated economic impact of $12bn annually and supports around 142k jobs, according to a study by Thomas J. Murray and Associates, conducted on behalf of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. Overall, South Florida alone accounts for around one-third of the boating industry's economic impact in the U.S.

A European approach

Click&Boat's new Miami office comes on the back of a smaller operation set up in the same city in 2016 to 'test the waters', gauging demand for the company's boat rental platform in the U.S. market. Rapid success has encouraged the company to set up a full-fledged office. The U.S. has become Click&Boat's fifth largest market just two years after the launch of its U.S. website. Last summer the company saw bookings by U.S. customers increase by 338% compared to 2017, while global bookings increased by 109%. Overall, the number of U.S. boat renters registered on the platform grew by 355% in 2018. Currently, 7% of renters registered on the platform are based in the US, while the company's U.S. fleet has quadrupled from 200 to 1,000 boats within two years.

Edouard Gorioux, Click&Boat co-founder, said: "Our success in the U.S. proves that we have plugged a gap in the market. Perhaps we have brought a whiff of Europe's strong sailing culture and tradition to the U.S." The company raised approximately $4.5m (4m) last June to expand its footprint in key markets. Its latest ventures include a new office in Marseille, opened this March to consolidate its leading position in the boat rental industry in Europe.

In Europe, the boat rental industry has grown organically. Word-of-mouth referrals have helped Click&Boat build a strong brand in major boating destinations such as the Balearic Islands, the French Riviera, Italy, Croatia, and Greece. The boating market on the other side of the Atlantic is considerably more fragmented than the U.S. one, a feature that has pushed the company to adopt an agile strategy focusing on piecemeal expansion. By gradually expanding in several countries with different cultures and legal frameworks, the company has learned valuable lessons, such as optimized use of resources, that have enabled it to be equally successful in the U.S. "As a European company, we can do more with less. We are just used to that," said Jeremy Bismuth, Click&Boat co-founder.

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