Each week we’re profiling one company that has been selected for Boost – our early-stage startup growth program. Catch up with these companies in person at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam on May 26-27.
How many times have you daydreamed about sailing off into the sunset on a luxury yacht? Or is sailing around the world on your bucket list? Well, Tubbber might be able help you out with that.
The platform works by connecting boat owners with people who want to rent them. It officially launched in January 2016 and has nearly 600 boats all across the world already on its books.
Similar to Airbnb, boat owners just upload their boats to the site for people to browse and choose whatever one they want to rent. A quick glance at the boats on offer shows everything from small motorboats to sailboats and luxurious yachts.
Ahead of Tubbber’s participation in our Boost program at TNW Conference Europe 2016 in May, we asked the company’s founder, Anne de Vries, to tell us more…
Tell us what you do in two sentences.
The main goal of Tubbber is to enable charterers and boat owners to rent boats, both technically and financially secured. We want to show that boating is fun, suits any holiday budget and is more exciting than staying in a hotel room.
What’s your background? How did the company get started?
Tubbber was created by myself and Ron Spoelstra. Both of us already have successfully running companies that are connected with boating in one way or another and met through our mutual passion for sailing.
I took my first sailing lessons from Ron and together we have sailed in Greece, Turkey, Ibiza, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands, German Islands, French Coast and English Coast.
The concept of Tubbber was born after one of our trips. So it was really founded between Mallorca and Ibiza after a funny night in Pacha.
Who’s your biggest rival and why are you better than them or different?
Tubbber is not a standard start-up. Our team knows how the market works and what companies are reliable and which are not. The biggest rivals for Tubbber are Airbnb and TUI.
TUI is because it has its own fleet of yachts and while it’s still an important player in tourism, it will never be as flexible as Tubbber.
Airbnb is five years ahead of us, but luckily it doesn’t like boats so much. We offer our private and professional boat owners to get extra bookings for just 3 percent commission. Comparing to market standards of 10-20 percent commission, we offer our users 7-13 percent more income. This is helpful for boat owners in the current market.
What has been Tubbber’s biggest success to date?
The biggest success of Tubbber is the quality of boats that are available on our platform. All of the boats go through a long checking process with our service team. Over the years we have built good relationships with yacht charter companies and some private boat owners all over the world. They know what companies are reliable and the ones that are not. There is nothing worse than having an upset client with a boat on their holidays.
We are also proud of our organic user growth. In just one month, we got more than 600 users and are doubling our number of unique visitors every month.
How many people are on the team? Tell us one weird or interesting fact about yourself or a member of your team.
Our team is growing every month to keep up with the amount of work we need to do. Right now there are 10 team members with six different nationalities at the office. The collective goal for our team is to earn enough money to buy a big sailing boat, sail to the Caribbean and throw the biggest boat party in the world. For now we are working very hard towards it in cold and rainy Holland.
And something funny? The team contains one peanut butter addict, three smokers, one ex-smoker and it’s 70 percent female. One person in the office also still owns a limited edition Nokia.
What’s the most important thing you have learned from working on Tubbber?
We have learned that sailors love to share and learn from each other. At the end of the sailing day, you can always see them chatting over a drink in the marina. Therefore we try to be as personal as we can be in our business approach. We love to share new sailing destinations, tips and fun stories of real sailors on our Tubbber Blog.
What has been the biggest challenge in setting up Tubbber?
Getting the first 50 users took us so long. We were improving every day but our biggest challenge at that time was to take a break and not work 24/7.
We love to work on Tubbber though. We’re still in the process of developing the platform so what you see now is just the start. We have two new developers on our team who joined last month and we’ve given them complete freedom to do whatever they think will be great for Tubbber, so people can expect to see new features and a lot of new boats in the next few months.