Sunday, July 27, 2014

Marinanow raises €370k in seed funding from United Ventures

Do you really need to recall VCs attention by having an original product, innovative technology or a scalable business model, such that books of the theory of startups require. Paolo CodinaAlessandro SestiniDiego Atzeni and Andrea Corvaglia know the right technology, but at the same time they do love the sea and boats. Two years ago, they came up with the idea to bring the logic of the Internet in a world that still operates mainly in analog mode.

Marinanow is an online platform allowing sailors to search for places to moor their boats in marinas, compare prices between different marinas and book online, it has already surpassed its competitors in terms of raised funds. 
Indeed Marinanow has raised €370,000 of early stage investment from United Ventures the largest Italian technology VC Fund led by Paolo Gesses and Massimiliano Magrini, against €250,000 and € 150,000 raised by SailSquare and Barcheyacht

Founded in Sardinia, Italy, in 2012, Marinanow was created by Alessandro SestiniPaolo Codina and Andrea Corvaglia who all have experience working in marinas. Spun out of the The Net Value incubator, the site offers boat chartering, hiring berths from privates (an Airbnb style service for the nautical world) and refuelling services.

The current systems for booking places for private boats in marinas both in the mediterranean and worldwide is outdated and complicated. There is no one unified system for managing bookings so owners of boats currently have to search for phone numbers of directors of the marina, overcome language and time difference and ring them up to check for and reserve places. If that marina is full, or the director is difficult to reach, the boat owners have to search again for nearby ports.

Marinanow solves this problem by using proven business models from the hotel and home rental industry. It offers the ability to book online, automatically from any port in the world using one site (a similar concept to sites like It also allows the “subleasing” of berths that have long term bookings (a similar concept to airbnb).

The market is large: we are talking here of about  €200bln/yearMarinanow's services counts over 1000 marinas and ports with 4000 boats covering Italy, France, Spain and Croatia. Maxi yachts can charter for hundreds of thousand of Euros every week and additional services like bunker age (refuelling of the boats) can easily double this number, which makes for an attractive prospect when scaled worldwide.
But boat owners face a problem when trying to book berths as there is no global database of berths. And the market is quite fragmented.

Marinanow is not the only player on the market dealing with boat rental. There are also many online charter that aggregate supply of berths. Marinanow’s main competitors are PortBooker and Thewaypoint in the US. Easyberthbooking is focused on the French market and Inautia are another mediterranean competitor. "Unlike its competitors Marinanow  is on smartphones, and is the only one to ensure a place and provide the application also to private persons. In this way like in the AirBnB style the owner of a mooring may decide to rent his space when it is for example in navigation. The three original founders hold a commission on the transacted which is 5-15%, depending on whether the subjects are private or marine. On the latter is focusing the attention of the startup. "To date 900 Mediterranean marine know our application - says Sestini -. With the money we received we want to expand on this front and maybe out of the Mediterranean to let us know in other countries. That means investing heavily in advertising and communication. "