Borrow a Boat acquires boating marketplace Zizoo

Borrow a Boat

London-based boating marketplace Borrow A Boat (of The Boat Engine Group) has completed the purchase of Berlin-based boating marketplace, Zizoo, to create one of the biggest boating marketplaces worldwide.

Borrow A Boat says the acquisition of Zizoo is part of its growth strategy as the company looks to expand operations globally, and consolidate other markets.

The news comes after insolvency proceedings were opened against Zizoo’s subsidiary in Germany last month, following accusations it had failed to forward customer funds to charter fleets.

Borrow A Boat has been adding platforms to its group over the years to serve an expanding and increasingly digitised boat rental market. Borrow A Boat says the purchase of Zizoo, which describes itself as a leader in the multi-day rental/boating holiday segment, sees the group expand its inventory to over 60,000 boats in more than 65 countries worldwide.

Borrow A Boat, which also owns the day-hire boat rental platform Barqo, operates in London and Amsterdam and will combine with Zizoo´s teams in Berlin and Athens (Greece) to build its global reach.

The purchase means the platform now covers all three key market segments in boat rentals: day hires, boating holidays and luxury crewed charters.

Borrow a Boat team announce trading shares

“The boat rental market is one of the fastest growing travel segments, and we’re on a mission to make boating more accessible to everyone worldwide,” says Matt Ovenden, CEO and founder of Borrow a Boat.

“The acquisition of Zizoo will create one of the biggest boating marketplaces in the world, with a global footprint, customer base and reach, allowing us to enhance our marketplace of exceptional boating experiences.

“By incorporating Zizoo’s own technology, teams and solutions, we will also be able to continue to deliver a high service offering for our industry colleagues who we work with on a daily basis.

“We understand as a consumer-facing business, this process may come with some questions for customers who have booked experiences for 2024 and beyond with Zizoo, however, we want to reassure everyone that we will be doing our upmost to ensure minimum disruption on any existing bookings, and will have a dedicated team on hand to help field any enquiries or questions around those for Zizoo customers.”

Anna Banicevic, founder of Zizoo, adds: “The successful closing of the sale of Zizoo to Borrow A Boat’s group is good news for our industry colleagues and customers.

“Zizoo has gone through a tremendous growth journey over the years which also brought some operational challenges that culminated in the last few months in a tough funding environment and we believe this is an opportunity for a new journey with a player that shares our tech vision but also a goal of stability and customer-centricity.

“We believe that joining The Boat Engine Group will allow us to collaboratively create an even more powerful engine to drive change, innovation and amazing customer experiences in the industry and wider travel market. We are very much aligned with them and their mission to make boating as accessible and easy to access as it should be, for all.”

Banicevic is reportedly being investigated on suspicion of fraud and delay in filing for insolvency. In a statement to YACHT last month about the accusations it failed to forward funds to fleets, Zizoo said “a small proportion of customers who have experienced disruptions in our service quality” and promised regulation soon.

Following a record-breaking 2022, Borrow A Boat Ltd entered an administrative process in March 2023, divesting from yachting holiday firm Helm following a ‘first-hand experience of the challenging Venture Capital fundraising market’.

The firm was acquired by a group of investors and CEO Ovenden, and continued trading uninterrupted.

3 responses to “Borrow a Boat acquires boating marketplace Zizoo”

  1. Tristan says:

    The article fails to mention that they bought Zizoo via insolvency as Zizoo has been failing spectacularly over the last few years, with lots of clients turning up to marina’s with boats not paid for despite the customers paying in full.

    Anna is currently being investigated for fraud, and Borrow a boats history is nothing but shady.

    Now you have two failed marketplaces with no expertise to run a sustainable business – I wonder what will happen to this over the next few years. I can only hope that blowback on the industry and customers is a minimum.

  2. Freya says:

    Borrow a boat are also potentially under investigation for the insolvency process.

  3. Victoria says:

    Borrow a Boat and Zizoo deserve each other. Both failing businesses that have, in my opinion, ripped people off left, right and centre.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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