SIBS 2023: Borrow A Boat joins London share trading venue

Borrow a Boat team announce trading shares

Restructured, streamlined and ready to trade shares, Matt Ovenden, Borrow A Boat’s CEO and founder, is feeling confident.

It’s been a tough year for the company. After ongoing investments of around seven million, it fell into administration earlier in 2023 and was then subsequently acquired by a group of investors (headed by Ovenden under the name The Boat Engine Ltd).

But the year has improved. Ovenden says the company’s seen 2,500 trips booked globally and as such is up 30 per cent with the fastest growth in customers from the UK and USA. Greece and Croatia remain popular places with seven-day yachting holidays proving a main draw.

Ovenden believes the company is virtually about to break even and has an eye on profit in 2024 “we’re now getting it past the milestone of being profitable,” he says.

That’ll hopefully be reassuring to the 2,000 current shareholders. As will the news that Borrow A Boat is joining London share trading venue JP Jenkins. In what is being described as ‘a first-of-its-kind’ for the industry, investors will be able to globally trade shares via their stock brokers.

Once the company’s shares are listed, shareholders will be able to signify their confidence – or not – by buying more. This is described as a ‘step-up’ from crowdfunding by JP Jenkins. It admits that longer term the company could be bought or merged and that there is always a nod to an exit strategy.

JP Jenkins says the process – expected to launch in the next couple of weeks – will enable Borrow A Boat to access a wider pool of investors while providing peace of mind for corporate governance, and a reference point for shareholders as they’ll be able to see what their investments are worth.

Meanwhile, Ovenden says Barqo – the day boat technology bought in early 2022 – is now “very much integrated” which means the focus this year has been on technology growth with the processes streamlined. “It’s less manual. The tech is doing the heavy lifting.

“We had huge growth,” says Ovenden. “Now we’re streamlined with a reduced team size and overheads.”

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