How the Airbnb of Yachting Was Born

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It’s the bread and butter of entrepreneurship: Encounter a problem. Dig into the reasons why the problem exists. And then build a solution.

When Adrian Gradinaru went to rent a boat, he learned firsthand just how cumbersome the process was. In many cases, interactions took place offline and there wasn’t an easy way to compare options across the highly fragmented industry. So he and his friends set out to modernize the whole transaction.

That led to the launch of Sailo, an online peer-to-peer boat rental marketplace where you can compare and book a boat for a day or even part of a day. Gradinaru founded the business in 2014 with fellow Columbia Business School student Delphine Braas, long-time friend Magda Marcu and former Silicon Valley engineer Bogdan Batog.

Today, the company’s listings are concentrated in several regions across the U.S. including South Florida, New York City, Cape Cod, Mass., and San Diego. Rentals start at $300 a day and go all the way up to to $40,000 for a luxury yachts, but the majority of rentals range from $500 to $1,500 per day.

Related: What a Sharing Economy Startup Does to Build Trust in Its Community

In addition to making it easier to book a boat, Sailo also has the same benefit of other sharing economy companies like Lyft, Uber or Airbnb: it allows people to make use of resources that might otherwise be sitting idle. “A lot of these boats are just sitting, and kind of being wasted, in a way. I feel bad for a boat that doesn’t go out. It’s purpose in life is it should be out,” says Gradinaru. “And somebody should be on it, and somebody should enjoy it.”

The business model is getting attention. Sailo’s founders have just been accepted into the prestigious Techstars accelerator program in New York City.

Join us on a boat ride on the Hudson River in the video above to hear more from the founders of Sailo.


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