Project Start: February 2015

Boatbound launched the first, and largest boat rental marketplace in the US back in 2011 while in 500 Startups. Their early success attracted investors such as Airbnb, Brunswick, and other notable investors eventually leading to their acquisition in 2017.


In early 2015, Boatbound came to Optic to assist with rebuilding their search functionality, internal booking tools, and assistance with fundraising.


At the time, their search wasn’t designed to return optimized results based on real-time data such as boat owner booking conversion rates, renter reviews, and needed help in the speed department. The internal booking process was highly manual and we were tasked with creating a more intelligent system that automated the recommendation of alternate boats when an owner didn’t reply fast enough.

Our goal was to reduce the time from inquiry to booking. In addition to engineering support, they asked us to help them raise an additional million dollars to close their current round. We accepted the challenge.


We completely overhauled the way Boatbound looked at displaying search results. Rather than display results by location and boat type only, we created an algorithm that returned the right results that improved conversion rates. Then, we created two internal tools known as Harbormaster and Boatmaster that intelligently and automatically recommended which boats Boatbound needed to onboard to meet demand, as well as automatically suggest alternative boats to renters who didn’t receive approvals from low-response rate owners before they lost interest..


As one of our first clients on the management advisory side, we’re extremely proud of the results. $1.8M (nearly double the funding goal) was raised through our introductions which ultimately led to an acquisition by Airbnb and Boatsetter. From a technical standpoint, our search and booking tools improved conversions by 40%. The new automation enabled Boatbound to reduce operational spending by 70% and allowed them to put those savings into growth-focused initiatives.


8 Months

7 Resource Team

Acquired by Airbnb

From The Client

“The new automation and efficiencies created by the work the team did exceeded our expectations. Being able to reduce our human costs by 70% was a game changer.”

- Chris Fox, Dir. Operations