Image of boats on a lake.
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Boat rental platform Tubber has the tide with it

For years, Tubber has been the undisputed market leader in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the Groningen-based scale-up is ready to conquer the rest of the world as well. 'Our ultimate goal is to make a sailing vacation on blue water accessible to everyone.'

"We are true northerners and knew that NOM suited our way of doing business very well. Ambitious, but from an open and down-to-earth culture."

Tessa de Vries, CEO tubber

Tubber had already been operating on a small scale outside its home country for some time. Because yes, as the market leader in the Netherlands, there is always room to grow elsewhere. 'Just not to the extent we want and are able to achieve,' says the boat rental platform's founder Anne de Vries. 'Partly thanks to a growth funding from the NOM it is now possible to utilize our potential and accelerate our scaling up to foreign countries'.

Meanwhile, the company has already made great strides. For example, after a successful launch in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Tubber recently went live in Germany. Once the platform is fully established in the eastern neighbors, the scale-up also wants to provide Scandinavian sailors with an unforgettable vacation. To then roll out the platform further and further internationally. 'Our ultimate goal is to make a sailing vacation on blue water accessible to everyone,' Anne emphasizes.

Professional landlords

Tubber connects professional lessors as charter companies with people who want to rent a sailing yacht, catamaran or powerboat. The booking platform is sometimes called an Airbnb for boat rentals. But that comparison does not prove to be entirely accurate. 'In our offering you will not encounter boats from private owners,' CEO Tessa de Vries explains. 'We only work with professional lessors who, for example in case of technical problems, can provide expert assistance or quickly offer a good alternative. In other words: we want people to be able to enjoy a boating vacation to the fullest. Without worries, to be precise. With a private boat, that's always a bit of a wait and see.'

The platform offers a choice of more than 16,000 boats in more than 750 destinations worldwide, with a focus on the Mediterranean. Greece and Croatia are particularly popular. But still: where there is a lot to choose from, choice stress lurks. Where to go and with what type of yacht? Of course, there are plenty of filter options, but Tubber goes one step further. Everyone has a fixed contact person, called a shipmate, who helps with the selection and booking process. The shipmate is also available to the vacationer on the road 24/7.

Entrepreneurial blood

Tessa grew up as the daughter of an entrepreneur. As a child, she watched her father's work with admiration and wonder. Building something independently and being able to make your own choices. Yes, that seemed appealing to her. Yet she spent the first years of her working life in paid employment. 'Then you notice that having entrepreneurial blood can be quite frustrating,' says Tessa. 'That you have to do things you don't always support. I struggled with that at times.

Anne is also an entrepreneur at heart. For example, shortly after the turn of the millennium, he was involved in founding the Nationale Vacaturebank, together with Jan-Peter Cruiming. In 2004, the job site was sold to VNU for a substantial sum. A few years later, again with Cruiming, he started travel website 'That turned out to be a total flop,' Anne smiles. 'As an avid sailor, with a preference for the Mediterranean, I decided to focus entirely on where my heart lay. I had once reserved the domain name for mere euros. After going live, we started renting boats from there.'

The beginning was a success almost from the very first moment. The number of users and affiliated partners grew rapidly. Only: it could not scale up. 'The site ran on software that we rented from another company,' Anne explains. 'If we came up with something new, it had to be implemented through that software company. That started to chafe and got in the way of our international growth ambitions. At one point we had to sail a yacht back from Ibiza to Mallorca for a client. During that trip, we figured everything out to come up with a powerful and scalable platform. Back in Mallorca, we followed through and Tubber was born.

The biggest challenge in building the platform? That, according to Anne, lies primarily in the choice of programming language to use. Programming languages change, disappear and new ones are added all the time. 'So make the best possible choice,' Anne argues. 'And also: what type of developers do you need if you want to continue to grow? If you choose a language that is very specialized, no, you're never going to find the right people in a tight labor market. So when building, you have to constantly look ahead and make sure you have a good balance between what you're developing and how you're going to maintain it. That's not easy.

Team tubber


In the early years, transactions and other administrative processes were mainly done manually. As the number of customers increased, this logically became too cumbersome and time-consuming. And so a considerable degree of automation was undertaken. 'In the high level of automation now also lies largely Tubber's strength,' says Tessa. 'Along with our service, aftersales and presales, of course. Like us, our customers, mostly people between 30 and 60 years old, value personal contact. They like being able to pick up the phone for questions about a luxury product like a sailing yacht, for example. You don't have to call, of course, but if you do, we always answer.'

Corona period

As mentioned, Tubber has become the market leader in the Netherlands. Just a few years ago, the company was ready to spread its wings internationally. Corona threw a spanner in the works. 'G-Force Capital had just come on board as an investor at the time,' Tessa looks back. 'We were really in the starting blocks. Yet the corona period also brought us a lot of good things. We were forced to automate our processes even smarter. At the same time, we worked very hard to further optimize the scalability of the platform. Instead of putting our plan on hold, we put it back on the table and tried to make it even better.

Nice base

The efforts did not go unnoticed. In early 2023, G-Force Capital and Move Fast Ventures, together with investor Marnix van der Ploeg, who was closely involved in's international success, decided to make a follow-on investment. 'This laid a great foundation for rapid international growth,' says Tessa. 'We immediately thought: this is the moment to approach NOM for a capital injection. NOM once helped us make our business plan investor-ready. The contact has always remained. We are true northerners and knew that NOM suited our way of doing business very well. Ambitious, but from an open and down-to-earth culture.'

So after providing the growth funding, Tubber is preparing to further scale up abroad. The booking platform wants to grow at least 50% annually. A realistic goal, Tessa argues. 'We have therefore been perfectly on track the last few months. The market is mega big. Moreover, we have the tide with us, because since corona sailing vacations have become increasingly popular worldwide.'