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Zizoo, a for boats, sails for new markets with $7.4M on board – TechCrunch



Berlin-based Zizoo — a startup which self describes as for boats — has nabbed a €6.5 million (~$7.4M) Series A to help more millennials find holiday yachts to mess about taking selfies in.

Zizoo says its Series A — which was led by Revo Capital, with participation from new investors including Coparion, Check24 Ventures and PUSH Ventures — was “significantly oversubscribed”.

Existing investors including MairDumont Ventures, aws Founders Fund, Axel Springer Digital Ventures and Russmedia International also participated in the round.

We first came across Zizoo some three years ago when they won our pitching competition in Budapest.

We’re happy to say they’ve come a long way since, with a team that’s now 60-people strong, and business relationships with ~1,500 charter companies — serving up more than 21,000 boats for rent, across 30 countries, via a search and book platform that caters to a full range of “sailing experiences”, from experienced sailor to novice and, on the pricing front, luxury to budget.

Registered users passed the 100,000 mark this year, according to founder and CEO Anna Banicevic. She also tells us that revenue growth has been 2.5x year-on-year for the past three years.

Commenting on the Series A in a statement, Revo Capital’s managing director Cenk Bayrakdar said: “The yacht charter market is one of the most underserved verticals in the travel industry despite its huge potential. We believe in Zizoo’s successful future as a leading SaaS-enabled marketplace.”

The new funds will be put towards growing the business — including by expanding into new markets; plus product development and recruitment across the board.

Zizoo founder and CEO Anna Banicevic at its Berlin offices

“We’re looking to strengthen our presence in the US, where we’ve seen the biggest YoY growth while also expand our inventory in hot locations such as Greece, Spain and the Caribbean,” says Banicevic on market expansion. “We will also be aggressively pushing markets such as France and Spain where consumers show a growing interest in boat holidays.”

Zizoo is intending to hire 40 more employees over the course of the next year — to meet what it dubs “the booming demand for sailing experiences, especially among millennials”.

So why do millennials love boating holidays so much? Zizoo says the 20-40 age range makes up the “majority” of its customer.

Banicevic reckons the answer is they’re after a slice of ‘affordable luxury’.

“After the recent boom of the cruising industry, millennials are well familiar with the concept of holidays at sea. However, sailing holidays (yachting) are much more fitting to the millennial’s strive for independence, adventure and experiences off the beaten path,” she suggests.

“Yachting is a growing trend no longer reserved for the rich and famous — and millennials want a piece of that. On our platform, users can book a boat holiday for as low as £25 per person per night (this is an example of a sailboat in Croatia).”

On the competition front, she says the main competition is the offline sphere (“where 90% of business is conducted by a few large and many small travel agents”).

But a few rival platforms have emerged “in the last few years” — and here she reckons Zizoo has managed to outgrow the startup competition “thanks to our unique vertically integrated business model, offering suppliers a booking management system and making it easy for the user to book a boat holiday”.

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Here’s Why The Cantilever Aero Bullet Is Considered The Worst Planes Ever Built



The Wrights were engineers all over the world trading notes and testing prototypes with the shared goal of powered flight. Alberto Santos-Dumont flew a manned airship in a neat circle around the Eiffel Tower in 1901. Wilhelm Kress’s Drachenflieger might have etched its name in the Austrian sky in the same year, had its power-to-weight ratio not been thrown off by errors at a fledgling engine builder called Daimler.

All that seems to have sounded too much like work for Christmas. He did not study aerial flight. He carried out no experiments. He decided to skip to the part where people would pay him and a flying machine would appear. To that end, he founded the Christmas Aeroplane Company in 1909. In 1918, it would be known as the Cantilever Aero Company.

Christmas had nothing to sell but a story to the Continental Aircraft Corporation and New York Senator James Wolcott Wadsworth when World War I broke out.

[Featured image by Flight Archive at FlightGlobal via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 3.0 ]

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Samsung SmartThings Station Review: One-Button Connected Home Control



The SmartThings Station looks very similar in size and shape to Samsung’s Galaxy 15W Wireless Charger, with a couple of key extras. First, the “Smart Button” on the top panel lets you trigger up to three automated sequences involving any of your connected smart home devices. And two indicator lights on the front face of the unit show the status of the wireless charger and the status of the Station as a smart hub, such as: working normally, restarting, can’t connect to the Internet, or scanning for new devices to add to SmartThings.

The unit I tested came with a USB-C to USB-C cable, and an AC power adapter. There is also a lower-priced SKU that does not include the power adapter, but be wary of that, as many online commenters complained that it did not work with their third-party power adapters. 

Once I plugged in the SmartThings Station, and it booted up for the first time, a pop-up on my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra phone prompted me to go to the SmartThings app, where I connected the Station to the same Wi-Fi network as the phone. You can opt to save the Station’s network connectivity info to Samsung’s SmartThings cloud while you’re at it.

After setup, the app shows the Station device info, such as its location (My home, My office, etc.) and room (living room, bedroom, kitchen, and so forth).

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Reasons To Like An Affordable Electric Pony



All of the settings are accessed through Ford’s oversized infotainment screen, a 15.5-inch portrait aspect touchscreen floating within easy reach of the driver. Ford has trimmed physical controls to a minimum, though there’s a volume knob integrated into the touchscreen — and which can also adjust temperature and other settings, depending on mode — plus a drive mode selector knob, and steering wheel controls.

SYNC 4A, Ford’s infotainment system, generally makes good use of that screen real estate, though it can take a little familiarizing as there are a lot of menus, slide-down trays, and different views. The core HVAC controls are persistent across the bottom, while buttons at the top jump into the settings, a wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connection, pull up the cameras, or trigger Amazon Alexa.

It’s all fast and reasonably slick — Ford has pushed out a number of updates to the UI since the EV first launched — and the rest of the Mustang Mach-E’s cabin holds up, too. Select models do without some of the fancier trim and materials, but it still feels sturdy and spacious. Even this base model gets a wireless phone charger and multiple USB ports in both A and C flavors, and while the color scheme may not be exactly colorful, it feels like it could hold up to family use.

The same goes for the storage. Alongside plenty of cabin cubbies, there’s a 29.7 cu-ft trunk, which expands to 59.7 cu-ft with the rear split seats folded. Under the hood is a further 4.7 cu-ft of space, both waterproof and with a useful drainage plug if you need to hose it down after storing muddy boots there.

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