A duo of Serbian entrepreneurs is bringing fishing into the digital age with FishingBooker, an app that connects charter boat captains with fishing enthusiasts.
The app, nearly a year old, received attention this week after earning an Audience Choice award at startup convention TechCrunch Disrupt, allowing creators Vukan Simic and Nemanja Cerovac to present FishingBooker onstage in San Francisco in front of the tech world’s biggest names.
Simic and Cerovac, recent graduates of the University of Belgrade, launched FishingBooker in October 2013 to simplify the process of chartering a boat. Using either the app or FishingBooker.com, anglers can both find and charter boats online—what FishingBooker content manager Dean Ibisbegovic calls “the equivalent of Airbnb with a rod and reel.”
“FishingBooker was actually started out of our own necessity,” Ibisbegovic told Outside Online. According to Ibisbegovic, the decentralized chartering industry made it painful for his team—full of avid fishermen—to find suitable boats. Rather than listing on one central website, he says, most charter companies list boats only on their own sites. To compare packages, fishermen have to call each captain individually for quotes.
With FishingBooker, prospective renters can see hundreds of listings in one place. Users can search by boat location, trip date and length, party size, and price. They can even specify which equipment and technology they’d like on board. The app allows users to review boats and captains and offers “Live Angler Support” through a chat screen for real-time assistance.
“The fact that, for about 10 minutes or so, the entire tech world stopped and listened to how we are reinventing the way people organize their fishing experiences just goes to show that the need for change is overwhelming,” Ibisbegovic said of the founders’ experience at TechCrunch Disrupt.
In its first year, FishingBooker has rounded up 582 boat listings in 55 countries and facilitated about 300 bookings.