The Wanderlust Group (TWG), a Newport, R.I. and Cambridge, M.A.-based technology leader in the marine and outdoor lifestyle industries, today announced that it has closed $14.2 million in Series B funding. 

As COVID-19 has led millions to trade airlines and hotels for boats, RVs, and campgrounds, travelers are finding an outdoor travel industry that is still largely managed with phone calls, pen, and paper, creating a lot of friction for travelers as well as marina and property owners.

Through its flagship platform Dockwa, The Wanderlust Group says that it has connected more than 250,000 boaters with more than 15,000 marinas to search, explore, reserve, and pay for reservations digitally, within a matter of minutes via its subsidiaries Dockwa and Now, armed with new funding, the brand says it will continue to enhance its marina presence while expanding to adjacent outdoor travel experiences.  

“Prior to 2020, boating and outdoor travel were already growing. Now, we’re seeing this growth speed up as more people look to get outside and take advantage of macro trends created by the pandemic, notably remote work and a population-wide re-evaluation of time spent with close friends and family,” said Mike Melillo, CEO and Co-Founder of The Wanderlust Group in a press release. 

“Our mission is to foster people’s desire to connect with nature, and to connect with each other – ironically, we believe the world will be a much happier place if we get away from our devices.”

The economic impact from marinas expands much further than the properties itself. A 2019 study from the National Marine Manufacturers Association found that the recreational boating industry contributes an estimated $170.3 billion to the U.S. economy, an increase of approximately $49 billion since 2012. TWG’s Dockwa platform contributes to this by helping boaters and marinas discover and connect with each other, getting more people out on the water, and keeping them coming back. Once underway, the average boater spends upwards of $500 per trip in their destinations’ waterfront communities; the Dockwa platform connects travelers directly to the team at each destination, which expedites the transaction and has increased the YoY revenue generated for local businesses. 

“Marinas are the lifeblood of many waterfront communities, and reservation-accepting marinas and cruisers have interconnected needs,” said Melillo. “Our technology seeks to level the playing field and provide cost-effective ways for all marinas to attract guests and manage their reservations. As our network of marinas and boaters grows, the value we deliver grows as well.”

This announcement continues strong momentum for The Wanderlust Group. Dockwa users have now booked nearly five million nights at marinas across the U.S. The company is also a 2020 Rhode Island Inno On Fire award winner.

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