We asked Brazil-based Aqqua founder, Renato Goncalves, about building an app that allows users to view and rent boats in their region for an affordable price. Renato has 13 years of experience in the boating industry. Last year he decided to focus on building Aqqua full-time. He chose Bubble because the no-code platform offers him all of the features to build his app easily without knowing code.
Tell us about your app and what it does.
Renato: If you think boats are expensive in the U.S., you have no idea how expensive they are in Brazil. For example, a 21-ft powerboat costs about 14 months of a minimum wage in the U.S. The same type of powerboat costs around 120 months of minimum wage in Brazil. You have to work almost 10 times harder in Brazil to buy the same boat in the U.S.
For anyone wanting to spend a very pleasing day on the water, it is a lot cheaper to rent a boat for a day than to buy one. I created Aqqua so that boat owners can list their boats for rent and passengers can rent them for an affordable price.
Through Aqqua, you can view all of the boats in your region, view all of the features of the listed boats, and arrange a deal with the boat owner directly. You can find a boat that suits your needs whether it is for a fishing trip, water sports, or just cruising.
How does your app work?
Aqqua is a typical marketplace for boat owners and passengers looking to rent a boat. Boat owners will first need to sign up. They are then asked to list details of their boats, like boat type, engine power, region, gas type, number of seats, and more. Boat owners can manage their listing, change their profile, and receive chat messages from interested passengers.
After passengers looking to rent a boat sign up, they are able to search for the boat in their region of choice. Once they find a boat they like, they can chat directly with boat owners through the app and they can even close a rental deal.
Tell us a little about your background and how you discovered no-code tools like Bubble.
I have worked in the boating industry since 2007. It was through my time in the boating industry that I discovered Bubble. I searched for platforms that would allow me to build an internal CRM and sales tool for my sales team. I used about a dozen Google Spreadsheets to manage my department and it was a complete mess. I needed something I could organize all the information easily and efficiently.
I listed around 30 no-code tools and began ranking each on specifications, how easy it is to use, and the features it offers. Without a comparison Bubble is the best no-code builder for web applications. So I built our CRM with Bubble. It worked and still continues to work amazingly.
Why did you build your app on Bubble?
Last year I quit my job to build a business from scratch. I started teaching Bubble and no-code tools here in Brazil through a YouTube channel. One of my projects was to build a marketplace live on YouTube. We built Aqqua in a nine-episode series which is available for free on my YouTube channel.
What have been your successes or milestones so far?
Aqqua is a game-changer in Brazil. Even though Aqqua was not built to become a real business, it is now Brazil's largest boat rental app, with over 100 listed boats. I wanted to show that no one cares about the tech-stack behind your platform; they care about the problem your app solves. Aqqua definitely solves a problem for boat owners and rental seekers.
However, it didn't come for free. First, I have 13 years of experience in the boating industry, so I knew exactly what the main needs are for this market, and how to speak to the target audience.
I spent about $150 USD on Facebook Ads to acquire users. Yes, I know it's almost nothing, but that's how well Facebook and Google Ads work- you can get hundreds of customers with a very small investment. Aqqua helped my YouTube channel in becoming Brazil's largest Bubble and No-code related series.
What are your next steps or future plans for your app?
For now, I have no future plans for Aqqua. I built it to show what types of apps can be built with Bubble, and it performed very well. If I could improve in, I definitely would spend more on Facebook and Google Ads to add more boat owners in more regions to the app. I would also improve the chat feature between the boat owner and the passengers and create a split payment feature so that renters can pay directly via Aqqua.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 400,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.