More electric boats investments: X Shore $18M, ePropulsion $15M

It’s getting tough to keep up with all the news in electric boats investments. The latest companies to receive big funding are Swedish e-boat company X Shore and Hong Kong electric boat motor manufacturer ePropulsion. X Shore landed the equivalent of $US 18M and ePropulsion $15M to build their respective businesses.

Going through the back pages of Plugboats, in the past 6 months there has been more than $100M invested in electric boat and motors:

  • Vision Marine Technologies: completed a successful IPO (Initial Public Offering) to become a publicly traded owned company with listing on the NASDAQ exchange:  $27.5M
  • Oceanvolt: Successful crowdfunding campaign on Invesdor (exceeding its target by a factor of 5): $2.7M
  • DeepSpeed/Sealence: Successful crowdfunding campaign through CrowdFundMe (achieving almost 10X its target): $3.5M
  • Pure Watercraft: Closed a Series A Funding: $37.5M

Electric boats investments over $100M

Those all add up to $71 million dollars, with the $18M for X Shore and $15M for ePropulsion putting the tally over the top at 104 million US dollars. Then there is the proposed merger of Taiga Motors and an SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) worth $100M, which we can’t judge totally accurately for electric boats because Taiga also makes electric snowmobiles.

X Shore itself had a €1.5M (US$1.7M) crowdfunding campaign in 2019 as well as a €5M (US$ 5.7M) investment last March from a group that included veterinary hospital executive Peter Dahlberg and sustainability investor/entrepreneur Jenny Keisu, who is now the company’s CEO.

This latest round of X Shore investment was headed up by Lukasz Gadowski and his technology holding company Team Europe. Gadowski was the co-founder of online food ordering service Delivery Hero and Team Europe is involved with about 50 private digital/ tech companies. It took only 9 days to raise the €13M electric boats investment.

Team Europe’s mission is to “deliver a better future via technology” and X Shore fits in well with other e-mobility companies the investor has stakes in like electric air taxi Volocopter and Bird electric scooters as well as car sharing app MILES and German solar-for-rent service Enpal. Gadowski said “X Shore is a perfect partner for our multi-modal electro mobility approach.”

X Shore looking to take US boating electric

Other noteworthy investors include Navin Thukkaram, lead investor / board member of cloud management platform SkyKick and Marec Gasiun who was most recently Head of Business Development, Automotive at Google and is now VP, Head of Global Partnerships at Swedish telecommunications corporation Telia.

X Shore CEO Jenny Keisu

X Shore officially launched its flagship model, the Eelex 8000, in the United States a few weeks ago. The 8m (26′) boat has a 225 kW (300HP) electric motor and 120kWh battery pack with top speed of 35 knots (65kmh / 40mph), cruising speed of 25 knots (45kmh / 28mph) and range at lower speeds of over 100 nautical miles. Some of the new money will be used to build a distribution team across the US and X Shore has plans for its own assembly line there in 2022.

“This funding affords X Shore the ability to take US boating electric, something that very few in the industry have been able to do on a large scale,” said Jenny Keisu, X Shore CEO. “With interests in sustainability and e-mobility increasing in the United States, and worldwide, these investments will allow us to scale our production to keep up with the demand and drive change in the marine industry.”

ePropulsion investment for higher power motors

On the electric boat motors side, ePropulsion has received 100 million yuan (US$15M) in a Series B funding round led by Shenzhen OCT Huaxin Equity Investment Management and other investors included Shenzhen HTI and Dongguan Financial Holdings, a wholly state-owned limited liability company.

Investopedia describes Series B funding as

taking businesses to the next level, past the development stage. Series A rounds have developed substantial user bases and have proven to investors that they are prepared for success on a larger scale. Series B funding is used to grow the company so that it can meet these levels of demand“.

That certainly seems to fit ePropulsion. The company was started in 2012 by Danny Tao and other students at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The company, widely regarded as the world’s second-largest maker of electric outboard motors, now has more than 160 employees and shipped more than 6,000 units last year – a 60% growth over 2019 – and is forecasting 100% sales growth for 2021.

Electric boat motors a $10B market

Tao said the global market for electric outboards will increase to around $10 billion annually. ePropulsion has a lineup of 8 motors (including pod models), the largest being the Navy 6.0 Evo rated at 6 kiloWatts, approximately 9 horsepower. In January the complete new Evo line was introduced, with all motors powered by 48V batteries and all with hydrogeneration capabilities.

The plan is to spend the new funding on developing higher-powered electric propulsion systems and improve the current product lineup. About a third of ePropulsion employees (60) are involved in research and development. The company also hopes to boost production to meet the demand for its current lineup.

Another area of growth which may have attracted the state-owned investment is supplying motors for the Chinese public sector for use at dams, scenic sites and on other ‘public vessels’. Sales from corporate customers are expected to comprise 40% of total sales by 2022.

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