ZEN Yachts has announced the closing of a successful €5.5M ($5.87M) Series A funding subscribed solely by Ocean Zero LLC, which invests in innovative young companies helping decarbonize marine transportation.
Investopedia says: “In Series A funding, investors are not just looking for great ideas, but companies with great ideas as well as a strong strategy for turning that idea into a successful, money-making business.”
Ocean Zero stable of green marine companies
ZEN, (Zero Emission Nautic) the manufacturer of the innovative ZEN50 solar electric catamaran that uses wingsails as a range extender, joins other green marine companies funded in whole or in part by Ocean Zero:
- Candela, the Swedish hydrofoiling boat manufacturer that is topping the sales charts for sportboats of any kind of propulsion in Europe and will be launching their first hydrofoiling watertaxi/ferry next summer
- Flux Marine, the electric outboards from a team that came out of Princeton University and won the award for Best New Product at the 2021 Newport International Boat Show
- Batene, a startup emerging from the Max Planck Society in Germany that has invented a technology and unique fabrication process enabling lithium ion batteries to store much greater energy and discharge it at rates far beyond current standards, and
- Ayro, who make the Oceanwings brand wingsails for the ZEN50, having proven their technology on the Energy Observer research ship as well as ocean going cargo ships going into service next year.
“Visionaries and innovators in boat electrification”
“Ocean Zero seeks visionaries who have a realistic shot at making a significant leap in scale and impact to change the overall emissions of CO2 and other pollutants incurred by sea shipping, ferries and recreational boats,” said Stephen Petranek, Operating Partner of Ocean Zero.
“Boats produce more atmospheric CO2 each year than all the airlines in the world” Petranek added. “This is a massive problem that has solutions that can be adopted immediately. We need innovative companies like Zen Yachts to lead us into the new world of boat electrification.”
Petranek is the former editor-in-chief of The Washington Post Magazine, the former editor-in-chief of the science magazine Discover, and the former editor-in-chief of the financial newsletter Breakthrough Technology Alert. Ocean Zero’s Managing Partner is Chris Anderson, curator of the TED conferences and the TED Countdown initiative that seeks to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis.
First four ZEN50 slots now reserved
Julien Mélot, Naval Architect and ZEN50 designer, said “This is a significant milestone for ZEN Yachts and we are honoured to have received the trust and support of Ocean Zero and to be part of the amazing eco-system of other disruptive start-ups the fund has invested in.”
With its electric motors, batteries, solar panels and Oceanwings wingsails, the ZEN50 is completely self-sufficient, relying only on sustainable sources of energy. “She is the first high performance luxury catamaran yacht able to operate continuously, day and night, without a single drop of fossil fuel onboard” says Mélot.
There is a growing market of customers who value the importance of not leaving any carbon footprint in their wake and Mélot announced that the first four ZEN50 production slots have been reserved.
One of the keys to the ZEN50’s ability to operate for long distances without fossil fuel is its lightweight carbon fibre structure. The hulls will be manufactured by an industrial composites partner in the South of Spain that has an extensive track record in aerospace, aeronautics, and complex infrastructure composite projects.
The other key is the automated Oceanwings developed by Ocean Source ‘fund-mate’ Ayro. They enable the boat to be powered by wind very efficiently and easily. They are essentially an aircraft wing turned upright that provides horizontal ‘lift’ (instead of vertical) to assist a boat being on tack. The automation is achieved through sophisticated software that monitors and analyzes wind and water conditions and adjusts the angle of the wingsail for optimum efficiency.
Busy show seasons ahead
The outfitting and finishing of the yachts will be controlled directly by ZEN Staff in its assembly yards under ZEN’s innovative modular approach that offers flexibility, scalability, lower costs, and robust quality control.
The company has a busy time ahead. They will be exhibiting at the International Multihull Show, April 12-16 at La Grande Motte in France, followed by their own ZEN Community Days June 8 and 9, then the Cannes Yachting Festival in September and shows in Barcelona and Fort Lauderdale in October.
The ZEN Community Days will be held at company headquarters in Barcelona as an open-door event welcoming all eco-yachting enthusiasts to meet the ZEN Team and visit the ZEN Lab to learn about, see, and understand high technology solutions for decarbonizing boating.
“This is a one-of-a-kind event where all eco-yachting enthusiasts and curious sailors alike will be welcomed at our headquarters.” said Mélot. “We will also show our guests production videos and celebrate our love for boating and the oceans.” said Mélot.