Acceleration program to help electric boat startups
Dozens of exciting electric boat startups have been covered by Plugboats over the past two years, and there are undoubtedly more on the way. There is now a new service – Yachting Ventures – to help them give them the best chance of success in an increasingly competitive market.
Yachting Ventures was founded by Gabriella Richardson, who combined her love of boating with her education and training as a lawyer and her hands-on experience with tech start-up Seed Legals. “It happened because I saw that there were a lot of opportunities for founders and investors in general, but not a lot of support for startups in yachting.”
Seed Legals allows business founders and investors to manage financing agreements and related documents without paying an arm and a leg for outside lawyers. Gabriella was the 11th employee to join the company in 2018 (she now has hundreds), and as a board member and director of the UK branch of Young Professionals in Yachting (YPY), she knew that there was an opening for a similar service in boating – in particular to help and guide young people who have new ideas for a changing world.
The six-week program covers everything starting
For nautical startups, Yachting Ventures offers services that are not limited to the legal field. It divides the beginning of a business’s life into three areas – Build, Develop, Increase – providing detailed information, guidance and connections throughout the process.
BUILD is about validating the idea (see if it’s something people might want); set up an MVP (Minimum Viable Product – something salable that works and proves the essence of the product or service without any additional bells or whistles); and the business model (e.g. will people buy this product directly, or rent it, or buy the bases and then pay for additions and upgrades?)
The next step for a new business is GROW – analyze and work on branding, marketing and scaling. This includes how to figure out who would be most likely to pay for your product, how to price it, what to tell them about it – so you can go from a small number of sales to a large, more profitable number of sales.
RAISE is all about raising funds and preparing the best sales and presentation materials for investors. All of this is delivered in a 6-week online interactive session designed to accelerate early-stage business growth by compressing years of learning into just a few months.
Electric boat startups have already “graduated”
The service doesn’t just focus on electric boat startups, it has helped over 45 businesses, ranging from online boat rental platforms to navigation and weather assistants to apps that improve the sustainability of yachts to software that transforms 3D design in construction packages for shipbuilding.
On the electrical side, three companies benefiting from Yachting Ventures so far are Spirit Cruises, Navier and ZeroJet.
Spirit will build and operate six fully electric masted super yachts for the day cruise market and provide unique Caribbean excursion experiences.
Navier is building a long-range autonomous electric foil boat. It was one of the finalists in the “Developing” division of electric boats up to 8m / 26ft at this year’s Gussies Awards and has just made arrangements to build its first-year production quota with the yards. Lyman-Morse Navals of Maine.
ZeroJet, from New Zealand, builds lightweight electric jet propulsion system that promises 50% more propulsion than a conventional outboard motor of the same power level. Plugboats will be covering more details on Navier and ZeroJet in the coming weeks.
Network and innovation hub of confirmed experts
One of the attractions of Yachting Ventures is the expertise available through its network of mentors. “As we’ve built our momentum and traction, we’ve garnered a lot of support from the yachting industry,” Gabriella says. “Our mentors are quite diverse, but all focused on boating and yachting, which is important because you want an industry specific accelerator.”
Mentors include everyone from executives of large yacht companies, to people who have left those companies for their own startups, or to serial entrepreneurs who have had experience in starting, scaling, and building. sale of a business.
Bex Rempel, co-founder and CEO of ZeroJet, says: “The network is incredibly valuable, mentors and advisors are accessible and helpful in providing advice and recommendations. “
Recent graduates from Yachting Ventures are also involved in the mentorship program. It’s part of Richardson’s model of creating an innovation hub focused on yachting startups.
She is particularly keen to attract electric boat startups to this hub. “We send out a lot of pitch decks to investors from various yachting startups and we see them coming back more and more with comments like ‘our investment focus is shifting more towards sustainable technologies.’
Investors are moving from tech companies to sustainability
She sees it as part of a move away from the investor focus on digitization / applications / technology in recent years. It is undeniable that carbon and climate issues are becoming the top priority of public concerns around the world.
“We’re finding that this is the perfect time for electric boat ideas and other ‘green’ ideas, but it’s important that the founders know the kinds of questions potential investors are going to ask,” said Richardson. “People make such quick judgments these days, if you don’t get their attention immediately, it’s hard to bring them back. “
If you have an exciting idea that you think has merit, or if you are wondering what the next steps might be to make your existing electric boat start a success, the deadline for applications for the next round is November 26, the classes starting January 17th. is £ 995.