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Candela raises $20 million

Swedish startup Candela has raised $20 million to create a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly form of waterborne transport. The company now plans to bring its passenger ferry to mass production.

The way we move from A to B is changing. New sustainability-led solutions and options are coming to the market, helping keep the continent moving with fewer detrimental environmental consequences. On land, we are seeing the rise of electric vehicles, and now, on water, there is a movement to make transport more sustainable, faster and cost-effective – making it even more sustainable than land transport.

Swedish tech company Candela is on a mission to make our lakes and oceans fossil-fuel-free by developing electric vessels. The startup has now secured €18.7 million ($20 million) to bring its passenger hydrofoil vessels to mass production. The funding was co-led by EQT Ventures and investor duo Joel Eklund (Fosielund Holding AB) and Svante Nilo Bengtsson (Marknadspotential AB), with participation from Ocean Zero LLC, among others.

Candela CEO and founder Gustav Hasselskog: “Waterborne transport is the next frontier set for sustainable disruption, and it’s happening now.”

Founded in 2014, Candela’s watercraft have wings (hydrofoils) that lift the hull above the water and reduce friction, using 80% less energy than conventional ships at high speed. This tech means long-range water travel is possible with battery power. At the same time, the Stockholm-based company reports that it enables operators to smoothly transition to sustainable fleets by providing up to 50% lower operational costs. Therefore, fleets are more planet-friendly and more pocket-friendly: a win-win.

At the centre of the tech is Candela’s Flight controller, a computer which automatically stabilizes the vessel during flight by regulating the hydrofoils using data from sensors that gauge wave height and wind speed, among other factors. In rough weather, passengers experience 90% fewer g-forces than they would on a traditional ship.

The Swedish innovators plan to launch its first commercial vessel, the Candela P-12 Shuttle ferry, this year. The ferry is tipped to be one of the fastest and longest-range electric ships ever built, offering a top speed of 30 knots and a range of up to 60 nautical miles. The P-12 will also cut operational costs by up to 50%, thanks to low energy usage and maintenance. At the same time, the vessel has significant environmental benefits. A recent life cycle analysis by Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology concluded that a P-12 ferry will emit 97.5% less carbon dioxide over its lifetime compared to a diesel vessel of the same size.

Gustav Hasselskog, Candela’s founder and CEO: “This new investment will unlock the potential of underutilized waterways for climate-friendly, high-speed commuting. The P-12 Shuttle will in many cases be faster and cheaper than land transport like bus lines, and it will be profitable for operators from day one.”

This latest investment will accelerate bringing the Candela P-12 Shuttle to mass production and will fuel a new era of waterborne transportation.

Lars Jörnow, Partner at investor EQT Ventures: “The P-12 Shuttle will be a game changer for passenger water travel. Candela is on a trajectory to become a generation-defining company, revolutionizing the waterborne transportation market by offering the most climate-friendly, low-cost and customer-delighting boating experiences in the world.”

The first operator of the ferry will be the Region of Stockholm, moving commuters between the suburb of Ekerö and central Stockholm. It’s estimated that travel times will be cut from currently 55 minutes by car, bus or conventional diesel ferry to just 25 minutes.

Svante Nilo Bengtsson, who will take a seat on the Board: “Candela’s tech stack is truly impressive. The experience of flying above the water in complete silence is just pure magic. This, while simultaneously reducing operational costs, will be key to speeding up the transition to sustainable waterborne transport.”

Source: EU Startups


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