The startup develops and installs high-performance electric drivetrains for recreational boats.
After years of engineering and testing, eKraft is now opening a funding round to commercialize its electric powertrain solution. The funds will be used to complete the development of the third generation version of the product, scale up the sales team, and strengthen operations.
The eKraft drivetrains are primarily developed for planing hulls, which allow for higher speeds to be maintained at relatively lower power. However, most electric drivetrains on the market today are not suitable for planing hulls because of the power limits.
eKraft is designing and manufacturing all key parts of the powertrain, including the control units, battery, and cloud connection. The startup buys battery cells and builds stand-alone battery units with control electronics, paying great attention to weight reduction. The system includes immersion cooling, which helps dissipate heat and provides a high level of fire protection in the event of a cell fire.
The team considers in-house production crucial in order to maintain full control over the system and to keep the price competitive. The majority of current competitors are developing systems built from off-the-shelf products, which makes them significantly more expensive and leaves them highly vulnerable in terms of critical components and service.
After several years of development, and iterations on the initial first prototype, eKraft is now installing their drivetrains and have upgraded the system to 200hp. In 2023-2024, the focus will be on the go-to-market in Europe and further development of the system to reach 400hp. For the next 3-4 years, the startup will be investing in further product development and their goal is to enter B2B partnerships, serving hull manufacturers as an electric drivetrain supplier.
The main challenge will be to increase the production volume to meet market demand, whilst maintaining the current premium product quality. This requires infrastructure development, expansion of the engineering and technology teams, and increasing the sales & marketing and back-office teams. The goal is to gradually increase the team to 40-45 people over the next 3 years.
The team is led by Péter Varga as CEO and co-founder. Before launching eKraft, Péter had 10+ years of experience in electronics prototyping and small-scale production. He founded his first business whilst still at university and later went on to build an automotive startup in Germany before being approached by Csaba Petti to lead eKraft. Commenting on the round Péter Varga said, “Our goal to expand across Europe requires infrastructural development and staff expansion. From a product perspective, we also have plans to develop the driveline and provide our future customers with additional functions, and a more robust product with greater range. We’re opening this latest round of funding to help us execute on our plans and take eKraft to the next level.”
Csaba Petti is the strategic lead and co-founder of eKraft. He is a serial entrepreneur, having built multiple companies specialising in laser processing and industrial robots. The technical team is led by Bálint Hanula, who has a background in formula racing and electrical engineering.
Fundraising and business development is led by Karoly Szanto, who is the founder of a startup accelerator and deeply embedded in the VC and startup world. Commenting on the round, Karoly Szanto said, “eKraft is on its way to become one of the major players in the electric propulsion market for leisure boats. Enabling hull manufacturers to offer high performance electric leisure boats and tapping into the retrofit market will provide a quick scale up in sales, primarily focusing on Europe and the USA.”
eKraft is backed by VC investors GN Venture Capital. Commenting on the round, managing director of GN Venture Capital, Gergely Nagyiványi said, “We were excited to support eKraft and the early development phase of the drive chain, but this phase of the company's life cycle has now come to an end. We have ambitious goals and objectives to meet market demand, for which we support the raising of capital, trusting in the success of the joint cooperation with the future investor and the international rise of eKraft. The historical results and the competency of the management team reassure us that this company has a strong future.”
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