In this blog series, we feature startups in our community that are bringing innovative and sustainable products to the marine leisure market. Here, we chat with Heikki Bergman of Pulling-e Propulsion about navigating the fundraising environment and their business goals for 2024.
What motivated you to start an impact business in the leisure marine industry?
There was a clear gap between industrial, experienced commercial shipbuilding and the small boat building segment. The design processes and the product and solution offering were not corresponding, as I saw it.
Are there specific metrics you use to measure your impact?
We are measured by the weight, the volume, and the efficiency. The better solutions we provide, the more shipbuilders start to use them. The delivery timetable is very long in yachting, the results from our early-stage work will be visible much later.
Do you see gaps in current regulations that could further support impact startups?
Absolutely. I am not sure if public funding could be called a regulation, but it is the worst bottleneck now, so I want to mention it as a regulating feature.
The biggest restriction for small innovative startups is the structural imbalance in public funding. For example, here in Europe, the European investment bank has a minimum tag of 7.5M€. That’s way too big a number for smaller companies. Money goes basically to the big companies, to maintain or develop the existing portfolio.
What challenges or opportunities arose when introducing your product to the market?
Opportunities: The use of Microgrid suits for all kinds of power supplies. This has allowed us to receive contacts from completely new energy forms. Which is a huge opportunity for a small company like us.
Challenges: Because there are currently so many messages on the market, it is very difficult for the end-user to understand which is the right message and which is not. This is the position of the Don Quixote.
How have you navigated the fundraising environment?
This has been a challenge indeed. There is keen competition and software seems to be taking a lion’s share of technical investments. You have to work really hard to be noticed and be prepared for a long boot-strapping period.
Looking ahead, what are your business plans and goals for 2024?
We are looking to have the first long-distance zero-emission concept and a few tender boats produced with our partners. If we are lucky, we will also bring brand-new innovations to the market.