Their diversified B2B model will partner with fleet managers across the Mediterranean, and provide the key infrastructure to enable the spread of electric boating.
Electrification is the future of boating, and NAVIA Yachts are one step closer to providing an innovative solution to help speed up the adoption of this technology. The promising Italian startup has just closed a €250,000 funding round to begin producing their electric inflatable boats. The team plans to raise a second round of funding in Q1 2024 to begin production of the Navia 44, and to scale up their production efforts.
A unique B2B business model
There are huge opportunities in the boating industry, with the inflatable boat rental market expected to grow at a 5.2% rate (2020-2027) and the global electric boat market projected to grow at 11.9% rate (2021-2026).
However, boat rental companies are struggling with the high-cost setups and maintenance of electric boats in their fleet. There is also a degree of range anxiety present in the market, with fleet operators concerned that they will need to adjust navigation routes in response - ultimately affecting the customer experience.
Recognising this, Navia Yachts plans to provide a turn-key solution - initially through their electric inflatable boats, before later expanding into larger models (Navia 33, Navia 44 and Navia 55). The aim is to increase the accessibility and supply of fully electric recreational boat fleets to existing and established rental companies, by providing inflatable boats on loan, a charging WALL BOX for the boat slip, management software, maintenance, and 24/7 assistance.
At €500 a day, this rental model enables businesses to immediately introduce electric boats into their company fleet, allowing customers to test the product and become familiar with alternative propulsion options.
The inflatable boats are being produced in conjunction with CNC - a leading Italian shipyard specialised in the production of inflatable boats with exceptional and high-quality performance. The Norwegian engine manufacturer Evoy will also provide 120 hp engines, with sea trials set to commence in Q2 of this year. Evoy is also backed by various notable investors, and recently closed a €7.3M round in May 2022.
The combined experience and expertise behind the product will lead it forward in the best way possible. The first inflatable boat with the charging station will be based in Cala Galera marina, with future plans for expansion into Campania, Liguria, Sardinia, and then the rest of Italy.
Commenting on the round, co-founder and CEO Guglielmo La Via said: “Currently, there is no adequate infrastructure to enable a customer to purchase an electric boat, which is why we want to position ourselves in the rental market. People are still reluctant to buy electric boats, partly because of the significantly higher costs involved with purchase. However, the market is curious and our research shows that people would like to try an electric boat before buying. Through our unique B2B rental model, we can introduce our boats to a wider audience and accelerate electric adoption rates in the boating industry.”
Agostino Ascani, an angel investor in the round who believes in the Navia team and mission commented: “The electric motor boat rental is a challenging and booming market, fostered by an increasing awareness for eco-friendly solutions and lower operating costs. The Navia strategy specifically capitalises on sustainability, which I personally believe is particularly appealing in the nautical sector.”