The Norwegian-based startup is revolutionizing electric boating, making long-range electric vessels possible and available for multiple segments.
After years of engineering and testing, SES-X now opens a pre-Series A funding round to commercialize its green vessel platform solution. The funds will be used towards the first project deliveries in both industrial and leisure segments, expanding the team, and further R&D.
The company is backed by existing VC investors Momentum Partners, CoFounder, and Link Capital - from a $3M seed round in Q1 2022. In 2022, the company also received $1M in grant funding from Innovation Norway to develop a new electric prototype, in addition to receiving $1M from the Norwegian government to design a fully electric fast ferry.
SES-X has developed an energy-efficient vehicle platform solution for high-speed leisure boats, workboats, and passenger ferries based on an air cushion principle. Air is pumped between the hull and water, which significantly reduces the water resistance. The technology is the result of decades of R&D, and it reduces the energy consumption of high-speed vessels by up to 50% compared to conventional hulls.
Improving energy efficiency and increasing the range is crucial for accelerating the transition to sustainable energy on water. Long-range electric planing boats are particularly difficult from a pure physics perspective, because of the high inefficiency when moving in the water and the high weight sensitivity of boats. It does not work the same way as for cars to add batteries to solve the range problem - as this increases weight and reduces range for boats. This presents the same problem as with electric airplanes, being inherently much more difficult to electrify vs. land-based vehicles. Energy efficiency is key to transforming the maritime segment.
SES-X’s solution is versatile and can easily be integrated with existing propulsion systems (outboard/inboard/pod/jet), various materials (aluminium/composites), and topside designs as a go-to-market strategy. SES-X has also future-proofed the design by incorporating a digital vessel control system, with over-the-air updates. The company plans to sell its technology (both hardware components and software) to boat builders on a global scale. The key is that SES-X can enable both long-range and cost-efficient solutions - effectively targeting two of the largest barriers to electrification in the market today.
The air cavity technology is also applicable to industrial shipping (e.g. tankers and cruise ships), with a potential of up to 20-30% energy savings (fuel type agnostic). This gives SES-X a large upside potential long-term, with short-term agility focusing on smaller electric boats.
CEO Carl Rehn joined the company in 2020 and SES-X now employs 15 full-time employees located in Oslo, Norway. Before joining SES-X, Rehn worked at Boston Consulting Group as a management consultant for energy and shipping companies. He holds a Ph.D. in marine engineering from NTNU in Norway, in collaboration with MIT in the US.
Commenting on the round Carl Rehn said: “We are seeing more and more interest for sustainability in the maritime segment, both in shipping and for smaller crafts. Particularly, for smaller crafts such as leisure boats and ferries, there is large potential to piggyback on the massive momentum from the automotive industry with batteries and chargers. In the past years, we have been working hard to get into a prime position in this new market space. I am therefore very eager to welcome new investors on board to accelerate our ongoing commercialization projects.”
The technical team is led by CTO, Per Sondre Sodeland, with extensive experience in product development in Kongsberg Maritime. Over the past year, he has led the development and commissioning of the company’s new fully electric 8-meter prototype. This has been a crucial milestone, as it has proven the technology and energy efficiency of smaller vessels.
The company is funded by VC investors and a group of private investors including Glen Ole Rødland, Chairman of the Board at SES-X. Rødland is renowned within energy and shipping with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He also acts as Chairman of the board for ABL-Group and Prosafe, and was previously a senior partner at HitecVision and Ferncliff. Commenting on the technology, Rødland said, "The introduction of new technology is demanding in a relatively conservative industry, but leisure boats are leading the way. We anticipate that small vessels will be the first to convert to electric propulsion and more efficient hull solutions. SES-X is developing innovative technology that we are positioning to become a key contributor to the future of electric vessels.”
Arve Fresvik, Managing Partner at Momentum Partners, comments: “SES-X is a technology company acting as an enabler for electrification of the maritime segment by addressing two of the most critical barriers - range and costs. The company has a dedicated and competent team, an asset light-and scalable business model, and we are excited to see them now commercialize in several segments with strong partners.”
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