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Startup Spotlight: Sensar Marine

We have a diverse and dynamic group of startups in our community, each with unique backstories and experiences as entrepreneurs. The Startup Spotlight series is designed to acquaint you better with our community. This week we feature Sensar Marine, the Norwegian company designing and manufacturing a superior solution to remotely monitor a boat’s vital functions.

How did you come up with the idea for the business? 

I've personally encountered the multitude of challenges that accompany boat ownership. During my time working in the US, frequent travel meant my boat often sat unattended, leaving me uncertain about its condition. Questions plagued me: Will the boat be ready to use next time I have a free weekend with friends? Was water seeping in? Was the bilge functioning? Were the batteries holding up? Heck, was the boat even still there? Dissatisfied with the lack of quality boat monitoring options available in the market back in 2014, and the fact I was now based in Norway, I decided to start working on a boat monitoring system with the proper marine grade quality that would meet the expectations from the North Sea fisherman to the family boater. 

Why does the industry need the solution you're providing? 

Imagine receiving a text message that reads: "I know if your boat is taking in water at this very moment. Do you want to know, yes or no?". Frankly, most boat owners wouldn't want to be kept in the dark about the state of their vessel. In the future, this kind of monitoring will become as standard as a fire alarm in a household. The costs associated with a boat sinking, both financially and environmentally, are burdens that society can do without. Additionally, there's a concerning fact that boat batteries are being misused due to a lack of understanding about their status.

With proper monitoring and maintenance, battery life can be extended, benefiting both the environment and your wallet. Furthermore, with the growing popularity of boat sharing, having a comprehensive history of the boat, including tracking data, impact, and battery usage, becomes essential. 

What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company? 

Witnessing the fruits of our hard work materialise into tangible results is very enjoyable. It's especially rewarding to see my colleagues fully committed to achieving our shared goals. However, this journey isn't without its challenges and isn't suitable for everyone. 

What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey? 

That's quite an extensive list. We encountered numerous challenges and obstacles almost daily. However, we had a clear principle: to develop our product to the highest standard possible, ensuring it's well-thought-out and prepared for future advancements in technology.

There's a saying often attributed to Reid Hoffman that goes, "If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." While there's some truth to this, we were determined to wait until we had a product we could truly be proud of before launching, even though patience was challenging to embrace. 

Any bits of advice for entrepreneurs getting started in this space? 

Don't do it. Creating a prototype is easy, building a robust and globally scaling business is a completely different ball game. You have to have focus, incredible stamina, capital, and a solid team, and the obstacles you encounter on the way are often beyond your control. (Think global parts shortage and Covid) 

What's the plan for the future of the business? Where do you see the company in 3-5 years? 

We are already a global provider. Our goal is to be the market leader in this segment and in 3-5 years we have reached that leadership goal while continuing to grow and expand further.


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