ZeroJet participated in the Yachting Ventures startup accelerator program (2021).
Maritime innovator ZeroJet has raised a Series A round that will allow the creators of the world's first turnkey electric jet propulsion system for boats to capitalise on its early-to-market advantage in the fast growing electric outboard motor market globally. With orders from the world’s most respected boat builders, its engineering team is set to rewrite what’s possible with high performance electric motors.
Led by Movac, the oversubscribed round also garnered support from Australia’s Investible Climate Tech Fund, the NZX listed Booster Innovation Fund as well as family offices, high net worth individuals and repeat investment from NZGCP, Impact Enterprise Fund and K1W1.
ZeroJet CEO & Co-Founder Bex Rempel comments: “Within the nascent marine electrification niche, the time is right for disruption and ZeroJet has a significant opportunity to capture value on both the strength of our product; and a proven go-to-market strategy.”
A proven product and early traction
The company’s initial application of its jet propulsion system to tenders delivers material improvements to boating safety (no propellers), usability (fully enclosed and silent system) and performance (up to 50% better than an equivalent rated outboard) while simultaneously ensuring time spent on the water is cleaner and better for the environment. No fossil fuels and the low profile jet system means the tender is safe for shallow reef ecosystems as well.
Its sold-out pilot production run has helped prove its speed-to-market as well as supply chain reliability, with propulsion units and tenders delivered multi-country and as far afield as the Bahamas, Finland, Singapore and Fiji. In addition, it plans to announce significant partnerships with three internationally renowned boat builders, one of which is amongst the world’s largest. These multi-year contracted minimum orders will drive repeatable sales and an accelerated path to scale, in addition to developing the product for larger boats.
“ZeroJet’s technology is an innovative answer to a global trend toward electrification. They’re at the cutting edge of marine electrification with significant hardware IP and well-positioned to take a global leadership position, particularly given New Zealand’s strong history of innovation in the marine industry,” said Mark Stuart, Partner at Movac.
A ready-made market
The boat building industry is highly fragmented and spread across thousands of companies and brands worldwide. Regulations are changing fast and in less than ten years, it’s possible that all new boats with engines below 40hp will be electric. ZeroJet’s goal is to provide boat builders with a high-performance turnkey electric jet propulsion system that they can install in less than two hours.
“Up until now, there simply weren’t enough options for climate conscious boaties. We have solar panels and battery packs for our houses; and we have a myriad of choices when it comes to electric cars - but high performance electric motors for those wanting to enjoy their boats more responsibly are still a rarity. There is, quite literally, a ready-made market out there for products that can deliver an experience equal to or even better than combustion engines,” says ZeroJet CTO & Co-Founder Neil Mans.
Impressive in-house expertise
Bex and Neil are no strangers to building high-performing, innovative engineering teams. Both serial entrepreneurs, they worked together previously on an electric jetboard business before pivoting the learnings to develop ZeroJet. Neil is an engineer, having spent a large portion of his career at Buckley Systems; while Bex brings a strong accounting and finance background to the startup’s management team.
ZeroJet’s impressive engineering cohort comprises talent from Apple, Rocket Lab and Buckley Systems as well as the University of Auckland’s Formula SAE Team.
“Uniquely, our team is involved in innovation that stretches beyond the propulsion space to include the electric motor itself. Ultimately, our aim is to capitalise on these in-house expertise and bring our end-to-end motor development completely in-house,” explains Neil.
The funding will be used to productionise ZeroJet’s 20HP system, ramp up sales and marketing internationally and expand the team to support R&D and global sales growth.
“We’re excited to be on this journey and to reach our ultimate audacious goal of eliminating the need for combustion engines. There really is a far better way to power boats - and ZeroJet is pioneering that future,” concludes Bex.
Credit: Scoop Media