A Bournemouth based business, whose marine navigation platform’s proud boast is that its innovative product is the ‘google maps for sailors’, has grabbed investor attention in their pitch to Dorset Business Angels (DBA), in a Dragon’s Den type pitch.
The founder of the business, a former Google employee, is a seasoned sailor who described his passion for the seas, which started at the tender age of 8, learning from his grandad. This resulted in him taking part in the illustrious Clipper Round the World Yacht race. He described how his sailing experiences had taught him that literally millions of sailors struggle with navigation! He advised that a third of sailors typically use more than 4 different apps when planning a trip and spend approximately 1 to 2 hours per day on navigation during their sailing trips. “There are too many variables to check such as weather, waves, chartered hazards, ocean currents and boat performances.
“Mistakes can be deadly and running aground on chartered shallows happens far too often and it’s not surprising that many sailors are intimidated when planning their trip and getting out on to the water.”
The marine navigation solution was presented to the savvy Angel investors and described as ‘an app that can get the safest route in seconds, save hours of work and manage winds, tides and charts and in just one app.’ The business already has an impressive 20,000 sailors using its platform. The opportunity was identified as the fact that there are 140 million boat users each year, with an addressable market of 76 million, which includes sailing boats larger than 7.5 metres.
The impressive team behind the business was introduced and a line- up of formidable and experienced ambassadors listed, including former world champion sailor, Hannah Stodel. Ambitious financial projections were shared, with the ambition of an exit strategy with a trade sale in 4 to 6 years, having become ‘the de facto solution for navigation at sea.’
The company is looking to raise £750,000, of which £450,000 has already been secured. Dorset Business Angels with sailing experience showed great interest and belief in the product and shared their positive experiences of already having used the platform. Further due diligence will be undertaken by interested investors.Other pitching businesses included:
· A returning business to the Angel investors’ ‘den’. Having pitched 3 years previously and having secured DBA investment, the tethered drone systems business was invited back to update investors on the business and the journey to date and launch a further round of funding. The business operates in the commercial drone sector and has continued to develop its impressive technology over the past couple of years and has successfully acquired a CAA licence to operate its equipment.
· A company in the health & safety sector which offers alert technology. Established in 2017 this business manufactures the world’s first and only real-time warning devices for airborne asbestos – the world’s biggest occupational killer. Their vital early warning technology is incorporated into their monitors, that help reduce the risk of prolonged exposure, reduce costly project delays and improve asbestos safety in the workplace.
· A business in the sustainability sector, specialising in creating native forests, planting small, medium and large commercial woodland all over the world. The company has been contracted to work on numerous projects for The Environment Agency, The Forestry Commission and HS2 Woodlands.
· An online childrens’ outdoor clothing retailer business which was incorporated into a retail group as part of its expansion. The Company stocks a range of clothing and footwear for children aged from 6 months to 14 years. The brand portfolio consists of over 50 of the best brands from around the world, selling over 1300+ outdoor wear products and offering an unsurpassed choice to its customers.
DBA Chairman Don McQueen advised, “As a keen sailor and an imminent participant in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the marine navigation platform was of particular interest to me. We were delighted to welcome some new investors and interest in DBA to the room. We are always keen to welcome new members and would urge anyone interested in joining us at future events to get in touch. We are delighted to be hosting a special event to educate, inform and inspire new investors to become involved in DBA. Please visit https://dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk/become-an-angel-investor to find out more and make a booking. We’d love to see you there!”
DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses. DBA provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI). Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event at which they pitch their business to the savvy Angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario. Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be 2 or 3 Angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.
DBA is sponsored by Saffery Champness Accountants, Ellis Jones Solicitors and Investec Wealth and Investment To book a place at the next DBA Pitch Event in April visit www.dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk/Pitch-Evening.aspx