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Published: February 13, 2020 | Updated: February 13, 2020

App preventing sailors from being all at sea grabs investor attention at angels’ pitch event

By Andrew Diprose, editor

A business with an innovative marine navigation app described as the ‘google maps for sailors’ grabbed investor attention at a Dragon’s Den type pitch in Bournemouth.

The unnamed founder of the business, a former Google employee, was among a number of pitches at the latest event staged by Dorset Business Angels (DBA).

A seasoned sailor, who got his taste for sea at the age of eight, described how his sailing experiences – including the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – had taught him that millions of sailors struggle with navigation.

He said that a third of sailors typically use more than four different apps when planning a trip and spend up to two hours a day on navigation during their sailing trips.

The marine navigation solution presented to the savvy angel investors was 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.

But there are 140 million boat users each year, with an addressable market of 76 million, including sailing boats larger than 7.5 metres.

The 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 four to six 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 three 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, 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 six 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, pictured left, said: “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.”  

DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early stage businesses.

It provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth and sophisticated investors.

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 two or three 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