Outboard motor investment

A European clean technology venture capital firm has announced that it has invested €3m (£2.7m) in Torqeedo, a developer of electric outboard motors.

The investment was a first for WHEB Ventures’ Munich office, which opened in April 2009, and it gives the firm a significant stake in Torqeedo.

WHEB Ventures led the €4.7m investment round. The Brose Trust and other existing investors also participated.
Torqeedo, established in 2005 and headquartered in Starnberg in Bavaria, develops and manufactures electric outboard motors for the marine market.

The company describes its motors as a ‘lightweight, powerful, quiet, highly efficient and clean’ alternative to the sub 10 horse power combustion engine outboard market.
Joerg Sperling, partner at WHEB Ventures, said: ‘In less than five years the chief executive and his team have taken Torqeedo from product concept to €5m in revenue. They have also succeeded in growing sales by 25 per cent in 2009 despite the extremely difficult economic conditions in the marine industry.
‘We believe that international territories represent a very large and fast growing addressable market for Torqeedo’s products. As in Germany, these markets will be driven partly by increasingly strict regulation prohibiting the pollution of lakes and rivers by noise as well as by oil.’
Christoph Ballin, chief executive of Torqeedo, said the funding from WHEB Ventures will help Torqeedo ramp up sales over the next few years and enter new market segments with new products such as more powerful motors.
Torqeedo’s motors are designed with what the company believes are sophisticated electronics that include accurate range displays, advanced propellers and lithium manganese battery cells. The company also claimed the motors require virtually no maintenance or servicing.
Each Torqeedo motor is powered by a battery, which the company points out means there is no risk of oil or coolant leakage. A battery-powered motor is also likely to run quieter than a petrol-powered alternative.