Paris, September 26th, 2023
Blueprint Partners, a leading European corporate finance boutique, advised AYRO, the world leader of Wind Assisted Ship Propulsion (WASP) solutions for maritime and yachting markets on its €19.2 million Series B investment. This new round was led by SWEN Capital Partner’s Blue Ocean with participation of existing investors Ocean Zero LLC, Bpifrance and new investors Aminvest, Collam Impact, Normandie Participation, Normandie Littoral and Swen Innovation bringing the total of equity funding to more than €30 million since inception.
Founded in 2018 by Marc Van Peteghem as a spin-off of the famous French naval architecture firm VPLP, AYRO designs, manufactures and sells OceanwingsTM, a wing-sail technology that decreases the fuel consumption on major cargo ships by as much as 50%. AYRO’s technology allows shipowners to meet the latest International Maritime Organizations’ and European Union environmental regulations.
AYRO’s unique patented technology was originally developed by VPLP Design and inspired by the BMW Oracle racing sailboat designed by VPLP that won the America’s Cup competition in 2010. Following a prototype from 2017 that tested the OceanwingsTM concept, two wings were installed on the catamaran “Energy Observer” in 2019 to demonstrate its performance.
In July 2023, Ayro successfully installed and tested its new Oceanwings 363 solution on the Canopée, a groundbreaking vessel that transported the Ariane 6 space launch system components from Europe to French Guiana. Ayro’s solution enabled a 30% reduction in CO² emissions over its regular route.
The funds raised in this investment round will be used to boost OceanwingsTM development and production in Ayro’s assembly factory in Caen-Blainville, Normandy, and to reinforce sales and marketing on a global basis.
Christian Lim, partner of lead investor SWEN Capital Partner’s Blue Ocean and new Ayro board member, believes that Ayro’s OceanwingsTM is the best WASP solution on a market ready for exponential growth.
In conjunction with this additional funding, Ayro is reinforcing its governance and management: Van Peteghem was elected as chairman of Ayro, Emmanuel Schalit (current board member) was named CEO, and Romain Grandsart becomes COO. Schalit is the former founder and CEO of US software company Dashlane. He will bring his 20 years of experience of scaling up companies in Europe and the United States to Ayro during this crucial growth phase.
Schalit is delighted to take the CEO role of Ayro and join a team of passionate people with the objective to decarbonate the maritime sector.
Blueprint Partners’ team has been working closely with Ayro since 2019 supporting all their financing rounds. “Working with Ayro is a dream project for us,” according to partner Eric Plantier. “Rarely can we be so closely associated with a commercially available technology reducing CO2 emissions on such a massive scale. We strongly believe that Ayro’ OceanwingsTM will rapidly be installed on many ships. Ayro is set to lead the WASP race in a market bound to explode.”
Ayro’s and Blueprint Partners’ teams have been collaborating very closely over the years and Marc Van Peteghem is grateful to Blueprint Partners: “Blueprint Partners has a large network in the financial investor community and a unique expertise in managing fundraising processes. In addition, they have a strong understanding of technology and industrial markets. We are extremely happy with the outcome of our fundraising processes and the quality of investors we now have on board.”.
This third fundraising, managed by Blueprint Partners for Ayro, further demonstrates Blueprint Partners’ commitment to decarbonization and industry 4.0, with more than 10 transactions recently closed in this field.