Flux Marine: A Startup That Is Bringing Electric Motors To The Boating World
We often hear about technological innovation in the automotive industry. Electric cars. Autonomous vehicles. Tesla. There is so much press surrounding the space that everyone no matter your background has some knowledge of how our cars are improving every year. The boating industry, however, tends to lag behind as fewer resources are poured into enhancing the underlying technology. Yet, one venture out of Boston University’s BUild Lab is bucking this trend and disrupting the boating industry space.
Launched in May 2017 by one BU student Daylin Frantin (CFO) and two Princeton students Benjamin Sorkin (CEO) & Jonathan Lord (CTO), Flux Marine aims to bring a wave of innovation to the boating world through the development of energy-efficient, electric propulsion systems for marine vehicles. We had the exciting opportunity to peek behind the curtain and learn a little bit more about the company and its plans for the future.
Electric Propulsion Systems Built From The Ground Up
Flux Marine is producing electric propulsion systems for marine craft that are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than the existing motors that currently dominate the market. The startup is taking inspiration from the auto industry where innovation in electric battery technology has been happening for years. Choosing to build everything from the ground up, Flux Marine has total control over the design of its systems, enabling the startup to build something from the ground up that is truly differentiated.
“Learning to overcome adversity has been the largest hurdle we’ve faced as an early stage company. There are many cases where our ability to adapt has allowed us to pivot and conquer some of our biggest challenges. Your team can only be as strong as the will of the founders and I’m lucky to be accompanied by two gentlemen also on an endless pursuit to achieve our mission.”
-Daylin Frantin, Flux Marine CFO
Where others are still relying on lead-acid batteries and outdated outboard structural designs, Flux Marine is using solid-state components, lithium-ion batteries, internally built battery management systems, and a unique cooling system (patent pending) that combine to create a reliable, low-maintenance propulsion system. The “why” behind the company’s efforts? Surprisingly, marine vehicles produce higher levels of pollution than cars, with one hour of boat operation equating to 800 miles of driving on land. Boats equipped with Flux Marine’s systems will use clean energy and promote sustainability in an industry that has yet to adopt this mandate on a wide scale.
Founded By Three Recreational Boaters
The startup was launched by Benjamin Sorkin (CEO), Daylin Frantin (CFO), and Jonathan Lord (CTO), who all grew up boating. The trio started working on Flux Marine one year prior to its official launch, focusing heavily on the actual design of the systems themselves. With the support of Innovate@BU and The BUild Lab, the venture has been able to secure funding, mentorship, workspace, and facilities in which to build prototypes for an initial line of electric marine outboards.
Daylin Frantin the CFO of the startup commenting on the positive impact of Boston University’s Innovate@BU entrepreneurial resources has had on the growth of Flux Marine:
“The BUild Lab continues to introduce us to new opportunities, connections and funding resources. We see this relationship lasting long past my graduation and eventually hope to be in a position to give back so students can receive the same benefits.”
The Boston based startup plans to test its electric propulsion systems with university crew teams and start commercializing its products in the next few years. Although Flux Marine has yet to reveal any strategic partnerships or its capital structure, we know that pieces are coming together that will help the company make a BIG splash when it comes time to roll-out its systems.
This Untold Business University Spotlight provides a great example of a startup that is replicating existing innovation in an industry that tends to lag just behind the cutting edge. Over the past several years, we have seen major advancements in automotive motor technology that isn’t mirrored in the boating industry. Flux Marine aims to be an early mover in the space, investing time, money, and resources where others currently simply aren’t. For all of you recreational boaters out there – keep a pulse on Flux Marine’s progress. It won’t be long before you see their systems propelling boats in a lake near you!
For you entrepreneurs out there, find inspiration in this story and identify where innovation is transforming one industry and see if you can apply it to another that is currently being overlooked. Here, you will find tremendous opportunity. But don’t wait too long! Your window will likely be small as others will start to catch on as well. Best of luck!
November 12, 2018 | Chaz Hermanowski – Untold Business Content Director