Louth-based ocean data firm Xocean raises €7.9m to expand

20 Nov 2019

Xocean CEO James Ives. Image: Xocean

The start-up aims to transform ocean data collection and address the significant knowledge gap that exists in the global ocean economy.

Today (20 November), Louth-based ocean data collection start-up Xocean announced that it has secured €7.9m in funding to support its plans for international expansion.

Founded in 2017 and based in Greenore, Co Louth, Xocean’s team has more than 50 years of combined experience in technology development and operational delivery in a marine environment.

The start-up addresses the significant knowledge gap that exists in the global ocean economy – around 95pc of the world’s oceans remain unmapped. Xocean aims to transform ocean data collection, supporting the sustainable and economic growth of the planet’s oceans.

The start-up offers ocean data collection as a turnkey service to surveyors, companies and agencies. Xocean also offers data collection as a service to academic and research institutions.

The company was founded by James Ives, who serves as CEO. Ives is a chartered engineer who previously held the title of CEO at an international marine energy business. He also has experience as a senior manager at Accenture.

The Louth-based business uses marine robots, known as ‘unmanned surface vessels’ (USVs), to collect ocean data. It has recently delivered projects for clients including BP, Equinor, PX Group and the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

A large black vessel bobbing on the top of a large green body of water under a grey sky.

One of Xocean’s USVs. Image: Xocean.

Funding plans

In a statement, the company said that the purpose of this funding round was to support the company’s international scaling plans and it was fully subscribed to by existing shareholders.

Xocean currently has USVs in operation in the UK, Azerbaijan, Trinidad and Canada, and now plans to build an additional 22 USVs over the next 12 months. The company also hopes to recruit an additional 140 employees to service the market demand.  

Xocean’s chief financial officer, Karen May, said: “It is a really exciting time for the business as we scale. This new investment allows us to accelerate our growth with expansion into new markets internationally.”

Commenting on the funding, Ives added: “We are experiencing very strong market demand for our services and this funding will support our ambitious scaling plans. Xocean’s USVs offer significant benefits as a means of collecting valuable ocean data – these include safety with operators remaining onshore [and] efficiency with 24/7 operations.” He also noted the environmental benefits of the USVs, which have low emissions.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic