Decarbonizing maritime transportation is a difficult task. While the easiest way to cut boats’ carbon emissions is through batteries, their energy requirements are too high to use batteries. Valo is solving the problem by decreasing the energy maritime engines need thanks to hydrofoil. The company is starting revenue generation thanks to the commercialization of a new electric-powered hydrofoil jet ski, a smart way to grow the company while working on decarbonizing larger boats. We reached out to founder and CEO Ed Kearney to understand Valo’s technology and strategy better

Funding Round Details

Valo logo
Company: Valo
Security Type: SAFE
Valuation: $50,000,000
Min Investment: $100
Platform: Wefunder
Deadline: Apr 19, 2024
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What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

When I was 12 years old, my dad showed me a video of some grad students at MIT who built a hydrofoil boat that broke a world speed record for a human-powered boat – and ever since then, I was captivated. I thought all boats and ships would be using hydrofoiling technology any second now. Fast forward a few decades, and still waiting for someone to commercialize hydrofoil technology, so I took it upon myself to be the one that made it happen.

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

My team consists of myself, a 2x YC founder and entrepreneur, Reo Baird, a MIT graduate, lifelong boat user and owner, and world leader in hydrofoil boat design. We came together to start Valo about 18 months ago when we realized we shared the same vision for how hydrofoil boats could transform how humans move stuff over water and align on the best way of making it a reality, starting with the Valo Hyperfoil.

How is the Valo experience different from other jet skis?

The Valo experience is a complete evolution and revolution over the gas-powered jetski invented 50 years ago. Riding a Valo Hyperfoil is like nothing you have ever experienced before. It is exhilarating, addictive, and brings joy to everyone who rides it. We offer the sensation of flying over the water fast, leaning into turns like a fighter jet, silently slicing and carving through waves as if they were not even there. It’s like having your magic carpet or a speeder bike from Star Wars. It’s like skiing in powder snow. It lets you experience and explore pristine landscapes and waterways silently with no wake or emissions, all in a way that leaves your heart racing and wanting more.

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

In today’s industry, quite a few companies make electric boats and engines. Only a few make electric foiling boats, like Candela and Navier. We are different because we are launching in the only market segment where we can move thousands of units with only two to three different product models. This unlocks the superpower of volume production, bringing the customer price down and our profit margin up, setting up a positive feedback loop where our product quickly becomes mainstream.

The second differentiator is that we plan to work with the thousands of boat builders worldwide, not compete with them, by selling them our foil technology so they can create the zero-emission boats the market demands. This system’s play isn’t new at all; it’s the same model for how traditional gas boat engine manufacturers like Yamaha, Mercury, and Volvo operate.

When will you be able to generate revenues?

About nine months ago. 🙂 We have already generated $180k in revenue from selling production slots of the Valo Hyperfoil and selling our first foiling system to a boat builder to build the first of a line of 18-foot hydrofoil electric boats. It’s pretty clear that people out there really want what we are making. 

If we talk again in 12 months, what milestones will you achieve?

In 12 months, we expect to have delivered about ten vehicles to our first customers, have Valo Hyperfoil in continuous production with ramping volumes, and delivered our first foil system to a boat builder customer. We also expect that the Valo Hyperfoil will be the most talked about, coolest must-have product at every boat show, waterway, and dock across the globe, from Miami to Monaco.

What is your long-term plan to develop ferries and mini-containers with hydrofoils?

When it comes to accessing all segments of the marine industry, it’s just a matter of making hydrofoil systems that are more powerful and can carry more weight, similar to how GE makes small jet engines for small business jets as well as massive engines for wide-body jets. We plan to collaborate with world-leading naval architects and shipyards to design and build these ships and supply the foining systems and flight control software, just like we have recently announced with our partners Blue Orca Marine in Canada. In the medium to long term, we will become the de-facto supplier of all hydrofoil technology to the entire marine sector globally as it is forced to transition to zero emissions.