Irish marine robotics company XOCEAN, which maintains a branch office in Dartmouth, has raised €8 million or C$11.7 million in a funding round that valued the startup at about €100 million or C$ 146.2 million.
Founded in 2017 and based in Louth, near the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, XOCEAN uses robots to gather operational data for offshore industrial projects, like wind farms.
The company said in a press release its revenue has tripled in each of the past two years, and it plans to increase its employee count from about 100 people to about 350 in the next two years.
“Our mission is to deliver the data that powers the sustainable development of our oceans,” said CEO James Ives in a press release.
“Our aim is to do this in a safe, economic and ultra-low impact way. Today we are delivering this for clients across a range of industries including the renewable energy sector and government agencies across the globe from North America to Europe to Asia-Pacific.”
XOCEAN’s founding premise is that gathering marine data with unmanned vessels is safer, less expensive and better for the environment than using research ships. And in the coming years, data on the oceans is going to become more and more important, Ives told Entrevestor when his company was preparing to open its Dartmouth office.
The company is not building up its own data sets but is a service company that helps governments, research institutions, corporations and others to gather submarine data. The information it can collect ranges from mapping the seabed, to fish stocks, to environmental data.
XOCEAN is also part of a five-member Ocean Supercluster consortium spending $3.4 million to develop unmanned submarines controlled via satellite, for applications such as ocean research and aquaculture.
The C$11.7 million investment round was led by Dublin’s VentureWave Capital and also included existing investor Chris Huskilson -- a founding partner of Dalhousie-based startup accelerator Creative Destruction Lab Atlantic.
VentureWave Chairman Alan Foy will also receive a seat on XOCEAN’s board of directors.
“We are delighted to be working with James and Karen,” he said. “The ocean data collection market is a major emerging market opportunity with substantial growth forecast. XOCEAN has world class technology that delivers an eco-friendly, safer and more intelligent way of addressing this need. With operations already across four continents, they are well positioned to capture a significant share of that growth.”