Movac is excited to announce our investment in Tectrax. Tectrax has developed an electronic amphibious system for the recreational boat market. Movac led the company’s $2m seed round.

Supporting New Zealand’s marine sector

NZ is known globally for marine innovation. Tectrax partners with NZ’s leading boat builders, to fit amphibious systems to aluminium or fibre-glass boat hulls. This has three key benefits over the direct-to-consumer model of competitors. Firstly, Tectrax can leverage the existing sales channels of partner original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) instead of directly competing. Secondly, brand-loyal boaties don’t need to compromise on their preferred boat make in order to benefit from an amphibious system. Thirdly, through global expansion, Tectrax can showcase NZ boat OEMS in overseas markets, furthering the global reputation of the NZ boating industry.

Electrification trends

Tectrax’s electric system aligns with our thesis around the ongoing electrification of the wider transport sector. Electrification in marine is currently lagging automobiles but is gaining momentum, with new electric boat motors entering the market. Improving battery technology will continue to be an enabler of the shift towards electric, both on the road and at sea. Tectrax’s system is well placed to benefit as the marine industry matures into electrification.
From an end-user perspective, Tectrax’s electric amphibious system has several key advantages over existing amphibious systems that use internal combustion engines. It is less noisy, lower mass and less bulky, so takes up less real estate on the boat. It also has lower associated maintenance requirements.

Making boating more accessible for longer

Kiwis love boating. The Maritime NZ 2020 Recreational boating survey found that around 45% of the general population are involved in some form of recreational boating.
Despite its huge popularity, there is no hiding that launching a boat can be an unpleasant process. The day often kicks off with a queue at the jetty. Next, Parent A is knee-deep in water, while Parent B is backing the trailer down the jetty. With the boat eventually launched, Parent B is then off to park the trailer, before wading into the water to jump aboard. Three hours later they do it all again in reverse. Fast forward 20 years and neither parent has the physical or mental strength to navigate entry and exit tactics, so the boat is sold or sits idle.
Amphibious boats take away the pain points of launching and retrieving a boat. Boats can either be driven from batch to beach or easily driven off the trailer at the carpark and down the ramp or launched directly off the beach. People and gear can also be loaded directly from the beach. By taking away some of the key boating challenges, amphibious boats can make the water more accessible to more people for longer, including into retirement. This is an attractive proposition for an aging population – grandparents can now enjoy taking their grandkids out longer.

Consumers are spending

Due to changing demographics and changes to spending priorities due to Covid, consumer spending on recreational goods and vehicles has surged, with people willing to spend more time and money on local leisure goods and services. The marine industry, particularly the boat manufacturing sector in NZ, has experienced the positive economic impacts of these trends. Despite a tightening market, we see an ongoing trend of spending being diverted toward discretionary, premium recreational goods.

Mihi: The NZ VC village

Tectrax was kicked off in 2014 by a club of guys who identified the market opportunity through their love of boating. Despite their full-time jobs, they got together and made it happen – a great example of Kiwi innovation. They have bootstrapped the business to date, and we believe now is the right time for Movac to join the club and fund the step-change to expand globally.
We are really excited to be joining a great team of founders – Anatole Masfen, Derek Slatter, Hamish McCourtie, Alistair McCourtie, and Rob Gower. We are also delighted to be investing alongside Paul Davidson who is well known to Movac and an experienced investor in the marine space. Finally, a big thank you to Richard Howse for introducing and managing the process on behalf of Tectrax. Love our village!