Social and Environmental Innovation

Pioneering the way to zero emissions

With support from vital early investors, Leif Stavøstrand works to eliminate boating emissions worldwide through innovative high-speed electrical propulsion systems.

With support from vital early investors, Leif Stavøstrand works to eliminate boating emissions worldwide through innovative high-speed electrical propulsion systems.

Growing up on the Norwegian island of Svanøy, in a picturesque town framed by fishing boats, Leif Stavøstrand has led the “sea man’s life” for as long as he can remember. He’s circumnavigated the globe working as a fish farmer, fisherman, seaman, merchant navy officer and Master Mariner. To Leif, it was clear: “the ocean seemed to be on [his] path.”

One day while plotting his next oceanic adventure with his father, Gunnar Stavøstrand, they discussed a desire for an eco-friendly, electric boat to take out at higher speeds. When they researched their options—they realized there weren’t any. Leif knew “something had to be done,” and that he and his father, an inventor who works with smart solutions for the land and the sea, had to be the ones to do it. The two of them devised the idea for a high-speed electrical propulsion system for small and medium-sized boats, and like that, Evoy was born. 

The Foundation has a long track record as an impact investor in high potential social and environmental start-ups like Evoy. Since 2016, the Foundation and Lundin Energy have made several strategic investments into accelerator programs in Scandinavia to kick-start small businesses with innovative climate change and ocean protection solutions. These investments are part of Lundin Energy’s decarbonization commitment. In 2019, the Foundation and Lundin Energy were anchor funders in Katapult Ocean, an accelerator program and seed fund targeting the best ocean technology start-ups from around the world.

“Running a start-up can be kind of challenging and hard sometimes,” Leif said. “Well, a lot of the time. But it’s also great fun, and it’s a big challenge.” As he notes, “capital and competence” are the two key factors in any start-up’s success. So when Evoy was accepted into the Katapult Ocean, Leif leapt at the opportunity and Evoy emerged as one of the most promising start-ups from the program. At the end of 2019, the Lundin Foundation made a $500k USD equity investment into the company and joined the board. “That was really, really cool,” he said.

Though they had some support on board already, Leif knew they needed “a big investor to help [them] along for the second round…and of course, when Lundin came in, it made it easier to convince other investors that this is a good way to go.” It also meant they didn’t necessarily have to “run around and knock on all the doors.” Investors were already knocking on theirs. 

“I think it’s important, and we see a big trend shift here,” he said, “where investors really want to contribute toward green companies like us. And that’s a very, very positive shift I think—and a necessary shift in these days.”

In 2019, Leif felt honored that the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, attended the launch of Evoy I, the first prototype. As the boat set out on the water in Florø, a town framed by narrow canals that open to vast waters, the Prime Minister “baptized” it with a waterfall of champagne and shared a few spirited words about the “many positives” Evoy can bring to Norway and the world.

Evoy is ready to take on this challenge. The company is preparing to deliver between 15 and 20 systems in its first year, and Leif said they intend to double that figure annually.

“There are so many people that want to make it a more sustainable world for their children and their family,” he said. These enthusiastic people often approach Leif at boat shows and other events. “And that’s really something that fuels my motivation and tells me that we’re on the right path to actually making a difference,” he said.

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