South Central Ventures has announced its latest investment in the Croatian startup Sentinel, a leading smart solution provider for recreational boats in the Adriatic sea, with a vision of “Building IoT at sea”.
The € 1 million investment from ENIF and private investor, Matej Tomazin, is intended to fuel their growth in Europe and extend to the USA. Sentinel is the 3rd investment by South Central Ventures in a Croatian company including Agrivi and Bulb.
While there are thousands of smart solutions already available for cars or homes, recreational boats are seriously lacking the connectivity and “smartness”. The market for “connected boats” is a trending topic as currently there are more than 30 million recreational boats registered worldwide.
Just in Europe, there are close to 30.000 new boats sold each year, following a global trend of a market growing 8% per year. Currently, boat owners and boat rental companies only have limited options to monitor and control their boats. Sentinel with their solutions is solving boat maintenance and logistics problem for both boat rental businesses as well as private boat owners by bringing boat’s data online within a single platform. It allows monitoring of each boat location (fleet tracking), its health (batteries etc.) and usage information (petrol station visits, ETA, danger areas, etc.).
Reducing cost of boat maintenance and security is, therefore, the first benefit they bring to boat owners. Providing reliable information while using the boat is where Sentinel sees the future. The level of risk for bad weather, equipment malfunctions, wrong route decisions will be substantially reduced. Their solutions help in providing on-time quality data, but at the same time, they create huge amounts of data at sea, where such resources are scarce and even more valuable.
The company was founded in 2014 and since then has been followed by a substantial growth in the rental boat business. Their team was voted as top performers in one of 10 best accelerators worldwide and being awarded “Best IoT startup” in Croatia by CESA. In just 2 years, they reached a dominant position in Croatia (4th biggest boat rental market worldwide) mostly from business clients.
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Sentinel team consists of leading experts in software and product development working for some of the largest technology companies in the world. Their founders Marko Pihlar (CEO) and Gregor Pipan together with the technical wizards Pedro Kostelec (CTO) and Matic Herman (Lead HW dev) form the core team of Sentinel.
Their team counts 10 people predominantly with Sentinel team consists of leading experts in software and product development working for some of the largest technology companies in the world. Their founders Marko Pihlar (CEO) and Gregor Pipan together with the technical wizards Pedro Kostelec (CTO) and Matic Herman (Lead HW dev) form the core team of Sentinel.
“SC Ventures brings the necessary fuel to further expand the team and support our growth strategy at an aggressive pace. The challenge to connect every boat on the water is an ongoing one and is a crucial enabler for the “smart boat” the industry is headed for. We are recognized as a specialist for rental boats and we will continue focusing on that industry, but we will now also be making a stronger move to the consumer market .” said Marko Pihlar, CEO of Sentinel Marine.
“Recreational boating has always been one of the most premium segments of the leisure activities. Most of the private boat owners would also like to have the chance to check the status of their beauties it whenever desired. Sentinel brings the real-time information about their boats to their owners’ mobile phones and makes their life more relaxing. But there’s much more in Sentinel than just the remote real-time monitoring. It enables the collection of the data from a number of boats and contributes to increased safety on the seas. We’re thrilled to work with this committed team and be part of Sentinel on their mission to build a comprehensive IoT at sea.” said J ure Mikuz managing partner at SCV.