Friday 18 October 2019

Top Canadian executive invests €500,000 in Irish startup Xocean

Businessman Chris Huskilson
Businessman Chris Huskilson
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

ONE of Canada's best-known businessmen, Chris Huskilson, has become an investor in Irish ocean data collection firm Xocean.

Last month, Xocean announced that it was creating 60 jobs at its new technical centre near Carlingford in Co Louth.

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It develops unmanned surface vessels used to map seabeds, inspect subsea structures and monitor the environment.

Mr Huskilson, who retired as CEO of Nova Scotia energy group Emera last year, has invested €500,000 in Xocean. It brings the total invested in the firm to just over €2m.

Xocean was founded by James Ives in 2017 and is based near Carlingford. Mr Ives is the former chief executive of tidal power technology firm OpenHydro. He stepped down from the role in 2016 after 12 years at the helm.

OpenHydro, which had been founded by businessman Brendan Gilmore in 2012, collapsed last year. It had secured more than €300m in funding from investors including French firm Naval. A slew of well-heeled Irish investors had also sunk money into the firm.

OpenHydro's development partners included Nova Scotia Power, a wholly-owned and largest subsidiary of Emera. They had worked together on the so-called Cape Sharp Tidal Project in the Bay of Fundy that lies beside Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine.

Recently, the Cape Sharp Tidal Project saw its marine renewable electricity licence revoked by Nova Scotia.

The investment by Mr Huskilson is a significant vote of confidence in Xocean. The firm has previously raised €250,000 from Enterprise Ireland, while Mr Ives has injected more than €1.1m into the venture.

Irish Independent

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