To kick off this year’s Industry Spotlights we are featuring a very young and innovative entrepreneur,
his name is Harold Guillemin and he is the CEO/Founder of FinX.
Check out how this young man is making a difference here below:
What is your background and how did you develop the skills to direct a company?
After my Master of Engineering at ESME Sudria, I joined the start-up AMS R&D, founded by my father, in order to help in the development of a new industrial pump technology called Wavera that uses an undulating membrane like a fish fin. Launched in 2018, this 200 Watts and 100% electric range allows us to propel a fluid with an energy saving up to 30%. After five years at AMS R&D, as I was well aware of this technology and loved it, I wanted to adapt it to the nautical world and thus propel boats without propellers. In order to have all the necessary skills to develop a start-up, I had the opportunity to do a one-year double Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at ESSEC Business School and CentraleSupélec. It was a good way to have all the prerequisites in business, in addition to the technic, such as business management, legal, fundraising, etc. This allowed me to focus on the project and to create FinX. Thanks to all this, FinX is now an amazing team, developing this great bio-inspired propulsion.
Why did you choose to create FinX?
The climatic emergency knocking on our doors, I could not stay idle. Fascinated by this technology, which I helped develop at AMS R&D, I was deeply convinced that I could adapt it to the nautical sector. When you know that a 5 HP combustion boat engine pollutes as much as 38 cars, there is a real urgency to end this aberration!
I decided to adapt this technology to a universe where it could have a greater impact, so it was obvious to develop it in sailing… maybe because I’m a native Breton!
How does FinX set itself apart from other companies?
FinX is a biomimetic technology, meaning that we are inspired by the swordfish movement which has a top speed up to 110 km/h (70 mph) to create this new nautical propulsion. By opening one’s mind to biomimicry, one is faced with an unlimited potential for creativity and one can find many solutions to sometimes very technical problems. Typically, at FinX, biomimicry has made it possible to provide answers to questions related to hydrodynamics, turbulent flows or even hydro generation. This system allows up to 30% power saving compared to a propeller at the same speed.
But this is not the only advantage, this innovation also offers:
reduced maintenance since the engine is composed of very few parts, a high reactivity at start-up “like a fish in the water”, plastics or algae do not get tangled in the membrane and pass into it without being stopped, and maximum safety for man and the environment.
In 2018, there were 86 accidents in the world related to propellers. It is still, an alarming figure despite the many precautions given to users. This figure obviously does not consider all the disasters caused to the fauna and flora because of the propellers.
Our objective is to reduce all the harmful impacts of the marine market, whatever they may be (pollutant, fatal, noisy, ecological, economic) by proposing fully electric engines which recharge themselves by the simple fact of sailing and allow to completely preserve users, fauna and flora, since they are silent and without propellers!
What has been your biggest success to date?
My greatest success to date is to have been able to convince in the different key stages of the project, in successive waves, personalities with a real influence in their respective world: expert in biomimicry, business angels, engineers, partners etc.
This community of goodwill led us in 2019 to participate for the first time to the Monaco Solar and Energy Boat Challenge, but also to take part to a round table for “les Assises de l’Économie de la Mer” in front of 1,500 people. Showing what we have accomplished these few months, the enthusiasm and the potential of this new technology of nautical propulsion is always an immense pleasure.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge with our team is to tame this breakthrough technology at higher power (> 100 HP). It still has a lot to teach us. It is a very exciting challenge to be able to propel a fluid without propeller, to have the same performance and in addition to save 30% of energy. We are extremely happy to have been able to propel our first prototype, a huge challenge knowing the complexity of the technology!
What are FinX’s projects which you are excited about that will potentially revolutionize the industry?
The craziest FinX project, would be to adapt this new propulsion technology to a container ship with a great energy saving (it’s about a 70 k€ saving)! Such a project could revolutionize the maritime transport! Polluting both the air and the water of the seas and oceans, the ecological impact of the maritime transport is huge, a “great part of the total pollution generated on earth”. Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping in 2012 were 2.2% of global emissions from human activity. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) expects them to increase by 50 to 250% by 2050 if no action is taken… In the face of the environmental catastrophe that is brewing, we seek to make a world safer, cleaner and greener becoming reality. A world in which technological advances lead to the strengthening of the marine ecosystem and not its destruction. A world where engines are the perfect balance between performance and respect for the environment. Proposing this type of solution for highly polluting propulsions is a revolutionary project for which we get up every morning.
Where do you see the yachting industry heading in the future and what action would you like to see taken by other companies?
For the future, we hope to see the yachting industry with a minimal environmental footprint and accessible to the largest numbers. We strongly believe in the coordination between the nautical industry players to propose ever more innovative solutions, to contribute to the development of this cleaner, greener and safer world.
Which skills and attributes do you look for in candidates wanting to join your company?
We want candidates who believe that we can change our destiny by developing greener and safer engines. We want people who grab the project, help us to follow that goal, and live at 100% this completely innovative and unconventional project with the desire to change a whole sector.
These people will be part of the FinX revolution!