AllOY Emerges from Stealth to Bring EV, Autonomous Technology to Boating

Sensors and autonomous tech have made cars and trucks safer for years. Now Grapevine-based AllOY aims to do that for boats—by building its own line of electric-powered, autonomously enhanced boats complete with sensors and backup cameras.

“Sitting on the back of the boat with a glass of wine, it just became clear that those same things were going to have a radical impact on marine,” CEO Brandon Cotter told Dallas Innovates.

If you’ve been out on Grapevine Lake recently and noticed a group of people cruising the water with laptops in hand, you may have caught a glimpse of one of North Texas’ newest startups.

After working in stealth for the past year and a half, AllOY—a company focused on bringing electric vehicle and autonomous technology to the recreational boating market—is making its debut with the aim of making a day on the water safer.

“Boats are essentially dumb and dangerous. Our mission is to change that, to bring a layer of intelligence to boating,” CEO Brandon Cotter told Dallas Innovates. “What we’re building is the technology that makes boats smarter and safer.”

Making smarter boats

Still frame from an Alloy obstacle avoidance test video [Image: Alloy]

Similar to companies like Apple or Tesla, the boats AllOY is building will be a conduit for the technology it’s developing. While still in the prototype phase, the company is working to create electric boats equipped with technology often seen in the automotive market—like sensors, backup cameras, and brakes that help captains detect and avoid collisions with other boats, people, and objects in the water.

In addition, Cotter said the company is working to develop certain autonomous driving capabilities that will allow the boat to “take over a specific mission,” like docking or moving to a specific spot on the water.

“The most important thing is that interaction and communication back with you,” Cotter said. “If we can prevent an accident just by giving somebody awareness of what’s going on, that’s a huge win.”

‘A radical impact on marine’

Alloy founder and CEO Brandon Cotter (left) and Co-Founder/CTO Powell Kinney [Photos: Alloy]

Leading AllOY’s 10-person team are co-founders Powell Kinney, who serves as CTO, and Cotter—both with deep ties in the local ecosystem. Kinney’s expertise lies in autonomous driving technology. Before joining AllOY, he worked as an independent consultant after leaving his role as the chief product officer at Toyota Connected, the vehicle manufacturer’s intelligent mobility platform. A serial entrepreneur, Cotter has helped launch a handful of local startups, in addition to being a former managing director at Stripe Ventures.

“We had just been looking at what was going on with all these amazing companies that were doing really groundbreaking things in the automotive industry,” Cotter told us. “And sitting on the back of the boat with a glass of wine, it just became clear that those same things were going to have a radical impact on marine.”

ALLOY aims to raise $10M this year

This year, Cotter said the company is largely focusing on building out its technology and developing its first prototype, which he expects to happen in the next few months. From there, the company plans to begin taking pre-orders next year, with the goal of beginning to deliver boats to customers in early 2024 and eventually to release a full lineup of various sizes and designs.

To do so, Cotter said AllOY is halfway through raising a $2.5 million funding round, with plans to turn around and raise an additional $7.5 million this year following the first raise’s close. That money will go toward further development of the company’s software and hardware, along with helping it approximately double its headcount.

“We’re building something that’s really meaningful,” Cotter said. “It’s going to save really tragic things from happening. Whether it’s inexperience, a cost barrier, or there’s a knowledge gap, we as a company want to remove those barriers, and we want to make it easier for someone to get on the water safely.”

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