In 2018, German entrepreneur and designer Holger Henn spied a gap in the market for advanced electric catamarans.
Together with Mathias May the pair launched ALVA Yachts, a new brand of beamy electric vessels with superyacht quality and an environmental focus. Despite the pandemic, ALVA Yachts secured an impressive number of orders in its first two years thanks to a global network of dealers and is set to ramp up production to meet the demand and grow its portfolio. Ahead of another busy year, BOAT Business catches up with founder and CEO Holger Henn...
How was 2021 for ALVA Yachts?
It was a very exciting year for ALVA Yachts. We started the production of our series models, the Ocean Eco 60 and Ocean Eco 90. During this time, with increasing interest in the brand, we were able to build up a solid order book. Overall, it has been a great year for ALVA.
What are the biggest challenges the company has faced?
As a brand that launched during a global pandemic, we, of course, had to deal with challenges such as travel restrictions. The pandemic prevented us from visiting the production facility and our clients around the world, so we looked to digital means to remain connected. As a new brand entering the marketplace, we also had to prove ourselves to the market and new clients. We are developing a solid brand reputation and our number one priority is to build trust and show that we can deliver exceptional yachts.
What are your focuses and priorities for the next five years?
From a shipyard and yacht brand perspective, we want to grow our production capacity substantially to keep up with interest and orders. We want to establish ourselves as one of the bigger players in the growing electric yacht market and because of that, we are heavily investing in our production - our goal is to complete ten yachts every year. Other than that, we want to make sure our yachts are always premium quality, and better overall in every product generation.
Are you targeting any specific territories?
Our strongest markets right now are the USA and the Middle East. We are a global brand but unsurprisingly, we are most welcomed in territories with an interest in sustainable and electric boating.
How many yachts do you have on order and/or under construction?
We currently have over 12 boats ordered and four in production. We do not plan to build any boats on speculation. We know that we are in a great position in the market right now and do not believe this would help us very much.
Do you have any plans to grow the ALVA Yachts range?
Yes, we will adjust the range later this year with some of our older models finishing and new models being introduced. Further details of this will be released in due course, but we have a very exciting product development plan in place.
When deciding on new product development, does the inspiration come from current clients, from the market or from within the company?
It is a combination of all the above. Our passion for life on the water is the driving force and inspiration behind our vessels. Evidently, we design our boats for a very specific customer and market: modern explorers of the oceans with a desire to live on board powered by the latest technology.
Have there been any changes in the demands of clients since the pandemic?
We believe there is a whole new generation of yacht owners coming through and we’ve already seen it in our client base. Younger, tech-savvy and eco-conscious clients who want to live and work remotely on their boats. We are happy that our products speak directly to this new demographic.
How will you ensure order momentum in the coming years?’
We will ensure momentum in the coming years in the following three ways: One is significant investment in production to make sure our quality matches the expectations of our customers; two is the development and introduction of exciting new models and continuous updates to our range; three is remaining at the forefront of new innovations and technologies
Do you think the success of the superyacht industry in 2021 will last?
In recent years, we have witnessed significant growth in the superyacht market. Not only a desire for larger boats but also more clients in the marketplace. We believe this trend will continue, but the clients' expectations will shift, and yacht brands must be ready for that.