From student business to turnover in the millions
Christian Frost Røine
Co-founder and CEO
Bachelor of Finance
“Finance provides a deep understanding of what lies behind value drivers in companies, projects and technological development.”
They started a student business in 2012 with their wireless dead man’s switch. Five years later, Fell Marine has signed a partnership agreement with the world-leading boat motor manufacturer Mercury.
“When we started Fell Marine, I never would have believed that a wireless dead man’s switch would take me all over the world, but it has,” says Christian Frost Røine, entrepreneur and CEO for Fell Marine.
In 2012, he started a student business together with his cousin Ove Henrik Røine and Fredrik Eriksen. Ove Henrik was also a student at BI, while Fredrik studied cybernetics at OsloMet. Together, they had the broad expertise required to write a business plan which proved that they could get things done. The idea of the revolutionary dead man’s switch came because Røine believed that the traditional solution with a cord is not very user friendly.
“The cord often gets tangled up and makes people irritated, which causes them to take it off. This entails high risk for the boat operator and other seafarers as the motor keeps running if you end up in the water if there is an accident,” says Christian.
The wireless dead man’s switch consists of a sensor that is attached to the boat, in addition to a meter that can be attached to your body which communicates with the sensor.
“This gives you freedom to be able to move around on board and to enjoy boating life.”
Fell will become a large part of Mercury’s digital and wireless investments. Together, they will develop new IoT (Internet of Things) solutions for the maritime market based on the technology that Fell has developed.
“It is great fun for us to partner with a player like Mercury. Their turnover is NOK 20 billion a year and they are extremely good at what they do,” says Christian.
Finance studies became profitable start-up
“I have always been curious, which is also why I chose to study finance. As a child, I often took things apart so I could put them back together, to learn how things work. I think I have probably enjoyed creating since I was very young.”
The young entrepreneur says that the bachelor studies laid a good foundation for understanding what is required to start something new with regard to implementation, financing and focus on strategy and management.
“Finance provides a deep understanding of what lies behind value drivers in companies, projects and technological development. I felt that I could go further with an education in finance than following my original dream to be a pilot.”
Today, what started as a good idea has developed into a product that is sold all over the world and a company with nine employees split between Norway and the US. Over the course of 2018, Fell Marine will expand the company with another two people and continue their research and development in a completely new, high-tech lab.
The 29-year-old says that he has an exciting and varied job with a lot of travel. The days are filled with contact with foreign clients, suppliers and partners. A typical day at the office is full of emails and administrative work, product development and Skype meetings with people in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia.
“The days are often long, but when you see the results from your work, you are inspired to keep on going. In many ways, your job turns into your hobby. We have a lot of fun and get to meet many exciting people from different cultures, and that always makes the work new and exciting,” says Christian.