Kayakfirst Ltd., a manufacturer of sports equipment for the indoor practice of the sport of kayak canoeing, has expanded its capacity in the southeastern Hungarian city of Szeged with a grant from the European Union.
József Weimper, who founded the company and is an active kayaker himself, said at the Friday event to present the investment that his aim years ago was to develop an ergometer that would enable winter sports-specific movements, which would imitate the feeling of water as close as possible to reality during training and would require significantly less space than other machines. They developed a device that, with various accessories, is suitable for indoor training in kayaking, canoeing, kiteboarding and SUP, he said.
With an investment of almost HUF 300 million, of which HUF 209.2 million was covered by a conditional reimbursable grant, the company has set up its own production base on 1,770 square meters. The equipment installed - laser cutters, bending, painting and welding machines, CNC milling and turning machines - has enabled the entire production to be brought in-house. This is a significant step towards strategic autonomy," stressed József Weimper.
The company exports its sports equipment to 67 countries, with around 2,200 units delivered so far and 10,000 users based on the downloaded phone app. Half of the ergometers produced are resold by retailers, while the other half are purchased by private individuals and sports federations and associations. “Thanks to recent developments, a model will soon be on the market that will allow fitness centers to offer kayak canoeing to a public that is completely new to water sports," the CEO said, adding that this would help reduce the seasonality of demand for the company's products.
According to publicly available company records, the founder József Weimper was joined as an investor by the Prosperity Proseed Joint Seed Venture Capital Fund in 2016 and the Research, Development and Innovation State Capital Fund in 2018. The company's net sales revenue was almost HUF 305 million in 2020, increasing to around HUF 330 million in 2021. In 2020, the company achieved a profit after tax of HUF 12.6 million, and in 2021 it had a loss after tax of HUF 47 million.
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