Five Top Maritime Corporations Partner With Tech Startup Program

Courtesy Rainmaking

Published Jan 27, 2020 8:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

With the assistance of the corporate innovation company Rainmaking, five large corporations with significant presence in the maritime industry have partnered with eight promising startups. Together, these firms - Cargotec, HHLA, Inmarsat, Shell and Wärtsilä - are working on 13 separate projects aimed at accelerating innovation and improving the bottom line. 

The match-ups were arranged by Rainmaking's Trade and Transport Impact program, which lines up corporate partners with budding tech startups for a range of transportation-related projects - from port- and cyber-security to energy-optimization and crew welfare. The current round of projects relate to safety, security and crew welfare; optimization of port and vessel operations; and autonomous operations and equipment.

“There is growing recognition that the maritime industry needs to innovate, and fast. As appetite for fresh thinking, insight, and technology swells, bringing together established maritime leaders with technology startups is what’s needed to deliver genuine business results quickly," said Nicklas Viby Fursund, a partner with Rainmaking. "It’s exciting to see the genuine impact quality tech startups with high engagement and energy levels can make, helping to solve the problems the corporates are facing and adding value to operations.”

Rainmaking says that the Trade and Transport Impact program includes clear deadlines, encouraging the partners to work towards delivering tangible results on shorter timetables. 

One of the startups involved in the program, Scoutbase, uses a smartphone app to survey seafarers about safety. Scoutbase's aim is to "capture honest data continuously rather than relying on occasional surveys, inspections or incident reports," and it is now working with Shell to refine its product. “We have had great success working with Scoutbase, whose technology collects data to reduce human error. Our business has been hugely engaged - everyone is really keen and loves the energy that Scoutbase has brought to the table, as well as the product itself. Going forward in 2020 we are really excited to hopefully start rolling this product out," said Michael Andronicou, project lead for new marine ventures at Shell.  

Maritime technology company Cargotec is working with two startups under the program. "The Trade and Transport Impact program provides an excellent framework to explore collaborations with startups - not only for scouting and finding the good ones, but also to encourage impetus and progress within a certain timeframe," said Tero Hottinen, director for emerging digital business at Cargotec. "We are working with two different companies that have truly complementary offerings to ours. We probably wouldn’t have trialled both at the same time in a synergetic manner without Rainmaking, so it really has been beneficial from that perspective.”

Wärtsilä is well known for investment in digital technology for energy efficiency and data-driven operations, and it is working with the startup Signol on encouraging bridge teams to save fuel. "Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors in shipping today, and we are trying to find new ways of improving it. Signol has enabled us to reach the decision makers onboard and better support them with fuel consumption, energy efficiency and operations," said Steffen Knodt, director of new ventures for Wärtsilä.

The third cycle of the program begins in early 2020, at which point more organizations will be able to join. Rainmaking will also be launching a decarbonization program in Singapore, which specifically focuses on startups with solutions that support the transition to zero-carbon shipping.