The merchant maritime industry is one of the oldest in the world, yet advancements in the business come slowly, and in incremental stages. The EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator powered by Techstars is on a campaign to change that and is looking for startups that are ready to help leapfrog the industry forward.
Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), a Singapore-based ship management company, also known to be the largest shipping company in the city state has launched the Dedicated Global Maritime Accelerator called the Eastern Pacific Accelerator, in collaboration with early-stage investor and accelerator Techstars. This mentorship-driven startup accelerator partnership will operate from EPS’ headquarters in Singapore and will be the first of its kind to target the maritime industry. The vision is to bring digital, technology-led solutions to problems faced by the maritime industry.
With change coming slowly and in incremental stages in the industry, issues such as sustainability, reducing emissions, and seafarer’s mental and physical wellbeing can no longer take a wait-andsee approach. The goal is to address these issues through the accelerator and to inspire the industry to take a technologyfirst approach to solving problems.
From April 2019 onwards the accelerator programme started accepting applications from aspiring startups across the globe and nine of the most promising early stage ventures were selected. The class of startups was selected with careful consideration and input from EPS’ Operations, Marine Technical, Commercial, IT, Fleet Personnel, and Management teams, who would work closely with each startup to test their technologies and accelerate their businesses.
From November 2019, the nine startups are going through an intensive three-month programme of research and development, mentorship, and collaboration at EPS’ headquarters in Singapore.
Gil Ofer, Head of Open Innovation at Eastern Pacific Shipping said, “We see a need for technology to propel the maritime industry forward, especially with a rapidly digitalising society and an increase in global trade. That means the shipping industry needs to innovate to solve problems such as fuel consumption, operational efficiency, fleet performance, and improving life-at-sea for seafarers – and we are doing just that with the Eastern Pacific Accelerator powered by Techstars.”
During the intensive three-month programme, the startups will receive hands-on mentorship from industry experts, access to EPS’ operational data, and the opportunity to deploy their technology on EPS’ diverse fleet of over 150 vessels. The programme will also provide the founders with access to Techstars’ network of mentors, investors and partners. In February 2020, the accelerator will culminate in a Demo Day where the founders will pitch to an audience of top investors, multinationals, government partners and other ecosystem players.
Eastern Pacific Accelerator’s first class includes the following startups:
- C-Log has developed a digital Maritime ID platform, which will make the seafarer certification validation process easier and faster for both employers and employees by leveraging blockchain technology.
- CyberOwl provides real-time visibility and raises early warning on suspicious INSPIRING INNOVATION activity on OT systems and assets, particularly at reconnaissance, installation or lateral movements stages of an attack.
- Enermo Technology offers a proprietary platform for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance that increases reliability of industrial equipment and optimising maintenance.
- F-drones is transforming marine and offshore logistics with proprietary aerial drones, by improving operational readiness and cost reduction of shore-toship logistics.
- Nautilus Labs is building artificial intelligence to advance the efficiency of ocean commerce. They deliver technology to help shipping companies minimize fuel consumption, maximize operational efficiency, and optimize fleet performance.
- QuantShip forecasts freight rate two to three weeks in advance by identifying leading indicators on both demand and supply by using proprietary machine learning algorithms, fixing the freight and chartering the vessel at the right time to maximize revenue by leveraging volatility and market inefficiencies.
- Saara automates inventory and consumer related processes for supply chain and retail businesses. y SeaMiles is the world’s first loyalty rewards programme designed to incentivise seafarers and shore personnel.
- Volteo Maritime is reimagining maritime by digitalising vessel operations management and fostering collaboration between ship and shore.
TECHNOLOGY TO COLLECT, SHARE AND ACCESS DATA
“Our vision is to build a mobile-first voyage operating system that can unlock business critical insights from the daily activities of crew members,” reveals Surendra Lingareddy, Director, Asia-Pacific, Volteo
- How has Volteo Maritime been able to compete with the startups from across the globe to be selected in the programme?
Since 2013, we have had the opportunity to work with 100+ global enterprises to reimagine their employee and customer experiences. When we applied to the Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) and Techstars accelerator program, we showcased how digital work flows leveraging Cloud, IoT and Mobile can change the way work is done on a ship. We are delighted to be part of the programme.
Q. Please tell us in detail about the technology solution Volteo will be developing in the programme?
We are building a product called Wayship. Our vision is to build a mobile-first voyage operating system that can unlock business critical insights from the daily activities of crew members. Wayship Core are a set of purpose-built industrial grade handheld devices that automate data collection from the vessel. These include data from Ships’ logs, Checklists, Audits, Drills, Inventory and Procurement. The same data can then be made accessible to provide fleet level visibility on the shore in a format that is relevant to operations, chartering, legal, compliance, equipment makers, class societies and surveyors. With this application, crew will gain time to focus on safer navigation, increase compliance and better maintenance while trade will gain fleet level visibility.
QWhat support are Eastern Pacific Shipping and Techstars providing?
EPS is among the most respected ship management firms in the world. They deeply understand these challenges and are providing us uninhibited access to every member of their team including dedicated time from their CEO, CIO, Head of Innovation and Head of Operations. To truly empathise with the crew, EPS arranged vessel trips from Singapore to Thailand for all the nine startups. In addition, we have been assigned two senior operational executives as mentors to ensure we have full access to their expertise to develop Wayship. Techstars on the other hand is the world’s largest network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Besides providing seed capital, they have facilitated multiple conversations with global shipping firms and venture capital funds.
Q What are the issues in ship to shore collaboration?
Crew onboard a vessel are saddled today with paperwork and manual processes. Several activities including Ships’ logs, checklists, inventory, procurement and planned maintenance happen either via paper, email, excel or software that does not offer any support to share openly. On the other hand, vessels now are run by very lean crew and often have limited time for these activities but compliance mandates them to do so. With increased network availability, we believe vessel crew expect technology that can help in data collection, sharing and accessibility. We will address those three steps with Wayship.
Q How has been the year 2019 for Volteo?
We are excited for the work we have done in 2019. The work includes working with Department of Ports, Andhra Pradesh which recognised SmartPort, the cloud application we built as the default application to manage visibility across all minor ports in Andhra Pradesh. We got a contract to work with Green Climate Fund, a UN organisation to drive digital transformation. To close the year, we are thrilled to be part of EPS/Techstars accelerator.
Q What will be the technology trends to look for in the year 2020?
Ship owners are looking towards operational efficiencies which will dramatically increase the need to build software that reduces cost of operations, focus on crew experience and gains fleet visibility. In 2020, drone based supplies to ships, predictive and performance management for equipment, inventory using vision, IoT will become a reality.