The maritime industry brings solutions through regulation and not innovation. The industry is traditional and reluctant to embrace change. It is, however, more complex than that. Regulation is an obvious hurdle caused by the cross-border aspect of the industry. It results in immense complications when adopting innovation. While regulation is necessary, it can also stifle creation. 

Thankfully, the major players involved have realised that there is an urgent need for innovation. Shipping companies, classification societies, venture capitalists and governments around the world have focused on the subject. 

Founded in 2015, Port XL from Rotterdam is the world’s first maritime startup accelerator. Mumbai and Gdansk and London’s Startup Wharf, founded by Leonardo Zangrando, followed shortly after. Since then there have been maritime startup accelerators springing up all over the world – Seattle, Oslo, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Singapore, Lisbon, Marseille, New York, Barcelona among others. 

Shipping entities have gotten in on the act. Lloyds, Maersk, Shell, Schulte, Eastern Pacific, CMA CGM, Wartsila and almost every other major player in the industry either have their own startup accelerators or are working closely with others to drive the next wave of maritime innovations. 

However, a good investment is difficult to pin down. That is to say, investors need to fund projects that have a clear vision, and an earnest desire to solve a real, pressing problem. 

On that note, here is the list of startups to watch out for in the maritime industry, in no particular order


ioCurrents

Seattle-based ioCurrents is increasing uptime and efficiency throughout the global maritime industry through our predictive edge analytics platform, MarineInsightTM. The MarineInsight platform compiles and analyses all data onboard in real time, creating a live digital twin of the vessel.

Proprietary machine learning models are used to identify anomalous behaviour and opportunities for efficiency increases with alerts sent to crew onboard, as well as the shoreside team. MarineInsight empowers operating companies to have visibility to both live actionable insights and historic data reports from their fleet. At ioCurrents we strongly believe in helping operating companies accelerate digitisation through our simple hardware install onboard and our intuitive platform.

Maritime operators around the world use MarineInsight to prevent component failures, increase fuel efficiency, minimise downtime, improve vessel and fleet health visibility, as well as reduce environmental impact.   

What inspired the founders to start the company?

In 2015, Cosmo and Bhaskar were inspired to start ioCurrents after years working with geospatial IoT and sensor data, distributed networking and big data storage and analysis industries. Cosmo, originally from a maritime family on the east coast, saw the benefits that edge analytics could provide to the maritime industry. The problem Cosmo identified was an ever growing number of technology related complexities to the machinery in the maritime industry, leading to major progress as well as more problems and more confusing causes for downtime. After reviewing the opportunity with his partner, Bhaskar, they decided their unique skills and backgrounds were the perfect makeup to solve the growing global need for data visibility and predictive modelling in the maritime sector.

Thoughts on the future of the shipping industry?

Cosmo King

“We believe in empowering seafarers with real-time insights and ensuring that our platform sends insights shoreside with minimal bandwidth. While there may already be a monitoring solution onboard, raw data does not provide context on its own. The quality of the data is crucial – so the first thing MarineInsight does is aggregate all raw data in the same time series so every asset has the same timestamp, ensuring something as fundamental as what time something happened is consistent across systems. This standardization and removal of data silos is the foundation for analytics applications that we build. Long term we see a whole ecosystem of applications for stakeholders across the maritime industry that can be built upon the foundation of high-quality built-to-share data standards.”

Founders of ioCurrents – Cosmo King, CEO, and Bhaskar Bhattacharyya, CTO