Ayelet Ben Arav
Ayelet Ben Arav

VP BizDev at Incubit

Making a Splash! 6 maritime tech startups investors should watch out for

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About 71% of the earth’s surface is water, and approximately 80% of global trading is conducted via sea. Also the global ocean economy is expected to reach $3 trillion in value by 2030, doubling its worth within two decades. And still, compared to the number of startups in other sectors, the maritime tech territory seemed mainly untapped up until a few years ago. It’s exciting to see the rapid growth in this field, as more and more companies dare to test the water and offer innovative solutions in the maritime space.

We are closely watching this arena and are constantly amazed at the growth and maturity levels reached by some companies, even relatively young ones. As such we wanted to share some of our insights around interesting startups in this space. The following list includes a few promising and achieving startups that sail the sea of opportunities that is maritime tech. To give you a wide as possible perspective, we have examined each startup’s core mission and technology, what we believe makes it unique, and gave a few business info nuggets on each. So, let’s start, anchors aweigh!

1. Windward: Big data minimizes risk

  • Homeport: https://wnwd.com/
  • Sailing route: Windward combines big data and machine learning capabilities to provide companies with AI-based risk analysis, helping them predict, prepare and prevent maritime risks.
  • Rocking the boat: One of the things that makes Windward unique is the segments it chose to focus on. Windward initially approached government agencies and large enterprises, but soon realized that the maritime insurance market is a blue ocean that is waiting for the right company to disrupt it. Today, the company offers its technology to the marine vessels insurance market, using a mathematical model to build a detailed risk profile for each vessel. This (as well as other segments) find the in-depth information provided by Windward extremely valuable, making the company a force to be reckoned with.
  • On board:
    Founded: 2010
    Employees: 51-100
    Last funding round: Series C
    Total funding to date: $32.3M

2. Cydome Security: Protecting a sea of IoT devices

  • Homeport: https://cydome.io/
  • Sailing route: Cydome is focused on the maritime IoT-cybersecurity arena. The company provides threat detection to protect the unique systems and tools used at sea for navigation and guidance, sensoring, control, communication, and more.
  • Rocking the boat: Security-wise, IoT is the Bermuda Triangle of the tech world at the moment. New devices and software constantly emerge, making the perpetual chase between hackers and security companies exciting, albeit exhausting to follow. Cydome realized that maritime security calls for a specific approach and technology and took on the important mission of staying on top of new developments and technologies in the field.
  • On board:
    Founded: 2016
    Employees: 1-10
    Funding information: NA – the company is privately held

3. Orca AI: Safer waterways

  • Homeport: www.orca-ai.io
  • Sailing route: Orca AI saves lives at sea by offering artificial intelligence-based navigation technology that prevent collisions. The ship crew is able to make smarter and safer decisions thanks to the company’s real-time imaging solutions and autonomous technologies.
  • Rocking the boat: Sometimes, it’s the most obvious solution that is also the most revolutionary. Orca AI takes the approach adopted by companies such as Mobileye and Nexar and finds the equivalent opportunity at sea. This is the technology that could have saved the Titanic.
  • On board:
    Founded: 2018
    Employees: 1-10
    Last funding round: Seed
    Total funding to date: $2.6M

4. Maritime Robotics: The no-man and the sea

  • Homeport: https://maritimerobotics.com/
  • Sailing route: The company provides the maritime vertical with unmanned data-acquisition solutions in particularly challenging environments. Company products include moored balloon systems, unmanned surface vehicles, and unmanned aircraft systems. Like other players in this field, it collaborates with military and government institutes, as well as civilian ones.
  • Rocking the boat: Maritime Robotics invests heavily in research and exploration, partnering with companies like Rakuten to study the untapped market it wants to revolutionize. It’s clear that the company considers itself a pioneer in the field, and for very good reasons.
  • On board:
    Founded: 2005
    Employees: 11-50
    Funding information: NA – the company is privately held

5. Sealartec: A truly autonomous experience

  • Homeport: https://sealartec.com/
  • Sailing route: The company offers fully autonomous robotic system for launch and recovery of unmanned vessels.. Sealartec’s technology is relevant for both manned and unmanned vessels, turning two of the most complex and unsafe actions of launch and recovery into perfectly automated ones.
  • Rocking the boat: At first glance, it seems that the maritime industry embraced the autonomous revolution. New technologies that take the human factor out of the equation help make this sector safer and easier to operate. In reality, however, the launch and recovery procedures are often left without a solution. By focusing on this part of the process, Sealartec literally saves lives.
  • On board:
    Founded: 2018
    Employees: 2
    Last funding round: Seed
    Total funding to date: $0.75M

6. QuadSAT: Maritime communication is key

  • Homeport: https://quadsat.com/
  • Sailing route: This antena-testing company started as a university project and currently provides drone-based solutions to the maritime and aeronautical industries. QuadSAT simulates the motion of ships to test satellites and VSAT antennas accurately and efficiently. Its technology can also assist in identifying interference in satellite transmission.
  • Rocking the boat: QuadSAT improves the widely-used and perhaps old-school maritime antennas with a new, disruptive innovation – drones. It solves a real problem for many companies who face communication trouble that affect their entire business conduct. This solution makes the most out of existing and familiar infrastructures and is simple, relevant, and brilliant.
  • On board:
    Founded: 2017
    Employees: 1-10
    Last funding round: Seed
    Total funding to date: £700K

    The naval explorers who found new continents centuries ago boldly entered unknown territories and sailed the dangerous sea to make their discoveries. In the tech arena, we dream of such meaningful and impactful opportunities and spend years and billions trying to reach them. Using the latest maritime technology, we now stand a true chance of bringing solutions that will transform every single aspect of our lives. By harnessing some of the skills and tools we’ve perfected on land and bringing them into sea, we are about to see some remarkable discoveries.
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