Since applications opened for the first year of the Eastern Pacific Accelerator powered by Techstars, Gary Ong, our entrepreneur-in-residence, and I have been fortunate to meet a slew of founders across the maritime, logistics, and supply chain verticals. We’ve connected with startups from around the world—North America, Europe, India, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. We’ve engaged with companies at various stages of growth in their entrepreneurial journeys, from early-stage startups to ones that have raised several millions of dollars. We are humbled by the enthusiastic reception this program has received so far, and we can’t wait to meet even more founders and learn about their companies.
We’re looking to talk to companies focused on the following themes as they relate to the maritime industry:
Evolving logistics business models
Over the last few years, we’ve seen hundreds of millions of dollars invested in logistics companies. For decades, the logistics industry has been characterized by low margins and long working capital cycles, hindering companies’ ability to grow and scale. We are excited to see the growing trend of logistics companies presenting new business models, improving upon historical approaches that have previously stifled industry advancement.
Maritime technology comes ashore
As active investors in the maritime space and logistics/supply chain, Gary and I have had front-row seats to how the industry has altered and advanced over the years. One recent trend that we find especially exciting is that maritime founders are coming “ashore.” Historically, maritime technology has concentrated on vessels, but recently we’ve started to witness startups divert their attention to onshore technologies and solutions. Whether they’re building an interface to manage a shipping company’s complex global agency networks or developing a technology to improve their relationship with a charterer, tech startups addressing the maritime space have a great opportunity for creating new solutions that make a big difference, especially as they relate to automation and software.
We’re also seeing founders apply innovations and solutions from adjacent sectors—such as energy, IoT, and financial services—to the maritime sector. Entrepreneurs are waking up to the sheer size of the maritime sector, a hundred-billion-dollar industry, and its readiness for disruption.
Emergence of ‘supply chain middleware’
For too long, location visibility has been a main focus for startups in the maritime space. We’re excited to see entrepreneurs expand from focusing on solutions specific to cargo visibility to other opportunities, such as predictive models, exception management support, financing solutions, and more. Some of the best 3PL players in the world are experimenting with solutions in these spaces, and there is ample opportunity for startups to capitalize on this momentum—and these enterprise customers’ needs.
At Eastern Pacific Accelerator powered by Techstars, we know that finding out exactly what an enterprise customer needs is an art. We understand that the information pertinent to the growth of your business doesn’t often lie in just one place; it is often distributed across key individuals, different departments, and even a variety of organizations. We appreciate that piecing together this information while being on the outside of an enterprise is an exercise that can take years, and still remain incomplete and ineffective.
This is precisely why we find the prospect of collaborating with maritime-focused tech founders so interesting. We’re excited to connect founders with key contacts across various departments from large enterprises, to provide feedback and mentorship to our founders and help them accelerate their businesses by packing years of innovation and learning into a 13-week program.
It’s exciting to think we are just at the beginning of our journey for the Eastern Pacific Accelerator powered by Techstars. We can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store, and what we can build, hand-in-hand with the founders, we will be investing in come September this year.
In Singapore, the port and the thousands of ships that pass through it are the everyday background of life. The island city-state is one of the world’s leading maritime hubs, and every large actor in the maritime community must have a presence. It’s also a Techstars hub with extensive VC activity and a diverse and multicultural population that share English as a common language.
That’s why Singapore was the clear choice for the world’s first global MaritimeTech accelerator: EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator powered by Techstars.
“It’s the perfect place for entrepreneurs in maritime tech to base themselves for a few months to build out their network and realize new business partnerships,” says Dhritiman Hui, the new managing director of the mentorship-driven accelerator program. Applications for the program are open now, and are due by July 7, 2019.
Shipping is one of the oldest industries in the world, yet it has significant progress to make in terms of technological advancements in order to bring it on par with other mature industries.
“The maritime world has traditionally lagged behind other sectors when it comes to embracing and leveraging the power of digital solutions and new technology,” Hui says. “Now, the confluence of new regulation, an influx of tech-savvy entrepreneurs interested in the space, and large, deep-pocketed VC funds, intrigued by the size and the possibilities of the maritime sector, are threatening to shift that paradigm.”
Through this accelerator, Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and EPS, a global leader in maritime tech, will provide tools, access, and mentorship to the next generation of entrepreneurs in the shipping and maritime industry. These entrepreneurs have the opportunity to drive dramatic impact in this $183 billion global industry. Costs involved in global shipping are currently so large that new efficiencies and technologies could save millions of dollars industry-wide—and positively impact climate change.
Having spent several years in the maritime sector, Hui has deep familiarity with the countless technological opportunities in the space. Hui also serves as managing director of Techstars other accelerator based in Singapore, Rakuten Accelerator, powered by Techstars. “I’m excited to be a shoulder to lean on for founders building businesses in Singapore,” he says.
While the accelerator is open to any startup with technology applicable to the maritime industry, the following themes will be especially considered: Fuel efficiency, vessel and commercial optimisation (including AI/IoT), shore-side technology, safety, cybersecurity, 3D printing and advanced materials, immersive technologies (AR/VR), and environmental preservation.
Does EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator powered by Techstars sound like a good fit for your company? If so, we want to hear from you! Request more information about the program, schedule one-on-one office hours, or apply now through July 7, 2019.
Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), a world leading ship management company, today announced they are jointly launching the world’s first global MaritimeTech accelerator, the EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars. Based in Singapore, this new mentorship-driven accelerator program will be Techstars second accelerator in the sovereign city-state.
“Eastern Pacific Shipping is one of the top global players in the merchant maritime space with a clear innovation-driven agenda that’s poised to disrupt the industry,” says Will Robinson, VP of Asia-Pacific Sales. “This partnership is a great match for Techstars, and we’re thrilled to partner with EPS in the world’s maritime and shipping capital and present the market with a catalyst for innovation in this industry. We’re excited to further expand the Techstars brand and network in the APAC region and look forward to working with EPS to support entrepreneurs in their journey to transform this enormous industry”.
The EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars will accept applications from startups around the world and ultimately select 10 companies—including the most promising local and regional startups—to participate in the program’s inaugural class. The companies will gather in Singapore for an intensive three month program of research and development, mentorship, and collaboration at EPS headquarters at Millenia Tower in Singapore. We encourage applications from entrepreneurs focused disrupting the maritime industry with technologies related to regulations, fuel efficiency, vessel operations, digitalization, and other subthemes.
Led by a Techstars Managing Director and staff, and augmented by Eastern Pacific leadership and mentors, the experience will culminate in a demo day. At this event, each startup will pitch its newly polished business to an audience of venture capitalists, corporate innovation leaders, and industry experts, with the goal of facilitating investment in the companies while broadening and energizing the local entrepreneurial community.
“The merchant maritime industry is one of the oldest in the world, yet advancements in the business come slowly, lagging behind the latest technological trends that other mature industries readily adopt,” says Gil Ofer, Business Development Manager of EPS. “Eastern Pacific Shipping aims to address this long-standing issue by partnering with Techstars to launch the world’s first global MaritimeTech accelerator to cultivate and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs in an industry that is ripe for disruption.”
Applications for the EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars will open in April 2019 and the program will begin in November 2019. Startups interested in the program are encouraged to learn more on the EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars page, or express interest using the Office Hours form. If you’re a corporation interested in learning about Techstars Accelerator corporate partnerships, click here.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders and their teams connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners who will help their companies grow. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs help founders do more faster and Techstars Startup Programs inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs. Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships helps brands supercharge growth by accelerating innovation and cultural transformation. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,600 companies with a market cap of $18.2 Billion. www.techstars.com
About Eastern Pacific Shipping
Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte. Ltd., also known as EPS, is an industry leading global ship management company headquartered in Singapore. EPS manages a young, diverse and dynamic fleet of over 130 vessels with a combined tonnage of over 13,000,000 deadweight tons. These vessels span across the tanker, bulk, container, pure car and truck, gas and chemical segments, and are managed by 200 skilled shore staff and 4,600 dedicated sea staff. EPS offers a full suite of in-house ship management services such as technical, commercial, operations and crewing. With 30 newbuilds set to join its fleet in the next few years, Eastern Pacific Shipping is poised to remain a leader in the maritime industry. For the latest news from EPS, visit easternpacific.com.sg.