Handwritten logbooks have been part and parcel of shipping for centuries and well into the millennium. The captain records crucial data such as the course, speed, weather changes and daily events in the treasured books. Now the Hamburg-based start-up NautilusLog is aiming to overhaul this recording means and logbooks are going digital thanks to the company’s app. All the relevant data is collected via the GPS system on the mobile phone and synchronized with the NautilusLog cloud via the on-board or mobile network.
NautilusLog is a young family business consisting of four founders including Otto Klemke, a computer scientist, his brother Moritz, Ingo Klemke, a shipbuilding engineer, and their father Sven Hamer, who is a physicist and computer scientist. Otto and Sven founded a company named Securizon in 2012 and developed apps for firms across various industries. The Tinnitracks App, for instance, was created by their software forge. Two and a half years ago, Otto and Moritz discussed their work and that conversation has changed everything. Hamburg News spoke to Otto Lemke about shipping, which has barely been hit by digitalisation so far, the showdown at the Startups@Reeperbahn Pitch and Hamburg as the gateway to the world.
Hamburg News: How did you hit on the idea for NautilusLog?
Otto: My brother Moritz and I talked about our jobs about two and a half years ago. Moritz was working as a surveyor in Shanghai at the time. I couldn’t believe what he told me about his job. A lot of things were still occurring on paper and had to be transferred using email and Excel. Sven and I noticed that shipping is decades behind digitization and decided to bundle our competencies to develop an app for the maritime industry with Ingo.
Originally, we only wanted a solution for “monitoring, reporting and verification”. The aim is to automatically gauge ships’ emissions using mobile phones. We tested this successfully on board in early 2017. The feedback at that time was very positive and the demand for a digital logbook arose from the market. That led to NautilusLog.
Hamburg News: What do you hope to achieve with your start-up?
Otto: We have set ourselves the goal of making shipping easier and safer. We want to connect the ship with land and its maritime partners, so that ships, crew and management become smarter. We would like to help shape and define new regulations and standards in this framework. Environmental issues* are also important, which we want to support with applications such as “Inventory of Hazardous Materials” (IHM).
Hamburg News: How do feel about being a finalist in the Startups@Reeperbahn Pitch?
Otto: That can’t really be put into words at all. We are very happy to be there! As Hamburg boys with a maritime start-up , presenting on the Reeperbahn is a great feeling.
Hamburg News: If you win, what do you hope to achieve at South by Southwest 2019?
Otto: Shipping is an international industry for which there are reference points everywhere. Apart from digitization and technical innovation, we also talk about emissions and the environment. We would like to use the leading digital conference in Texas to exchange ideas with like-minded people and deepen our international network.
Hamburg News: How important is Hamburg as your home port?
Otto: Hamburg is a great maritime location with the port at its heart. It gives us direct access to ship-owners, flag states and many other service providers in shipping. The routes to our customers and partners are within walking distance. This makes an exchange very simple and uncomplicated. The proximity to the port also offers direct access to ships. This is important because the ship and its crew are at the centre of our app. We believe that Hamburg and its maritime players, as the “gateway to the world”, can play a key role in the digitalisation of shipping. Institutions such as the Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg and the Maritime Cluster connect and bring together what belongs together. We also are hugely appreciative of the support from InnoRampUp and IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH and BWVI’s funding programme.
Hamburg News: Where is your app being used?
Otto: NautilusLog is being tested by various partners and customers, e.g. in the port and on various container ships in the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. We are constantly developing the application and trying out new things during the voyage. External surveyors are using our latest application, the hazardous substance inventor on the app and in Gibraltar and the Caribbean also.
Hamburg News: What are your plans for the future?
Otto: We want to expand the digital logbook. Our goal is to replace the many books on board with our app. We want to digitize the maritime industry and its players. We will therefore develop the NautilusLog app step by step and add new applications. The exchange with ports, existing systems and sensors also plays a role in that process.
Thank you for the interview, Otto!
Interview by Sarah Bischoff
On September 19, 2018 NautilusLog will take part in the final of the Startup@Reeperbahn Pitch and will compete against the Hamburg-based Cargonexx, Coldplamatech based in Greifswald, Munich’s getINNOtized and the Berlin-based start-up Leapsome for the main prize of a media budget of EUR 150,000 from the WELT daily and a ticket to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas next year.