More than 120 representatives of the maritime industry attended the Maritime Innovation Pitching event Tuesday (September 3, 2018) aboard the HNLMS Van Amstel, a Dutch navy frigate, anchored at Überseebrücke Hamburg. There, business models presented by 15 international start-ups inspired them. Hamburg Invest had hosted the event in co-operation with the industry accelerator PortXL and the Netherlands Business Support Office.
Every two minutes, founders pitched about blockchain, reducing emissions and the Internet of Things. The maritime industry is facing huge challenges – environment-friendly solutions are needed, the digital transformation has yet to be mastered amid rising cost pressure. The solutions offered by Hamburg-based start-ups including HSBA/HHX.Blue and Maritime Data Systems met with great interest. Bunker Connect, ECOncrete and Green Sea Guard, among others, presented Dutch business models while Hanseatic founders presented the blockchain solution Cobility, for instance.
PortXL – industry accelerator from Rotterdam
Mare Straetmans, Managing Director of PortXL, first presented his business model. The World Port Accelerator, based in Rotterdam, works with leading companies, organisations and individuals all over the world. The aim is to support innovative companies in ports. He and his team filter start-ups across the globe and bring them together with companies. “We want to support start-ups over a three-month period. To this end, we work with an intensive mentoring programme that focuses on port-related industries,” says Straetmans.
The founders have to go through an intense selection process. Out of 1,000 start-ups per year, 200 progress to the next round and only 10 are finally accepted. “It has to fit. We only mediate successful start-ups,” said Straetmans. PortXL is on an internationalisation course and a branch in Hamburg has not been ruled out. The city may hold potential for the company, if a sufficient number of firms show demand.
SMM – international framework
SMM, the world’s leading maritime trade fair underway from September 4-7, 2018 in Hamburg formed the backdrop to the pitching event. “The SMM and the international participants in Hamburg as well as the frigate in the harbour presented a good opportunity to launch this event,” said Daniel Sonneveldt from the Netherlands Business Support Office in Hamburg. The idea was then developed jointly with Hamburg Invest. Start-ups such as NautilusLog, Chainstep or Cargonexx that focus on the maritime economy and logistics are proving successful. The Digital Hub Logistics recently drew a positive balance on its one-year anniversary and moved into new premises in Speicherstadt.
More than deals at stake
While no details have been given about the number of deals sealed at the event, all the start-ups took to the stage and presented their business models. The goal of creating a platform for encounters and exchanging at the Maritime Innovation Pitching Event was definitely achieved. SMM returns to Hamburg in 2020 – perhaps with another Dutch frigate in the harbour.