Marina Hadjipateras: shipping start-ups will need to learn the language of data

TMV co-founder Marina Hadjipateras says there is potential to collate the libraries-worth of data that shipping creates

Start-ups trying to push shipping forward are primarily looking at data management — and if they hope to be successful, they have to learn to speak the industry’s language, TMV’s Marina Hadjipateras says.

The TMV co-founder told TradeWinds that she is seeing more potential deals around start-ups in the shipping space as the venture capital firm fundraises for its second fund.

She said many of those companies have realised how much data is kept in simple Excel spreadsheets or logged by pen and paper and are looking at ways to “defragmetise” that data, versus building ship-board technology.

“I think we’re a little early in that sense, but it’s fascinating to see,” Hadjipateras said of companies that are more focused on naval architecture, such as wind sails.

Artificial intelligence

“The ones we see that are scaling the most right now are the data-management ones. I think that things can be solved through data management and bringing different kinds of data together.”

In its first fund, TMV invested in only one shipping-focused company, Nautilus Labs, which looks to use artificial intelligence to improve fleet efficiency.

Hadjipateras said it took the New York company some time to gain the trust of shipping companies, often noted for their conservative, old-school tendencies.

“I remember the way people looked at the founders of Nautilus Labs at the beginning. Everyone’s like, ‘What are you talking about?’” she recalled. “[Then] you’ve got one person behind you, you’ve got two.”

Nautilus Labs has since cut deals with New York-listed, Rhode Island-based bulker owner Pangaea Logistics and Arne Fredly-backed tanker owner Hunter Group to deploy its technology to help run its fleets.

“Shipping used to be separate from the tech world. Shipowners didn’t think about technology,” said Hadjipateras. “All of the sudden, everything is coming together. It’s going to make things more efficient and stable. The more people that start jumping on board there, the more things will move forward.”

By Matt Coyne for Trade Winds