Silicon Valley backs Shipamax with $2.5 million to build a data-driven platform for dry bulk shipping

May 23, 2017

Booking a ship for dry bulk commodities is a slow and painful process. Data is siloed, making it hard to work as a team – shipowners and brokers receive in excess of 5,000 emails daily. Administrative costs are incredibly high with room for error every step of the way. The price of booking a bulk ship has dropped by 90% since 2008 and hasn’t recovered since – putting strain on the industry to cut costs and become more data driven.

As a result, ship brokers are under increasing pressure to prove they are still relevant and can add value to the booking process. In addition, shipowners must use all the data they have to improve return on their assets as banks tighten access to capital.

Among the intense debate about the future of shipbroking, Shipamax has a different vision for the future – one that keeps the current ecosystem in place.

Shipamax’s vision is to become the platform of the industry – replacing the thousands of unnecessary emails, siloed excel files and instant messages between players required for each booking. Shipamax is using technology to bring communications, data and market insight into one platform supporting the dry bulk shipping industry’s move into the digital age.

Jenna Brown, Co-Founder and CEO of Shipamax:

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Jenna Brown

“We estimate over 50% of the work in bulk shipping is centred around communications. Empowering employees with intuitive technology to increase the efficiency of these interactions will transform this industry in the next 5 years. And just like no one builds their own database, a technology company is required to provide this solution so the industry can focus on what they do best.”

Funding will be used to build out the team, accelerate product development and expand the customer base.

Shipamax originally launched as a tech driven ship broker, arising from the founders’ frustrations with the ship booking process. However, they quickly realised that the problem was not the brokers, but the process itself. “There is fundamentally no modern technology to help brokers provide the seamless experience we’re all used to in the consumer world.” After adapting their product to this need, they started pilots in January and have now successfully rolled out Shipamax to shipping companies around the world.

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Fabian Blaicher

Founders Jenna Brown and Fabian Blaicher have the unique mix of a background in the shipping industry combined with technology and startup experience. After working for RWE Supply & Trading, Brown most recently worked at London’s “fintech darling” GoCardless and is the third leaver to attract VC funding – following in the shoes of Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield and Nested co-founder Matt Robinson. Blaicher is a published computer scientist after starting his first software company age 18.

Shipping companies with an edge in technology have been getting a lot of attention from the VC world, however most of this attention has been in innovating around the booking of containers. (https://qz.com/956544/venture-capitalists-have-found-another-multi-trillion-dollar-market-to-upend-shipping/). Shipamax is focused on dry bulk ships, an industry virtually untouched by startup technology.

In bulk tech, there are other innovators like New York based Nautilus Labs – who focus on automatically helping shipowners collect data onboard a ship to help reduce operational costs. Shipamax dovetails nicely with this technology, focusing on the commercial teams in the shipping organisations.

Founded in 2016, Shipamax is a London-based startup building cloud-software for the bulk shipping industry. They help shipbrokers, shipowners, ship operators and charterers who want to make it easy to collaborate as a team and turn data into their competitive advantage. Unlike today’s siloed excel files, Shipamax allows them to easily share information internally to make sure they are always on top of market trends and maintain better relationships with customers.

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Source: Shipamax

Source from : Dry Bulk Market,International Shipping News

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