Flagship Founders Presents the Global Maritime Tech Startup Map 2023:
Mapping the Current Landscape of Maritime SaaS Startups and Scaleups Worldwide
Last year, Flagship Founders published the first European Maritime Startup Map, which focused on highlighting innovative technologies and software solutions. This initiative sparked valuable conversations, prompting us to extend our scope globally and explore what changes, opportunities and challenges could arise from our findings.
The Flagship Founders Global Maritime Tech Startup Map 2023 is made up of 155 emerging SaaS startups and scaleups that exist across the maritime industry, segmented over 10 key categories. The map extends across Europe, UK, Asia, North America, South American and Oceania.
The criteria for the selection of these companies is they must have been founded since 2010, purely software and not hardware, not yet acquired or merged, not a corporate spin-off and maritime only – not general logistics.
It is important to note that this data is evolving and not fixed, so although our map is a comprehensive overview of the current landscape of maritime SaaS startups and scaleups, there will be companies, categories, countries and continents that haven’t been captured.
What did we find out?
Our findings show that Europe, (51.5%) UK (16.2%), USA (12.2%) Singapore (10.2%), and Israel (4.1%) constitute a cohesive business ecosystem when it comes to maritime tech. We know there are other separate ecosystems out there however these have been harder to access for the purpose of putting this map together. This doesn’t come as a big surprise, as we know the global nature of shipping and therefore the global nature of maritime tech and the emergence of these from maritime hubs.
Our survey reveals that there has been a decline in maritime SaaS startups launching since 2019. It is possible that our data represents companies that are only on our radar and we are missing information, or that there may be companies that are merely too young and therefore not captured in this data.
It is likely that a big reason for this decline is the impact of COVID-19. The economic and mental effect has made starting ventures more challenging than in previous years with the uncertainty and instability potentially resulting in a reduction in risk appetite of founders. The disruption of the supply chain could have also been a reason for people not wanting to start companies in maritime tech. Despite the global disruption caused by the pandemic, the shipping industry has been doing remarkably well in the last three years. There has been great development in maritime corporates, and perhaps this is why people didn’t start new companies – potential founders may not have seen the need. However there are opportunities for ventures to catalyse the innovation process and address the needs of the maritime industry.
In the realm of maritime technology, the buzz surrounding AI and data-driven decisions is undeniable. These tools have become global talking points, promising to revolutionise the industry.
Our data shows that 21.6% of maritime tech (SaaS) startup companies have translated these discussions into tangible value creation by credible startups, and are currently utilising AI and Data-Driven Decisions. We predict this will increase in the coming year, as the current trajectory of technological advancements and the increasing recognition of the value that AI and data-driven decision-making bring to the sector provide strong indications of this trend.
Sustainable Solutions: 18% of Maritime Tech Startups Tackle Sustainability, 6% Show Dedicated Solutions
The global discourse surrounding sustainability, climate change, and environmental impact highlights their immense significance in today’s world. In addition to the shipping industry’s inclusion in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS), the maritime sector is experiencing a growing emphasis on sustainability. This regulatory integration seeks to tackle the considerable carbon footprint associated with the maritime industry while aligning it with the EU’s decarbonization objectives.
Our map of global maritime tech startups revealed that 18% claim to offer solutions related to sustainability and emissions management. The data reveals an increase in the number of companies that offer sustainability solutions over the years, with a notable spike in the initiation of such companies since 2019 . Interestingly, only 6% of those in our survey possess a dedicated core solution. This presents an opportunity for existing startups to capture market share and create headwinds in sustainability and carbon reduction tracking technology within the maritime industry.