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GSCW chat recap: Big year ahead for maritime tech startups

‘We’ve been pretty surprised by what we’ve seen — surprised in a good way’

FreightWaves' Greg Miller (left); B&V's Evan Efstathiou (right)

This fireside chat recap is from Day 7 of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week. Day 7 focuses on global maritime logistics.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Prospects for VC-backed maritime tech startups

DETAILS: There’s more funding available to startups focused on maritime. Some startups are seeking to create operational efficiencies, save costs and reduce ships’ greenhouse gas emissions. Others are seeking to provide more visibility on cargoes and vessels.

SPEAKER: Evan Efstathiou, founder of SkySail Advisors, CEO of Burmester & Vogel

BIO: Efstathiou is the CEO of Burmester & Vogel, a Boston-based demurrage calculation and freight intelligence platform for commodity traders, industrial producers, shipowners, shipbrokers and port agents. He is also the CEO of SkySail Advisors, a logistics M&A advisory and strategy consulting firm he founded in 2016. SkySail combines knowledge and know-how of data science and software technologies with deep industry relationships with shippers, carriers and financial institutions.


“We saw some big funding movements on the freight forwarding side and trucking freight tech side. Those segments raised hundreds of millions of dollars. And that’s when the VCs and private equity said, ‘Well, what other areas of transportation have yet to digitalize?’ [And they saw] the number of tech players in maritime and that the scale of these players was generally on the small side … and that a tech company that came out with good innovation could really capture a lot of the market.”

“We’ve been pretty surprised by what we’ve seen — surprised in a good way — with some of the [maritime tech] valuations. The valuations we’ve seen for recent investments suggest that investors are really looking beyond what the company is currently making to what the addressable market is and what the possibilities are for capturing that market.”

“There has been a huge amount of activity — among the existing tech companies as well as the startups we see popping up almost every week — focusing on helping you calculate your emissions, reducing those emissions, measuring your voyage performance and helping you reduce your overall cost and your [carbon] footprint.”

Greg Miller

Greg Miller covers maritime for FreightWaves and American Shipper. After graduating Cornell University, he fled upstate New York's harsh winters for the island of St. Thomas, where he rose to editor-in-chief of the Virgin Islands Business Journal. In the aftermath of Hurricane Marilyn, he moved to New York City, where he served as senior editor of Cruise Industry News. He then spent 15 years at the shipping magazine Fairplay in various senior roles, including managing editor. He currently resides in Manhattan with his wife and two Shih Tzus.