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Schulte Group launches VC unit for maritime startups

The INNOPORT team, from left to right: Niklas Koerner, Yiannis Sykas and Haymon Sinapius

Schulte Group has launched INNOPORT, a venture capital unit that invests in global maritime startups.

“We want to build bridges and open doors wherever possible,” said Yiannis Sykas, INNOPORT chief and director of strategy and product development at Bernhard Schulte Ship management, in a release. “INNOPORT provides startups with the right network and the right capital, to scale up their business and to bring their ideas into fruition.”

Founded in 1883, the Schulte Group is a ship owner and management firm based in Hamburg, Germany. The company owns 90 vessels and manages over 600 vessels. It has 18,000 seafarers and 1,800 shore-based employees.

INNOPORT will support early-stage maritime and logistics startups predominantly in Europe and Asia, with the flexibility to collaborate with startups from other geographic areas.

Potential pilot projects within BSM, sales-partnerships and technical cooperations are some of the options in which the INNOPORT team acts as a sparring partner for the startups.

The INNOPORT launch comes as venture capital is pouring money into maritime startups. Among the significant deals that closed in the past year are SoftBank’s $1 billion investment in Flexport, a digital freight forwarder, and an injection of $30 million for FreightHub, a European freight forwarding outfit.

In the release, INNOPORT touted its in-house expertise and investment mandate.

“At INNOPORT, we see ourselves as a provider of capital with industry domain knowledge coupled with access to the right people within our organization and our network to support the portfolio companies we invest in,” said Niklas Koerner, INNOPORT’s investment manager for Europe.

F3: Future of Freight Festival


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to [email protected].