The London-based startup Shipamax, which was founded in 2016, just secured a $2.5 million Seed investment led by Cherubic Ventures and joined by AME Cloud and FF Angel. The fresh capital will be used to build out the team, accelerate product development and expand the customer base. Shipamax is on a mission to fix the ship booking experience for transporting bulk commodities
Booking a ship for bulk commodities today is still a rather slow process. Data is siloed, making it hard to work as a team, and shipowners and brokers receive in excess of 5,000 emails daily. Administrative costs are pretty high with room for error every step of the way. According to Shipamax, the price of booking a bulk ship has dropped by about 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.
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. The startup is using technology to bring communications, data and market insight into one platform supporting the bulk shipping industry’s move into the digital age.
Jenna Brown, the Co-Founder and CEO of Shipamax stated: “Bulk shipping powers the world economy – the grains we eat, the steel we build with and the fuels we consume all get transported by bulk ships. Despite industry perils, demand for dry bulk has increased 40% since the financial crisis. We’re enabling the industry to keep up with the pace of change in technology and put them on the road to recovery.”
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. The founders discovered, that 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.
Founders Jenna Brown and Fabian Blaicher have the unique mix of a background in the shipping industry combined with technology and startup experience. 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.