Kaiko Systems of Berlin raises 2 million euros to help maritime technical operations go paperless


From healthcare to manufacturing, traditional industries have had a makeover over the past decade. But some sectors have been left behind. Shipping, argued Fabian Fussek, CEO and co-founder of Kaiko Systems, is the “last frontier of digitalization.”

Kaiko Systems is a Berlin-based startup trying to digitize operations on commercial ships. Around 90% of goods traded globally are transported by sea, but an industry that plays such a central role in the global economy still relies heavily on pens, paper and Excel, noted Fussek, a former Deloitte consultant. . The manual process means vessel maintenance and inspection is expensive, inefficient and prone to human error, he added.

Kaiko Systems, which Fussek founded in 2020 with Eddy del Valle, the former CTO of forwarding unicorn Sender, provides a smartphone-based tool for frontline workers and inspectors to collect operational data on board. In turn, Kaiko’s built-in artificial intelligence can check data for plausibility in a timely manner and flag issues to shore crews. For example, when the system finds a newly implemented part that is causing a vessel failure, it can identify all other vessels that may be subject to the same vulnerability.

While Fussek declined to share the company’s financial performance, the CEO said the profit margin was “very positive” and the startup was “on a good path to profitability.” So far, the company has carried out more than 10,000 inspections for around 250 ships worldwide. Some of its most reputable clients include Columbia Shipmanagement (one of the largest private shipping companies in the world), Marlow Navigation, USC Barnkrug, CTM and The Asian Spirit Steamship Company.

Early traction is what helped the startup land a €2m seed funding round backed by industry giants. Investors include Schoeller Holdings (the parent company of Columbia Shipmanagement), Vineta Ventures, A-Round Capital, Flagship Founders and industry veterans Clasen Rickmers, Managing Partner of The Asian Spirit Steamship Company, and Justus Kniffka, Managing Director and CEO of the shipping company Hanseatic Lloyd.

As to why shipping has come late to digitalization, Fussek said industry margins were too thin until recently. The average cost of shipping a standard large container reached $10,000 in 2021, but from 2015 to 2020 the number has dropped significantly below $2,000. The spike in costs was partly due to an increase in global consumption, ports closed by COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions during the outbreak, the founder explained.

“Shipping companies have finally made their long-awaited investment in digitalization,” Fussek said. In addition to having extra cash to spend on boosting productivity, COVID-induced travel disruptions have also made digitization all the more urgent as inspectors cannot easily move from ship to ship. other in person.

With its new capital injection, Kaiko Systems plans to grow its team, improve its software solution and expand into new markets beyond its current footprint in Germany, Greece and East Asia. Fussek believed that scaling across geographies would not be particularly difficult thanks to the high degree of standardization in ocean freight. The company employs 10 people worldwide and plans to double its workforce in the coming months.


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