Finance and InsuranceTech

$1.14bn of venture funding invested in maritime last year

Over $1bn was invested in technology companies working in the maritime sector in 2019 according to a new report published today by UK consultancy Thetius.

2019 was a record year for venture capital investment in maritime, the report states. However, the headline figure is distorted by the massive $1bn investment in Flexport, led by Softbank’s Vision Fund. If Flexport’s contribution is removed from the figures, venture funding in the industry actually declined by 24%, from $190m in 2018 to $144m in 2019. Overall, 8% fewer deals were made through the year compared with 2018, though the average size of deals has increased by 18% from $2.2m to $2.7m in 2019.

“The fall in the number of investments coupled with the increased average size of each round shows that the market is at the early stages of maturing,” said Nick Chubb, founder of Thetius and a Splash columnist. “After years of seed and small venture rounds dominating funding activity, a few breakout stars are beginning to scale and have enough traction to warrant taking significant amounts of investor money.”

As well as an overview of venture activity, the report, which is available for download at, examines startup activity throughout 2019 including; the notable investments made throughout the year, the new entrants to the market who are ones to watch, and the technology trends to be aware of in 2020.

Other key insights from the report include the fact that in the last 18 months, there has been a 60% increase in the number of venture funds dedicated to maritime, logistics, and trade operating around the world.

Trade facilitation startups dominate investor interest, with ship operations, shipmanagement, and port management startups receiving a much smaller proportion of total funding.

API integrations, artificial intelligence, and green tech are the technology trends set to have the biggest impact on the industry in 2020, the Thetius report predicts.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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