Global innovation platform, Plug and Play, a big name from Silicon Valley, together with founding partners City of Antwerp, CMB, DXC Technology, Euronav, and Port of Antwerp, has announced the launch of their first maritime program in Antwerp. The purpose of the program is to connect international startups with the founding partners to pilot their technologies and drive the future of maritime.
Led by a local team of four people, Plug and Play Maritime aims to strengthen an innovative startup ecosystem centered around the seafaring sector, that brings new technologies and entrepreneurs to the region and enables technological and business development. Plug and Play Maritime will be situated at the pre-campus of Maritime Campus Antwerp.
“The launching of our first maritime platform in Antwerp represents the beginning of a new voyage for us at Plug and Play. We are eager to support our founding partners and the existing local innovation community through our global ecosystem, by means of impactful startup-corporate collaboration,” said Saeed Amidi, founder and CEO of Plug and Play.
Initial technology areas for scouting will include clean fuels and energy, big data and Internet of Things, future logistics, efficient shipping, autonomous vessels, and sensors.
“For the moment we have world class ports like the Port of Antwerp and a world class maritime industry in our country. To maintain our position we need to look and think ahead,” commented Alexander Saverys (pictured), CEO of CMB. “Joining forces with partners creates scale in know-how and competencies resulting in R&D and innovation. This will help us to stay on top of new evolutions in the industry.”
The basis of Plug and Play Maritime will be the 12-week open innovation program, run twice a year. Each program welcomes 20+ selected international startups that are addressing the specific technological needs of the founding partners. The startups and business units of the partners will work together on pilots and proof of concepts, leading towards production-ready implementations. The goal is to have at least one joint project completed for each startup, to be showcased at EXPO Day, the final event at the end of each program.
“As one of the leading ports in the world, Antwerp aspires to be the port of the future… I believe that Plug and Play Maritime is an important milestone in bringing our port to the next international level and positioning it as a leading innovation platform,” said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO, Port of Antwerp.