Gil Ofer: ‘2019 set to be a milestone year for maritime startups’

Gil Ofer: ‘2019 set to be a milestone year for maritime startups’

Idan Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping and startup specialists Techstars have launched a shipping startup accelerator in Singapore.

The EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars will be based in Eastern Pacific’s headquarters in Singapore.

From April this year, the EPS MaritimeTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars will accept applications from startups around the world and ultimately select 10 companies – including the most promising Singapore and regional early-stage ventures – to participate in the inaugural class. In November this year, the class will gather in Eastern Pacific’s headquarters for a three-month programme of research and development, mentorship, and collaboration. The accelerator will culminate in February 2020 with a demo day wherein every startup will pitch its newly polished business to an audience of venture capitalists, corporate innovation leaders and industry experts.

Gil Ofer, Eastern Pacific’s business development manager and son of Idan Ofer, tells Maritime CEO today that this year is set to be a milestone one for maritime startups around the world.

“I’m optimistic that 2019 will see both new entrants and incumbents that attempt to disrupt the shipping journey through technological innovation gain more traction than ever before, especially across AI, IoT, blockchain, and autonomous shipping,” Ofer says in an exclusive interview.

Singapore-based Ofer is well placed to judge where shipping is tech-wise. Prior to joining the shipping arm of his family business, Ofer was the co-founder of IMGN Media, one of the largest publishers of video on Instagram.

“If we compare the industry to automotives, media and entertainment, or finance and banking industries, then I would say that shipping is behind the curve,” Ofer says. However, he notes the belated increasing attention in the media to startups and corporates bringing technology to maritime shipping, as well as a significant increase in overall funding to these startups.

“I think that 2019 will be a milestone year where commitment from private enterprise will reach breakthrough levels and thus act as a catalyst for the maritime startup movement. The widespread application of the various types of technology across our industry, however, will necessitate more time,” Ofer concludes.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Miles J. Varghese
    February 28, 2019 at 12:05 am

    2019, then 2020 after that as well. And for the foreseeable future.

    This is the first time we’ve seen an established (and renowned) accelerator joining forces with a more traditional shipping organization – one with deep expertise and direct experience.

    Looking forward to seeing what they as well as PortXL, PNP, The Wharf, The Dock Inno, Ze Box, SUNY’s MGTIC, Pier 47 continue to do as the industry finally realizes that it is indeed behind the curve.