Working with startups will allow shipowners to tap into innovation and help them become more agile in tough markets
As the industry tackles the challenges around the global coronavirus pandemic this is increasingly important.
This has forced shipping companies to develop digitalisation and new methods of remote working, while becoming more competitive during to shrinking levels of worldwide trade.
Startup Wharf founder and managing director Leonardo Zangrando wants shipping to learn about startups and work with them as future innovations will not be physical, but digital.
“Startups are very good sources of innovation for industries,” Mr Zangrando said at Riviera Maritime Media’s ‘How to develop and implement a digital performance strategy to optimise vessel performance’ webinar on 14 May.
He has worked with startups for 15 years and recounted how worldwide corporations such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon were once startups.
He said companies need to “realise startups are drivers of innovation” at a time when “innovation is moving so fast, but innovation processes are very difficult to implement. It is about starting small and scaling and being able to fail fast,” said Mr Zangrando “These are things startups learn to do very well.”
Mr Zangrando demonstrated this with three examples. These were digital freight forwarder Explorate, digital ship manager PT-Shipmanagement and digital marketplace for container boxes Boxxport. PT-Shipmanagement managing director Patrick Toll presented his perspectives on developing digitalisation during Riviera’s Vessel Optimisation Webinar Week and Maritime Propulsion Webinar Week. These presentations can be viewed in our webinar library.
“These are evidence you can really change the way you work,” said Mr Zangrando. “It is an interesting way of sourcing if you want innovation because startups are not a small version of a normal supplier.”
He thinks working with startups should be more like a partnership, where learning goes both ways. But it is difficult to select the correct startup thread to follow. “Startups come in different shapes and sizes and with different levels of development of their innovations. This means we have engaged with them in different ways,” Mr Zangrando added.
“Companies need to decide what to do with the startups to take advantage of their innovation,” he continued. Startups know how to begin small and scale their innovations and to halt projects that have no real benefit or value. “They learn how to be agile,” said Mr Zangrando.
That is something shipping companies can learn from, particularly in this digitalisation age when coronavirus has driven organisations into remote working and operations.
“We think organisations should not only work with them by innovating and buying from them, but also learning from their new way of working,” said Mr Zangrando.
Shipping companies can then learn how to react faster to market forces, rapidly evolve and adapt to changes in the industry and wider society.
StartUp Wharf was established in 2017 as an independent virtual hub of startup-driven maritime innovation and has a growing network of 275 maritime startups.
Mr Zangrando was joined on the panel during the webinar by DNV GL business and segment director for special ships Arnstein Eknes, Van Oord director for digital transformation Mare Straetmans and VAF Instruments director of research and development Erik van Ballegooijen.
Watch the ‘How to develop and implement a digital performance strategy to optimise vessel performance’ webinar in our webinar library