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Berlin’s Kaiko Systems nets €2M to help maritime technical operations go paperless • TechCrunch


From healthcare to manufacturing, traditional industries have been digitally transformed over the past decade. But some areas have been left behind. Fabian Fussek, CEO and co-founder of Kaiko Systems, thinks shipping is “the final frontier of digitalisation”.

System Kaiko is a Berlin-based startup trying to digitize operations on commercial ships. About 90% Fussek, a former Deloitte adviser, said an industry that plays a pivotal role in the global economy is still heavily reliant on pen, paper and Excel. The manual process means that on-board maintenance and inspections are expensive, inefficient and prone to human error, he added.

Kaiko Systems, founded in 2020 by Fussek with Eddy del Valle, former CTO of Unicorn Sender freight forwarder, which provides a smartphone-based tool for frontline personnel and inspectors to collect on-board activity data. In turn, Kaiko’s built-in artificial intelligence is able to verify the validity of data in a timely manner and flag problems for teams ashore. For example, when the system finds a newly deployed component is the cause of an on-board failure, it can identify all other ships that might have the same vulnerability.

While Fussek declined to share the company’s financial performance, the executive said the rating is “very positive” and that the startup is “on a strong path to success.” profit.” To date the company has carried out more than 10,000 inspections on about 250 vessels around the world. Some of its more established clients include Columbia Shipmanagement, one of the world’s largest private shipping companies, Marlow Navigation, USC Barnkrug, CTM and The Asian Spirit Steamship Company.

Initial traction is what helped the startup complete a €2 million seed funding round backed by industry giants. Investors include Schoeller Holdings, the parent company behind Columbia Shipmanagement, Vineta Ventures, A round Capital, Flagship Founders and industry veterans Clasen Rickmers, managing partner at The Asian Spirit Steamship Company, and Justus Kniffka , managing director and CEO at shipping company Hanseatic Lloyd .

As for why shipping is late to digitization, Fussek thinks profit margins in the industry have been too thin until recently. Average shipping cost of a standard large container reach $10,000 in 2021, but from 2015 to 2020, this number mostly tends to be under $2,000. The cost spike is partly due to an increase in global consumption, port closures due to COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions during the outbreak, the founder explained.

“Shipping companies are finally over-investing in digitalisation,” says Fussek. In addition to having more money to spend on increasing productivity, travel disruptions caused by COVID also make digitization all the more urgent as inspectors cannot go directly from ship to vessel.

With the new capital, 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 believes that scaling across geographies will not be particularly challenging given the high degree of standardization of sea lanes. The company employs ten people around the world and plans to double its headcount in the coming months.



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