Rainmaking, the international corporate innovation and venture development firm, is pleased to announce the completion of the first cycle of its farreaching program nurturing startups working toward the decarbonisation of shipping. A second six-month cycle is set to commence in August 2020.
As it progresses through end-2022, the program will identify more than 3,000 highimpact tech startups around the world, fostering and catalysing a final shortlist of over 100 scalable pilot schemes and ventures. Each will seek a solution to the issue of carbon emissions in the shipping industry, with the ultimate goal of achieving industry-wide CO2-neutral status. The firm has also been appointed by Enterprise Singapore’s investment arm, SEEDS Capital, as one of six co-investment partners for SG$50 million (GB£28.65m, US$35.86m) of funding for maritime startups. The initiative, supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, focuses on startups working to improve maritime operational efficiency and safety.
Industry, regulators and customers alike are demanding that shipping evolve to become more eco-friendly and decarbonised. According to data from the International Maritime Organisation, maritime transport emits 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for approximately 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In order to curb climate change, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals outline a 45% reduction in carbon emissions within the next decade and net zero emissions by 2050. Effective action during the period leading to 2030 is essential, in order to reach this target and stem the damage caused by climate change. Scouting candidates for the first cycle of this vitally important program, Rainmaking initially identified 1,200 promising startups, with a cumulative funding of US$14 billion, based across 70 countries. Of these, 145 particularly impressive candidate companies were given full due diligence screening and a final group of 51 selected for kick-off workshop participation (similar to a ‘demo day’).
Here, each startup pitched their proposed decarbonisation solution, with those deemed most likely to succeed subsequently allocated partnerships with collaborating companies. These include industry leaders such as Cargill, Inc., DNV GL, Hafnia (Member of BW Group), MC Shipping Ltd. (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp), Royal Dutch Shell, Vale S.A., and Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA. Corporate partners do not take equity in the start-ups with which they collaborate. Instead, they provide the start-ups with access to resources, real-world knowledge, and mentorship from experienced innovators and corporate leaders.
Mr. Nakul Malhotra, Vice President Open Innovation for Wilhelmsen, commented: “Working with corporate partners and curated startups, accelerating technology capabilities to help the maritime industry tackle the big issues embodies the open innovation principles that Wilhelmsen fosters. We are excited to see the tangible steps being taken and look forward to maintaining the partnership spirit achieved.”
Tarun Mehrotra, Director, Trade & Transport at Rainmaking, commented: “This is not merely an exercise — these initiatives represent real, working collaborations between a corporate partner and an innovative startup. Efforts such as these are essential to decarbonising shipping within the next ten years. Taking action within the coming decade will prove pivotal to halting climate change and ensuring the resiliency of supply chains during a crisis like the one we are presently experiencing.”
Startups are addressing this issue and setting out to reduce shipping’s carbon emissions in a broad variety of ways. These include the development of new or alternative energy sources; augmented reality (AR) solutions; AI and data-enabled CO2 reduction; increasing energy efficiency; automation, infrastructure and business model innovation; greater transparency in tracking of CO2 provenance and quantities; carbon offsetting; and improved vessel design. Through innovation in these areas, Rainmaking and its partners hope to solve some of the most pressing problems faced in the 21st century by the shipping industry — and the world.