Shipfix, a relatively new startup aiming to drag the dry cargo shipping industry into the digital age, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding.
Leading the round is Idinvest Partners, with participation from Kima Ventures, The Family, Bpifrance and strategic business angels. The company was founded in December 2018 by Serge Alleyne (CEO) and Antoine Grisay (COO), and launched just two months ago.
"We’re trying to fix the email overload for everybody involved in the process of fixing a dry cargo ship by providing a comprehensive market monitor," Alleyne tells TechCrunch.
"We’re also producing data-driven insights that are profoundly missing in the bulk/break-bulk space. Actually the last revolution of the dry cargo industry was email, and so far people still rely on indices based on a panel of brokers while all the data is available in emails."
To solve this, Alleyne says that Shipfix connects to its clients' email to extract and anonymously aggregate "billions of data points using deep learning technology."
The idea is that, rather than spending hours scrolling through your inbox every morning to take the pulse of the market, you can search and filter structured market offers instantly via Shipfix.
In addition, you can browse what Alleyne calls "augmented directories" (ships, ports, companies and people available within emails and signatures -- information that isn't typically available on LinkedIn), and access data-driven benchmarks and indices.
Shipfix customers are primarily anyone chartering/fixing a ship, such as charterers, ship owners, ship operators, freight forwarders and "lots of brokers."
However, longer term, the startup plans to onboard commodity traders, insurers, banks, governments and investment firms, based on the granular benchmarks and indices it is building.
"We cover 430 cargo categories from salt, sand, iron ore, fertilizers, grain, steel, etc., and forecasting market pressures around the globe... [is useful] for everybody involved within the commodities space," adds the Shipfix co-founder.
Meanwhile, the company currently employs 15 people, including senior engineers, shipping professionals, data scientists and analysts. The team is mostly remote-based and spread across seven cities, with offices in London, Paris and Toulouse.