After a successful completion of its first cohort of startups under its accelerator program OceanPro in March this year, Maersk, the world’s largest integrated shipping and logistics solution, launched its second cohort of startups to further strengthen its digitisation and transformation agenda. OceanPro by Maersk, is an open innovation programme which leverages startup tech to innovate in the shipping and logistics domain.
In Cohort 2, the company plans to work with a group of five new startups, that have been selected based on the quality of their product ideas and team capabilities with relevant applications to use cases at Maersk and would benefit the transport and logistics sector, in general. The five new start-ups selected include Stratforge (Machine Learning), Tripz(Platform as a Service Solution), Shipmnts (Artificial Intelligence), Linkstreet(Learning solutions through AI model) and Arviem (real-time cargo monitoring).
Speaking on the unveiling of the cohort 2 in Bangalore, Sriram Narayanasami, VP Commercial, Maersk said, ““Our Cohort 2 is a bit of data sciences cohort where we are trying to work with multiple startups, around visibility, predictability of cargo when it arrives at our warehouses, on how we can use micro learning to train our people among many other exciting technologies that these startups bring in to innovate in logistics and shipping.”
Cohort 2 Startups
Stratforge (Machine Learning): This team is working on addressing the challenges with collections process by predictive analytics supporting the finance team at Maersk.
Shipmnts (Artificial Intelligence): The startup is working on digitizing the document assessment process using the Product Alex in order to assess cargo and customer data points on non –digital documents.
Arviem (real-time cargo monitoring): The Swiss-based startup is using predictive modeling technique to identify ETA on each container. The idea is to build efficiency and improve turnaround time in warehouse operations.
Tripz (Platform as a Service Solution): The startup is working on identifying opportunities of truck /container reuse by observing historic data and creating a data model to recommend ideal wait time before placing a work order and suggest counter options.
Linkstreet (Learning solutions through AI model): Using their product RapL (Rapid learning), Linkstreet is working on solving challenges in training to make learning effective and engaging.
Linkstreet CEO Arun Muthukumar, explains, “In a large multi-location organization like Maersk, there is a need for continuous learning, not in the traditional sense, but real time things that people in the field need to know. For example, if there is new change in the process or there is a new issue, one cannot wait for one month for a traditional training to be scheduled and if someone doesn’t know a process and messes up a shipping it could be of huge impact,” says Muthukumar.
Linkstreet ensures right people, in a targeted manner and very quickly are able retain that information and provides a real time knowledge map of the organization.
Putting a business perspective to the solution, Narayanasami added, “ In our Global service centres, we have a team of 12000 people and an equal or larger number out in the field . Our typical training is taking people into a classroom for two-three weeks, but once you get on to a job then they need to be constantly refreshed. Things are constantly changing, new legislation is coming in different geographies, our systems are changing, new products and services are being launched so there is this ongoing need to train people.”
Explaining what makes OceanPro different, Narayanasami said, “Bangalore is very famous for accelerators, but they are also famous for sometimes not having the continuity with those startups. We really wanted to demonstrate how we take these startups all the way through. We call it an accelerator simply to line up with the nomenclature in Bangalore, but in reality we are not an accelerator. The startups are themselves fantanstic, very mature and do not need us to mentor or guide them.”
According to Narayanasami, there is not a lot the shipping giant can add on how to run a startup, but what Maersk brings is the business knowledge and how they can help solve problems for the shipping industry and eventually become partners. “That’s how we look at the startups, which is a bit different,” says Narayanasami.
Maersk successfully completed its ‘OceanPro’ Cohort 1 in March this year, where the solutions co-developed with these startups are now being applied across industry touchpoints in India and globally. Maersk is working with 11 startups at present, with approximately 50 percent conversion from the first Cohort to a production scale solution provider.