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Signal Ventures launched to boost maritime tech development

Signal Ventures, the investment arm of the Signal Group, is seeking entrepreneurs and start-ups in the maritime sector to join its ecosystem of technology partners.

Led by Greek entrepreneur Ioannis Martinos, Signal Ventures focuses on B2B SaaS, advanced analytics, optimisation and artificial intelligence technologies for the maritime and trade sectors.

Signal Ventures offers its partners access to unique data processing capabilities, vessel port calls, emissions, port and weather information, venture capital, mentoring and hands-on team building support. The aim is to drive incorporation, accounting, legal and HR activities so that founders can focus on their product.

The ecosystem already includes technology start-ups active in ship bunkering, oil and dry bulk analytics, and marine weather.

Following the success of early private deals and the growing activity in the maritime startup scene, Signal Ventures has been set up to support technology innovation. Its team draws on talent from across the Signal Group and is coordinated by the recently appointed Nikolas Pyrgiotis, vice president of technology ventures.

In 2019 the overall maritime tech sector was estimated to be worth USD106bn, expected to rise to US$278bn by 2030*. Startup driven innovation will be core to this growth, states Signal Group.

Announcing the renewed drive for complementary skills and fresh talent at the launch of Signal Ventures, Signal Group CEO Ioannis Martinos said: “The maritime tech space has grown significantly over the past three years, but 2021 will see more opportunities than ever before. However, it’s going to be tough for any startup without long-term solid backing, infrastructure or a unique proposition behind it. Signal Ventures, with its shipping industry pedigree, is committed to the sector: we’ll work with entrepreneurs with great ideas and exciting technologies. Our world-class support is already turning ideas into long term success.”

Signal Ventures has already successfully incubated OilX, a UK oil analytics company; invested in and collaborated with Bunker Metric, a bunker procurement optimisation start-up; and Swedish weather data provider Storm Glass. In addition, two entrepreneurs in residence are working in a venture studio with the Signal team to develop and take to market new products.

Florian Thaler, founder and CEO of OilX, on the value of Signal’s support said: “Signal has been a true partner through the entire startup process and continues to be a key technology partner of OilX. Signal provided us with superior data and technology combined with capital and strong commercial advisory. That allowed us to take our idea first to MVP and ultimately to market at a substantially accelerated pace.”

Signal Ventures has also gained experience in large technology deals, as the lead seed investor in Nutonomy, a successful autonomous vehicle startup, at a 10x return and Omnition, a SaaS platform to monitor microservices, at a 7x return.

*Source: Inmarsat: Trade 2.0: How Startups are driving the next generation of maritime trade

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