Microsoft Climate Fund-backed Nautilus Labs gets $34M to support low-emission shipping

Nautilus Labs, a US-based maritime technology firm advancing the efficiency of ocean commerce through artificial intelligence, has announced $34 million in Series B funding.

Illustration. Image by Navingo
Photo: Business Wire

Technology corporation Microsoft played a leading role, with M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund co-investing for the first time.

This round brings Nautilus’s total raised capital to over $48 million. The company said it will use the investment to develop and deploy new product capabilities that support client goals to drive decarbonization while maximizing profits, attract fresh tech talent, and open and expand new offices in key shipping hubs worldwide.

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Nautilus’ collaborative flagship solution, Voyage Optimization, is transforming how voyages are run by addressing long-standing inefficiencies and creating a pathway to lower emissions that the ocean shipping industry at-large can immediately adopt.

The company is enabling collaboration among stakeholders in the ocean supply chain by connecting previously siloed owners and operators. The solution leverages machine learning-based predictions to reduce fuel waste and emissions while maximizing commercial returns by analyzing IoT data, weather patterns, arrival and departure times, and commercial needs.

Voyage Optimization also benefits crews onboard vessels through highly accurate predictive decision support, according to Nautilus Labs.

The announcement comes at a critical time for the industry. Shipping accounts for 3% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), approximately 1 gigaton of CO2 every year. If left unchecked, shipping will account for 17% of GHG by 2050.

The sector’s inefficiency is rooted in legacy structures that impact the entire supply chain. Just-in-time arrival does not exist in ocean shipping in the same way it does in aviation; ships leave port at high speeds only to slow down prior to reaching their destination and waiting for berth availability.

As explained, the net impact is damaging — fuel waste, excess emissions, lost capital for ship owners and charterers alike – and supply chain inefficiency for everyone.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set in place carbon intensity standards that commence in 2023, while the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will also cover ocean commerce starting next year.

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“Economic efficiency and environmental efficiency are best solved in unison. Today, we’re able to empower ocean shipping companies with a path to creating the most profitable business – that at the same time helps them reduce carbon intensity immediately,” Matt Heider, Chief Executive Officer at Nautilus Labs, commented.

“The firms winning in the market are mobilizing resources now to adopt a collaborative, data-driven approach to transforming their voyages. By focusing on the underlying economics, they’re stripping wasted fuel and time out of their operations,” Heider added.

“The potential for Voyage Optimization is huge: our clients have seen 10-12% savings per journey, with overall savings potential reaching up to 30%, as we address the root cause of this hurry-up-to-wait paradigm. We’re excited to leverage this funding to grow our crew around the world and continue to solve this global problem with a great deal of urgency.”

“Microsoft is committed to accelerating global progress towards a more sustainable future and supporting our partners to deliver outcomes that go beyond exceptional financial returns to drive catalytic environmental and social impact. That’s why M12 and the Climate Innovation Fund are co-investing for the first time in Nautilus, a business that can be both high-growth and deliver on significant decarbonization targets at scale,” Mark Kroese, General Manager, Sustainability Solutions at Microsoft, said.

The Series B round also saw participation from new and existing investors, including NSS Advisors, Systemiq Capital, Root Ventures, Quiet Capital, TMV, and Amplifier. The company partners with energy major TotalEnergies, Eastern Pacific Shipping, and Emirates Shipping Line among others, and recently announced its expansion to London.

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