MISC, BCGDV co-invest in 3 startups to disrupt shipping industry with deep tech

BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV), a California-based digital business-building and corporate innovation arm of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Malaysia’s shipping company MISC Group have unveiled a co-investment in three ventures to disrupt the maritime solutions space with deep tech.

As explained, the co-investment is set to revolutionize the international shipping industry by improving marine safety and introducing digitalized decarbonization and inventory management.

Last year, BCGDV invested in the three ventures — SOL-X, Chord X, and Spares CNX — which have now secured backing from MISC.

According to BCGDV, the three separate start-ups differ in their approach, yet together they demonstrate the transformational power of strategically applying digital and deep tech, such as AI, ML, and IIoT, to create massive operational efficiencies across the shipping value chain.

The ventures will be key drivers for the smart ship, which leverages automation and assistive technologies to ensure safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability.

All three ventures are based in Singapore.

“With 90% of the world’s goods transported by ships, and considering the fragmented attempts at innovation, we believe these investments are going to be absolutely transformative to the maritime industry, as well as to industries such as mining, energy, and industrial goods,” Sid Shah, Managing Director & Partner and Global Leader of BCGDV’s Energy Practice, commented.

“We are proud to invest in these three digital start-ups, which in many ways allow us to explore available opportunities to harness the power of digitalization in the maritime industry,” Yee Yang Chien, President/Group CEO of MISC, said.

“The challenges faced by the shipping industry brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic have forced us to rethink our approaches and operational practices.”

“I believe that in order for us to move forward, we must be bold in exploring the endless opportunities to further improve operational excellence in various areas, including safety and process efficiency. I am confident about the prospects that the three digital ventures offer and that this partnership will enhance our contribution toward the sustainability of MISC Group’s environmental, social, and governance agenda.”

The ventures

SOL-X is creating an industry-first Safety 4.0 company centered on human factors. Combining deep industry knowledge with IIoT and predictive AI, SOL-X focuses on improving safety and compliance outcomes, increasing operational productivity, and enhancing crew well-being. With 66% of maritime incidents caused by human error, SAFEVUE.ai, the company’s flagship solution, addresses the core of human factors by combining the Control of Work with crew well-being data to deliver near real-time safety intelligence on the edge.

Chord X, a maritime data analytics company, is advancing ship management by utilizing sensors, data integration and analytics, machine learning, and human experts to achieve operational and emission efficiency in large maritime assets.

Chord X measures and analyzes the emission footprint of maritime assets. It also provides an emission module that supports regulatory reporting compliance, enabling increased oversight over carbon tax with greater accuracy than current methods, and it is working toward providing insights for maritime asset operators to use and control in weighing operational decisions that impact the emission footprint of their maritime assets.

Spares CNX is reinventing the shipping supply chain by providing an automated inventory management solution that can track the life cycle of spare parts on shore and across the fleet. An integrated hardware and software solution, PROPELLER Ship, uses RFID, QR, and other imaging technologies to monitor the location and consumption of spares. Onboard vessel engineers follow the intuitive workflows that are built into the portable tablet as they perform their day-to-day operations. The device interacts with the pretagged spare parts, ensuring that accurate and complete information is captured at the time and place of work while data flows to the existing PMS or ERP systems.

With this approach, Spares CNX addresses an inventory inaccuracy problem that costs the global shipping industry up to $2 billion annually in spend leakage on spare parts, with massive second-order implications on day-to-day operation.