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Nautilus Labs: Microsoft Joins Initiative to Digitize Shipping Industry

Nautilus Labs, the US-based company building artificial intelligence for the maritime shipping industry, has secured USD 11 million in Series A funding led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, along with Root Ventures.

As informed, existing and new investors including Quiet Capital, Trail Mix, and Amplifier Lab participated in the round, which brings Nautilus’ total funding raised to USD 14.5 million.

Founded in 2016, Nautilus Labs provides the technology platform for shipping companies to run their fleets more efficiently.

The company aggregates data from on board the ship and combines it with meteorological, oceanographic, and commercial data to build a comprehensive fleet profile. Through machine learning and artificial intelligence, the platform provides real-time analytics, alerts, and decision support for operators. This allows shipping companies to minimize fuel consumption, maximize operational efficiency, and ultimately optimize fleet performance over time, as explained by Nautilus.

“Nautilus is creating an economic imperative for shipping businesses to reduce their fuel consumption,” Matt Heider, Chief Executive Officer of Nautilus, said.

“Think of us as the artificially intelligent first mate that helps the captain and the crew to always take the profit-maximizing (and fuel-reducing) decision,” he added.

To date, Nautilus has signed with several fleets, including Teekay, Dorian LPG, and Eagle Bulk Shipping. The platform has proven to reduce fuel emissions by over 10% in a single voyage, and savings of up to 30% with wider deployment.

“By applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to ocean commerce, Nautilus is upending traditional maritime shipping inefficiencies as it builds towards supporting a more sustainable global trade environment,” Matt Goldstein, partner at M12, commented, adding that M12 believes that Nautilus has the necessary tools and experience to digitize “one of the world’s oldest industries.”

With the Series A funding, Nautilus said it would continue to invest in developing deeper predictive decision support or shoreside teams and crews. The New York-based startup plans to triple in size over the next year, investing in engineering, data science, and product development.

Responsible for 90% of the world’s trade, ocean shipping consumes more than USD 100 billion in fuel every year. Left unchecked, it will account for 20% of global greenhouse emissions by 2050.

Lightly regulated and often overlooked, the industry relies primarily on manual and error-prone forms of reporting to measure fuel consumption and vessel performance.