29. September 2017

Maritime Startups in Germany – do only fools start a company in this domain in Germany ?

Von Carsten Bullemer

Scandinavia, Holland, China even Greece has a lot of new upcoming companies that try to use new technologies in this very old business. I am in touch with new marine software or web companies almost every day. Most of them want to use and test the searoutes-api, because I offer them a special startup support, without charging in the first 6 month. Sad to say, i havent got one single request from Germany since I started this, but more than 20 from all over the world.

Why dont we have more maritime tech startups in Germany ?  Here are my thoughts:

  1. This industry is not on the radar of most people, and this is different to other countries.
  2.  shipowners, mangers or port operators from Germany are much more difficult and cautious when it comes to implement new ideas or use new technology. If the are convinced with an idea, they ask for exclusivity or getting the majority shares or try to implement things by themself.
  3. Asking a bank for loan or getting Venture capital is almost impossible in Germany, because this culture is not existent, and most of the people from the banks even dont understand the ideas. Loosing money or failing with an idea is nothing what is allowed here and is maybe even worse than committing a crime.
  4. Public funding is non-existent – of coure there are funds with money available from EU or German goverment, also for the maritime sector, however this funds are mainly given to the R&D departments of the big corporates – i have never understood why, but that is how the game works. Also the criterias and paperwork that needs to be done is only doable by big corperates that have their own departments just for this – and than there are also the people who decide about this public funding, but this is another story.

If you still convinced with your maritime idea and you want to start a company, i think the best advice would be to start it in a different country like USA, The Netherlands, the scandinavian countries  or in Dubai or China – all this countries will give you a warm welcome  – in Germany it will be very cold and dark for you, at least in the first years.

If you still want to do it, you can – best thing is to concentrate on foreign customers and also join our group !