After six months and 1,200 candidate start-ups, some of the industry's largest companies have decided on 45 partnerships they believe could generate commercial decarbonisation services for maritime. This was just the first phase and more are expected to run until the end of 2022.
Cargill, DNV GL, Shell and Vale are among companies that have set up 45 partnerships with start-ups after a six-month vetting period
Mehrotra: Believes the second six-month cycle could present new decarbonisation solutions.
RAINMAKING, a venture development firm, says it has completed its first six-month cycle of a programme that aims to encourage shipping companies to partner with decarbonisation start-ups.
So far 45 partnerships have emerged from this first cycle, ranging from artificial intelligence-based solutions to potentially test-bedding new sustainable fuels, according to Tarun Mehrotra, the company’s director for trade and transport.
“While the shipping industry tries to understand the pathways to decarbonisation, it is our belief the best way to move the needle on decarbonisation is to have a portfolio approach,” he said.
The partnerships in the Rainmaking programme include Cargill, DNV GL, Hafnia, Mitsubishi subsidiary MC Shipping Ltd, Shell, Vale, and Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding.
The process began with 1,200 start-ups from 70 countries. Rainmaking reported these had funding worth a total $14bn. The partners narrowed them down to 145 that underwent full due diligence screening and 51 of those moved on to the next round.
“Here, each start-up pitched their proposed decarbonisation solution, with those deemed most likely to succeed subsequently allocated partnerships with collaborating companies,” the company said.
The partnering corporations work together to decide who should make it on to the next stage.
At this stage of the process, the corporations do not acquire equity stakes in the start-ups they partner with, but instead share expertise and resources.
The programme will run to the end of 2022 and identify more than 3,000 high-impact tech start-ups, culminating in a final shortlist of over 100 scaleable pilot schemes and ventures.
“Each will seek a solution to the issue of carbon emissions in the shipping industry, with the ultimate goal of achieving industry-wide CO2-neutral status,” says the company.
A second six-month cycle will begin this August, targeting those start-ups that can offer new decarbonisation pathways.
“The shipping industry is just beginning to see a lot of interest from tech entrepreneurs and our belief is that six months is a long time for new solutions to be on the horizon. Especially when you are talking about deep-tech and AI-enabled solutions,” Mr Mehrotra said.
He said the corporate partners would not only apply their learnings from the first round, but also take into consideration how decarbonisation can be intertwined with coronavirus recovery efforts.
Rainmaking, which has pledged to invest $7.2m in promising decarbonisation start-ups and is one of the co-investors of a Singaporean decarbonisation initiative, is open to having more corporate partners on board for the programme.
Mr Mehrotra said it was now looking at how it can expand to adjacent industries that have an interface with the shipping industry, such as land transport.