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A €14.7 million series A financing round has been raised by Harbor Lab, a marine software business that is modernizing shipping cost optimization and the antiquated accounting procedures impeding the $14 trillion shipping sector.

European Venture Capital Atomico led the round. In addition to new backers Endeavor Catalyst and maritime VC TMV, the round brings the total funding for the Greek firm to about $22.5 million. Previously, Harbor Lab secured €6.1 million in a seed round. Participating investors include Notion Capital, Venture Friends, SpeedInvest, and The Dock. Ben Blume, a partner of Atomico, will become a board member.

The shipping industry has a long-standing bottleneck at its core: a collection of antiquated, primarily manual accounting techniques that many shipping companies continue to use to manage the intricate web of costs resulting from their vessels’s port calls. These costs are the second-largest expense for commercial vessels after fuel, amounting to almost $2.2 million annually per vessel. This results in inefficiencies, increased operating expenses, and a high frequency of disagreements and payment delays. Cargo transportation is becoming more complex, risky, and unpredictable due to new environmental regulations and growing geopolitical conflicts.

Every year, more than 4 million port requests for the loading and unloading of goods are made at over 4,000 ports across the globe. The “disbursements” incurred at these calls comprise the fees paid to local agents for “husbandry” services (such as spare parts and visas) that are necessary for the vessel and crew, as well as the fees payable to port authorities for the use of port facilities.

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Shipping businesses find it challenging to estimate port costs and forecast the cost of the upcoming voyage due to the lack of uniformity and openness among ports globally. Because every “terminal” and “berth” in the port has its pricing policy and disbursements are subject to frequent fluctuations influenced by local politics and economics, fluctuations in currency and exchange rates, and the state of the global economy, expenses for the same vessel in the same port can vary significantly.

Harbor Lab streamlines the way shipping companies manage these port-related expenses, allowing one person to manage payments for up to 50 vessels—a substantial improvement over the prior ratio of one to six vessels. Furthermore, the technology reduces the margin of error from 20% to just 3% per port call by cross-referencing port call expenses with real-time official port tariffs from worldwide port authorities. This helps to mitigate invoicing errors and overpayments. Know-Your-Customer (KYC) verification is one of the helpful services that Harbor Lab provides, improving security and compliance in their dealings with local agents.


According to Antonis Malaxianakis, the creator of Harbor Lab:

“By demystifying disbursement accounting, we’re not just streamlining operations; we’re fostering a culture of trust and innovation across the maritime ecosystem.”

Ben Blume, partner at Atomico, stated:

“Harbor Lab’s platform gives shipping companies peace of mind by enabling them to run critical parts of their operations more seamlessly, transparently, and efficiently. It has a great chance to grow internationally and is currently assisting companies all over the world, including the major shipping companies Great Eastern Shipping and Oldendorff.”

Harbor Lab has strategically partnered with other maritime pioneers, Veson Nautical and 90POE, to provide clients with a cohesive solution. With the help of this cash, Harbor Lab will be able to expand its workforce, which currently numbers 70, and invest in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence to improve its services further.

Image Credit: Harbor Lab


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