In this day and age, where we are conscious about our natural resources and aware of our carbon footprint, we are using everything within our brainpower to make cargo vessels more fuel efficient, right? Well, guess again. It’s an industry of lucky assumptions when it comes to – even the knowledge of – fuel consumption. Start-up We4Sea is the first to develop the tools to generate the substantiated data and provide the simulations you would expect to monitor and adapt fuel efficiency. And, considering the size of the industry, it’s bound to have a huge impact.
FROM ONE SIMPLE IDEA
Dan and Michiel are about a decade older than the average start-up founder at YES!Delft. Prior to founding We4Sea they had steady careers at research institute TNO. Although they worked in different departments, Dan and Michiel were both awakened by a particular calculation tool TNO developed in the nineties to design a fully electric powered ship. The report was literally put in a drawer, but Dan and Michiel saw potential in the methodology for use in the commercial cargo vessel industry. They had the opportunity to pitch their envisioned tool in the TNO VentureScan (an internal program of TNO for employees with ideas). They won and a ticket to YES!Delft’s Launch Lab / Port Innovation Lab came with the price.
Dan and Michiel could enrol in LaunchLab the day after their winning pitch. It was also the moment where ‘hey, maybe we are onto something’ first crossed their minds. In their case having ‘a day off work’ to completely focus on the idea was exactly what they needed. “There was a healthy competition between start-ups on who was able to speak with the most potential clients. Those conversations have been vital for us to test our assumptions. In over 40 meetings we confirmed that fuel efficiency is a problem and companies have no idea on how to work on this”. Dan and Michiel learned to position their tool within the market and who their clients are. After winning LaunchLab they knew they were definitely onto something. The next step was almost inevitable. They both resigned from TNO and enrolled in YES!Delft’s incubator program fulltime to redevelop and market the tool from scratch. They enjoy the cooperative culture at YES!Delft. “We have secretly become an IT company and at YES!Delft there are so many bright minds from fellow start-ups around that are eager help us. And whenever someone that could be important to We4Sea, like an executive from the Port of Rotterdam is visiting YES!Delft we get the memo.”
TO A GROWING COMPANY
By 2019, We4Sea aims to monitor over 500 vessels to help to save over 100 million ton of CO2 annually. And they are well on their way. All anchors aweigh, as a captain would say.
August 2015: winner of TNO’s VentureScan
December 2015: winner of YES!Delft’s Launch Lab
March 2016: enrolling in YES!Delft incubator
April 2016: demo ready
May 2016: first data from launching customer Flinter
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