Shipnext provides a shipping Platform that uses AI for freight search, data processing & automation of workflow
As part of their journey on BlockStart’s Acceleration Programme, as a startup developer of blockchain technology, they were looking to further develop their solution and for new opportunities for collaboration with end-user SMEs that could validate and help them improve their “Blockchain of Things Devices” blockchain solution.
We spoke with the CEO Nathan Hutley to know more about Shipnext and their participation in BlockStart.
In one paragraph, what is Shipnext?
SHIPNEXT is a digital shipping platform that uses AI for instant freight solution search, shipping email and data processing, trade and automation of work-flows. Shipnext covers all sectors of the maritime transportation regardless of the size, shape, type or destination of cargo delivery. Shipnext facilitates efficiency and reliability, with the help of interconnectivity, big-data processing and blockchain, in smart contracting and digital documentation flow.
Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?
In 2009 Alexander Varvarenko founded and scaled an international shipping and transportation group. By 2015 he saw several bottle-necks and problems, which an antiquated industry had been experiencing for decades due to massive flows of internal and external communication. All companies across the whole industry had to deal with thousands of daily emails, which stole up to 85% of manager’s time and slowed down the commercial and sales processes. With his knowledge and experience in programming, which he gained before joining shipping in early 2000s, and the team of professional co-founders, he decided to build a unique email processing algorithm, based on NLP and Machine Learning, which delivered a platform for instant freight search called Shipnext.
What is Shipnext passionate about achieving?
SHIPNEXT patented the process of combining email processing and the work of a digital shipping platform to use big-data analysis and mathematical modelling for optimization of transportation and supply-chain management. The aim is to build an ecosystem of exporting, shipping and transportation companies, who aim to digitise and optimize their freight- and transportation-related processes.
Who are the team members and what backgrounds do you have?
SHIPNEXT was founded and managed by:
- Alexander Varvarenko – a shipping professional, and entrepreneur, with 22 years of international shipping experience;
- Nathan Hutley – a shipping professional, who served as a chartering broker in two largest shipbroking firms – Clarksons and SSY – during his work in London, Singapore and Australia;
- Natalia Liashenko – a PhD in Economics and Business Modelling, who worked as a professor at the Odessa National Maritime University;
- Sergey Semernev – a Master of Sciences in software development, programming and data security, with excellent experience in machine learning, AI and blockchain technology.
Can you tell us about the prototype you have developed with the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
SHIPNEXT worked out, designed and developed the solution for the electronic exchange of its Electronic Bills of Lading, using Blockchain Technology, for the execution of Smart Contracts for shipping and transportation.
What were you most excited about in taking part of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
I was excited, that the European Commission continues to show and grant support to Digital Solutions, Innovative Projects and Technology, which continues to work and scale in Europe, instead of looking for ways to get funding in the USA.
Which were the major challenges you have faced during the development and market/fit validation of your prototype?
We believe, that especially now, in the turbulent times burdened by the global pandemia, many companies are too busy to get involved in transformation or work-processes, or have limited budgets for it.
What unique aspects does your company and the prototype you have developed have to offer to the market sectors/type of companies you wish to enter/sell and to the blockchain ecosystem in Europe, as a whole?
SHIPNEXT offers a unique A-to-Z platform, which you can access free of charge, post your cargo, find the best available shipping solutions, hold a freight tender or negotiations with the chosen ones, and then get secure and acceptable electronic documents (Bill of Lading and Shipping Contract) in exchange, before going on to tracking your delivery in real-time. All previous solutions that related to electronic documents were created and exchanged separately and isolated.
Is collaboration with SME adopters important for piloting your solution?
Collaboration with SME adopters is crucial, since it gives access to daily use cases. This could help test and make adoption of our solution as seamless as necessary to make it widely adopted.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Shipnext is definitely growing into a “Bloomberg Terminal” of shipping, allowing all shipping professionals to get instant, transparent and crucial data access to the market data. Shipnext as a Marketplace will play the central place in the global maritime markets.