A new report published by research consultancy Thetius has showed mixed results for venture capital investment in maritime technology in 2019, with the total overall increase in investment somewhat skewed by a single $1 billion investment in Flexport, which covered up a decline in the total number of deals made during the year.
According to Thetius, if the massive $1bn investment in Flexport, led by Softbank’s Vision Fund, is removed from the figures, venture funding in the industry actually declined by 24%, from $190m in 2018 to $144m in 2019.
Overall, 8% fewer deals were made over the course of the year compared with 2018, though the average size of deals has increased by 18%, from $2.2million to $2.7million, in 2019.
“The fall in the number of investments coupled with the increased average size of each round shows that the market is at the early stages of maturing,” said Nick Chubb, founder of Thetius and author of the report.
“After years of seed and small venture rounds dominating funding activity, a few breakout stars are beginning to scale and have enough traction to warrant taking significant amounts of investor money.”
Other findings from the report include a 60% recorded increase in the number of venture funds dedicated to maritime, logistics, and trade operating around the world in the last 18 months, with trade facilitation start-ups dominating investor interest. Ship operations, ship management, and port management start-ups received a smaller proportion of total funding over the period, the report says.
The full report is available for download at the Thetius website.