Danelec acquires Nautilus Labs

Danish maritime tech firm Danelec has announced that it has competed a deal to acquire the AI-based analytics platform developed by New York-based Nautilus Labs.

The software’s analytics capabilities will be combined with Danelec’s onboard data capturing systems to deliver an expanded platform for end-to-end data collection and analysis.

Danelec notes that the Nautilus Labs software will remain in its current form for the time being and will continue to support its customers on existing terms. Development will begin on leveraging the synergies of integrating Danelec’s onboard data capturing capabilities with its new analytics and machine learning tech to create a joint value proposition in vessel optimisation.

“With the acquisition of Nautilus Labs’ AI-based technology platform, we are looking to broaden our scope of impact. Not only do we get to build on the market-leading maritime analytics platform that Nautilus Labs has spent the last seven years building, we are also onboarding a team of industry top talent,” said Casper Jensen, CEO at Danelec.

“The maritime sector is currently undergoing rapid digitalisation and to secure a solid foundation for this digital transformation it is key that it stands on the shoulders of high-quality, high-frequency data. With the acquisition of Nautilus Lab’s technology platform, we are able to serve our customers from end-to-end of their digital journey. With our installed base of 13,000 vessels, we feel confident that we are well-positioned to commercialise Nautilus Lab’s technology platform.”

“Our business model is – and will continue to be – technology agnostic. Our position in the maritime market is built on our open platform approach that is well-known from our VDR business as well as our shaft power, and ship performance business. We don’t need to lock our customers in – we believe that we can bring the most useful solutions to the market if we have our customers and their needs at the enter of our offerings. To do so, we deliver solutions that can tap into our customers’ existing setups to fit their needs. With our latest acquisition, we can now deliver end-to-end.”

This sale to Danelec concludes a whirlwind start-up journey for Nautilus Labs, which generated a great deal of hype in the industry in the years since it was founded in 2016, led by IBM alumnus Matt Heider.

According to Crunchbase, the firm raised some $58 million in total investment during multiple funding rounds that attracted the backing of tech giants like Microsoft, through the M1 Microsoft venture fund and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, and opened offices in New York, London and Singapore.

Despite this heavy backing, the company has been unable to deliver the level of growth expected and reports emerged of more than 70 staff being laid off over the last few weeks prior to this sale of its AI platform for an undisclosed fee.

The purchase is Danelec’s third acquisition within the last two years, following a deal to buy digital monitoring firm KYMA of Norway in December 2021, and the acquisition of the VDR and MDE business of MacGregor earlier this month.

Last week, Danelec published its latest annual report with revenue jumping from 168 million DKK (approx. US$24.5 million) last year to 298 million DKK (approx. US$43.6 million) in 2022/23, including 53% organic growth.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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