Kiwi sea crimes startup Starboard Maritime Intelligence floats $4.6 million seed funding round

- April 4, 2024 2 MIN READ
Starboard Maritime
The Starboard Maritime Intelligence team
A New Zealand data analytics startup using machine learning to detect suspicious activity by vessels at sea has raised a NZ$5 million (A$4.6m) in a Seed round.

The round for Starboard Maritime Intelligence was led by Kiwi VC Altered Capital, supported by Icehouse Ventures, Invest South, Soul Capital, and Whakatupu Aotearoa Foundation, as well as marine-focused US early-stage investor SeaAhead.

The Wellington-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup supports governments, border security authorities, NGOs and fisheries inspectors to analyse maritime data to make better decisions about which vessels to focus on and inspect.

Starboard has been developed alongside both government and private users in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific to tackle illegal fishing, transnational crime, prevent biosecurity outbreaks, and protect at-sea assets.

The funding will be used to strengthen Starboard’s support for a growing number of analysts in the Pacific region, as well as expanding their go-to-market function to increase their impact in other countries and industry verticals.

Starboard CEO Trent Fulcher said the startup’s software uses proprietary algorithms and machine learning models to analyse more than 4000 vessel positions a second to flag significant maritime activity, such as when vessels meet at sea to move fish, behave abnormally, or are fishing.

That on-water behaviour is blended with off-water ownership and licensing information to enable analysts to identify high risk vessels.

“Starboard enables days of analysis to be completed within minutes. Analysts gain more valuable information, more quickly leading to better decisions about which vessels to focus on,” Fulcher said

We are working to take Starboard to analysts globally, to help them collaborate and share insights for the protection of our oceans”

Altered Capital partner Craig Mawdsley said the fast-growing “blue economy” could be worth an estimated NZ$5 trillion by 2030 amid a global rise in maritime security threats, environmental damage, and regulatory pressures.

“The global maritime surveillance market, that Starboard operates in, is predicted to reach US$67 billion (A$102bn) by 2030 and we are seeing a growing need for greater operational efficiency and collaboration,” he said.

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