Maritime-Tech “Exits”​ – Surge in 2019/20 Reaching New Horizons

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(Left to right: Barak Lizorik, Business Development Manager, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & COO Noa Schuman, CMO, Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & CEO, theDOCK)

By Hannan Carmeli, Managing Partner, theDOCK

Back in October 2018 we opened a previous article with a question we stumbled over back then (by a financial investor) – “Why would I invest in a sector that barely has any exits?”. We decided to take action. We rolled our sleeves and conducted a study reviewing years 2016-2018 to figure out numbers and trends. We were surprised with the findings and we are here again to report the status today, two years later – end of 2020.

Fig. 1 below is the chart we published in the article back in 2018. At the time, it seemed amazing enough to attract many views, comments and re-shares.

Just below it (Fig. 2) is the chart for 2020. Even the shortest glimpse makes it clear, very clear – the trend is on – big time!

(Image Courtesy: theDOCK)
(Image Courtesy: theDOCK)

Both charts include logos representing transactions – acquiring and acquired companies connected by a string of dots.

What a long way have we come in just two years. Here are a few quick observations:

  • Deal density has grown exponentially – from under 10 transactions per year in 2016 and 2017 to more than 50 transactions in each of 2019/20. That’s more than a 5X growth!
  • More diversity in the type and number of buyers, and their areas of interest. Leading is Wartsila with 6 acquisitions since 2016. Followed by Cargotec (including Navis) that registered 5 acquisitions during the period. Most active companies (acquiring new technologies) were from North/West Europe – Norway and the UK.
  • Strong motivation to go digital – many companies cited adoption of digital innovation to be of a strategic importance. Additional acquisition objectives included establishment of new business lines and expanding to new geographies. As to functionality – most of the technologies subject to the acquisitions attended to needs and challenges in the areas of Supply Chain and Sustainability.

The trend which started back in 2017/18 has accelerated and actually quintupled! There is a substantiated increase of activity around maritime-bound M&As. Entrepreneurs, investors, global leading corporations – take note!

Sea News, December 7

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News