The startup is looking to raise €3 million to go-to-market with their patented AnchorGuardian technology.
The art of anchoring – for ships big and small - is a millennia old tradition that hasn’t changed much over the years. It is based on experience, know-how and a whole lot of intuition.
The Zurich-based Swiss Ocean Tech is revolutionising this art and bringing it into the 21st century. Their patented AnchorGuardian technology minimises the risk of an anchor dragging by providing predictions and immediate alarms for superyachts, leisure boats, fishing vessels, and merchant ships. It fundamentally replaces the ‘rule-of-thumb’ methodology with actionable data insights and real-time feedback. It lets the captains know what the anchor is seeing and feeling.
Anchor dragging remains a huge issue for the yachting and superyachting industry and is estimated to account for around 5% of annual claims value, according to research conducted by Swiss Ocean Tech alongside major marine insurance companies. This equates approximately to an annual claim value of +US$500 million, and +28,000 casualties per year.
Swiss Ocean Tech raised a first funding round back in 2020, and the team of international co-founders have since successfully run a pilot project with a 43m superyacht as part of their R&D efforts. They are also partnering with one of the largest shipping companies in the world, who not only invested but signed a LOI to equip their vast fleet with AnchorGuardian once on the market.
For superyacht captains, a good night's sleep is conditional on crew knowing that they are safely anchored. If there is no early warning system in place, a superyacht can be in considerable trouble by the time a problem is identified. This can result in not only damage to the boat and the seabed below, but also risk to the guests and crew onboard.
To bring safety to the process of anchoring, AnchorGuardian uses big data to identify dangerous anchor drag, predict anchor hold with early warnings and provide essential information whilst laying anchor, while at anchor, and when lifting anchor. They are essentially taking the notion of anchor-watch to the next level, by inserting an anchor module containing high-tech sensors between the anchor and the chain and having it communicate via a boat module with the captain and crew. “There are no direct competitors who can monitor the movement of the anchor, only indirect competitors like GPS or radar anchor alarm,” commented Thomas Frizlen, founder and managing director at Swiss Ocean Tech.
From an environmental perspective, dragging anchors can rip up fragile marine ecosystems, damage seabeds and destroy aquatic wildlife. Coral reef and seagrass beds that took years to grow can literally be destroyed in a heartbeat. To that end, Swiss Ocean Tech is committed to actively supporting the UN sustainability goals, and they are also able to provide useful information to the scientific community by mapping sensitive areas where anchoring should be regulated.
Looking to the future, the company has big plans to enhance their AnchorGuardian technology with artificial intelligence, and plans to use the funds raised in this next Series A round to further industrialize and go-to-market.
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