We4Sea: Emission reduction for freight ships

By Tessa van Breeden - Did you know that 90 percent of all goods are transported by cargo ships? Fruit or clothing: almost everything has seen the inside of a freighter once. While we are happy to look good and eat avocado toast, there is one big problem: the environmental impact of cargo vessels is significant.

We4Sea has revolutionized ship performance monitoring, providing real-time and actionable insights without hardware. Using this monitoring creates an easy way for fuel efficiency and emission reduction.

From TNO To YES!Delft startup

Dan Veen worked as senior sales manager at TNO’s Maritime and Offshore department. One of the projects he was involved in was mapping emissions from ships. Together with his team at TNO, they developed a method to see what is happening at sea from a distance: where vessels sail, at which speed, what kind of fuel they use, and much more. At one point, Dan figured there must be owners who want to know whether they can improve the efficiency of their fleet and lower CO2 emissions with the help of that kind of data. With co-founder Michiel Katgert, he entered a TNO competition and won a ticket to the YES!Delft Validation Lab program, where they learned how to turn their scientific idea into a business. Ultimately, Dan and his co-founder decided to leave their jobs and pursue their business on a full-time base.

showcasing ship with hologram version

There is a lot to do in the first months when building a company. Thanks to the YES!Delft programs, we avoided many mistakes we would have made otherwise. It saved us much trouble later on, and I’m grateful for that.Dan Veen, co-founder and CEO of We4Sea

A change of course

Initially, We4Sea targeted the legal owners of ships. They found that many owners intend to make their fleets more sustainable. But often, they rent out their freighters. They realized that ship owners aren’t always their ideal target group, because charterers decide where the cargo vessels go. Thus, they pay for the costs of transporting goods on freighters. But, they are not allowed to install hardware. So, We4Sea created a solution that helps charterers measure the ship’s performance without needing additional hardware. Their technology calculates the expected performance of a freighter. Then, they compare it to the actual data. It helps to make any required adjustments to sail more efficiently.

I think the shipping industry is fantastic. It’s amazing to see that we can build big ships. But, emission rates are very high. We4Sea wants to contribute to making ships more efficient and lower CO2 emissions.Dan Veen, co-founder and CEO of We4Sea

Expanding their customer fleet

So far, We4Sea has had multiple investors. At first, a couple of angel investors were willing to help. They are also part of the Mainport Innovation Fund portfolio and received funding from the Innovation Quarter of the province of Zuid-Holland. Meanwhile, they have paying customers and, thanks to that, don’t have a runway anymore. In other words, We4Sea is ready to scale up. They aim to expand their customer base in the upcoming year to grow their business. And, of course, to help the shipping industry become more sustainable.

It’s inspiring that We4Sea provides our customers with a good business case that serves a dual purpose: saving money and helping the environment. If a customer follows our advice and you see the anticipated results, that’s very nice.Dan Veen, co-founder and CEO of We4Sea

Your dream can become a reality too!

As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your startup by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a startup resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out vacancies placed by our startups.

Be the change, as change starts with you.

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