Hive Maritime Aims to Increase Efficiency of Shipping Industry through Predictive Analytics
In March 2016, the team at Hive Maritime made a critical shift in the mission of their startup, deciding to move their company’s focus from pirate-scouting drones to a predictive analytics platform designed to help the shipping industry save billions of dollars. Co-founders Chris Mannion, a former Air Engineer Officer for the UK Royal Navy’s Fleet Air arm, and Brian Kirk, who served in the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force, knew from their past careers and their engineering backgrounds that the shipping industry could take advantage of big data and predictive analytics to operate more efficiently by forecasting choke points in global trade routes.
Chris Mannion, Co-Founder, Hive Maritime
“Today, the aviation industry uses data analytics to predict, for instance, when there will be a large influx of air traffic at the same time,” Mannion said. “Knowing this information allows them to plan staffing accordingly. We believe that many of the principles the aviation industry uses could be applied to the shipping industry.”
Using their expertise, they bootstrapped funding and set out to develop a model that would allow shippers to avoid congestion and get to their destination faster, saving time, reducing fuel usage, and minimizing mechanical failures – in short, addressing several major cost drivers.
Developing the product was no simple task, but Hive Maritime is moving forward quickly. By the end of spring 2016, the company was selected as one of the winners at the prestigious MIT 100K Competition, receiving $10,000 in non-equity funding. Later that summer, the company was one of 16 selected to participate in MIT’s Global Founders Skills Accelerator, and one of 128 finalists to take part in MassChallenge’s 2016 Accelerator class, opportunities which offer Hive Maritime the opportunity to work alongside other innovative startups and receive one-on-one mentorship from industry leaders.
Perhaps most importantly, they have also added critical manpower, the result of the two interns they were able to hire through the MassTech Intern Partnership (MTIP). The MTIP program provides stipends to Massachusetts companies with fewer than 100 employees, allowing them to hire Massachusetts college students as summer interns. Since the program began in 2013, it has connected more than 317 students to summer-long paid internships at 167 companies across the state.
“Without this program, we probably would have only been able to afford one intern,” Mannion noted. Instead, the MTIP program allowed Hive to hire two MIT students, Jeet Mohapatra and Lynn Yu, who are interested in data science and in the startup economy. The company connected with Mohapatra and Yu using TechGen, a platform that connects students searching for internships in innovation-focused sectors with local companies in need of talent. The two interns have been instrumental in building databases, cleaning up datasets, and assisting the team in an environment where there is always more than enough work to go around.
Both the co-founders and the interns agreed that the internship is a positive experience that provided benefits both for the startup and students. For co-founders Mannion and Kirk, it means an opportunity to accelerate the process of building their product. For the interns, it means a compelling internship in the popular and growing data science sector that allows them to gain real-world experience.
“Often when you intern at a large company, you just help with a tiny piece of a larger mission,” Yu noted, comparing her Hive experience to a past internship at a large engineering company. “At this internship, I feel like a critical component of the team and that I’m creating a real-world application for a real-world problem.”
Lynn Yu (left) and Jeet Mohapatra (right) are Hive Maritime's interns this summer.
For both Yu and Mohapatra, the internship is also a chance to get to know the startup economy in Massachusetts, to learn from the experiences of the entrepreneurs and engineers around them, and to put the skills they have learned in the classroom to work in the real world.
Each intern mentioned that they were drawn to Hive Maritime’s internship posting because of its emphasis on “data analytics”. In an age where the big data economy is increasing in scale every day, many students are enticed by the idea of working with data to address and help solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
Although the summer passed by very quickly, this Massachusetts startup is already looking toward the next part of their startup voyage. After completing the GFSA program, the Hive Maritime team will move full-time to MassChallenge, where they will continue to build their product, test results with local port authorities, and bring the platform closer to market.
Mannion says the company is committed to remain in Massachusetts for the foreseeable future, highlighting the rich pool of talent as a key reason.
“We want to stay in Boston because of the world-class data science programs here and rich tech ecosystem. The talent and community here is impossible to match.”
To learn more about Hive Maritime visit www.hivemaritime.com.