Nikkei acquires minority stake in Singapore AI startup DC Frontiers

Handshakes by DC Frontier 1

08/10/2019 – Nikkei announced on Monday the acquisition of a minority stake of 14.9 percent in Singapore artificial intelligence (AI) startup DC Frontiers. Following the transaction, the startup will be supporting the product development of scoutAsia.

DC Frontiers has also raised US$5M from Nikkei.

scoutAsia is a joint project launched by Nikkei and the Financial Times last year that provides data and news service. The joint project is a part of Nikkei’s strategic diversification of its business lines. Nikkei acquired Financial Times in a US1.3b deal in 2015.

The startup will be using its technology to work on improving the accuracy and efficiency of scoutAsia’s news monitoring and corporate information search functions on top of developing new features that will be available starting October.

With the injection of fresh funds, DC Frontiers will be establishing offshore research centers in an effort to expand its AI and other technological capabilities. The startup will also be installing overseas sales offices to boost sales growth.

Founded in 2011, DC Frontier operates a due diligence portal called Handshakes that focus on automated information gathering, corporate monitoring and research using AI. The platform also boasts a mapping capability, backed by AI, that’s able to relate between companies and people in the corporate ecosystem.

Handshakes’ clients include both financial and non-financial corporations, and government institutions in the Asian region. While its database includes companies listen in Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Vietnam, with real-time coverage available for more than 90 million businesses in the region.

The biggest shareholder in the startup is Daryl Neo, co-founder of DC Frontiers, followed by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Singapore Maritime Solutions Startup Claritecs raises US$850K in pre-Series A funding


INNOPORT & Claritecs

7/10/2019 – Claritecs, a Singapore-based maritime technology startup has successfully raised US$850k in its pre-Series A round from INNOPORT, the corporate venture capital unit of the globally operating shipowner and ship management company Bernhard Schulte.

An anonymous private angel investor from the Singapore maritime industry also contributed to the funding which is intended to further drive the startup’s offering of digitised solutions within the bunkering and wider maritime space.

Haymon Sinapius, INNOPORT’s Investment Manager for Asia shared regarding the deal that since their establishment, they have been seeking out high-potential, early-stage maritime and logistics startups in Europe and Asia for investment.

“Claritecs impressed us with their keen sense of identifying pain points faced by the bunkering industry and addressing them with holistic digital solutions based on their strong domain knowledge,” Sinapius said.

Since its inception in December 2017. Claritecs has managed to develop their flagship product BunkerMaestro from proof of concept to a very comprehensive scheduling platform which helps improve work efficiency and bunker fleet optimization.

Providing data-driven insights for bunker scheduling, BunkerMaestro is an algorithm-based SaaS platform that is capable of handling bunker fleet optimization and even the complexities of multiple grades of marine fuels required by ships to meet the IMO 2020 sulphur cap regulation. It taps on real-time data sets from Singapore Maritime Data Hub and MarineTraffic to monitor vessel movements to predict vessel arrival times and bunkering related operations.

“The platform could not be rolled out at a more opportune time and I am very excited to monitor the progress of Claritecs as they bring their other projects to market,” Sinapius added.

With BunkerMaestro, the startup claims that the flagship development is capable of improving work efficiency by at least 30%, increasing bunker tanker utilization rate at least 15% and halving the time spent on communication.

According to the CEO of Claritecs Wong Hong Lee, capital funding from the investment will be used to support product development and market roll-out while enabling Claritecs to establish their position as a forerunner in the local technology innovation arena that specializes in the bunkering sector.

“Besides BunkerMaestro, we have developed Auto Profiling, a tool for quick diagnostics of mass flow meter bunkering data, which will hit the market concurrently,” Wong added.

“We have garnered strong market validation from many companies within the entire bunker supply chain who are confident that our solutions will address many archaic work processes still being used today. These products form the foundation in our roadmap of future solutions which we intend to develop.

“New product innovation is a key area of focus for Claritecs. We are currently in talks with like-minded partners for possible collaborations so that we can assist our clients in their digital transformation journey,” he also disclosed.

Claritecs aims to raise its Series A round by Q1 2020 to support their international expansion and future product development.