Shipping logistics startup Harbor Lab raises $16M Series A led by Atomico

Cargo ships docking at a commercial port incur costs called “disbursements” and “port call expenses.” These might include port dues, towage, and pilotage fees. It’s a complex patchwork and all ports operate their own procedures, much of it on spreadsheets. The global cost from port calls, for all vessels, is over $220 billion dollars per year.

Now, a Greek maritime software startup that we last covered when it raised a €6.1 million seed round — Harbor Lab — has gone on to raise a $16 million Series A funding round led by European VC Atomico.

Harbor Lab says the costs that arise from a vessel’s port calls are the second largest expense for commercial vessels behind fuel, reaching around $2.2 million per vessel per year.

The company claims its platform can streamline those costs and reduce the margin of error in invoicing errors and overpayments from 20% to just 3% per port call.

Antonis Malaxianakis told me over a call: “I was a potential user of the software that we have created. I have myself manually checked over 20,000 disbursement accounts, so I knew all aspects of the business and points of the industry. So for us, the moment we had the seed funding, and we could afford software engineering, and we could focus, on a very strict roadmap we were very confident about success.”

He added: “We have a war. But in the shipping industry, we have freight rates being increased because of that and the extra danger. We are very focused on doing a proper KYC investigation on all parties that are on board. Both the vessels and the agents that are across the world. When the war happened within a night, we had to sanction 100 participants of overnight.”

Atomico partner Ben Blume told me: “We've been looking into core logistics processes and moving stuff around the planet. With that lens, we came to Harbor Lab. There are a few different stages to the commercial maritime journey that each need pieces of software around them … This company felt like the most exciting one to get involved in.”

He also said: “I think in Antonis you've got in front of you a really visionary founder, someone who brings just an enormous amount of energy to the business he's building, as well as deep industry experience.”

New environmental legislation and various geopolitical crises are making it more of a pressing matter to address the complications of transporting cargo.

Harbor Lab already has shipping giants Great Eastern Shipping, Oldendorff, Veson Nautical, and 90POE as clients and partners.

Seed investor Apostolos Apostolakis, partner of VentureFriends, told me: “Having been among the first institutional investors in Harbor Lab, we were convinced early on about its potential also because it was so clearly articulated by Antonis. We were fortunate to experience firsthand the steady progress towards that vision and additionally, after this new round we are even more excited about what the future holds.”

With existing investors Notion Capital, VentureFriends, SpeedInvest, and The Dock, and new investors Endeavor Catalyst and maritime VC TMV, the round takes total funding for the Greek startup to some $22.5 million.