German digital shipping venture capital firm Flagship Founders, which has backing from Auerbach Schiffahrt, has unveiled its third start-up, zero44, a company that aims to help users plan CO2 emission reductions ahead of voyages.

Zero44 said it aims to develop products that provide “a customised digital solution [that] offers shipping companies a comprehensive, daily overview of their own carbon footprint”.

The company is expanding its team and building customer relations ahead of the launch of software in testing mode this summer and released to the market later in 2022.

It will use ship operators’ existing sources for daily vessel data to provide commercial planning between managers and charterers to agree how to reduce costs and emissions in their voyage planning.

Co-founder and managing director Friederike Hesse told TradeWinds the service zero44 will provide would complement those provided by other shipping software providers who focus either on vessel performance systems, benchmarking, precise measurement or voyage planning such as weather routing.

Hesse said: “When we talk to tanker or container companies we see they have completely different commercial planning and negotiation processes with their charterers or customers. Our tool aims to provide planning and scenario building support to these commercial negotiations.”

Zero44 is working on a low barrier entry that allows a charterer not using the system to be able to link into the same data as an owner that is — or vice versa — and plans to build application program interfaces to integrate its product with the other software systems being used across the industry, she added.

“We don’t expect zero44 to be the leading system. Most of the time for a shipping company that will be the vessel performance management system. We will be on top of that focused on this specific CO2 issue,” she said.

Hesse and zero44 co-founder Nils Obermann do not have previous shipping experience, but Flagship Founders links to the shipping industry has allowed it to work with development partners in the industry.

Flagship Founders was set up in 2020 by managing director Fabian Feldhaus, who has a background in company building at Commerzbank, to focus on maritime technology, logistics and shipping start-ups.

Lucius Bunk, founding partner at Hamburg-based Auerbach Schiffahrt which operates a fleet of ten project cargo ships, is a member of Flagship Founders’ management team and active partner in the company.

Lucius Bunk, co-founder of Auerbach Schiffarht, is involved in Flagship Founders digital start-ups venture capital firm Photo: Auerbach

Berlin-based venture capital group rescape is also a strategic partner in Flagship Founders which aims to set up two to three maritime technology start-ups with a global reach each year.

“A lack of any comprehensive, satisfactory solutions is what prompted us to found zero44,” said Feldhaus.

Flagship Founders has previously launched Kaiko Systems, which aims to turn vessel inspections into structured data and actionable insights, and Tilla, a platform for managing crew changes and logistics which cites Hamburg owner Peter Dohle as a client on its website.

Kaiko’s management team includes director Nick Vaughan who has worked as a ship surveyor in Asia and managed software related projects for clients of Lloyds Register.