For most maritime start-ups, the US is the go-to place to find seed funding from venture capitalists. Asian venture capital, although more cautious, is expected to play a greater role for the region’s up and coming technology developers, provided they sell their story the right way.

Dhritiman Hui, who heads Eastern Pacific Shipping’s investment arm EPS Ventures, believes the prominence of the US is down to history. Venture Capital, as an industry, originated in the US in the late 1950s.

“The US has just been the country that’s had the most practice with venture capital, as a result of which the industry is in order of magnitude larger than other geographies,” Hui said. “There’s just so much more money available in the US simply because they’ve been around for so long.”

Nevertheless, Hui has high expectations for the growth of venture capital in the Asian maritime technology space.

“I started in the venture capital business in Asia in 2008,” he said. “In just the last 15 years, it has changed so much, it is unrecognisable given how many new kinds of instruments have come out and how sophisticated investing has become. I’d argue the pace of change over the last 15 years in Asia has been much faster than the pace of change in the US between 1960 and 1980.

Kunal Pancholi, one of the co-founders of Bigyellowfish, a workplace well-being, mental health and training platform that recently raised $1.1m in seed funding from investors in the US and Asia, concurs.

“Start-ups have a significant role in driving innovation, especially in developing-world economies,” he said. “We see considerable investment and fund houses setting up their hubs with funds focused on start-ups from Asia and India. Overall, it is a very positive sentiment, which is here to stay for many years.”

While the Asian venture-capital scene may be growing in size and sophistication, both Hui and Pancholi said it has yet to reflect the creativity and risk-taking appetite that has crept into the US markets.

Pancholi noted that it is the technology and business growth that matters in the US venture capital markets rather than the sector. This is unlike in other geographies, where investor focus is orientated more towards a particular market.

Leaon Lim, chief executive and founder of Singapore-based predictive maintenance platform, said that in his experience of launching several tech start-ups, US and European venture capitalists are more focused on the creation of the technology, whereas in the Asian region they are more focused on the applications of the technology.

Hui believes shipping’s low profile, as compared to other industries, makes it harder for tech start-ups to attract the interest of Asian venture capital. He said shipping is an industry that is a little bit out of sight so it is not something that is easy for a venture-capital investor to relate.

“I find that an Asian investor appetite for maritime technology is the same as an American or a European investor,” he said.

“What it comes down to is the ability of a start-up’s founding team to articulate what they are doing and paint a picture for a vanilla venture capital investor to truly grasp the potential that exists. Some do it exceptionally well, some could do it better.”