Cambridge tech firm pitches to South Korea’s biggest maritime corporations

Member News published by Intralink, under Artificial Intelligence / Machine learning, Business Development, Innovation / Incubation, Start ups

Seven UK companies offering innovative technologies for the maritime sector, including Cambridge-headquartered AI pioneer Darktrace, have pitched their offerings to five of South Korea’s largest shipbuilding and ship owning corporations during a trade mission to the UK this week.

Founded in 2013, Darktrace is a global leader in cybersecurity AI. The company has more than 2,200 employees and 30 offices worldwide. The Darktrace AI Research Centre in Cambridge has conducted research establishing new thresholds in cyber security, with technology innovations backed by more than 145 patents and pending applications.

The opportunity to pitch was offered to the British companies as part of the government-funded UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme, which helps tech scaleups to explore and secure commercial opportunities in 11 markets across the Asia Pacific region, including South Korea.

Intralink, the international business development consultancy which delivers the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme for the Government, selected the UK companies to participate in the event. It took place in London on 17 April, with each company given the chance to pitch its technologies to Korea’s HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, Hanwha Ocean, HMM and Hyundai Glovis. The companies then took part in Q&A and networking sessions to take discussions further forward.

The participating UK companies were:

·        Darktrace – the provider of AI-powered cybersecurity

·        Ninety Percent of Everything – a supplier of maritime digital intelligence

·        COMET – a provider of a technology-enabled root cause analysis tool

·        Ceto – a supplier of data analytics to improve shipping industry processes

·        HiLo – a maritime risk management company

·        Marine AI – a supplier of artificial intelligence systems to enhance manned vessel safety and enable autonomous marine operations

·        Signol - a provider of software to reduce fuel usage and optimise operational practices

The event was part of a broader inward maritime trade mission, organised by the British Embassy in Seoul and the UK’s Department for Business & Trade.

The maritime industry is strategically important to South Korea, with its shipbuilding sector alone forecast to be worth KRW 44 trillion (£30.1 billion) by 2030. While it is already a global player and is making huge investments in the digitalisation and decarbonisation of the field, it lags regional rivals China and Japan in the development of smart ships and smart ports. The country’s corporations are keen to collaborate with western companies offering technologies which can help strengthen its position in the sector.

Richard Newnham, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Ninety Percent of Everything, said: “We were excited to be selected to participate in the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme, and to have the opportunity to pitch to such prestigious Korean companies.

“Our commitment to maritime excellence through our next-generation platform, OpenOcean STUDIO, aligns perfectly with the forward-thinking approach of the Korean shipping industry. Engaging with representatives at the event gave us valuable insights and opportunities for collaboration at a time when the industry is increasingly embracing digitalisation to elevate operations and enhance sustainability. We look forward to nurturing these connections and advancing discussions that will mutually benefit our organisations and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the maritime industry."

Euan Henderson, Business Development Manager at COMET, commented: "We were delighted to have the opportunity to take part in this pitch event, hosted by the UK APAC Tech Growth Programme. Our participation marked a significant milestone for our product as it expands its global reach, helping businesses to enhance their operational and organisational performance. By combining our expertise, data-driven software and technology solutions, organisations can reveal and resolve past, present and future risks to their business."

“Our recent partnership with South Korean firm RIMS and our participation in events like this demonstrate our dedication to supporting organisations in South Korea and beyond as they strive to achieve the highest safety and compliance standards."

Gavin Cleary, Head of the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme at Intralink, said: “Pitch events such as this offer a unique opportunity for some of the most innovative UK tech scaleups to introduce their solutions to potential partners and customers from Asia Pacific. We run them regularly for UK companies involved in the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme and they’ve proved successful in helping to spark commercial relationships between the UK companies and carefully-selected corporations from APAC.”

He continued: “Korea is committed to building an even stronger presence in the maritime sector and it is major Korean companies, such as those attending this latest pitch event, that will deliver this. We were happy to showcase some of the most exciting maritime tech being developed in the UK and the interest from the Korean companies was clear from the outset.”

The UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme provides support for UK tech scaleups to expand in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Intralink’s teams on the ground in Asia Pacific can identify participants’ business opportunities, provide market entry advice and help them sell their products, forge partnerships and raise investment.

The programme – backed jointly by the UK Government’s Department for Business & Trade and Department for Science, Innovation & Technology – is aimed at scaleups throughout the UK with significant international growth potential.

Companies can apply to be considered for the programme here (


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