Why startups need guts, a network and other thoughts from the latest Fathom World/Oceans Arena co-hosted Clubhouse meetup
In the Shipping and Sustainability meetup on Clubhouse on Monday 15th March two entrepreneurs behind two completely different start-up stories shared their experiences and their journeys with the discussion group audience, who also offered their comments and experiences.
Tor Østervold, with his brother, founded ECOsubsea in 2008 in Norway, ECOsubsea is a company delivering sustainable hull cleaning where the focus is on collecting everything that is cleaned off a ship’s underwater hull and making sure it is disposed of safely. After winning entrepreneurship awards Tor focused on growing his business sustainably rather than going for quick gains based on the media attention he received.
Constantine Komodromos co-founded Vesselbot, a data driven company focused on vessel efficiency in 2015 in Greece. With a growing range of intelligence tools powered today with AI, the company offers a range of stakeholders, from charterers to operators, insights to make fleet and vessel improvements.
Both talked to Fathom World’s Craig Eason and Gina Panayiotou founder of Oceans Arena and It’s All About shipping, along with other visitors to the Clubhouse room to share experiences.
The notes below are neither verbatim, nor attributed to any particular guest or contributor to the discussion. The Shipping & Sustainability discussions on Clubhouse are free to attend and participation and debate/discussion is welcome.
Clubhouse is currently available only on iOS (iPhone and iPad). One also needs an invitation to join. If you would like an invitation and wish to participate in Shipping & Sustainability and the thousands of other Clubs and discussions on Clubhouse then get in touch. We may have some invites we can share.
You likely will not survive if you just want to build a business and sell it for a few million dollars. You need to have another driver to stay alive, to ensure that you can get up in the morning and carry on despite what may have happened the day before.
You need self-perseverance and drive to wake up and do what you do. You need also to be stubborn about your goal, but not so stubborn you are not ready or prepared to make slight deviations or changes in your dream.
If you live in a society, particularly one which has a strong tradition in your industry (shipping and maritime) you have to be aware and honour the generations before you and also honour the generations that come after. We have a responsibility to develop sustainable roles and goals.
“Sometimes I felt I was looking at a masterpiece in a museum, only I was the only one who could see it there. When we started sustainability, was not key, not back then. There were very few who did.”
We were able to find some customers that understood us, and thought like we did that sustainability was going to be big so we got support form them. The letter of intent from a potential customer who is willing to use the product if there is success in developing in is very important, so seek that early on.
But at times we found it difficult because there were people who did not see the need for change and wanted to stay where they are, maintain the status quo. The challenge was/is to change this mindset.
We recognised we were not getting customers so had to quickly shift our focus to ensure we built up revenue-generating products enabling us to then subsequently develop more sustainability focused products, which then became our main products.
An entrepreneur startup may be ahead of a regulatory change trying to be ahead of the curve. Regulation makes change happen quickly, so being ahead of the curve when that regulatory change happens is an advantage. It has to be a relationship building exercise so we get the customers to move forward.
The Shipping & Sustainability Show on Clubhouse is a joint undertaking from
Fathom World & Oceans Arena/It’s All About Shipping