The program is focused on real engagement, designed to help you get traction in collaboration with industry leaders. Join us, for an opportunity to make an impact on maritime, transportation, logistics & supply chain industry.

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About the program

The Trade & Transport Impact program is a startup – corporate engagement program focused on executing pilots and partnerships between highly promising startups and top transport companies. It’s not an accelerator.

It’s a chance to be among the 10 startups selected to join the program and:
– Explore pilot opportunities directly with decision-makers
– Engage in a 6 weeks semi-remote program, without the need to relocate
– Navigate a fast and well-facilitated pilot execution with support from Rainmaking, without equity being involved


Program cycle duration
Oct 2019 - Dec 2019

Program Cycle 2

Program timeline:

Application start

July 25 2019

Application end

Sep 8 2019

Selection days

Oct 21 - 24 2019

Launch Days

Dec 04 - 05 2019

Next steps


Focus areas include:

Safety, Security and Crew Welfare

Use smart solutions to optimise systems and data utilisation, increase safety on vessels and in ports. Help improve crew welfare:

Cargo handling and security

Problem: 1,500 containers are lost and a significant amount of cargo is damaged each year – resulting in costs of $50M+. Additionally, manual cargo inspection increases risk accidents for the crew.
Scope: Startups that can improve onboard cargo monitoring and tracking, optimizing monitoring equipment and eliminating accidents – both for the cargo and the crew.

Safety and security in ports and on vessels

Problem: Shipping plays a key part in international trade and needs to be safe from multiple risks, including harsh environments, collisions, work accidents, illegal access into port infrastructure and vessels.
Scope: Startups that can enable transparency, assets, and people monitoring and preventive measures to safeguard the port, the ship, and the crew.

Crew welfare

Problem: Shipping plays a key part in international trade and needs to be safe from multiple risks, including harsh environments, collisions, work accidents, illegal access into port infrastructure and vessels.
Scope: Startups that can enable transparency, assets, and people monitoring and preventive measures to safeguard the port, the ship, and the crew.


Problem: As ships become more connected the risks associated with cybersecurity increase. Previous data breaches involving a ship operator alone cost $200 – $300 mil.
Scope: Startups that work on data protection, transfer data to cloud & services for data scalability.

Optimisation of port and vessel operations

Increase efficiency and save money by optimising operations of terminals, ports and vessels:

Optimisation of vessel operations

Problem: A large number of vessels are still being inefficient and thus increasing fuel consumption, energy and causing delays.
Scope: Startups that can increase vessel route efficiency through a better fuel/glide ratio, fleet management software, trim optimization.

Optimisation of terminal operations

Problem: Lack of automation, inefficiencies in terminal operations and inefficient data leverage. Current optimization algorithms are typically rule-based, and unable to assess the natural seasonality of the industry without manual tweaking. Overall the value of the problem is in hundreds of millions if not in billions USD.
Scope: Startups that can increase the degree of terminal automation, automation flexibility and manageability, enhance data leveraging, improve predictive storage planning and ETA of train and truck arrival and departure times to and from terminals.

Port call optimisation

Problem: Lack of coordination between a vessel and real-time operations of different key stakeholders results in a high level of inefficiencies and costs of 20+ bil USD.
Scope: Startups that can improve the flow of information and real-time data between relevant stakeholders and enable the dynamic reaction to events, e.g. with digital service layers.

Capacity utilisation

Problem: Actual cargo capacity of vessels is often not utilized to its maximum capabilities and vessels may sail half-empty, which leads to a significant amount of lost potential revenues for shipping companies.
Scope: Startups that can optimize capacity utilization on container ships, reduce ballast voyages for wet and dry bulk vessels, increase transparency on routes and improve the vessel line of sight.

Automation of manual tasks

Problem: Increased labour costs due to excessive and inefficient manual processes on terminals and vessels.
Scope: Startups that can automatize operations and tasks, increase cargo handling consistency, reduce human errors and delays.

Autonomous future

Potentially promising future technologies that could address some of the strongest challenges in the industry:

Autonomous equipment and autonomous operations

Problem: Shipping today is a very manual industry. Tomorrow’s shipping will become increasingly automated on both ships and in ports, resulting in lower operational costs. However, automation is likely to be gradual from semi-autonomous operations with elements of human control to full autonomy. In addition, some parts of the maritime industry are likely to never become fully autonomous.
Scope: Startups that bring the future to today and demonstrate what autonomous or semi-autonomous operations for the industry look like.


Who are you

We imagine you are working on a digital solution & already have something to show to the market.

Digital solution

You are working on a digital solution that solves problems, e.g. through AI, big data, IoT, automation, drone applications, AR/VR or machine vision.

Anywhere in the world

You can be anywhere in the world, as long as you have the time and capacity to fly to Hamburg for 5 days in total within the next 5 months.

You have a product to show

You’ve already tested your solution and you know your clients love it! Or you are in a late prototype stage but have identified a real need in the market.

What we offer

The program is designed to help you grow and get real traction with our corporate partners Cargotec, Inmarsat, Shell, HHLA and Wartsila.

Equity free

Our corporate partners seek mutually beneficial collaborations, and don’t take any equity from you to engage.

Get real traction

Industry access

You have access to corporate leaders & mentors from around the world to help you get the best from the industry.

Across borders

You can grow in the industry and worldwide. Our partners are international players and can help you enter desired markets.


Mentors & advisors

The average Trade & Transport Impact program includes industry experts using what they’ve learned from years, and often decades of experience to tackle multi-million and billion dollar maritime problems.

Coming from diverse backgrounds, they are joining the program as founding partners, advisors, and mentors.



Meet the people


Who can submit to the program?

We believe that you can best benefit from this program if you have a product in the market and are ready to take it to a next level. As the program was designed to help you grow, get real traction & expand, ideally your product is in a stage where it has customers. Alternatively,  it can be a very late prototype that can be implemented and tested.

When can we submit?

You can submit today, the latest until September 8th, 2019.

How do we submit?

By filling out a short form to answer a few questions here. If you need any help, just ping us at hello@tradewithimpact.com

What happens after we apply?

Our experienced scouting team will screen all submissions continuously and invite high-potential startups for a 30-min online video call to mutually explore a collaboration potential.

Are there any restrictions in terms of geography?

No, we value diversity and are open to solutions worldwide. Our corporate partners are international companies and operate worldwide.

How was the program designed?

We select a max of 10 startups to join us in Hamburg on October 21 – 24 for selection days & meeting with our corporate partners. During these three days, we will make a further selection and match you with your corporate partner. In the 6 weeks that follow after, you’ll be working remotely with your corporate partner with Rainmaking assisting as needed. We will then meet again on December 4 – 5 to discuss outcomes and the partnerships going forward.

How can we increase our chances of selection?

Be honest with yourself. We believe in mutual valuable collaborations, and this is only possible to identify by having an honest conversation around goals, challenges, etc.

We recommend to especially reflect on:
Why this opportunity? What do you hope to achieve? How does your solution solve corporate partner challenges? What are your superpowers and the main challenges where you need support?

Other questions?

Feel free to write to us at hello@tradewithimpact.com.

About us

Introducing Rainmaking

Rainmaking is a global cooperative of entrepreneurs running startups and innovation programs in more than 40 countries. We bring extensive success from Startupbootcamp, Rainmaking Innovation and our own startup experience to move the transport, maritime and logistics industries forward.

The Rainmaking family

The Rainmaking Transport vertical was founded by experienced maritime professionals. We are specialized in maritime, logistics and transport, and continuously work with leading corporates and talented startups in these industries. We have a deep understanding of the leading corporations in maritime, how they invest & how they think about new technologies and innovation.

By joining one of our programs, you become part of an ecosystem of startups, maritime institutions, mentors and investors that will keep accelerating you in the future. We have a global network of partners, mentors, experts & investors.

We know startups

We have collaborated with successful startups around the world. We screen +10,000 per year and have invested in +800 so far alongside corporate partners. We have experience running pilots with corporates successfully; making us the right person to help you make the best out of it.

And we are still founders at heart. To date, we have found 30+ companies based on our own ideas and seed funded them ourselves. Followed up with 20m+ EUR from external investors.