Internationalisierung. Marine Digital GmbH in Lübeck: Interview with Ivan Ladan, Founder and CEO

Ivan Ladan sprichtüber zu EU-Fördermöglichkeiten, der Bedeutung der Beratungsleistungen des Enterprise Europe Network und dem essentiellen Mehrwert von Netzwerkveranstaltungen für die Weiterentwicklung von Unternehmen
Das 2020 gegründete KMU Marine Digital GmbH mit Sitz in Lübeck arbeitet im Bereich der Energieeffizienzanalyse des Schiffsbetriebs und hilft Flottenmanagern und Lieferketten, Engpässe im Seeverkehr zu erkennen und diese mit effizienten modernen Technologien insbesondere mit Blick auf die Kostensenkung zu optimieren. Auf Basis genauer Datenanalyse sowie -verarbeitung und dem Bewusstsein hinsichtlich der Besonderheiten industrieller Abläufe verbindet das Unternehmen auf innovative Weise Expertise im Bereich der hydrodynamischen und Leistungsmodellierung mit modernen Algorithmen und Softwaretools aus den Bereichen Technologie, Information und Internet.

Zugeschaltet aus dem fernen Singapur, haben Enterprise Europe Network mit dem Gründer und CEO Ivan Ladan über den Unternehmensstandort Schleswig-Holstein, EU-Fördermöglichkeiten, die Bedeutung der Beratungsleistungen des Enterprise Europe Network und den essentiellen Mehrwert von Netzwerkveranstaltungen für die Weiterentwicklung von Marine Digital gesprochen.

Marine Digital combines high-level IT expertise with long-term experience in the automation of logistics processes and operations management in shipping, thereby offering a unique service for the maritime sector, not only against the backdrop of the ever-accelerating globalization, but especially with regard to the rapid and continuous evolvement of digital solutions and the incorporation of actions furthering sustainability in the maritime industry. What motivated you to locate your internationally-rooted company here in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, European Union? Specifically with regard to the infrastructure, the networking as well as growth potential, and the funding opportunities?

The whole story starts with a meeting with Peter Moller of the Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland. Right away from the beginning, I was impressed by his knowledge of the maritime industry as well as by the general professionality of the governmental institutions in Schleswig-Holstein, which were the main aspects motivating me to accept the proposal to start a business in the Land of Schleswig-Holstein. Originally, we had planned to locate the company in Kiel, but then we also won the place in the Gateway49 Accelerator, which in turn provided us with several practical assistance and thus in turn offered the best arguments to ultimately start the company in Lübeck. Additionally, the enormous international business cluster around Hamburg is directly nearby.

Which EU funding programs have contributed to the evolvement of your company thus far, or which are the ones you are currently interested in and considering for application? What have your experiences been like so far with regard to for example the Gateway 49 Accelerator?

The Gateway49 application was prepared and processed in August 2020, thus basically against the backdrop of the Covid 19-pandemic, the entailed lockdowns, and general restrictions. Our company as a whole relocated in August, the program started in September, and all the while, people were largely, still or again, working remotely. These circumstances complicated the processes to a significant extent, and everything was slowed down. Nevertheless, everything, by and large, worked out well in the end. The Gateway49 provided some really interesting sessions and we had fascinating neighbors there, like for example Naeco Blue, with whom we still have a pretty good connection. We stay in touch and continuously support each other with knowledge and networking opportunities. They create weather-related algorithms, and sometimes we can ask for advice or recommend something back. Occasionally, Gateway 49 might also still ask us to join some networking sessions.

At this stage of our company's development, however, we are even more focused on maritime-related networks and connection opportunities. Since Marine Digital is located within this highly specialized niche of the maritime sector, we are always looking for cooperation opportunities matching our company's technical focus. With regard to funding programs so far, we successfully applied and have been granted the IB.SH innovation loan (IB.SH Innovationsdarlehen).

On what occasion did you first hear about the Enterprise Europe Network and which services, i.e. with regard to funding programs and partnering opportunities, have you found most helpful thus far?

I had the first direct contact with the EEN at the MariMatch at SMM, which took place in Hamburg on September 8th and 9th this year. I feel like everyone in Northern Germany, or Schleswig-Holstein, knows about the EEN, but for me personally, it was quite a nice surprise to learn about this EU consultancy network for enterprises, which I had not really been familiar with before. I had a meeting with your EEN colleague there and we discussed which funding programs would be best for our company and which we should apply for. So she provided us with a lot of useful information thus far. We are always looking for consultancy services with regard to funding opportunities because the number of potential programs is so enormous. Since it is rather complicated to find out where to look for the relevant funding programs and how to apply successfully, we find cooperation with the EEN in SH very helpful. It helps us to learn about potential funding programs as well as the entailed specific application conditions and processes. That way, we are profiting from its wide range of EU business consultancy services and expertise.

You already mentioned the EEN-Networking Event "MariMatch at SMM", which took place in Hamburg on September 8 and 9, 2022. Which were the most interesting funding opportunities you learned about and contacts you made there?

In my opinion, it was a really great event. It was perfectly organized and I was able to attend several different meetings, which all went very well. I met with your colleague and we discussed which programs might be suitable for Marine Digital. This is how we learned about the EIC Accelerator program, which we then applied for. However, since this program is especially competitive, we passed the first stage but did not make it through the second one, unfortunately. We are definitely going to apply again, though.

In which way has the MariMatch networking event helped you thus far with regard to acquiring new contacts or EU funding opportunities either long- or short-term?

I was able to attend a very diverse set of five meetings in total. Not only did I connect with the EEN, thus learning about the EIC funding, but I also met other consultancy providers, with whom we might work together in the future, as either added services or on a contractor basis. Moreover, I got in touch with an engineering company as well as with an England-based firm specializing in hydrodynamic architecture, doing classical physical assessments of the architectural structure of the vessel. Since we are forecasting the future state of the fuel consumption of the vessel, this external professional verification of the data as well as the general enrichment of our data processing is very important for the further evolvement of our products. In sum, the MariMatch networking event offered us great, multilayered insights with regard to long-term funding and networking opportunities, and I can highly recommend it.

TOP 5 factors contributing to lower fuel costs for Shipping companies
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Аdvantage of Fuel Optimization System from Marine Digital:
Marine Digital FOS can be integrated with other system and third-party's solutions through the API. To implement vessel performance monitoring for any vessel, we are using mathematical algorithms, machine learning and the same equipment as in FOS. The more data we collect from vessels, the more precise reports and recommendations our system will perform according to your individual requirements in fleet management.

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Increased business process speed
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Reducing to zero the number of errors
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Best offer to the clients
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