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March 11, 2022 9:49 am

Ashdod Port Company and 500 Global Launch New Accelerator Program for Maritime Tech

avatar by James Spiro / CTech

A beach in Ashdod. Photo: Anatoli Axelrod via Wikimedia Commons.

CTech – Ashdod Port Company has partnered with global venture capital firm 500 Global to launch the first cohort of a brand new accelerator program dedicated to maritime tech.

“Ashdod Port Accelerator by 500 Global” will launch at the end of March and bring up to 14 companies together for mentorship, coaching and to complete a proof-of-concept.

“Ashdod Port already had a few focus areas they were looking at based on the challenges that we knew about,” recalled Ee Ling Lim, executive director of global programs at 500 Global. She joined CTech during her visit to Israel to share how the organizations came together following the Port’s tender calling for a global partner in the program.

“We decided to come in for two reasons. The first was that we have invested in Israel before [and] we’re always excited about [the] Startup Nation. Second, just the past few years we have been working with a lot of corporates globally… One key thing we really saw was sustainability: how companies are more embracing green, green energy, sustainable operations, and this is something the Port said they were also looking at. I think that’s really sparked our interest, and we thought we could play a part in bridging the gap and bringing it all together.”

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While the names of the companies taking part in the program have not yet been released, Ling Lim spoke to CTech just as they were finalizing the inaugural group that would take part in the program. Ashdod Port already has startups that operate there, including DockTech, a real-time water-depth measurement solution for safely loading ships; Naval Dome, a company specializing in cyber-protection to prevent, detect and alert of cyberattacks; and Eco Wave Power, a company that supplies a system for energy production from sea waves.

“That suitability part was what attracted us to it,” continued Ling Lim. “Because we are a global firm, we are looking at sustainable financing. We just thought here there is a way we can bring all those corporates together and really collaborate better so that sustainability no longer becomes a buzzword, but really something that is implemented.”

The first cohort will be working to provide solutions in energy, seaport operations, logistics and shipping. While on the program, the final startups will have access to 500 Global’s international network of mentors, and receive support and resources from the Port, including testing space for their products.

“This past year demonstrated that the world of shipping and marine routes are important to the proper function of the global economy, when an estimated 90 percent of goods are transported by sea,” added Shiko Zana, CEO​ of the Ashdod Port board of directors. “We are breaking into a ‘blue ocean’ that appears eager to absorb technology, and hope that we can bring the good news to other ports in the world. I congratulate 500 Global on their win and am delighted at this opportunity to work with them, and to help drive innovation in the marine world.”

Ashdod Port is located roughly 40km from Tel Aviv and is the leading seaport of Israel. 500 Global is a venture firm with $1.8 billion in assets under management that invests in fast-growing technology companies. It has backed 6,000 founders across 2,500 companies in 77 countries. Its portfolio contains 41 unicorn companies such as Grab, Canva and Talkdesk.

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