General Catalyst leads investment in maritime recruitment platform that helps shippers maximize seafarers’ time onboard vessels.

Maritime tech company Seafair today announced its $5.7M financing round led by General Catalyst with participation from FirstMinute Capital, Signal Ventures, TA Ventures, SV Angel, Speedinvest and previous investors FJ Labs. The new financing fuels Seafair’s plans to build additional technology for seafarer vetting; broaden the scope of its software; and expand in new and current markets such as Western and Eastern Europe, the Philippines, and the United States.

Seafair brings transparency & innovation to maritime recruitment, a $60B market globally. The company provides a digital platform that matches seafarers with shipping companies, as well as software that shipping companies use to vet, manage & retain seafarers.

“Seafarers perform one of the most demanding jobs in the world,” said Agapitos Diakogiannis, Founder and CEO of Seafair. “We want to ensure they are offered the opportunities they deserve and are given sufficient guidance from employers on how to become more effective onboard vessels. We envision a world where exceptional seafarers can shine onboard vessels and shipping companies have incentives to pay a premium to retain them.”

Through its software and proprietary technology, Seafair collects data on seafarer backgrounds, skills and performance onboard a vessel, which are then used as inputs in its matching algorithm, allowing shipping companies to match them to the most relevant vacancy. The company’s vision is to leverage data to help shipping companies understand how seafarers can become more effective in their day-to-day work.

“The maritime industry is one of the last untapped frontiers,” said Niko Bonatsos, Managing Director at General Catalyst. “One needs deep industry insights, an ambitious vision and a determined team to succeed in a market like this. We saw all the above in Seafair and are excited to be part of this journey.”

“We’ve always been fans of verticalized, B2B, SaaS enabled marketplaces at FJ Labs,” said Fabrice Grinda, Partner at FJ Labs. “The recruitment and management of seafarers is a complex process. It involves assets with complicated specs & conditions, several specializations, numerous certifications, multiple source countries. Data and technology can create a unique competitive advantage for such a marketplace. We are honored to work towards this vision with Seafair.”

Seafair, which launched in late 2020, has already acquired several paying clients, including a top-100 shipping company globally. The company has 5 active locations: NYC (USA), Berlin (Germany), Athens (Greece), Odessa (Ukraine), and Manila (Philippines), but most of its employees work remotely — a culture that the company plans to maintain post-COVID. The company puts a lot of effort into building a diverse, inclusive and transparent culture. For example, everybody at Seafair knows the comp structure of each member of the team. “The only way to disrupt an opaque industry is to first promote internally all the values we want to bring to the industry,” said Agapitos.