A guest article by Carl Fischer, CEO & Co-Founder of sHYp B.V. – PortXL Rotterdam 2019 Alumni
sHYp was founded in 2019 by Dan Esposito, Prof. of chemical engineering at Columbia University, New York and myself, Carl Fischer, “serial” entrepreneur.
Columbia published Dan’s technology – a membrane free electrolyser to split sea water into hydrogen and oxygen – in a journal. Due to my former life I was vaguely familiar with the upcoming challenges for the maritime industry: ballast water treatment and emission reductions. I thought this could be the solution to kill two birds with one stone and reached out to Dan. The rest is history. We went through a New York based incubator program and during that process applied to PortXL. The be honest we didn’t believe we would get in but thought it would be a good experience just to go through the process. After the initial three interviews we ended up being invited to its famous selection days. This was of course the perfect opportunity for us to get in front of a broad range of 150 or so experienced participants in the maritime industry.
What better client discovery can you have?
Two exhausting days of whirlwind interviews, pitches and talks followed. At the end of the second day we were to learn our fate and we were convinced we wouldn’t be selected – just too early in our development stage as a start-up, I thought. How could I be so wrong! The last start-up to be named for cohort #4 in 2019 was – sHYp.
What followed was nothing short of A-MA-ZING!
Three months of training, pivoting, meeting and more training. We were brought in front of C-suite decision makers in 30 minute 1-on-1 sessions each week.
We pitched, refined, presented and received feedback first-hand.
In weekly sessions in front of global players in the maritime sector we had never heard of before in our lives yet each one in the several billion dollar/Euro size we had the opportunity to present our vision.
Most importantly the team of PortXL was always available for feedback, help, assistance, critique and support. Anything from tweaking your pitch deck to legal questions, from hitching a hike to the next meeting to finding a short-term apartment – they were at hand.
To top it off: Shakedown!
Presenting on stage in front of 500 interested members of the maritime industry, venture capital and journalists.
In summary: sHYp wouldn’t be where it is today. PortXL and its whole ecosystem opened our eyes to the possible applications of our own technology. We are now participant in the OGTC accelerator program in Aberdeen, we are shortlisted for the Decarbonizing Shipping program and we are in the top 5% of applicants for the Repsol Foundation award 2020.
All this in less than a year and a half from when we started. PortXL was true to its name: Accelerator!
As a bonus, here you can find Carl’s interview for the PortXL Podcast, published on November 21st 2019: