Dartmouth-based ocean technology company Global Spatial Technology Solutions has closed a $2 million funding round to further develop its platform, which helps marine operators improve safety, security and their environmental footprint.

GSTS has developed a platform called OCIANA, which collects data from satellites and terrestrial sources then uses artificial intelligence to help crews plot the best route possible for their ships. The idea is that AI can assess weather patterns, ocean conditions and the traffic of other ships to help ships’ crews plot the safest route with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our capability directly aligns with the Government of Canada’s initiatives to expand trade while reducing emissions and improving efficiencies,” said GSTS Chief Executive Richard Kolacz in a statement. “We’re also aligned with major capital defence programs under way in Canada that require an advanced technology capability to support defence objectives, as well as the offset requirements associated with these programs.”

The company issued a statement on Wednesday saying Innovacorp, the Nova Scotia government’s early-stage venture capital agency, contributed $1 million to the seed round. The remainder came from Montreal-based cleantech-focused VC firm Ecofuel and some angel investors. GSTS expects it will not have to raise another round of funding for about four years.

Ecofuel is backed by Cycle Capital, a Montreal-based cleantech group that has invested in and/or mentored such Atlantic Canadian companies as LED Roadway Lighting, SabrTech and Island Water Technologies.

The funding demonstrates how the ocean-technology sector is evolving in Atlantic Canada. More oceantech startups have been forming in the past two years, and now this deal shows that oceans companies in the region can attract seven-figure seed rounds from venture capital investors.

GSTS was founded by Kolacz and other execs who worked for the Ontario satellite company Com Dev, which was purchased by the multinational engineering company Honeywell. After leaving Com Dev, Kolacz teamed up with Chief Operating Officer Stephen Martins and others to form a company that could use satellite data to improve marine efficiency.

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“It’s going to provide artificial intelligence for risk assessment and a vessel management solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Martins in an interview. He added it can also reduce security risks by avoiding ships whose traffic patterns indicate they may be involved in suspicious activities.

Martins said the company is growing quickly and is “winning contracts daily now,” noting he had just closed a contract with the Canadian government on Wednesday.

The statement said Kolacz and his team are backed by years of experience in the naval, space, surveillance, and data science sectors. The company’s target market includes government and corporations, such as shipping lines and charter companies, port authorities, and defence and security agencies.

“Ninety per cent of global trade happens across open ocean waters, which leads to significant operational, environmental and security issues,” said Rob Burns, investment manager at Innovacorp. “The GSTS team has the expertise, technology and partnerships to disrupt the maritime logistics market.”


Disclosure: Innovacorp is a client of Entrevestor.