Seafair: The first greek startup that General Catalyst invested in
Everyone’s question was when the big American VC General Catalyst will invest in a greek startup. This time has come and the company is Seafair, a platform for finding employees and staff in shipping.
Seafair was founded at the end of 2020 by Agapitos Diakogiannis, a former consultant at BCG, with Seafair raising 5.7 million dollars led by General Catalyst, with the participation of FirstMinute Capital, signal ventures, TA Ventures, SV Angel, SpeedInvest and FJ Labs, with Seafair’s total funding reaching 7 million dollars.
As Agapitos Diakogiannis said in his statements to Techcrunch, although there is a great demand for shipping executives, however, those interested still cannot easily find work and there is also a significant opacity in the process. “Greece is one of the global superpowers in shipping, so when I was working in consulting services, I came close to the industry and really fell in love with it” and after his involvement with VC investments he realized that he had the network to make his first startup.
Seafair “matches” seafarers and executives with shipping companies based on their experience, skills and performance and uses matching algorithms to make the process of filling vacancies more efficient. It also provides fleet managers with HR software that helps them consolidate scattered data across different ERP platforms and spreadsheets. Seafair is currently concentrating on senior officer positions, such as chief engineers and ship captains, as these positions are the ones that have the greatest demand and certification.
Interested sailors upload their CVs and then Seafair carries out a series of background checks and online assessments. If someone decides that someone is suitable for a boat, the platform schedules interviews while the platform also verifies employers and vessels under their command before they start using Seafair. Seafair HR software includes tools to manage payments, insurance, schedules and rest times. Some of its features that are tailored to the shipping industry include notices of when a sailor’s certifications are about to expire and salary recommendations.
Seafair already has a major greek shipping company as its customer, while the new funding will be used to develop the platform and expand it to markets such as Germany, the Scandinavian countries and the United States.
“The shipping industry is one of the last untapped borders. It takes deep ideas for the industry, an ambitious vision and a determined team to succeed in a market like this — and we saw all of this at Seafair.”, said Nikos Bonatsos, CEO of General Catalyst.