Wilhelmsen has purchased 50 per cent of Dolittle — a Norwegian technology startup that creates architecture and frameworks for digital product building — as it strives to acquire greater in-house digital competence.
The investment comes one month after Wilhelmsen announced it had partnered with Kongsberg to create a joint venture company, known Massterly, to provide solutions and services in autonomous shipping.
“You will not survive in this industry if you’re conservative, says Thomas Wilhelmsen, group CEO of Wilhelmsen. “By owning digital competency we enable all departments and companies within Wilhelmsen to develop and create valuable digital solutions.”
Dolittle has already created the Smart Ropes software solution for Wilhelmsen, which uses advanced sensors to relay information about mooring rope tension via a digital assistant tool.
According to a company statement, the strategic investment will also allow Wilhelmsen to take advantage of Dolittle’s virtual reality (VR) and digital twin capabilities. Both of these technologies will help the company simulate and test solutions in a safe environment before they are trialled at sea.
Dolittle’s co-founders worked at Microsoft before starting the company, and have expertise in moving traditional software vendors to cloud infrastructure.
“This is a golden opportunity for us,” says Arif Shafique, CEO of Dolittle. “We want to change the way software is built globally and Wilhelmsen wants to chart the course for an entire industry. Together we will lay the foundation for how we shape tomorrow’s maritime and software industry.”