One would think a company focused specifically on alleviating maritime (water-bound) risks would surely have to be located in a state on the coast. But Corey Ranslem, founder of International Maritime Security (IMSA), made the decision to move his company from Florida to Chattanooga, TN, specifically because of the internet capabilities of “Gig City.”
“The price for access is something you can’t find anywhere else in the world,” Ranslem says. Now that the team is settled in Chattanooga, they are focusing on building out their risk-management solution for mariners, the ARMS Software Platform. The platform provides real-time, geo-targeted risk and threat information to vessels including passenger yachts, cargo lines, and cruises.
According to IMSA, maritime threats cost boat owners and operators millions of dollars a year in lost revenues, increased insurance and operating costs. IMSA helps those mariners make better decisions to protect crews, passengers, vessels and cargo, save time, and reduce operational costs.
We are developing a maritime risk management software platform called ARMS (Automated Risk Management Solution). The software will provide real-time risk/threat information to vessels at sea (cargo, large yacht, and cruise lines) that is geo-location specific and will integrate the vessel’s specific situational response protocols.
This real-time risk/threat information help vessels avoid dangerous situations. We’re reducing long term insurance costs, reducing operating costs, and improving operations.
Why set up a home base in Chattanooga? What is special about the city?
The company was started in Florida and we moved our operations center and development to Chattanooga because of the internet and power infrastructure of Gig City.
We need a solid internet infrastructure to move data in and out of our operations center to the vessels and also the large amount of data we will be bringing in as well. The internet infrastructure in Chattanooga is the best in the world for the price. The Gig network in Chattanooga is also very reliable with a very low downtime.
Please describe the market/industry impact of your product.
Currently vessels don’t receive any reliable maritime risk and threat information in a format they can use. Most information requires them to get on the internet to search, comes in via email or through a satellite phone call from their manager. ARMS will automate this whole process providing better information in real-time. The platform also has a shore- side fleet manager dashboard to help managers better understand the location of their vessels along with risks/threat affecting their vessels. Some of the insurance companies are also interested in the platform because it will help them better manage and reduce risk. There is nothing like this software platform in the industry and will completely change how vessels receive important information at sea.
What is an example of maritime risk?
The ARMS Software Platform provides real-time risk information that is geographically specific to vessels at sea and integrates the vessels response protocols. There are five major risk/threat alert categories: 1. Port/canal/waterway delays; 2. Civil Unrest or other major issues affecting vessels within ports, canals, waterways, or marinas; 3. Maritime Security Events (includes: piracy at sea; terrorism at sea; migrant movements; 4. Major Weather events; 5. Disease Outbreaks/Medical Issues and then the system also provides information on the Worldwide Notice to Mariners.
How did you come up with this idea?
One of the founders of the company has been in the maritime industry for over 23 years. He was always frustrated by the lack of good information and intelligence that is geo-specific to vessels.
Do you have competitors in this space?
There are several different competitors based on the type of information provided, weather providers, maritime security/piracy providers, ship tracking, etc. but no single competitor that is providing the depth, breadth, and scope of information that will be provided through the ARMS platform.
What’s the revenue model?
SAAS. Users pay from $1750 to $2500 per vessel per month to access the network.
Funding or bootstrapped?
We have existing clients and operations that have funded the company to this point along with two small investors who each put in $50k. We are seeking an additional $250,000 investment.
Mary Stargel is a native born Texan who navigated the globe before landing in Chattanooga, TN. As Community Manager of Society of Work and Program Manager for the Edney Innovation Center, she is surrounded by thinkers, starters, and doers. Her favorite thing about Chattanooga is the community’s love for solving problems together.
Interview and Q&A by Mary Stargel, development by Holly Beilin. Photos via IMSA.