Rotterdam also acts as a magnet for maritime innovators from around the world. Richard Hardiman launched his RanMarine technology company three years ago in his native South Africa, but moved to Rotterdam when he gained a place at PortXL, the world’s first maritime startup accelerator.
Hardiman has been developing a kind of floating drone called WasteShark, which travels around collecting floating waste in harbours and waterways. (“It sounds easy, but technically it’s not,” he points out.) Over the last few months, WasteSharks have been tested all over the world, from Mumbai to Baltimore and points in between, and from this month they will be available for sale.
“Rotterdam’s ecosystem is very impressive,” says Hardiman. “I’d been here a few times previously and knew it was a lovely city, but I wasn’t aware of the tech ecosystem they’ve developed here. They have worked really hard at it. Over the last two or three years, the Port of Rotterdam, local government, the mayor’s office and various companies within Rotterdam have transformed what was largely a port city into a tech hub. It really has become the innovative hub of the Netherlands.”
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