Jan Schwartau joins Closelink

Jan Schwartau joins our team to help us grow the customer base and increase the market penetration. He worked in lubricants sales for more than 20 years gaining a deep understanding of the market dynamics, sales operations and business development.

“I am very excited to join this young, enthusiastic and very professional team to see the platform grow and evolve.” – Jan.

Spotlight on – We asked Jan four questions about his role at Closelink:

Can you give us a small summary of your role?
My main objectives are to increase the awareness in the global market and grow the customer base using our platform.

What are the most challenging parts working at Closelink?
I’m the oldest in the team – in my recent jobs I was always one of the youngest. Selling an IT service is new to me – more an interesting adventure rather than a challenge.

What are you most looking forward to?
Working with the team and the customers in these exciting times. The team of Closelink is amazing and extremely customer focused. Our IT colleagues are wizards and the outcome of their work is simply great.

How would you describe working at Closelink in three words?
Professional – Visionary – Truly customer centric

Exciting times ahead! Welcome on board, Jan!

Closelink joins prestigious Next Logistics Accelerator Hamburg

Closelink is part of the 2nd batch of the Hamburg based Next Logistics Accelerator (NLA) along with Conlog, Luckabox, Tracks and Supertech.


The NLA is a multi-corporate accelerator with a focus on the broader logistics industry. Supported by a number of the city’s well renowned traditional logistic companies - among which are Helm, Fr. Meyer’s Sohn, Jungheinrich, Rhenus Logistics and Cremer - the program aims at accelerating growth for the participating start-ups through mentoring, specific training, market entrance options, testing fields and financial support.

The program kicked-off in November already with an introduction in front of the investing partners and first training sessions on pitching and company presentation. Until April 2019, trainings on B2B sales & marketing, VC financing and tech strategy will follow.


The ecosystem provided by the NLA will help Closelink to achieve its next goals: generating growth through sales & product development and further expanding along the value chain in the marine procurement industry.

Closelink joins Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg and participates at overseas trip to Dubai and Singapore

After participating at a number of network events in Hamburg in the past months already, Closelink now officially joins the ecosystem of the Digital Hub Logistics led by managing director Johannes Berg.

The Digital Hub Logistics aims at connecting Hamburg’s experienced logistic sector consisting of established, global players with start-ups as well as science to foster the digital transformation of a classical industry.

The Hub can provide a great network within the logistics sector, supported by its partners such as HHLA, Lufthansa Industry Solutions and bitkom, as well as consultancy, event organization and working spaces dependent on the start-up’s specific needs. For established companies, the Hub allows access to fast moving, at times disrupting new business ideas and inventions.

The Hub’s strategy of connecting old and new economy goes beyond national borders. Johannes Berg and his colleague Karl-Heinz Piotrowski want the Hub to mirror the international character of shipping and logistics and thus arranged for a first delegation trip to Dubai and Singapore.

Closelink had the chance to join and visit these leading but still quickly developing trade hubs in order to meet with and to understand the hurdles of well-established, global logistics firms. It has also been a great chance to meet with start-up peers from overseas and to recognize that digital change is a global phenomenon.


Automating marine lubricants demand prediction

Closelink GmbH and Fraunhofer-Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML agree on a common project to automate demand prediction for marine lubricants.

„Ship managers collect sufficient and continuous data onboard their vessels today to automatically determine future luboil demand, in particular for main and auxiliary engines”, says Philippe Lavarde, managing director from Closelink GmbH.

Once a future demand is predicted, it is possible to match the delivery window with the vessel’s schedule. By qualifying different ports of call based on product availability and pricing, suitable supply options can be determined automatically and presented to the purchasing manager as a decision support.

Even today it still occurs that lubricants, one of the main cost drivers in technical ship management, are purchased at high costs or ordered at short-term despite a purchasing software in place.

Data- and algorithm-based solutions, which make use of machine learning methods to allow continuous improvement, can help to simplify processes, reduce extra work and avoid unnecessary costs.

Closelink receives InnoRampUp sponsorship from IFB Hamburg

The Investment- and Development Bank Hamburg (Investitions- und Förderbank / IFB) supports young entrepreneurs with financial means and a broad network through its InnoRampUp program (https://innovationsstarter.com/home/innorampup/). The program is supported by the European Fund for Regional Development and aims at helping highly innovative start-ups from Hamburg to gain ground at an early stage of their venture.

In June, Closelink has been invited to present its business idea to an expert commission consisting of representatives from Hamburg's economy, administration and science. Good news followed: Closelink has been accepted to the InnoRampUp program and receives, among other things, financial support to successfully launch its platform approach within the maritime industry. An industry that plays a major role for Hamburg with its leading port and its globally connected shipping and logistics network.

We are proud and very thankful for this great recognition.

Great success at PitchBlue in Hamburg

A few weeks ago the Association of German Shipowners (Verein Deutscher Reeder), supported by the Maritime Cluster (Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland), invited maritime start-ups from all around the globe to apply for the PitchBlue event in Hamburg (www.pitchblue.hamburg). The idea behind PitchBlue is to offer a platform for start-ups to present their solution to challenges for the maritime industry with a focus on ship owners and ship managers.

We were thrilled to have been selected by the expert jury - consisting of six managing directors from the industry - as one of 10 finalists that were given the chance to present their idea in front of a professional audience.

The event took place last Thursday. Each start-up had a three minutes pitch followed by a five minutes Q&A session. We had to go first. Given that three minutes is not much time to hold a long speech, we concentrated our pitch on the key benefits that Closelink as online platform provides to its customers: centralized information, cost transparency and process automation.

It seemed that our message has been well received. We are more than happy to announce that we have been rewarded with both the audience and the jury price! What an overwhelming night!

A big thank you to the event organizers, other participants and all spectators!

Bei Closelink läuft es wie geschmiert

Die Schifffahrt ist eine altehrwürdige Branche mit langer Tradition, gerade in einer so bedeutenden Hafenstadt wie Hamburg. Bei aller glorreichen Vergangenheit besteht aber die Gefahr, den Anschluss an die Zukunft verpassen. Junge Unternehmen wie Closelink helfen dabei, den Weg in die dringend notwendige Digitalisierung zu meistern. Dafür konnte das Startup kürzlich Investoren gewinnen.