Data-driven decision making, Public Safety, Supply Chain Management

From illegal fishing to drug smuggling, Windward’s AI-powered platform helps authorities manage maritime risk


Middle East

Data-driven decision making, Public Safety, Supply Chain Management

  • Year founded: 2010
  • Funding (pre-IPO): $32.2M
  • Investors include (pre-IPO): Aleph, Horizons Ventures, XL Innovate, Marc Benioff, and Lord Browne
  • HQs: Tel Aviv, London, Washington D.C.
  • FTEs: 100-150
  • Key clients/partners: The UN Security Council; the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the US Coast Guard; Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency; the Israeli Navy; the Indian Navy

At this very moment, there are 200 million containers, 500 thousand ships, and 10 thousand ports in operation powering $14 trillion worth of global economic activity. Maritime trade poses a complex set of challenges for governments, from information scarcity and overload to geopolitical tensions and interdependencies. Governments aim to enable economic activity while preventing illicit activities.

Windward, whose co-founders draw on their experience in the Israeli Navy, operates in this high-stakes environment to help public and private sector organisations manage the risk associated with maritime trade. The company has developed a predictive risk modelling platform powered by deep learning algorithms.

The platform tracks 10 billion data points across thousands of parameters, including ownership and management structures of companies active in the maritime space, vessel routes, and cargo locations. The algorithm analyses this data to detect anomalies such as unusual changes in course. It flags potential illicit activities and shares detailed information with the relevant public sector organisations that use the platform. The 15 artificial intelligence models forming the base of Windward’s tech stack use hundreds of proprietary behavioural analytics models to help authorities make data-driven decisions in real-time. The platform also has an environmental management component, which uncovers risks associated with carbon emissions, oil spills, and illegal fishing.

  • Bring two new products to market: one to monitor carbon emissions and the other to increase supply chain efficiencies.
  • Deploy its Predictive Intelligence solution to more public sector organisations.

Public and private-sector organisations responsible for managing maritime risk.

In August 2021, Windward helped a group of European police and customs officers to intercept a cargo ship, NATALIA, on suspicion of narcotics trafficking. Through this investigation, authorities seized $470 million worth of drugs.

Figure 1: The path with arrows shows the suspicious route. The other pink lines are historical travel patterns for the vessel.

The vessel appeared on Windward’s radar for three reasons: it had changed the country where it was registered, it deviated significantly from its typical routes (see figure 1), and it was traveling slower than usual. A graph generated in Windward’s platform (see figure 2) shows that the vessel’s risk level, while consistently high since 2018, had spiked in July 2021. The platform flagged these anomalies with its public sector partners, who quickly responded and initiated the successful drug bust.

Learn more about the NATALIA case by visiting Windward’s blog.


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