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Houston software company receives $1.5M to simplify bulk shipping

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Houston-based Voyager has raised $1.5 million in seed funding for its software seeking to simplify the shipping of crude oil, petrochemicals and other bulk commodities.

“Shipping bulk commodities like crude oil, gas and petrochemicals is still a highly manual and complex process, with $360 billion in ocean freight managed globally by email, phone, fax and text in a high-volume, fast-paced environment,” Matthew Costello, co-founder and CEO of Voyager, said in a news release. “Data is decentralized and unstructured, and the process is rife with inefficiencies, lost opportunities, costly human errors and, overarchingly, billions in losses.”

More tech news: Houston company brings AI, machine learning to energy procurement

Each shipment can involve at least 10 companies, more than 4,000 emails and hundreds of documents. And according to a study conducted by Costello and co-founder Bret Smart, roughly 40 percent of employee time is spent on low-value tasks such as manual data entry, checking documents for errors and forwarding information.


Voyager is seeking to simplify and better organize this process by routing communication through its real-time software platform. And by collecting data in one place — as opposed to folders, spreadsheets, PDFs and email inboxes — Voyager can provide companies with insights into supply chain seasonality, schedule variability and operational performance.

This will become increasingly important as the maritime sector continues embracing new technologies.

At HoustonChronicle.com: RightShip uses big data to find reliable vessels

“Voyager’s solution will become even more critical as autonomous shipping and Internet- and IoT-enabled cargo ships pick up steam globally, in turn, creating new data and technology requirements that will require the power of our platform,” Costello said in the news release.

The company was founded in 2018. Its $1.5 million seed funding round was co-led by ATX Venture Partners, Blue Bear Capital, GreenHawk Capital and Phaze Ventures.

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Disc Room is a frantic death-trap survival game from Devolver

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You know the drill

Not enough video games try to capture the trap-filled tension of the 1997 movie Cube. That’s where I’m at this morning after watching the trailer for Disc Room, a gauntlet-survival game from Jan Willem Nijman and Kitty Calis (Minit), Terri Vellmann and Doseone (High Hell), and publisher Devolver Digital.

Disc Room is about a scientist trying to investigate an “intergalactic slaughterhouse” orbiting Jupiter in the year 2089. The only way to make sense of the saw-filled maze is to delve deeper, and the only way to keep our little scientist pal alive is to learn through a whole lotta gruesome trial-and-error.

Along the way, you’ll pick up new abilities  an invincibly dash, time bending, and cloning “as you become one with the disc.” Corralling cloned characters to solve puzzles is one of those things I’ll always struggle with in games, but I’m curious to see how some of these concepts are layered in.

Disc Room will launch in 2020 on Steam with plans for a “console” release too.

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