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  • Headquarters: Oslo, Norway
  • Acquisition Date: March 2017
  • Vertical Market: Marine
  • Website:

Growing Through Customers and People: The Shipnet Story


Shipnet is one of the oldest, most progressive marine software companies in the world. With approximately 150 shipping customers globally, it’s also one of the most profitable. Its origins date back to 1993 in Norway, where their global software and services business was created by the shipping industry for the shipping industry, providing a unique portfolio of software including:

  • Asset management
  • Procurement management
  • Supply chain management
  • Safety management
  • Finance systems 

Their employees, known as ‘Shipnetters,’ are located all over the world, including North America, Singapore, Dubai, Norway, UK, and Chennai.

The Volaris Acquisition

Pre-Volaris, Shipnet was owned by Inchcape Shipping Services, a global port agency company with a focus on providing port agency services for vessels all over the world. When management at ISS decided a shipping ERP was no longer a part of its future strategy, they charged Shipnet’s senior management with looking for a new partner that could invest in the future of the company.

Shipnet’s leadership team began its search for a large organization that understood the software business, hoping to find an investor that could help them stabilize and grow the company. The company had a well-known brand, but now they needed a partner that could aid with product management and professional services to enable Shipnet to grow their products and customer base.

Aden Hopkins, CEO, Shipnet

The team knew they didn’t want to sell to a private equity firm that could choose to sell the company again in a few years. They were also looking for a buyer that understood both the software business and the marine industry. With its strong presence in the marine space and buy-and-hold-forever philosophy, Volaris turned out to be the perfect fit.

The whole buy-and-hold strategy was very important to Shipnet, because both their people and customers were very important. They needed stability, focus and discipline around their financial metrics, so the Volaris model suited them very well.

Aden Hopkins, CEO, Shipnet

Post-Acquisition in 2017

Post-acquisition, Volaris brought on a dedicated integrations team to help onboard the staff and evaluate the company’s processes and the financial measures, applying Volaris Group’s proprietary benchmarking and best practices to collect useful data points and guide decision making. 

Shipnet became part of the SpecTEC group, gaining instant access to the insights and observations of other large software businesses serving the marine industry. The management team also attended Volaris 101, a multi-day training event that exposes leaders to every facet of what it takes to run a successful software business and make it grow. From day one, Shipnet gained instant access to decades of benchmarking data, proven financial practices, and in-depth talent development training.

The team saw that through the Volaris events, summits, and partnerships with Volaris’ businesses, they had a network allowing them to grow their skills and knowledge base to really develop their products for the market.

Aden Hopkins, CEO, Shipnet

Volaris helped Shipnet through their rigorous strengthening phase, aligning best practices to optimise their cost management processes. The company restructured heavily for cost management purposes, stabilizing their base enough to focus their efforts on growing organically, repeatedly, and predictably.  Current CEO Aden Hopkins joined the company in 2020, amid the renewed push to grow the business.

 “Strengthening the business is absolutely key,” Hopkins said. “It’s not easy, but it's key to building predictable growth so that you can build a platform to grow and push the boundaries to grow even more, which is where we are at now.”

Weathering the COVID storm

Before joining Shipnet, Hopkins developed his leadership across multiple markets, including Security and Defence, Oil and Gas, Asset Performance Management and Marine. His endeavours led him to spend time living in the Middle East, the US, and the UK, providing a wealth of insights that he put to use helping Shipnet realize its potential. Just as Hopkins was finalizing his plan for the company’s future – two weeks into his tenure as CEO – COVID shut down much of the world and stopped his plans for visiting many customers and internal teams around the globe. 

Here I am, the CEO of a global business, not able to travel, not able to see anybody face to face, and tasked with remodeling the future of the business.

Aden Hopkins, CEO, Shipnet

Shipnet relies on customer feedback from user groups to develop its new products, and COVID put an abrupt pause on that process. Weathering the storm meant placing a renewed focus on talent development to retain and strengthen A-players and making the business more predictable instead of trying to grow.

Post-pandemic, Shipnet is investing in migrating their legacy systems into web enabled or SaaS product offerings, and finally restarting the user groups that are so crucial for product development. “I have been frustrated in some of my previous roles where companies have developed a product and then tried to commercialise it with zero input from their customers”, Hopkins said. “With Volaris’ focus on initiatives, if we know that the customer actually wants it, that’s when we build it.”

The company has also taken the Volaris M&A strategy to heart, looking at leveraging its parent company’s size and experience to identify potential tuck-in opportunities to further grow their burgeoning business. Hopkins said the ability to identify new partners with industry expertise and complimentary product can help meet customer demand in a less resource intensive way than developing every solution in-house.

When you are seen as a growth business, growing organically and predictably, it provides the opportunity to now invest money to purchase other complementary software businesses. Combined with our brand-new strategy, that’s super exciting

Aden Hopkins, CEO, Shipnet