American Bureau of Shipping Success Story

Efficiently Building Alliances Begins with the Best Intelligence for ABS

Smarty Mathew John

Former Vice President of Digital Solutions, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)

Key Results:

  • ABS stays on top of emerging technology trends and understands which areas to monitor
  • Efficiently assesses and prioritizes partnership opportunities

CB Insights Products Mentioned:

Do you really know how your vessels are doing?

If you’re in the maritime industry, this is a critical question to answer. It’s why the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a maritime classification society, developed ABS My Digital Fleet™. It emerged out of a desire to assess the health, performance, and compliance of their clients’ fleet more efficiently. 

As Vice President of Digital Solutions at ABS, Smarty Mathew John meets with clients and maritime professionals daily. A recurring theme throughout his conversations was the desire to build a platform to help users navigate the industry volatility around environmental and compliance regulations. This led to the development of ABS My Digital Fleet™— a commercial product that can truly transform how the maritime industry operates. It solves customers’ pain points by leveraging the power of data and analytics.

When looking at other industries and how they were applying technology to meet the same objectives, Smarty needed to understand macro trends and research emerging technologies. He also had to keep track of investment trends, IPOs, and various startups and scale-ups. But he needed one source of truth that can cover everything in a single platform. 

Smarty had long followed CB Insights, and when ABS got serious about a large-scale digital transformation, Smarty recommended that they trial the platform. CB Insights was still scaling up at that point, but he wanted to take a small leap of faith and encourage his team to look at these startups as their own means of innovating.

Considering the nascent stage of Digital Solutions as a business unit within ABS, the team needed to future proof themselves as much as possible by picking the technology partners who could grow with them. CB Insights proved to be that partner.

After an initial trial, ABS saw the value CB Insights could bring to the company and the Digital Solutions team to help them stay on top of emerging technology trends and understand which areas to monitor.

Value Throughout the Partnership Process

During onboarding, the CB Insights Customer Success Manager (CSM) walked the team through features, provided tailored insights, and proactively set up evaluation pipelines and trend monitoring tools. The CSM also showed the team how to create sections for different internal departments within the different funnels, and within those sections, how to add graphics and download presentations within the click of a button. These capabilities make it easy to share this information internally, so they can build consensus around next steps. The CSM’s approach to meetings inspired Smarty’s team to take the same approach with their own customers. 

CB Insights customer success approach to meetings inspired Smarty’s team to take the same approach with their own customers.

One of the features ABS uses most frequently is CB Insights’ Mosaic Score, an algorithm that scores management teams to identify those companies with momentum and predict future success. CB Insights gives each startup a Mosaic Score, but ABS also adds their own metrics on top of that to screen companies they want to engage in a rapid PoC. After running the PoC for several weeks with a few different companies, ABS applies an evaluation process to identify the company that has the maximum potential.

Smarty’s team leverages the Collections-based Home Feed on CB Insights to keep up to date on news and events for potential partners in a centralized location. They also use the Collections funnel analytics tool for alliance management to track progress and see what’s coming down the pipeline.

Today, ABS’s product managers monitor competitors and assess any gaps in features and capabilities in terms of market and customer needs. Based on those gaps, they discuss whether to build something in-house or find a partner to address that capability. If ABS decides they need a partner, they go back to CB Insights with a laser focus on that need.

ABS uses CB Insights as a starting point to discover potential partners, and then they move on to determine whether a partner meets internal standards.

Understanding the importance to continuously enhance, optimize, and scale a product is key. As a result, ABS established the ABS My Digital Fleet™ Alliance Program, which is a network of third-party data providers that offer business intelligence and advanced capabilities to create a competitive product within the marketplace. An example of their new approach was the discovery of, a conversational CX AI platform they’ve integrated into the platform. Initially, ABS was one of only a few of’s customers in the industrial sector, but now they’re a major global player. To Smarty, this indicates that the combination of CB Insights’ Mosaic Score and ABS’s own criteria are accurate predictors of success.

CB Insights Can Do It All

When Smarty started using CB Insights, it wasn’t the only solution for scouting criteria. But as the platform matured, Smarty’s team increasingly uses it as a resource for scouting and spotting industry trends. CB Insights continues to bring together everything from business relationships, financial information, and leadership teams into one place, which is exactly what Smarty wanted.

It’s not enough to keep up with the market—you have to stay ahead of it. Keeping track of innovating companies is crucial for ABS My Digital Fleet™, the Digital Solutions team, as well as ABS’s clients. Because of that, CB Insights will be a critical tool for Smarty’s team going forward.

Smarty Mathew John

Former Vice President of Digital Solutions, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)

Smarty Mathew John was Vice President of Digital Solutions for ABS. He was responsible for the sales, development and delivery of innovative digital products that support client business goals, as well as enhance ABS class services through safer, more informed, and data-driven approaches.

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