Shipbuilding software provider SSI bought by exec team

Mar 15, 2018 | Hot Topics

This is cool — there aren’t that many providers of ship design software on the market and I’m a naval architect, soo it naturally caught my eye. This just hit the inbox, even though it reads as though it should have been sent a few weeks ago:

As of March 1, 2018, CEO Darren Larkins and President & CTO Denis Morais will acquire ownership of the shipbuilding software development company SSI from the company’s founder Rolf Oetter.

This is a natural evolution, desired by all parties, as Larkins and Morais have been managing SSI for the past seven years while Oetter has focused on other initiatives such as the promotion of alternative energy.

In one sense then, it will be “business as usual” after Larkins & Morais become owners; they have already been running the company for a substantial period.

Yet, on the other hand, it is also an exciting new development that bodes well for the future. It helps ensure the long-term stability of SSI since the people actively involved in the decision-making are now in an ownership position; day to day management, ownership and the future of SSI will now be in harmony.

In case you’re no familiar with SSI, they used to be called ShipConstructor after the eponymous product. It’s an AutoCAD add-on that’s been on the market for decades but has recently evolved to be more than just design.In essence, SSI leveraged the ubiquity of AutoCAD in often low-tech shipyards, and added in marine industry-specific standard libraries and best practices.

A couple of years ago I did a survey of shipyards in North America and ShipConsructor was, literally, everywhere. Why? Because SSI was smart in its approach to the market, joining government initiatives to protect and grow the industry here. They made ShipConstructor available for cheap/free as these groups worked out standards and processes and moved away from in-house developed technology. Once those projects percolated into industry, ShipConstructor was the natural choice.