The ocean restoration movement advances with young innovators and entrepreneurs

On July 17, 2018, the Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA)—an international nonprofit that empowers young innovators to become leaders in improving the health of the ocean (there’s only one)—announced five ocean technology startups to join the inaugural Ocean Solutions Accelerator.

The ocean produces 50% of our oxygen, is the primary source of food for 3.5 billion people, controls global weather patterns and is the planet’s largest ecosystem with tremendous biodiversity. All of this is currently threatened by marine pollution, ocean acidification, unsustainable fishing and habitat destruction.

After receiving applications from founders 35-years-and-under across 26 countries, five startups were selected based upon their potential to benefit the health of the ocean. They include the first company to make compostable materials derived from seaweed as a plastic alternative; another that uses blockchain technology to create new local markets for waste materials; another focused on decreasing bycatch in the commercial fishing industry by deploying user-friendly electro-mechanical devices; another that harnesses the renewable power of ocean waves to produce electricity and freshwater; and finally a startup that engineers nanotechnology for oil spill and wastewater cleanup.

These ocean entrepreneurs are a beacon of hope at a time when new, bold approaches are needed to fast-track innovation and sustain the health of our planet,” says Daniela V. Fernandez, CEO, and Founder of SOA. “By supporting these incredible startups, we are encouraging young people to take ownership of the environmental threats facing their communities, bet against consensus and re-invent existing markets to benefit, instead of harm, our climate and ocean.

These selected startups will join the Accelerator program this summer in San Francisco and receive guidance from a global community of ocean experts, marine scientists, seasoned entrepreneurs, and experienced investors, among other mentors. The accelerator will also offer a rigorous curriculum that encourages personal development and executive training.

At the conclusion of the program, the entrepreneurs will showcase their ideas on stage for a Demo Day at SOA’s Ocean Solutions Gala on September 11, 2018 at the California Academy of Sciences on the eve of California Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

These five ocean tech startups are introducing ground-breaking technology into the marketplace to address major threats facing the ocean, including unsustainable fishing, plastic pollution, oil spills and dependence on fossil fuels,” says Craig Dudenhoeffer, Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Founder of the Ocean Solutions Accelerator at SOA.

Here’s the complete list of the startups that were selected:

  • LOLIWARE, a NYC-based startup, is the world’s first bioplastics company dedicated to replacing single-use plastics with hyper-compostable, edible materials derived from seaweed. LOLIWARE is revolutionizing the future of disposable plastics by making products designed to disappear.
  • BlockCycle, a Sydney-based startup, is encouraging plastics reuse and eliminating single-use materials by enabling consumers to take action and participate in an intelligent, transparent and integrated waste-to-value marketplace. They use blockchain to empower corporations, cities, and individuals to track, analyze and add value to materials to have a positive impact on the planet.
  • SafetyNet Technologies, a London-based startup, is focused on improving sustainability in the commercial fishing industry. Current fishing processes and technologies can lead to the capture of the wrong species and ages of fish called bycatch. SafetyNet Tech aims to make the fishing industry smarter through the development of user-friendly electro-mechanical devices to reduce bycatch.
  • CalWave Power Technologies, Inc., local to the San Francisco Bay area, is developing a next-generation Wave Energy Converter to harness the vastly available, predictable and stable energy from ocean waves to serve coastal communities.
  • ETAC INC, a startup based in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, designs and produces functional nanomaterials for energy and environmental applications, such as oil spill and wastewater cleanup. “By utilizing emerging technologies and engaging multiple stakeholders across the public, private and civil society sectors, SOA’s Ocean Solutions Accelerator provides the tools needed for scalable businesses that unlock the potential of a sustainable ocean economy,” said Fernandez.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) is a global organization that advances the impact of start-ups, social enterprises and youth-centered initiatives that are developing solutions to protect and sustain our ocean. SOA’s pipeline of ocean leaders is cultivated through a chapter-based model, led by students at the high school and college levels, as well as by young professionals.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) was founded in 2014 as a college-room idea.  SOA has created the world’s largest network of young ocean leaders, and has partnered with corporations such as The Economist and Lindblad Expeditions, NGOs, and governments (including Indonesia and the European Union), to develop technological solutions that can address the greatest threats facing our planet.

Photo shows the Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya in Quintana Roo, Mexico, where SOA held their 2018 World Ocean Summit. Phot credit: Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya.

See SOA website.

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