From making kelp burgers to using artificial intelligence to map the ocean floor and building high-speed wifi communication networks underwater, the state-of-the-art businesses that are part of the BlueSwell Incubator Program illustrate the combined power of creative problem-solving and marine science.
In partnership with SeaAhead, the New England Aquarium launched BlueSwell in June 2020 to promote novel designs that benefit the ocean and the economy. The first of its kind on the East Coast, the incubator supports the creation and growth of bluetech by supporting startups that have the potential for significant impact on ocean health, sustainability, and global resilience.
Six new startups were selected for the first BlueSwell cohort:
- AKUA: A plant-based food company creating meat-alternative products from sustainable ocean-farmed kelp, including burgers, jerky and pasta
- H2Ok: Sensor and data analytics platform helping water-dependent businesses and communities with proactive environmental management
- VINCI: Highly realistic, effective and low-cost Virtual Reality training for high-risk jobs, including offshore wind
- Oyster Common: An AI-powered chef’s assistant for connecting restaurants to shorten the supply chain, starting with local seafood
- SeaDeep: Enhanced ocean imaging, data visualization and analytics to create 3D color maps of the sea floor and ocean infrastructure from video data, improving access to critical insights
- HydroNet: Advancing the blue economy by building high-speed wifi communication for scalable underwater networks
In November 2020, the six teams began a 20-week program focused on connecting them with mentors, investors, and potential customers. The teams partnered with more than 10 scientists and researchers at the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, who provided expertise that supported the responsible development of innovations that can reduce global human impacts on ocean health.
Through these partnerships, the startups are bringing their designs out of the lab and into the hands of fishermen, corporations, and customers. Learn more about each of the projects and their collaborators.
Marine jobs in the U.S. produce about $373 billion annually, according to NOAA. Twenty percent of the nation’s fishermen are located in New England.
A blue economy focuses on continuing that legacy in a way that honors workers and the planet. Bluetech is not only vital to the economy by growing engineering, research, and working-class jobs in a responsible and sustainable manner, but also to safeguarding the health of our ocean.
Do you have an idea that will change how we live and work with the blue planet? We want to hear from you! Applications for the second BlueSwell cohort will be available starting in Spring 2021.