Sustainable Oceans Alliance recently named the Ocean Solutions Accelerator’s first wave of startups.
The 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, ages 16-35, is cultivated through a chapter-based model, led by students at the high school and college levels, as well as by young professionals.
The startups will receive an initial investment to cover the cost of relocating to the Bay Area for eight weeks this summer. There they will receive the loving care of the collection of academics, founders, officials and others in or around the Alliance, plus some important “personal development and executive training” intended to keep your company alive long enough to ship a product.
Interestingly, applications were only open to founders 35 years and under, presumably to get that young blood into the conservation game.
Talking about the startups, SOA founder and CEO Daniela Fernandez says, “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. 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.”
Now getting to the main point, the startup companies that will participate are:
SafetyNet, from London, makes light-emitting devices that attach to fishing nets and can be programmed to attract or discourage certain kinds of fish. This prevents a boat from catching — and subsequently throwing away — thousands of the wrong fish, a huge waste.
CalWave came out of Berkeley a couple of years ago and has been testing and refining its wave-harvesting renewable energy system, and in fact won a big Department of Energy grant just last year. Now presumably the team is looking to go from prototype to product and do some big installs.
Loliware’s edible cups.
Loliware has created seaweed-based straws and cups that are so compostable you can do it yourself — like, in your mouth. The items last for a day in a drink (or with a drink in them) but when you throw it away it’ll totally dissolve in about two months — or you could literally eat it. The New Yorkers were on Shark Tank and I’m guessing they ate one on camera. You can already order them on Amazon and people say they’re actually pretty tasty.
Etac, a Mexican company from Culiacan, has few details on its site, but SOA’s press release says the company “designs and produces functional nanomaterials for energy and environmental applications, such as oil spill and wastewater cleanup.” I believe them.
And because there can’t be an accelerator without a blockchain startup in it, there’s Blockcycle, based in Sydney, which aims to create a marketplace around waste materials that would normally go to the landfill but could also be valuable to recyclers, reusers and so on.
All five companies will present their ideas on September 11 at an event (specifically, a gala) timed to coincide with California Governor Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. And then in October they’ll present again in Bali at the Our Ocean Youth Summit.
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