The ocean covers 71% of the planet and holds nearly 97% of the Earth’s water, and about 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of the coastline. As reported in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, “[t]he ocean is essential for all aspects of human well-being and livelihood” and ocean warming, acidification and sea level rise are impacting fisheries and food production and depleting key ecosystem services. Ocean health is closely tied to human health, and ocean-based climate solutions, including carbon sequestration and marine renewable energy, will play a critical role in combating such deleterious impacts of climate change.
In honor of World Ocean Day, we take a moment to celebrate our client SeaAhead, a bluetech startup platform connecting and supporting bluetech companies and partners to help improve ocean health through innovation.
What is Bluetech?
“Cleantech” became a popular term in the late 1990s and early 2000s used by venture capital investors to describe a variety of green, sustainable and eco-friendly technology companies. Since that time, the cleantech industry has enjoyed a period of strong growth and investment, and we have advised many investor and company cleantech clients in connection with a broad range of legal matters during that time.
Recent years have seen an emergence of a parallel “bluetech” category to describe sustainable technologies touching on the ocean economy, which spans industries such as offshore wind, ocean plastics removal, carbon sequestration, aquaculture, marine robotics, data collection technologies, coastal resilience and more.
Spotlight on SeaAhead
SeaAhead is a public benefit corporation founded in 2018 with a mission to facilitate the growth of bluetech companies in order to bring new technologies to market to solve critical climate problems facing the world’s ocean. SeaAhead works with over eighty companies, and offers its members access to its coworking space at CIC, company building services, research facility resources, and its network of industry experts, advisors and partners, investors, and fellow startups.
SeaAhead’s expanding platform includes a number of accelerator programs and investor opportunities to further its mission, including:
- BlueSwell Program: SeaAhead partnered with the New England Aquarium to launch the BlueSwell Incubator, the Northeast’s first dedicated ocean-focused incubator that offers cash stipends, coaching, networking and mentoring to early stage startup companies.
- Seafood Sprint: SeaAhead partnered with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to host the Gulf of Maine Seafood Sprint Program, which provides direct support to regional seafood startups focused on supply chain digitization, aquaculture innovations and new fisheries technology.
- Gulf Blue Navigator Program: SeaAhead teamed up with the University of Southern Mississippi to launch the Gulf Blue(SM)Navigator program, which will soon seek applications from later stage startups focusing on technologies and business models in areas including uncrewed maritime systems, precision marine aquaculture, ocean-related data analytics, coastal restoration, ocean-friendly plastics, sea and space systems and ‘the Future of Maritime.’
- Blue Angels Investment Group: SeaAhead hosts regular startup pitch showcases for a group of angel investors focused on funding early-stage bluetech startup companies. SeaAhead has co-invested alongside its fellow Blue Angels.
- SeaAhead Ventures: Most recently, SeaAhead announced the launch of SeaAhead Ventures, which is raising a $30M early-stage bluetech venture fund that is fully integrated into the SeaAhead platform.
Ocean innovation can play an integral role in efforts to mitigate climate change, and we applaud SeaAhead and our other bluetech clients in their work furthering these critical goals.