UC San Diego Announces Second Cohort for Blue Economy Accelerator
The Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography selected the second cohort for the StartBlue program, a startup accelerator dedicated to solving ocean-focused challenges and solutions. The announcement builds on the success of the inaugural StartBlue cohort and contributes to the growth of the region’s blue economy.
“There’s a lot of innovation and excitement in San Diego’s blue economy,” said Vanessa Scott, director of affiliates, business development, industry outreach and innovation at Scripps. UC San Diego Oceanography and Director of the StartBlue Accelerator. “With Rady School’s expertise in launching startups and supporting the business community, Scripps Oceanography’s proven leadership and expertise in blue technology, and the participation of regional blue economy leaders, the he StartBlue Accelerator exemplifies what UC San Diego offers in terms of innovative and interdisciplinary business solutions. After seeing all that our first cohort has accomplished, the opportunities available to our second cohort are remarkable. »
The StartBlue program supports science and engineering startups in the growing and very vital blue technology sector, by designing new solutions that can be integrated into science, industry, investment and government networks.
Startups accepted into the second StartBlue cohort include:
- Amphitrite Roboticsdeveloping a hybrid, modular, remotely operated/autonomous underwater vehicle (ROV/AUV) with enhanced vision-based autonomous navigation and mapping capabilities for aquaculture, offshore energy, underwater cinematography and research in marine robotics.
- Macaws Photonicscreation new integrated photonic solutions in the LiDAR technology field for ocean and coastal monitoring, health and data communications.
- Berkeley Marine Robotics, develop autonomous robotic swarm systems with underwater laser communication to help ships reduce biofouling emissions and ports protect marine ecosystems.
- CoilReefbuilding a removable reef system for beach erosion mitigation, aquaculture, carbon sequestration and more.
- Ocean Soteriadesigning a service to manage populations of purple zombie sea urchins.
- octopus gardendeveloping aquaculture technology to modernize seaweed farming and integrate seaweed-based products into the mainstream diet.
All teams have roots in the region, and most are affiliated with UC San Diego, whether as students, faculty, or alumni. Two have female founders and one founder is on active military duty.
The first cohort ended with a Demo Day in May and is already making waves in the wider blue economy. The seven teams that completed the first round of the program collectively raised $35,000 in donations, won more than $200,000 in prizes and received $7.5 million in grants. Algeon materials was accepted into the Creative Destruction Lab program. CalWave Power Technologies Inc. achieved a history wave driver supported by an award from the United States Department of Energy.
The teams, who participate for free, are developing new businesses around scientific and technical solutions to crucial ocean challenges. Each startup in the second cohort receives Scripps science and Rady entrepreneurship curricula, one-on-one mentorship, and easy access to potential partners, customers, and investment sources. The workshops focus on developing skills such as grant writing and presentation. Conferences, pitch competitions, and industry association memberships provide teams with valuable exposure and connections.
The StartBlue program is carried out made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, contributions from California Sea Grant, San Diego Gas & Electric, Beyster Foundation for Business Development, Ocean visionsand the Builders Initiative, as well as a philanthropic donor match from members of the Scripps Director’s Council. The active participation of program partners embeds StartBlue in the pipeline of regional resources that support the visibility, growth and scale of ocean startups.
A 2020 study by TMA BlueTech identifies 4,320 maritime, water and blue economy establishments in San Diego generating $16.2 billion in direct revenue and providing more than 114,000 direct jobs, an increase driven by the growth of smaller and more specialized companies. The U.S. marine economy was worth about $373 billion in 2018, according to Commerce Department figures. The country’s blue economy and its blue technology sector are growing rapidly to meet the historic challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and the need for innovation posed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Those interested in sponsorship or corporate mentorship opportunities can get more information about the StartBlue Accelerator and sign up to receive updates at: http://StartBlue.ucsd.edu/