Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator
Now accepting applications for the launch of a Second Wave, starting in January 2021
Supporting Entrepreneurship and Investment for a growing Blue Economy
Maritime Blue is now accepting applications from any startup or new venture that is passionate about finding innovative solutions that benefit the Blue Economy—growth in the maritime and ocean sector; addressing the climate crisis and supporting a healthy ocean and marine environment; and fostering resilient and equitable communities. Applications will be scored based on both their growth viability as well as their potential impact for meeting the goals of the Washington State Strategy for the Blue Economy.
Currently accepting applications through November 20th.
Funded by the Port of Seattle and a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce, the “Second Wave” of the maritime accelerator will build off the success and learnings from the inaugural cohort. This past April, 11 startups graduated after a successful showcase that has now led to a number of “wins”, including a significant Series A equity investment, Seed level funding, demonstration projects, costumer contracts, regulatory certifications, and increased revenue. Click here for more on the inaugural cohort of the Maritime Blue Innovation Acceleration.
The “Second Wave” of the accelerator signals continued growth and investment opportunities in the Blue Economy. One of Seattle’s oldest industries has been repositioning itself to better leverage the vast tech, advanced manufacturing, and innovation resources Washington has to offer. This is a powerful opportunity for local companies to grow, recruit new jobs and talent, and secure funding in a sector where capital is often scarce.
About the accelerator:
Maritime Blue is now accepting applications from any startup or new venture that is passionate about finding innovative solutions that benefit the Blue Economy – growth in the maritime and ocean sector; addressing the climate crisis and supporting a healthy ocean and marine environment; and fostering resilient and equitable communities. Applicants will be reviewed and selected by the Maritime Blue Innovation advisory committee.
- Maritime Blue will select 10 promising startups to be admitted to the first accelerator cohort, which will formally begin in January 2021.
- These selected startups will benefit from intensive programming over an accelerated 4-month period. Startups will receive access to the full suite of the Washington Maritime Blue cluster members, stakeholder and partners, be a part of unique programming, and the opportunity to connect with a global network of maritime and ocean economy mentors and advisors.
- Maritime Blue will work with each startup to address their current challenges and obstacles through intensive seminars and custom workshops tailored for their particular stage in growth.
- The accelerator will conclude in April with a formal demo day where the selected startups will pitch their ideas to a crowd of investors, mentors, corporate partners, government officials and the general public.
Why an accelerator?
As the first maritime accelerator in the state, and among only a handful that exist in the US, this is a transformative moment for Seattle with ripple effects that go far beyond our own waters.
- Routine in the technology and startup sector, accelerators present game-changing opportunities by connecting promising companies to market and capital opportunities. To reverse the current capital landscape for maritime, Maritime Blue and the Port of Seattle borrowed a page from the technology sector playbook to launch a successful maritime accelerator program in Washington state.
- The Maritime accelerator is an incredible example of how the partnership with Washington Maritime Blue, the Port of Seattle and Commerce aim to make our region and state a world leading hub for sustainable maritime and ocean industries by supporting early stage startups and creating an ecosystem of innovation.
Why focus on maritime?
Innovation across Washington’s maritime sector is critical for a thriving economy and in the fight to protect our planet, precious natural resources, and ocean life. Finding a way to extract economic growth while simultaneously returning evermore vitality and life to our oceans and waterways is a challenging task, but one Washington must take on if the industry is to thrive for the next generation of maritime workers.
- Maritime industries are among Washington state’s oldest and with a statewide economic value of more than $30 billion and 146,000 jobs, maritime is still among the state’s most economically significant industries and employers.
- Days after Washington Governor Jay Inslee celebrated the start of work on the state’s first hybrid-electric ferry, a study released by Washington Maritime Blue identified technology solutions for water transportation, shipping, science and other ocean systems, as the highest growth sector in the “Blue Economy” – a term referring to sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved jobs and ocean ecosystem health.
- Despite the growth opportunity, a Maritime Blue study found multiple challenges around access to capital, including:
- Few equity investors are currently focused on maritime
- Funding at the proof-of-concept / testing stage is especially hard to find for maritime-tech businesses
- There are few options for “no-cost capital”, like R&D grants or prize competitions targeted at maritime, which would allow start-ups to prove concept and attract additional investment.
Without access to capital the industry cannot grow and innovate, and growth and innovation are critical for maritime to overcome modern challenges like climate change and an aging workforce.
Commissioner Fred Felleman, from the Port of Seattle, “The Port of Seattle is proud to once again sponsor Washington State’s ongoing effort to spur innovation in the maritime sector. We were inspired by our last cohort of innovators and look forward to seeing how this next round of entrepreneurs will help our region navigate to a more inclusive and sustainable blue economy.”
Dr. Lisa Brown, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, said, “Washington’s maritime industry strengthens communities not only for Puget Sound’s busy ports, but all across the state. Washington Maritime Blue and the Port of Seattle’s Maritime Innovation Accelerator are ensuring that we remain global leaders in the sustainable ocean economy and continue creating good jobs well into the future”.
Joshua Berger, Governor’s Maritime Sector Lead, Founder and Board Chair, Maritime Blue. “We are humbled by the support and success of our inaugural cohort and thrilled to reach back out into the innovation ecosystem to catch the next wave of founders and entrepreneurs. We are looking for those who are ready to grow, innovate, and provide critical solutions to the challenges our ocean, waterways and communities are facing every day. Last year at this time we thought this was a good idea, and now it is even more critical that we work to get capital flowing, solve for climate impacts, and stand for equitable and resilient communities”.
Dr. Ann Jarris, CEO of Discovery Health MD from the inaugural cohort, “I didn’t know where to focus energies to scale or build a network in the maritime industry. I didn’t have connections within the governance, political, or regulatory world… I loved that we worked so closely with other companies in the accelerator…we all worked to understand our different needs; how we interacted with the industry.”
Access to Capital, Public and Private Financing
Washington Maritime Blue is working to direct capital towards maritime innovation and entrepreneurs.
We act as a resource and pipeline to projects, start-ups, and investments that lead towards our vision for a sustainable, innovative and growing blue economy in Washington State.