Last month the Seaworthy Collective community came together to proudly celebrate our startups from the second cohort of Seaworthy Foundation's Venture Studio program. Featured was each member of the ten-company cohort showcasing their full pitches that included their individual progress during their time with us. If you were one of the over 100 people who joined us in person at Glass Box Ironside or virtually on Zoom - thank you for your incredible support and enthusiasm! This event was the culmination of so much hard work and focus from each of the founders and their teams.
I joined Seaworthy just a week before the start of this 12+ week journey, and it has been extremely rewarding to jump into the position of Program Director. From the initial
one-on-one meetings with each company, I felt part of something unique, unlike any other incubator/accelerator program I've been privy to thus far.
Design Thinking and Plotting the Course
The design thinking approach we take at the Seaworthy Venture Studio is part of what makes the program different. Innovative thinking begets innovative thinking. We are, after all, working with companies that strive to commercialize technologies that alter systems and value chains.
Daniel and I, with the support of our team of volunteers, helped our founders narrow in on their mission, spotting a North star and plotting a course to follow it. We start by really accessing the needs of the innovator and their startup. By delving into where their successes and pain points lie, we catered to their individual needs and propelled them forward utilizing our network, resources and insights. We were able to set actionable goals and ultimately demonstrate tangible progress, measuring the amount of collaboration and traction we accomplished together over a three-month period.
Logging Measurable Progress
And this is ultimately the most exciting part! When working with companies looking to offer an urgent benefit to the ocean, climate, and humanity, tangible progress is what keeps me enthused. The progress our cohort made collectively is below. As always, we expect even more progress in the coming months, especially given members of our first cohort just finished raising over $6 million!
More importantly, it is so exhilarating to support the sea change making individuals that are driving that progress. As part of this cohort, we had the opportunity to work with a couple that has been sitting on an innovative idea for years. Nets23D has an inspiring story of a lifetime of personal and professional experiences that have led to the start of a company that recycles fishing nets into building materials. We supported them in defining their business and progressing it to the point they are ready to seek funding. We provided introductions, mentors, advisors and just plain accountability. It was such a pleasure to see the founders’ confidence flourish; their grit and determination were more evident with every meeting.
Celebrating our Founders, the Sea Change Makers We Can Support
Some founders come to us looking to overcome the barriers that prevent them from breaking into the ocean tech ecosystem.
RovonTech has prototyped a live-view, 360-degree underwater camera. The founder, a clever angler who saw a need to have a different angle on his hobby, now more thoroughly understands the potential for impact this device has on ocean monitoring and climate data. We also cultivated his inner entrepreneur. I look forward to seeing him pitch his idea to the many stakeholders it could benefit.
Lilly1 has a solution to help in the collection and sequestration of atmospheric CO2 on a megaton scale. To assist in bringing such vital technology to market, we worked with the founder to start harnessing his untapped entrepreneurial ingenuity. What I mean by this is, our team offered elements of business acumen that his architecture/engineering mind was less familiar with in order to help set him on the next step to building his venture.
Part of that human based approach we take is recognizing that all of our founders have different backgrounds, education and specialties. Assisting diverse founders is part of the Seaworthy mission. I found even the wide range of ages of our founders to bring interesting elements to the group and to our work.
Brenna Bales, founder of ReefVitalize, continually impressed with her bold and genuine communication, her drive and her coachability. She's also creatively finding ways to make coral restoration accessible to anyone. Support her efforts, such as the crowd funding campaign, here.
Michael Arens, the recent grad leading Clean Earth Rovers as one of its co-founders, also stands out as a passionate social entrepreneur. He embodies sincerity and problem solving. We worked with him to focus, grow and unite his team as they pilot a robot system that tackles ocean plastics and pollution near shore, in ports and marinas, before they reach the open ocean where they are more difficult to collect.
Celebrating our second cohort's successful completion is an essential accomplishment for us here at Seaworthy. We needed to demonstrate to ourselves, as much as anyone else, just what we are capable of through the power of community and network. Meeting with individual founders like Ray Aivazian III of SEED.World, who has already been actively rallying community around addressing downstream plastic pollution, gave us the opportunity to support dynamic, scientific-minded inventors that found mapping out a business model and setting goals to be key to advancing to the next step of business.
Working with companies like Smartfin that are established and working to involve the surfing community in ocean data collection, challenged the team but also solidified for us how much we have in our arsenal of resources to support a broad range of different stage companies.
The support we offered SUPER - a single-use plastic reduction solution and certification for businesses - seemed to cover a little bit of all of these areas: our expertise and perspective, plus some goal-oriented coaching with a healthy side of marketplace introductions. Open discussions with these experienced entrepreneurs were also a source of delight for me; spending such time with 'forever learners' like myself always leads to a satisfying feeling of personal growth.
Matchmaking Visionaries and Co-Creating Startups
Another unique aspect of Seaworthy is how we are bringing aspiring co-founders together. Both SeaShell and Mariana Media are great examples of how we leverage the powerful network we’ve created to matchmake these talented entrepreneurs. They each bring a broad range of knowledge and experience to the table and work together towards a shared vision. Whether valuing coastal resilience through the measured and verified savings that nature-based infrastructure creates or rousing resilience through honest, impactful story-telling, the people that makeup Seaworthy’s community have the ingenuity to drive redesign and regeneration on a systematic scale.
Founders Helping Founders
Alongside the individuals and the companies they are building, we create a supportive group dynamic. It is magic to experience the empathy and creativity resulting from the reciprocal relationships we cultivate! Peer-to-peer mentoring happens organically in regular group meetings - almost like a founder's support group! - and continues through the platforms we offer to stay connected. The external mentors we introduced also offered the gamut of expertise that stimulates effective growth in business and the motivation to persevere through the arduous process of building a Bluetech / climatetech business.
We are so proud of all of our startups and what they've accomplished through their summer with Seaworthy. This cohort has continued the trend of constantly raising the bar as our startups co-created, collaborated, and energized us with their dedication and development!
The pace of change is intensifying in the ocean sector, as are the opportunities for growth. The Seaworthy Foundation Venture Studio supports, and even creates, entrepreneurs who, in turn, create impact in the form of revenue, shareholder return, new jobs and societal impact. This second cohort provided the solidified launchpad for all of our ambitions moving forward.
Watch for Daniel's updates next month, celebrating Seaworthy's 2nd anniversary and sharing the debut of Seaworthy 2.0.
What's Next For Seaworthy
So, what's next?! We do more, of course!
In the short term, we're getting back to what we do best, building and educating community. We're collaborating with some fantastic impact partners on the monthly South Florida Climate Community Happy Hours for those in and around Miami. We will also be getting back to hosting our hybrid in-person and virtual panel events, the Sea Change Makers Series, next month. The next panel is scheduled for September 22nd at 5:30 pm EDT (stay tuned for the details, coming soon).
No Need to Wait for the Next Cohort to Begin!
Next month, we'll also unveil our new founder mentorship program, which will provide year-round access to our resources on a smaller scale and build our pipeline for the deep dive work we do in our venture studio. We're so excited to remove any remaining barriers to being able to help move founders forward.
Also on the horizon, we are already looking ahead to 2023, planning our next venture studio cohort launch in March. We will be scaling our work not only by expanding our community beyond South Florida but through two cohorts in 2023 (Spring/March and Fall/September).
Help Us Help These Startups
In the meantime, Seaworthy is looking for partners to support our work and drive the development of the local and global BlueTech and ClimateTech startup pipeline and ecosystem. If you're interested in getting involved as a Seaworthy Foundation Supporting Partner, you can learn more HERE!
In case you missed it, you can watch the full recording of our second cohort startup showcase in the video below. If you're a startup looking to get involved in our upcoming founder mentorship program or next venture studio cohort, make sure to apply through the link on our startup programs page here! Additionally, if you're an investor looking to learn more about our second cohort startups, you can request access to our pitchbook at the bottom of our startups page HERE!
It takes only minutes with the Seaworthy team to realize 'exciting!' is one of our favourite words. There is no doubt that we have even more exciting times ahead as we run before the wind - to use a good sailing term - with full focus on building and growing the community and continue to help grow sea change makers globally!