24 seaweed startups in 2021 autumn accelerator cohorts

Seaweeds are garnering more interest, and that shows in the number of algae start-ups entering this fall’s start-up incubators and accelerators.

Portugal’s Blue Bio Value has been the most seaweed-oriented accelerator in the past (I counted 12 seaweed startups all together in the 3 editions so far), and it is no different in this 4th cohort, where 6 out of 12 startups are using the power of macroalgae, some of them, like N9VE, in fascinating new ways.

Other accelerators are not far behind, though. Ocean Startup Challenge, Katapult Ocean and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance each have no less than 3 seaweed startups in their 2021 editions.

Blue Bio Value

Thalasso (Norway – Mexico) harvests Sargassum with its electric autonomous aquatic vehicle. Sargassum can be used to produce fertilizer, green energy, activated carbon, alginate, fucoidans, animal feed and other products. 

Tekslo Seafood (Norway) provides spices for everyday cooking derived from sustainably harvested seaweed from the North Atlantic Ocean. The company is now looking to expand and launch a skincare series after a successful $580 000 crowdfunding raise in January.

Seatrients (Sweden) produces a nutritious power beverage using Caribbean Sea Moss. The pulverized product is rich in potassium, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, promoting both benefits for human health and economic growth for local sea farmers.

N9VE (Portugal) sustainably recuperates rare earth elements from permanent magnets via the biosorption capacity of live green macroalgae. These rare earth elements are used in wind turbines, cell phones, electric cars, amongst others.

Origin by Ocean (Finland) harvests invasive seaweeds and uses a biorefinery approach to turn them into isolated specific compounds to be used in food, feed, pharma and cosmetic industries.

FlexSea (UK) develops an alternative to single-used plastic packaging with its compostable and edible solution made from red seaweed. Their product is home-compostable and biodegrades within 8-12 weeks.

Ocean Startup Challenge

40 ocean startups have been selected for the Ocean Startup Challenge in Canada, with funding worth $1.4 million to support the new companies, including 3 Canadian seaweed startups.

Turquoise Revolution (Saint John, NB) is on a mission to make the blue economy greener by developing an innovative solution to dry seaweed crop biomass more efficiently.

SeaChange Biochemistry (Cape Sable Island, NS) has designed a unique biorefinery process to simultaneously produce multiple high value chemicals from a single seaweed species.

IntelliReefs CAN (Halifax, NS) restores and enhances degraded ocean ecosystems by designing nanotechnology artificial reefs and infrastructure solutions that increase economic security, biodiversity, coastal protection, and ongoing resilience. The company is collaborating with Dalhousie University researchers to adapt their technology for kelp growth and attraction of commercially and biologically important fish and invertebrate species.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance

The latest cohort of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Ocean Solutions Accelerator counts 3 startups to keep an eye on.

Oceanium has developed a proprietary, “green” biorefinery technology to process seaweed into high demand products including plant-based food & nutrition ingredients (protein, fibre) and circular life-cycle materials. The company raised $2,700,000 in May from investors including WWF.

Sway‘s seaweed bioplastics technology drops into traditional plastic infrastructure. The company is based in Berkeley, California, and works with seaweed farmers across the Western Hemisphere.

SeaForestation Co provides deepwater solar irrigation services and equipment for replete seaweed cultivation across the oceans to meet food security needs, ecosystem life support and carbon export applications.

Katapult Ocean

Having screened an incredible 2700 companies, Katapult has selected 18 different companies to invest in for their latest accelerator cohort. The ocean VC has previously invested in offshore mariculture visionaries Ocean Rainforest and the aforementioned Oceanium.

Oregon Dulse (USA) produces a pure complete-protein powder extracted from seaweed that can be used as a 100% vegan friendly protein supplement.

SoftSeaweed (Norway) is developing a software solution to make seaweed farming businesses more sustainable and profitable.

12 Tides (USA) makes ocean-friendly foods with kelp from regenerative ocean farms.

Sea Ahead

Boston-based bluetech startup platform Sea Ahead has selected 8 teams for the second cohort of its BlueSwell incubator.

Aristotle’s Lantern is creating urchin ranching solutions for the restoration of kelp habitat and urchin fisheries in California and New England

Blue Meadow is developing an autonomous monitoring robot that helps ocean farmers improve yields and monitor their sites remotely.

startBlue

startBlue is the new Blue Tech accelerator started by UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, with 8 teams in its first cohort.

Algeon Materials is another startup creating plastic alternatives from seaweeds.

Daybreak Seaweed Company brings seaweed into the everyday kitchen by providing nutrient-dense, umami-packed and nourishing kitchen staples.

4 more accelerators

ReShore, the living breakwater startup, enters leading agrifoodtech accelerator Startlife and gets a grant from the Dutch Research Council.

Plantruption, creators of the Irish seaweed burger, have raised $500,000 from SOSV and will take part in the venture capital firm’s IndieBio accelerator. SOSV previously invested in seaweed textile startup Algiknit.

Serial incubator entrant B’Zeos (previously at Blue Bio Value, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, EIT Food Accelerator and EIT Climate-KIC) will now continue its seaweed bioplastics research at the new Nestle-sponsored FIT Food Tech program.

Finally, a little out of step in terms of timing with the other startup programs is Seaworthy Collective, a venture studio operating out of Miami, which started its inaugural cohort in July with 3 seaweed startups among them. Thalasso has already been mentioned. Kee Farms wants to grow seaweeds and oysters in Jamaica, while SeaGreen Generation is a surface to seafloor marine vegetation startup developing productization and scaling carbon and nutrient sequestration. Whatever that means.

What makes a good incubator/accelerator?

Someone recently asked me which incubator they should apply for as a seaweed startup. I honestly did not know what to say, but if you have any personal experience, feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message.

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