Ocean Community News

Bright Tide Announces 12 Ventures Selected for Specialist Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator

In March this year, sustainability training outfit Bright Tide, announced the launch of its first Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme for SME businesses. With over 40 applicants, 12 successful businesses were selected to take part in the accelerator, which is the most specialist of its kind in the UK.

This exemplary eight-week programme, which took place over July and August, is particularly important as a healthy ocean and buoyant blue economy will be crucial in the battle to keep the world within the 1.5 degrees that climate scientists state is essential to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

The 12 stand-out SME ventures in the field of ocean-impact innovation selected for the accelerator included Biome Algae, Urchinomics, SafetyNet Technologies, 4EarthIntelligence, Wooly Rock Rose JV, HydroSurv, Sea Ranger Service, Beach Collective, BlueTrace, Sea Green, ARC Marine and Kelp Blue Biotech. Of these, four businesses with particularly interesting stories and exciting and encouraging ramifications for our oceans, include:

BIOME ALGAE

thumbnail image002Photo Caption: CEO and founder of Biome Algae, Dr Angela Mead.

An ambitious start-up operating seaweed farms in the UK, Biome Algae has quickly become an industry leader. They produce and process high-quality seaweed products and extracts, and target circular-economy market sectors, working with customers to solve important societal and environmental issues through seaweed use. Examples include food security, plastic alternatives and reduced or avoided carbon emissions. This approach magnifies Biome’s sustainability impact. Biome focuses on business-for-change and creating a sustainable green future from blue growth.

CEO and founder of Biome Algae, Dr Angela Mead commented: "Being a member of the 2022 cohort for the Bright Tide accelerator programme has been invaluable to our company. The programme helped us become investment-ready and we learnt so much from the programme partners including Investec, Blue Sky Accountants, Hogan Lovells, Plymouth University and The Crown Estate. As a result, we are experiencing a very successful funding round, are on the way to developing our brand and are now forming important research programmes that will underpin and propel the overall seaweed industry in the UK. We have progressed so much as a company in just a few months and are now set for a significant growth stage. Most importantly, we met a like-minded group of entrepreneurs within the blue economy space and look forward to continuing our journey as part of the Bright Tide community."

ARC MARINE

thumbnail image004Photo Caption: Co-founder and CEO of ARC Marine, Tom Birbeck.

ARC Marine is helping restore seabed habitat degradation by accelerating reef creation. Its Reef Cubes®, made from low-carbon concrete and composed from 98% recycled materials, are plastic-free and are the only circular economy-based reef technology on the market. The cubes enrich marine biodiversity, becoming colonised and have been used as spawning and nursery grounds in real-world tests.

Co-founder and CEO of ARC Marine, Tom Birbeck, commented: “Being selected as part of the Bright Tide Blue Economy Accelerator Programme has allowed us to make contacts local to the UK which we didn’t have with investors, stakeholders and potential suppliers of professional services, while having access to The Crown Estate has also been invaluable. The workshops with Investec on the life cycle of a start-up were really helpful to contextualise our journey, as it can sometimes seem daunting or failure if you aren’t making profit straight away.”

SEA GREEN

Photo Caption: Director of Research and Development at Sea Green, Paddy Tarbuck.thumbnail image006

Sea Green is a Singapore-based start-up on a mission to enhance aquacultural value chains through an integrated end-to-end platform for seaweed farming. Leveraging digital infrastructure, the company is a value-addition solution looking to support coastal community development and sustainable growth of the seaweed industry through data-driven insights and subsequent optimisation of the value chain.

Director of Research and Development at Sea Green, Paddy Tarbuck, commented: “Bright Tide’s programme has not only given us the opportunity to engage with like-minded innovators in the blue economy space, but also helped us build a network of partners outside of the blue economy, from financial services to academia. Tapping into Bright Tide’s vast ecosystem has allowed us to break down silos and partner for impact. Beyond the immediate partnership opportunities and peer-to-peer sessions, we have also found the masterclasses from Investec and The Crown Estate extremely helpful. The Investec session on start-up finance was timely and succinct, detailing the pathways to finance for all innovators in the session, something we have since applied to our existing fundraising. While the networking sessions at the start of the programme were also fantastic and the opportunity to pitch our solution at the ‘meet the investors’ event in a few weeks is a huge step in the right direction for our organisation. I have also enjoyed the bilateral discussions with Bright Tide’s founder Harry Wright on everything from blue carbon to biodiversity. His commitment and leadership in the blue economy space is second to none and whilst the programme concludes in September, I have no doubt that our work with Bright Tide will not stop here!”

4EARTHINTELLIGENCE

thumbnail image008Photo Caption: 4EarthIntelligence business development manager, Michael Hanley.

4EarthIntelligence (4EI) uses space data to unlock the spatial understanding required to de-risk offshore energy and enable net-zero energy production. The business provides products and services that characterise the environment and communicate this data to multiple stakeholders throughout offshore renewable energy (ORE) projects, particularly those in the early phases, and is building a metocean product to inform offshore operations and planning. 4EI also offers a suite of bespoke services to inform the project development and consenting process for offshore wind. Built on decades of Satellite Earth Observation expertise, 4EI Ocean is passionate about utilising space data for the betterment of humans and the planet.

4EI business development manager, Michael Hanley, commented: "We've found the Bright Tide Accelerator excellent. 4EI has been part of multiple business acceleration programmes before, and have found Bright Tide to be pragmatic and focused on supporting us to find leads and opportunities through their networking and meet-the-buyer events, and provide relevant advise and contacts for the various aspects of our growth, be that investment, legal and financial support or business to business partnerships. It's great to be part of an ecosystem of impactful companies doing good for the blue economy."

URCHINOMICS

Photo Caption: CEO and founder of Urchinomics, Tsuyoshi Takeda.thumbnail image010

Urchinomics' purpose is to rehabilitate unhealthy oceans into healthy eco-systems for the benefit of our planet and humanity. They do this by removing overgrazing sea urchins and helping nature turn a barren sea floor back into a vibrant kelp forest. The removed sea urchins are then ranched and sold as premium seafood to restaurants around the world. Their pioneering restorative aquaculture venture aims to turn ecologically destructive sea urchins into high valued seafood products that can be consistently supplied nearly year-round. The Urchinomics Methodology helps restore kelp forests, which in turn supports greater marine biomass, biodiversity, and capacity to sequester atmospheric CO2, all while creating full time employment in rural, coastal communities around the world.

CEO and founder of Urchinomics, Tsuyoshi Takeda, commented: “Taking part in Bright Tide’s accelerator programme has meant we’ve been connected to high quality, mission driven companies looking to change the way humans interact with the ocean for the better. These connections have been relevant and accretive to future operations and we have also begun receiving connections to interested investors and potential project partners, that will hopefully help scale operations through joint ventures, capital, advisory, and further connections to relevant stakeholders as we continue global expansion. As part of the collective of businesses on the accelerator, Bright Tide founder Harry has gone above and beyond to support all of the cohort members and fellow entrepreneurs haven’t hesitated to assist each other. Meanwhile, the pointedness of this programme allows for a deeper connection to fellow participants, all trying to achieve the same goal, just with different approaches.”

Founder and director of Bright Tide, Harry Wright, said: “The ocean innovator sector is currently very under supported. In launching our Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme, which was free to the selected finalists, we were looking to help combat this issue. It’s been hugely exciting to work with the final 12 businesses on the programme and see first-hand the impact they’re each having, and the future growth potential in the blue economy.”

Wright continued: “In October 2022, we’ll launch Bright Tide’s next accelerator programme, this time focusing on blue carbon and the ability of marine ecosystems to capture and store large amounts of carbon. Our aim will be to scale, accelerate and bolster the pipeline of investment-ready blue carbon projects around the world."

Bright Tide’s Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme is supported by founding sponsors The University of Plymouth and Investec Wealth & Investment, as well as supporting partners Hogan Lovells LLP, Blu Sky Chartered Accountants, Ocean Power Tech and The Crown Estate.

Adrian Dawson, Director of Research and Innovation at the University of Plymouth, said: “The ocean is critical to the health of our planet and its inhabitants, and it is essential that we protect it from the effects of climate change. Our world-leading research is driving that forward, but collaborations with industry and other sectors of society are also key. The businesses who have benefitted from this first Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme are a shining example of the local and global benefits that can be achieved by uniting ideas with innovation and action.”

Stacey Parrinder-Johnson, chief investment officer at Investec Wealth & Investment, said: “We were delighted to actively support this important programme and the twelve inspirational businesses that are individually driving such positive impact within the Blue Economy. We welcome the opportunity to support the growth of entrepreneurial businesses, who are at the forefront of making a meaningful contribution to not only sustaining but regenerating our planet.”

Fenella Chambers, Senior Associate, Hogan Lovells International LLP, commented: “The ambition and innovation shown by the businesses on Bright Tide’s Blue Economy accelerator programme is inspiring and a sign of what can be achieved by business when it works as a force for good. Partnering with Bright Tide has enabled us to support the development of the blue economy, a key arena for the furthering sustainable solutions to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.”

Helen Elphick, Senior Development Manager (Sustainability) at The Crown Estate, said: “As the UK climate and biodiversity challenges intensify, tackling such issues requires fresh thinking, new ways of doing things and a passion for change. We work in close partnership with others to drive the sustainable development of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and are therefore delighted to support the Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme to help unlock the talent and ingenuity of the next generation of innovators in this space. Congratulations to all the successful businesses, we look forward to seeing the valuable impacts they will have in the marine environment as they continue to grow.”

Bright Tide’s Blue Economy Ocean Accelerator Programme included 1 to 1 tailored expert individual mentorships with industry experts, group mentorship sessions, peer-to-peer learning, commercial pitching opportunities, workshops and access to professional networks. Shortlisted businesses also take part in exclusive in-person industry meet-ups with the programme’s corporate and blue economy partners, professional networks, peer-to-peer circles and scientific academic partners, and will pitch at its Meet-The-Buyers event in London on 15th September 2022. Community and ecosystem building is a key part of the programme, and beyond this it offered technical support to help ocean ventures scale up their commercial aims with leading experts, including access to pro bono support, including legal, investment readiness, tax, scientific advice and impact measurement. To find out more visit www.bright-tide.co.uk/blueeconomy.

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