The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) this week announced a partnership with Northeastern University’s Roux Institute and Institute for Experiential AI to launch an unprecedented 16-week accelerator programme focused on the intersection of two rapidly-emerging sectors of the economy: artificial intelligence (AI) and blue tech. The programme, called Blue w(AI)ve, will support seven early-stage companies leveraging AI for ocean-based solutions around the world, according to a press release from the research institute.
The selected companies represent promising blue tech innovators focused on the exploration, conservation, and sustainable use of ocean resources. The companies and their advisors gathered in-person in Portland on Tuesday to kick off the programme.
The companies, such as Coastal Carbon - which uses AI to provide underwater remote monitoring for seaweed aquaculture and ocean restoration - will demonstrate innovation within traditional sectors such as marine conservation, maritime transportation, and commercial fisheries, and will outline potential applications across several relevant industries, including sustainable aquaculture, renewable energy, biotechnology, and environmental monitoring.
“For ocean-based start-ups, AI isn't just a tool; it's a catalyst for unlocking novel solutions and leveraging the incredibly large amount of data available by monitoring our waters,” said Chris Wolfel, associate vice-president of entrepreneurship and venture creation at Northeastern University.
A cross-disciplinary selection of scientists, AI experts, and investors will offer customised support to companies in the programme. Participants will receive support from a scientist-in-residence from GMRI, a data scientist-in-residence from Northeastern’s AI Solutions Hub, and an investor-in-residence from Bold Ocean Ventures. The companies will also receive support from additional venture funds such as Propeller and Glasswing Ventures.
"The programme is turbocharging blue tech start-ups for investment success while positioning Maine as a leader in ocean-related artificial intelligence solutions," said Blaine Grimes, chief ventures officer at GMRI.
“Through this accelerator and other efforts, we aim to bridge the gap between innovative, blue economy businesses and the capital, technical knowledge, and networks needed to help them grow,” he concluded.