Calling all startups: Application period open for bluetech accelerator program BlueSwell

Program supports startup companies focused on ocean sustainability


BOSTON, MASS. (June 3, 2024) – The New England Aquarium and SeaAhead, Inc. are seeking applicants for the fifth cohort of their BlueSwell program, which focuses on bridging gaps between innovators, ocean experts, industries, and the venture community.

BlueSwell takes a whole-ocean approach to fighting climate change and advancing the blue economy, leveraging SeaAhead’s bluetech expertise, network, and experience in building companies along with the Aquarium’s 50-plus year history of using science to protect the ocean and marine animals, to ultimately convert ocean-focused concepts into profitable, sustainable businesses.

“Going into our fifth year, we remain committed to delivering a program that is ever more responsive to the needs of bluetech founders,” said Julia Pangan, BlueSwell Program Manager. “We are excited to work with our growing community of partners to run a newly improved program that will offer advanced value and put startups on the path towards lasting success.”

For its next cohort, the program is looking to expand its offerings to more entrepreneurs and hopes to support 8–10 companies. Startups will be selected based on five main criteria: environmental and social impact, commercial scalability, team, program fit, and commitment to the program. The application period for the program is now open and will close on June 25 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Those interested in learning more about the program and application process can fill out this form to be connected with a member of the BlueSwell team.

“The BlueSwell program is an amazing opportunity for innovators in this space to develop ideas and products that will directly address some of the most pressing issues that our climate and ocean are facing,” said Emiley Lockhart, Associate Vice President for Ocean Sustainability, Technology, and Innovation at the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life. “The New England Aquarium is proud to partner with these pioneers and further commit to expanding the blue economy and protecting our planet.”

Selected teams will receive up to $25,000 of non-dilutive funding, which allows the startups to retain full ownership of their companies. Alongside this financial support, teams will have access to leaders from industry, investment, academia, government, and NGOs; a cohort of peer companies to learn from; and mentorship, including a hybrid curriculum designed to improve their leadership skills and business acumen. All learning modules will happen during virtual weeks to allow for higher-value in-person weeks in New England for cohort members to work with each other and meet with potential funders, customers, partners, and more. Cohort V will be announced in early August and start in September.

Five startups graduated from BlueSwell’s fourth cohort earlier this year, with business concepts ranging from real-time marine carbon measurement to cellular agriculture. In total, 24 startups have gone through the BlueSwell program and have raised over $38 million in grants and investments since joining the program.

The BlueSwell program is made possible by sponsoring foundations, public sector entities, companies, and individuals that prioritize the ocean as a source of solutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office, the U.S. Economic Development Agency, the Innovation Institute at the MassTech Collaborative, Ørsted, Oceankind, Builders Initiative, Cambridge Innovation Center, Giant Shoulders, Foley Hoag, Wolf & Company, Freeport Metrics, and Goodwin Proctor.



Pam Bechtold Snyder,; 617-686-5068

Julia Pangan,