Call for applications: BlueSwell incubator program seeking bluetech startups with impact on ocean sustainability


Informational webinar happening Friday, April 14

Collage of logos for Blue Swell, Aquarium and SeaAhead

BOSTON, MASS. (April 4, 2023) – The New England Aquarium and SeaAhead, Inc. are seeking applicants for their BlueSwell incubator program, which supports the creation and growth of startups that have the potential to significantly impact the blue economy while using the ocean’s resources in a sustainable and responsible way.

BlueSwell takes a whole-ocean approach to fighting climate change and advancing the blue economy. The program focuses on bridging gaps between innovators, ocean experts, industries, and the venture community. BlueSwell leverages SeaAhead’s bluetech domain expertise, network, and experience in building companies, and the Aquarium’s 50-plus year history of using marine science to protect the ocean and marine animals to ultimately convert ocean-focused concepts into profitable, sustainable businesses.

The application period for the program’s fourth cohort is now open and will close May 31 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Those interested in learning more about the program and application process are encouraged to attend a webinar on Friday, April 14, at 12:00 p.m. (Register here.) Startups applying by the priority deadline of May 3 will have the opportunity to do a live pitch to the BlueSwell team.

“Opening for the fourth year of BlueSwell is a testament to the rising tide we are building in bluetech, from the success of our alumni to the growing momentum in our expert and partner community,” said BlueSwell Program Manager Katherine Woolford. “More and more innovators and supporters are coming together with the certainty that there is a wide ocean of opportunity here.”

The program provides teams at the beginning of their innovation journey with $50,000 of funding to get their ventures off the ground; access to leaders from industry, investment, academia, government, and NGOs; a cohort of peer companies to learn from; and mentorship, including a curriculum designed to improve their leadership skills and business acumen. Six startups graduated from BlueSwell’s third cohort earlier this year, with business concepts ranging from underwater weather forecasting to wind propulsion systems for ships. Cohort IV will be announced in September.

“For decades, the New England Aquarium has worked to protect our ocean, and that includes ensuring the responsible development of our blue economy. The BlueSwell program provides an incredible opportunity for big thinkers to develop innovative ideas that address some of the most pressing ocean issues,” said Emiley Lockhart, Associate Vice President for Ocean Sustainability, Technology, and Innovation at the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life.

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, Orsted, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Massachusetts Tech Collaborative, Oceankind, Builders Vision, Cambridge Innovation Center, Giant Shoulders, Foley Hoag, Wolf & Company, Freeport Metrics, and Goodwin Proctor.



Pam Bechtold Snyder –, 617-686-5068