Seven teams of aspiring entrepreneurs detail their plans for sustainable bluetech, ocean-focused startups on March 2


BlueSwell program supports ideas ranging from restoring kelp habitats to plastic recycling and offshore wind digital solutions

group of eleven people standing outside the aquarium

BOSTON, MASS. (February 17, 2022) – Aspiring entrepreneurs, focused on bluetech innovation and creating new ocean-focused businesses, have been working with scientists from the New England Aquarium, venture capitalist investors, and business strategists from SeaAhead to develop novel startups that enhance ocean health, sustainable ocean industry, and global resilience. Seven teams will present their plans on Wednesday, March 2 in a live and virtual Demo Day event.


Selected last October, the teams make up the second cohort of BlueSwell, a first of its kind incubator program in the Northeast focused on supporting early-stage entrepreneurship in bluetech. The goal is to bridge gaps among innovators, ocean experts, industries, and the venture community, enabling a path toward commercialization. BlueSwell is a partnership between SeaAhead, Inc. and the New England Aquarium.

On March 2 from 5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., the presentations will be livestreamed from the New England Aquarium. In-person attendance is also possible. The keynote speaker will be designer Marquise Stillwell. The aim is to attract investors and customers as the startups prepare to launch. Here is the link to join the livestream:

Presenters will be:

  • Aristotle’s Lantern – Creating urchin ranching solutions to remove, fatten, and sell urchins to meet increasing demand for uni while simultaneously restoring critical kelp in California and New England.
  • Can I Recycle This? — A recycling technology platform giving retailers, brands, and consumers on-demand, location-specific information about how and where to recycle materials. Whether it is packaging or single-use items, this group will get materials where they belong.
  • Ithaca Clean Energy — A marine stakeholder engagement app facilitating communication and data exchange between offshore wind farms and fishing communities, reducing permitting delays, improving safety, and mitigating economic impact on fishing activities.
  • Mabel Systems— Providing accurate and automated data through camera-based inventory systems for seafood processors to make better and faster decisions to reduce product loss, while increasing transparency and traceability. The company aims to save users time by using their system and not manual pen, paper, and spreadsheets.
  • Oceanic Labs— Creating scalable instruments for aquaculture, coastal monitoring, and the growing blue-green economy. The group is a team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution focused on marine instrumentation.
  • Organicin Scientific — A responsive drug discovery platform capable of identifying antimicrobial proteins with killer efficacy while being gentle to the environment and microbiome. Their platform enables a more ethical, more efficient, and more cost-effective way to discover antibiotics for aquaculture and beyond.
  • USEFULL — Eliminating single-use food/beverage products through a tech-enabled circular economy solution, with proprietary technology and a custom-designed inventory of vacuum-insulated stainless steel to-go cups, bowls, and containers. The mission is to reduce waste and revolutionize consumption with an alternative to single-use products so corporations, colleges, and other communities can get to zero waste.

BlueSwell provides direct grants of $35,000 to each startup selected and does not take equity, which is made possible by sponsoring foundations, public sector organizations, companies, and individuals that prioritize venture-based innovation as a new source of solutions for the ocean. The incubator program includes a tailored 20-week program, mentorship from SeaAhead and the Aquarium’s ocean science, policy, and advising arm (the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life), an extended network of advisors, and coworking space for the length of the program at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square. Startups join with a product or an idea that has the potential to create positive impact for the ocean and leave with the knowledge and networks to run their businesses, bring their products to market, and raise funds.

“It’s inspiring to see these startups grow from an idea to a full-fledged company focused on advancing the blue economy,” said BlueSwell Program Manager Katherine Woolford. “We see a lot of promise in this group of ocean entrepreneurs.”

John Mandelman, Vice President and Chief Scientist at the New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, finds the BlueSwell model of collaboration between scientists and entrepreneurs important for finding viable solutions for the environment at large. “By bringing together creative thinkers and innovators along with scientific and financial advisors, the program is building next generation solutions that are necessary and increasingly finding receptive markets,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the program.”

BlueSwell’s Cohort I, which launched in 2020, was a great success, with founders creating business models, developing leadership skills, and building connections to begin commercialization. The first cohort has raised over $7.5 million in equity and grants despite the pandemic. Applications for Cohort III will open in Spring 2022.


Pam Bechtold Snyder –, 617-686-5068