$2.5m Australian accelerator program looks to attract new wave of ocean health startups

$2.5m Australian accelerator program looks to attract new wave of ocean health startups

Hoping to turn the tide on the deteriorating health of the Earth’s oceans, Australian non-profit Ocean Impact Organisation (OIO) has today launched a $2.5 million ocean impact accelerator program and venture capital (VC) fund.

Providing a range of startup programs, mentoring, and support, OIO will invest in innovative new businesses that positively impact the ocean.

OIO, whose purpose is to transform ocean health through innovation, will partner with climate-tech startup accelerator EnergyLab to co-deliver the program alongside Impact Ventures to support the raise of a $2.5 million early-stage ocean health venture fund.

“It’s high time we realised the enormous potential of the ocean as a source of solutions for a sustainable future,” co-founder and CEO of OIO Nick Chiarelli said.

“Whether it’s abundant energy from waves and tides; zero emissions transportation; seaweed solutions to sequester carbon or the treasure trove of opportunities to feed nine billion through ocean harvesting - the potential is endless.

“Australia can and should be a leader in scaling ocean solutions and that’s exactly what OIO is here to help make happen.”

Since forming in August 2020, the Sydney-based charity has attracted applications to its range of programs aimed at showcasing the best ocean impact businesses globally, from startups to entrepreneurs in 45 countries.

Targeting a goal of accelerating 100 ‘ocean impact’ startups in the next five years, OIO has brought in new investment capital from Australian-based Impact Ventures, an independent investor of early-stage, high-growth companies focused on building capacity for a sustainable, net-zero economy.

“Impact Ventures is excited to be launching this relationship with OIO to help support founders to access the capital they need to grow,” director of Impact Ventures Piers Grove said.

“We look forward to working with the participating founders and showing investors how exciting and impactful this emerging landscape can be.”

The expansion into ocean tech represents a synergistic expansion for EnergyLab, one of Australia’s largest climate and clean tech startup accelerators, which has supported more than 130 businesses helping to address climate change.  

“The link between the climate and the ocean is incredibly clear yet devastatingly under emphasised,” CEO of EnergyLab Megan Fisher said.

“EnergyLab is thrilled to be working with OIO to ensure the best ocean impact startups have the support they need to rapidly scale and tackle the enormous challenges we face.”

Applications for the ocean impact accelerator program close on 10 March with the program commencing on 26 April. Businesses will receive a $100,000 investment and an introduction to a community of active ocean impact investors.

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