The Ocean Impact Organisation (OIO) has announced the six startups that will participate in their inaugural accelerator program. 

It was released on World Oceans Day, where the 2022 theme is ‘Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean’, which is well aligned with the core of the OIO mission. 

OIO is Australia’s first angel investment fund dedicated to ocean health. It successfully raised $1 million from investors, and with the announcement of the first cohort, they will invest $100,000 in each of the businesses. 

“​​Everything we’ve been doing to date is to bring us up to the level where we can attract high quality startups to actually take on board investment and, and become part of our really important portfolio.” Tim Silverwood says. 

“So it felt so great to get 91 applications, then shortlist those down and take them to our investor community, and then to finally end up with these six, just stellar startups from five countries, it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”

The Final List

Mayani, Manila, Philippines: Mayani is an agri-fisheries platform building a sustainable pathway to market for the Philippines’ 10 million smallholder farmers and fishers. 

Nuvoe, Sydney, Australia: Nuvoe is building water bottles with inbuilt UV water filters, to reduce the need for disposable plastic bottles.

RiverRecycle, Helsinki, Finland: RiverRecycle aims to stop ocean plastic pollution by creating value from otherwise ‘low-value’ plastic waste. 

Saathi, Ahmedabad, India: Saathi manufactures 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads from banana and bamboo fibres.

Skyology, Oregon, USA: Skyology rebuilds coral reefs with captured air pollution. Theye use proprietary georeactor technology to convert mining waste and atmospheric CO2 into a mild and safe form of ocean alkalinity

Uuvipak, Brisbane, Australia: Uuvipak upcycles clean organic food waste into single-use plastic alternatives, such as takeaway containers, cups, and cutlery. 

Partnering with the Experts

The program has been built in partnership with EnergyLab, an outfit that has long experience helping clean-tech and other high-impact startups get off the ground. 

“We’ve got a great relationship with Energy Lab. And it’s our first programme, so we’ve actually partnered with them to co-deliver the programme. And we’ve also worked with Impact Ventures, which is their investment vehicle, to raise the funds to invest in the startup.” Tim says,

“So far, it’s been fantastic. All the startups are really thoroughly enjoying the modules to date, lots of work on impact, and then the next one is going to be on branding and storytelling. On the whole it will run over seven months.”

Angel Investors

The team raised $1 million from 16 investors, from individuals who are committed to ocean health, and who recognise the skill and integrity of the OIO team. 

“We’re calling it an angel investment fund. The investors themselves are a bit of a mixture, but the key thing that is central to all is this passion for impact, and particularly in the ocean space. So a lot of those that have come on board have been following our journey for quite some time.’ Tim says.

“We want to keep building that community, because that’s what’s going to help us shift as much capital as possible into this ecosystem, into this broader space.”

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Game-Changing Startups

Tim and the team managed the very difficult task a analysing 91 applications, from all over the world, that offer some drastically divergent solutions to ocean recovery. 

They were able to find a balance of projects from around the world, between those in the water and on the land, as well as those leveraging technology, while others had more of a social focus.

“We have outfits like Skyology, from Oregon in the USA, that are essentially looking to take mining waste, and combine it with atmospheric carbon pollution, to increase the alkalinity of the oceans, and therefore enhance ecosystems like coral reefs.” Tim says. 

“I’d heard about geotechnical engineering, I knew ocean acidification was a problem. But I didn’t expect you could use mining waste and atmospheric carbon to make a transformative impact on ocean health!”

They also managed to include two startups from Australia.

“Our goal is to try and facilitate as many startups from Australia as possible to run through programmes like this. But we’ve got the guys from Uuvipak, using food waste, basically pulp from the juice industry, to create these edible and compostable packaging solutions and food service wear.” Tim says.

“As well as the guys from Nuvoe with their UVC pods to eliminate the need for plastic water bottles. It’s just been really quite remarkable.”

All Rivers Lead to the Ocean

Impact investors have made staggering progress in tackling carbon emissions and climate change in the past decade, but now, with a mammoth investment industry driving forward that opportunity, its time to recognise the many other areas that need attention, and capital. 

Ocean health is a huge opportunity, where the potential for both impact, and returns, is bringing investment capital, and high calibre startups like those on the OIO roster. 

“That’s the message and the mantra, the ocean is downhill from everywhere. And so we need to be looking at humans, as well as looking at the terrestrial environment, in order to help create a transformative, positive impact on the ocean.” Tim says. 

“So it’s just, it’s about people at the end of the day, it’s about what we do on land and how we can really change our lens to put the ocean at the centre, because at the end of the day, without a healthy ocean, there is no healthy us.”

The program will run for 7 months, culminating in a final presentation at OIO’s first annual Ocean Impact Innovation Showcase event to be held in Sydney on 24 November this year.

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