Climate Tech

The Ocean Impact Pitchfest is back and seeking startups to make the sea healthier

- August 9, 2022 2 MIN READ
Ocean Impact Accelerator program
Ocean Impact cofounder Tim Silverwood. Photo: Murray Fraser

Australian environmental startup accelerator and investor Ocean Impact Organisation  (OIO) is once again running its annual  Ocean Impact Pitchfest, to find, support and accelerate startups working on solutions to transform ocean health.

Startups have the chance to win a A$50,000 cash prize, with an additional $50,000 up for grabs for startups working on specific ocean challenge and opportunity areas.

Launched in 2020, the Ocean Impact Pitchfest has seen more than 400 startups from over 45 countries apply to the program

Last year’s winner was Sea Forest, a Tasmania-based startup cultivating asparagopsis seaweed used as a supplement in livestock feed that reduces methane emissions by up to 98%.

Cofounder and CEO Sam Elsom said it was a great honour for Sea Forest to win Pitchfest 2021.

“Our goal has always been to make rapid progress and meaningful impact on climate change through emissions reduction,” he said.

“We have a long way to go but the support provided to the company through Ocean Impact Organisation will assist in driving Sea Forest to scale its IP in science and engineering to deliver a sustainable seaweed aquaculture industry, regional employment and educational opportunities and positive environmental outcomes for Planet Ocean”.

2020’s runners-up include renewable energy venture Wave Swell Energy, which has successfully tested its “blowhole inspired” tech in Bass Strait off King Island; and Great Wrap, which is turning food waste into compostable stretch wrap. The company recently raised $11 million in a Series A for its new manufacturing facility in Melbourne.

OIO cofounder and CEO Nick Chiarelli said they were pleased to host another Ocean Impact Pitchfest 2022, thanks to support from HP Australia and 50+ partners, including the NSW Dept of Planning and Environment.

“Since launching the project in 2020 we’ve seen incredible growth in the global ocean impact innovation ecosystem and us as an organisation,” he said.

“We’re constantly inspired by the amazing startups out there taking matters into their own hands to solve some of Planet Ocean’s great challenges. We can’t wait to see what this year’s Pitchfest unveils.”

This year’s Pitchfest also features the $10,000 Spotlight Awards, covering five categories plastic pollution solution, ocean monitoring solution, sustainable ocean harvesting solution, and ocean climate solution, plus the inaugural NSW Ocean Innovation Award.

Ocean impact showcase

On top of Pitchfest, the winner, runners up and Spotlight Award recipients will be announced live at “INNOVOCEAN”, OIO’s new flagship event to showcase innovative new technologies improving ocean health.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is backing INNOVOCEAN at Sydney’s Australian National Maritime Museum on November 24.  A range of ocean impact startups will showcase their solutions alongside live pitches from startups in the current Ocean Impact Accelerator Program 2022.

Six startups from Australia, Asia and the USA are currently in the 7-month program and pitch for investment to build their innovative enterprises.

The inaugural event, which is funded by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, includes a dedicated Pitchfest prize for a startup working on ocean health solutions in NSW.

Applications for the Ocean Impact Pitchfest 2022 are open now until September 20.

Apply at: ocean-impact.org/pitchfest2022