A healthcare provider for mariners, a maker of electric outboard motors and a shipping logistics startup. These are just a few members of the cohort of startups chosen for WeWork’s Washington state maritime accelerator program.
First announced in October, the program aims to establish the region as a hub of innovation for maritime technology while also making the industry more environmentally friendly. WeWork is teaming up with the Port of Seattle and Washington Department of Commerce’s Maritime Blue initiative to make the program happen.
Here’s a look at the 11 startups chosen for the accelerator.
- Beam Reach: Offers a 10-week marine biology program for recent graduates and undergraduate students to conduct research on killer whales in the Pacific Northwest.
- Discovery Health: A group of emergency physicians providing a suite of remote healthcare services for vessel operators and their workers.
- EcoSpears: Maker of technology to extract contaminants from soil, sediments and ground water.
- eOceans: A platform for anyone — from scientists to everyday travelers — to provider data and insights on ocean health.
- Equll: Similar to Seattle unicorn Convoy, this startup is tackling the trucking industry. It makes a mobile app and online platform to connect owner-operators with shippers.
- Net Your Problem: Works with fishermen and recyclers to recycle fishing nets and turn them into new plastic products.
- OneTank: Maker of a simple, low-cost ballast water treatment system.
- OneForNeptune: Founded by a former marine scientist, the startup makes a line of white fish jerky sourced from West Coast fisheries.
- Pure Watercraft: Manufacturer of a zero-emission, electric outboard motor for boats.
- SPBES: A 10-year-old company focused on reducing reliance on fossil fuels in marine shipping through a battery-powered energy storage system.
- MER Equipment: To reduce fuel consumption and nitrogen oxide particulates, the startup is making an exhaust gas after treatment system that is a lighter, smaller and less expensive alternative to diesel systems.
The program kicks off on Jan. 21 with a launch event at Pier 69. It concludes in April with a demo day, where the startups will pitch their ideas to investors and government officials. The accelerator is funded by the Port of Seattle, with a grant from the Department of Commerce, and run through WeWork Labs, the company’s startup incubator.
The startups will work out of WeWork Labs’ Seattle location and get access to mentors and advisers. WeWork will facilitate seminars and workshops to help the startups navigate challenges and obstacles.
WeWork said the maritime industry in Washington state employs 146,000 people with an economic value of $30 billion. However, a lack of capital both in the Pacific Northwest and worldwide restricts innovation.
While there are a few maritime accelerator programs out there, WeWork says this one is the first in Washington state. Accelerators are a common vessel for connecting investors and entrepreneurs in the tech industry but somewhat rare in other areas.
The project comes at a turbulent time for WeWork that has led to the departure of its founder and large-scale layoffs. It’s also been an interesting few months for the company in Seattle, one of its top U.S. markets.
In a 10-day period in October, WeWork canceled a huge WeLive office and opened a new co-working space in the city’s Belltown neighborhood. Earlier this week, WeWork opened a new location in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, its 21st open or announced office in the region.