Catching up with Seaworthy Collective as it sets sail with venture studio

It’s full steam ahead for the crew of Miami-based blue tech startup community and venture studio Seaworthy Collective. Refresh Miami caught up with founder and CEO Daniel Kleinman to hear what the social enterprise has been up to since we talked last Spring.

Venture studio cohort one begins

Seaworthy launched the first cohort of its venture studio in July. After wading through more than a hundred applications, Seaworthy settled on 10 startups. Eight of these are what Seaworthy calls ‘crowdsourced,’ meaning that the companies were already in existence before the venture studio. Most of these startups are at a very early stage and are still working on developing a proof of concept. Two startups were co-created by Kleinman and team.

Taking advantage of the digital-first world brought on by the pandemic, the cohort is international. Companies hail from Panama, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, and the UK – as well as Miami and the rest of the US. “Our cohort is both representative of Miami’s reach and the diversity of geographies of people that are pushing for the future of blue tech,” Kleinman told Refresh Miami.

He continued: “The solutions that these founders are working on are really getting to the core of the problem, not just mitigating it.”

Which startups are taking part in Seaworthy’s first cohort?

SeaGreen Regeneration is one of Seaworthy’s two co-created startups. The company’s goal is to develop, productize, and scale a solution that leverages marine vegetation to capture and store carbon. “Seaweed is 20 times more efficient at sequestering carbon dioxide than trees,”  Kleinman explained. “It’s actually one of nature’s greatest tools for fighting climate change.”

Kabir Parker, co-founder of SeaGreen Regeneration, introduces his company at the Inaugural Cohort Launch Party July 28.

The other co-created startup, Clean Coast Innovations, aims to integrate modular sensor packages into existing platforms for tracking ESG metrics. “From red tide to climate change, generating this data can quantify impact and help create proactive detection systems for regenerative solutions like seaweed,” said Kleinman. 

Jamaica-based Kee Farms, one of the crowdsourced companies, aims to use seaweed and oyster biomass to capture CO2 from the atmosphere. Similarly, Thalasso, a Norwegian-Mexican startup, is working to harvest invasive seaweed called sargassum using autonomous drones. Thalasso’s network of micro-biorefineries can then process the seaweed into products like bioplastics and livestock feed that reduces carbon emissions.

Crowdsourced local startup The Addition Company will 3D print seawalls to combat rising sea levels. Sensors embedded into the seawalls will track water quality data. And PanaSea plans to harvest sea cucumbers to address the $14 billion Chinese market, where these marine animals are a status food. That makes a strong economic argument for reef regeneration, considering that sea cucumbers are the third most valuable seafood in the world.

Take a look at all of the companies participating in Seaworthy Collective’s first venture studio cohort here.

Early venture studio successes

Mere weeks after launching the venture studio, Kleinman has already reported some early successes. For instance, Sipremo, one of the crowdsourced startups, has inked a deal with Miami-based paddleboard rental startup PADL, which has sensors on board that track data like water quality, temperature, and salinity. Sipremo will leverage this data to better understand our coastal environment and help South Florida improve its resilience against natural disasters.

Kleinman said that the startups’ growth has been measurable. “Some of the startups have already been through incubators and accelerators, so we’re not throwing a whole bunch of programming at them,” he explained, underscoring Seaworthy’s “very individualized” approach. 

“You get out what you put in,” said Kleinman. “People are already seeing a return,” he asserted, noting that he has already been able to set up meetings with investors for a few of the venture studio companies. “We’re really embodying the Miami tech ‘how can I help?’ mentality.”

Validating and refining their mission

“The venture studio is our MVP [minimum viable product],” Kleinman explained. Seaworthy’s overarching goal is to enable innovation for regenerative ocean impact, and they claim to be the first ocean impact focused startup community and venture studio in the US. 

But trailblazing has its drawbacks. Kleinman signaled that this startup-led, private sector approach to regenerative ocean impact can be an uphill battle at times. For instance, he highlighted the widespread idea in academia that you need a PhD in marine science to be in this space. “Cross-disciplinary teams are great because having a diversity of perspectives lets you approach a problem differently,” he said.

Looking forward to partnerships, funding, and expansion

Kleinman said that Seaworthy hopes to partner with accelerators and investors to maximize their impact. “We’re already seeing a lot of opportunities to connect Miami with the global ocean ecosystem,” he said. Their goal is to find a partner for the fall, ahead of a provisionally planned venture studio cohort two starting early next year. 

But Kleinman expects this to be merely the beginning. His goal is to grow and develop over 3,000 co-created and crowdsourced regenerative ocean impact ventures by the end of 2030.

To learn more about Seaworthy Collective’s mission and to get involved, head over to their website. They are also hosting a handful of events in September, all of which are free and open to the public.

Photo at top of post: Daniel Kleinman presents Seaworthy Collective in the Wyncubator Pitch Competition May 26. Photos provided by Seaworthy Collective.

Read more on Refresh Miami:

Don’t miss any  South Florida tech and startup news. Sign up for Refresh Miami’s free weekly newsletter here.

Riley Kaminer