Seaworthy Collective charting new waters in BlueTech, from Miami to the seven seas

By Riley Kaminer

“I like to say that ClimateTech is an emerging market, and that BlueTech is an emerging market within that emerging market,” Daniel Kleinman, founder and CEO of Seaworthy Collective, a Miami-based nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs working on ocean & climate impact innovation.

The trends Kleinman describes are clearly born out in the data. PwC notes that global ClimateTech investment decreased 50% year-over-year, still clocking in at a respectable $638 billion in 2023. Equally, the fall in grant funding for the sector did not see quite as big of a dip. 

The story is different for BlueTech, with the latest data from CB Insights pinning the global value of bluetech at $7.1 billion – up from $4 billion in 2020.

Seaworthy has been riding the wave of this growth, having won three federal grants and launched a partnership with Salesforce in 2023 alone. “Last year was experimental,” said Kleinman. “It was a hard learning year, but also a leap forward.” For instance, Seaworthy ironed out a financial model that will lead to long-term sustainability in the form of a mix of grants, philanthropy, and corporate partnerships.

Apart from general community building and awareness efforts, Seaworthy’s core activity is to support BlueTech entrepreneurs through its programming. In 2023, Seaworthy created rolling cohorts, but this year they are returning to the structure of the previous two years: seasonal cohorts.

Daniel Kleinman, founder and CEO of Seaworthy Collective. The photo at the top of this post shows part of a recent Seaworthy Collective accelerator cohort.

Starting in spring, Seaworthy will launch its next cohorts, which include early-stage startups as well as venture studio-style startups that will be co-created alongside the Seaworthy team. In summer, Seaworthy will launch a fellowship program in collaboration with Miami Dade College. 

“Miami Dade College, which is a school without a oceanographic research institution,” Kleinman noted, expressing particular excitement about working with MDC as it will enable a broader swathe of the population to learn about and take part in the ocean ecosystem. 

It is Kleinman’s hope that student startups from the MDC program will then be able to take part in Seaworthy’s fall accelerator cohort. All in all, Seaworthy expects to support 14 startups this year – the most it has ever supported in one year.

Already, Seaworthy has some success stories to share. One notable local example is Kind Designs, which has developed a 3D printed living seawall – having raised $5 million to start deploying them.

Kleinman and team are far from resting on their laurels, however. Later this month, Seaworthy Collective will partner with Yachting Ventures in launching a blue startup pitch at the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show. Kleinman underscored how this pitch competition will bring together innovators in the marine leisure and ocean impact spaces – ”two worlds that are usually very separate.” The winning startup from the ocean impact track of the competition will be given a space in Seaworthy’s spring cohort.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg for Seaworthy in 2024. “We look forward to creating more partnerships and building up our community,” he said, including by hiring a Community Programs Coordinator.

“We’re really in a position of strength to start finding more partners that understand the value of what we’re doing for not only the global ocean ecosystem – but especially regionally, because we’re still waiting to see local investment materialize for this kind of work.”


Riley Kaminer