SeaAhead and New England Aquarium announce launch of BlueSwell Incubator Program

Applications now open for innovators looking to bring ocean sustainability solutions out of the lab

SeaAhead, Inc. and the New England Aquarium have announced the launch of the BlueSwell Incubator Program (BlueSwell), New England’s first dedicated, comprehensive early-stage bluetech incubator. BlueSwell is designed to support the creation and growth of startups with solutions that have the potential for significant impact on ocean sustainability and global resilience.

BlueSwell will catalyze new business creation by providing a direct (non-dilutive) grant of $35,000 to founders with a new ocean-related technology or business model innovation. Areas of particular opportunity for entrepreneurs include offshore renewable energy, sustainable seafood, maritime decarbonization, marine pollution, and resilient waterfronts. The program builds on New England’s diverse and unique ocean-related capabilities to provide a support infrastructure for new businesses, including direct access to leaders and experts from industry, academia, government, and ocean conservation. The BlueSwell program includes a tailored 20-week curriculum, mentorship from SeaAhead and the Aquarium’s research arm, the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, an extended network of advisors, and coworking for the length of the program.

The BlueSwell Program will be located at the SeaAhead Bluetech Innovation Hub at CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) Boston. The Bluetech Innovation Hub opened in 2019 as the first ocean-focused coworking space in Boston, with the goal of connecting the venture ecosystem in Boston’s urban core with relevant industry and ocean-related research institutions throughout New England. CIC has a strong track record of helping to grow new economic clusters in Greater Boston and recognized early the potential this sector has to drive economic growth in the region.

The New England Aquarium’s 50-year history as a regional leader in global ocean conservation reflects its mission to be a catalyst for global change through public engagement, innovative scientific research, and advocacy. “Human use of our ocean is vital to global health and the economy, including food and energy security, commerce, and the climate crisis,” said Dr. John Mandelman, Vice President and Chief Scientist at the New England Aquarium. “At the same time, this must be done responsibly and collaboratively, and an influx of new methods and technologies are helping to pave the way. The Northeast region contains both a thriving innovation landscape and robust set of ocean experts and assets, and through this program, we aim to combine these elements to foster sustainable, balanced, and equitable use of the ocean.”

SeaAhead’s Executive Director, Alissa Peterson, added, “Emerging businesses require a community to invest in their success—including mentorship, seed capital, and access to government, university, and corporate resources. Through BlueSwell we will support a diverse group of new bluetech founders as they bring their technologies out of the lab. The program will provide a critical bridge for new venture ideation tied to ocean sustainability, building the skills and knowledge base required for founders to raise commercial capital to support their growing startups.”

The BlueSwell program is free to the selected entrepreneurs, which is made possible by sponsoring foundations, companies and individuals that prioritize the ocean as a source of solutions, including Giant Shoulders and Goodwin Proctor.

Applications opened for the program on June 18, 2020 and will close on August 9, 2020. A webinar will be held on Friday, June 26 at 10 a.m. ET to review the program and applications. Please see the website for more information.

BlueSwell Banner.png

About SeaAhead:

SeaAhead is a benefit corporation, founded in Boston, with the mission of supporting venture innovation for the ocean. We are creating a bluetech startup platform, helping to build companies through our BlueSwell incubator, facilitating investments through the Blue Angels and catalyzing a bluetech cluster in the Northeast. Our ecosystem includes technologists, scientists, startups, foundations, corporations, governments and other ocean stakeholders that are coming together to create impact in areas including greener shipping and ports, aquaculture and fishery processes, offshore alternative energy and resilient waterfronts. SeaAhead’s bluetech mandate also includes scalable solutions to marine debris and ocean-centric approaches to the challenges of climate change. More information at or on Twitter @SeaAhead. Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with the latest in bluetech.

About New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is a global leader in marine science and conservation. With more than 1.3 million visitors a year, the Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston and a major public education resource for the region. Building on the Aquarium’s 50-year legacy of protecting the blue planet and advocating for vital and vibrant oceans, the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, established in 2016, leads the way in cutting-edge applied marine research and data-driven conservation, offering practical solutions to mitigate human impacts on our ocean.

About Cambridge Innovation Center

CIC is a global leader in building and operating innovation communities. Founded in 1999 in Cambridge, MA, CIC is one of the first companies worldwide to create a workplace community for innovators and entrepreneurs. CIC’s mission is to find solutions that fix the world’s problems. As of 2020, CIC has approximately 1.2M square feet (110K m2) open and in development in nine cities. The company has supported over 6,500 startup and technology companies, and over $8 billion has been invested in companies that began within CIC spaces. The company has co-founded a number of mission-aligned organizations including Venture CaféDistrict HallImpact Hub BostonLabCentral, and MassRobotics. Over the next ten years, CIC plans to grow its network of innovation hubs to create positive impact in 50 leading cities around the world.


Alissa Peterson, Executive Director of SeaAhead –

Pam Bechtold Snyder, Director of Communications & PR, New England Aquarium –

The News Press Releases The Work Boston Cambridge North America