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October 31, 2023

Maine business accelerator will launch for ‘blue economy’ startups using AI

person walking at night through knee-high water with buildings and streetlights Courtesy / Gulf of Maine Research Institute Climate change is among ocean-based applications leveraging artificial intelligence. In July 2022, the Portland Pier was inundated with water during a king tide event.

A 16-week accelerator program, said to be first-of-its-kind, is launching in Maine to help early-stage companies that use artificial intelligence in ocean-based applications. 

The accelerator, Blue w(AI)ve, is a partnership between Gulf of Maine Ventures and the Roux Institute at Northeastern University. The program will run from February through May next year, and seven companies will be selected for the initial cohort. 

The goal is to help companies by providing an AI consulting team valued at up to $25,000, access to industry experts and mentorship from venture capital investors, who can collectively help guide their businesses to investment readiness and scale.

“Artificial intelligence’s ability to analyze vast datasets, optimize resource management and predict environmental changes has the potential to lead us into a more resilient future,” said Chris Wolfel, Northeastern University associate vice president of entrepreneurship and venture creation.

Gulf of Maine Ventures is the entrepreneurship and innovation arm of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland.

The Roux Institute creates programs that prepare the workforce in a competitive landscape of emerging technology, including high-tech graduate and customized learning programs targeting fields like computer data science, bioengineering, data analytics and project management. 

Applicants must have an established startup that is in the ocean sector and leveraging AI in their solutions. Although Maine and New England are the focus of GMRI and Roux programs, applicants can come from anywhere, a GMRI spokesperson told Mainebiz.

Applications must be in by Nov. 13. For more information, click here.

Blue w(AI)ve is considered relevant for businesses in the following sectors.

  • Seafood: Solutions that enable the production, traceability and marketing of fish, kelp, shellfish and underutilized species.
  • Climate change: Technologies offering solutions in the areas of ocean-related carbon reduction, sequestration, adaptation and mitigation.
  • Ocean data: Hardware and software innovations that improve operations, forecasting and decision-making for ocean-based users.
  • Sustainable oceans: Solutions that monitor water quality, improve ecosystem health and protect coastal access and infrastructure.
  • Ocean energy and shipping: Software, data, monitoring, analysis and services related to the implementation of renewable energy sources in the region.
  • Other ocean products: Products and technologies sustainably derived from ocean resources with broader applications

To complement one-on-one sessions and AI consulting work, the curriculum will include weekly workshops on topics ranging from early-stage fundraising stack, climate data, and impact strategy and management.

“With top-tier experts-in-residence from Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Bold Ocean Ventures Fund and Roux’s AI consulting team on board, we’re positioning Maine as a leader in ocean-related artificial intelligence solutions,” said Blaine Grimes, GMRI's chief venture officer.

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