BVIS Portland Agenda Sneak Peek

8:40 a.m. Blue Technology Investing Today
Moderator: Hope Hopkins, MITRE Corporation

Hope Hopkins is a leading advocate for growing entrepreneurial and innovative communities globally. She is currently the Development & Outreach Lead for L156 – Underwater and Acoustic Systems at Mitre. Prior to joining Mitre, Hope led the Acceleration Programs for all US-based MassChallenge programs including the Early Stage Program and Industry specific Challenge programs, HealthTech and FinTech. She was also a VP at the RI Commerce Corporation, a quasi-public agency where she worked under the Raimondo administration to advance companies in their growth, expansion, and relocation to the state. Hope has a consumer insights background having spent her early days as a Strategic Planner in Manhattan at BBDO assisting companies develop and refine product lines, rejuvenate brands via a redefined messaging platform and execution. Following her time in advertising, Hope furthered her human-centered design competency working as a Research and Product Strategist for a Medical Device Development Firm.  

Justin Manley, CEO and Founder, Just Innovation, Senior Advisor, Oceankind

Justin Manley is a technologist and executive with experience in startup, public corporation, academic, and public sectors. After professional roles at MIT, supporting NOAA and in the private sector he founded Just Innovation Inc. in 2015 to support diverse clients with a focus on robotics and oceantech. His primary work is as a Senior Advisor to Oceankind (an ocean tech/conservation philanthropy) and Venture Partner with AiiM Partners (an ocean/climate impact fund). He is also an advisor to numerous oceantech startups. Mr. Manley has demonstrated accomplishments in numerous professional organizations and is currently the President of the Marine Technology Society. He is a member of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Advisory Board and Co-Chairs the Technology & Innovation Working Group for the UN Ocean Decade.

Jake Reznick, Senior Associate at S2G Ventures, Oceans and Seafood

He is focused on evaluating new investments and serving the needs of portfolio companies.

Before joining S2G Ventures, Jake led commercial strategy and innovation projects for Fortune 500 clients as a management consultant at Fahrenheit 212 (now Frog). Prior to Fahrenheit, Jake advised sustainable infrastructure and technology clients on a variety of M&A transactions as a banker at Greentech Capital Advisors.

Jake is a Fulbright Scholar, holds an MBA and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale and a BA in Environmental Studies from Carleton College where he received the Casper Award for academic excellence. In his free time you can find Jake on his road bike, losing golf balls, or cooking with family and friends

10:30 a.m. Raising an Investment Round in Today’s Environment
Moderator: Luke Holden, Founder and CEO, Luke’s Lobsters
These panelists have successfully raised funding for their blue economy companies. They will share their experiences, and insights, in identifying investors, negotiating terms, and raising investment.
Sara Rademaker, President and Founder, American Unagi

Sara has built a nearly 20 year career in aquaculture. She earned a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Auburn University and after graduating immediately dove in with Auburn’s US AID aquaculture development in Uganda.

For the last decade, aquaculture development has been a focal point of her career. She has been working either in the US or Africa with aquaculture production, R&D, or education with species ranging from microalgae to tilapia. She’s run large scale production facilities to microaquaculture businesses operated by students. First connecting to Maine as an Americorps volunteer, Sara is now deeply entrenched in Maine’s aquaculture and fishing communities.

Beginning in 2014, Sara pursued eel aquaculture and founded American Unagi, deploying her aquaculture experience to growing a new US business and producing high quality fish for the US consumer.

Mitch Lench, CEO and founder, Ocean’s Balance

He has been working on solving problems using market-based solutions before the term impact was popularized. He held senior level positions at large institutions including Fitch Ratings, Credit Suisse, and Bank of America.

He also founded Treetops Capital, which was one of the early impact investment management firms that was awarded one of the top 50 global managers by ImpactAssets for 4 years straight.

Ocean’s Balance is a Maine based vertically integrated seaweed business that is scaling up regenerative seaweed farming and advanced processing to create high-value functional ingredients for people and pets as well as delicious consumer food products.

Erik Heim, Partner, Xcelerate Aqua LLC

Heim is one of the early pioneers in the international land-based finfish segment. He founded and developed the first salmon land-based facility in Norway, in its time the largest in the world. He led investment and was chairman of the first commercial-scale land-based Yellowtail Kingfish land-based facility internationally in Denmark, also in its time the largest in the world. From 2018, he led development and permitting of two major land-based salmon projects in the US.

In 2022, he founded the development company Xcelerate Aqua with Marianne Naess in Maine. Xcelerate is dedicated to smart and sustainable aquaculture development in the US. Xcelerate has spun out two new growth companies that have gone through development and financing in the past year. One is Katahdin Salmon where Heim is Chairman. He is a board member and CEO in second company that has not been announced in media. That has two Walton funds and a tribal nation invested, and collaboration with a wide range of US institutions.

Chip Terry, founder and CEO of Blue Trace

Chip is a product, marketing and technology leader with a track record of turning great ideas into reality. He has helped companies small and large navigate a world being changed by new technologies – both in the US and internationally. His curiosity and a willingness to embrace new challenges has led him on a career trajectory from a PhD in History to management of some of the most sophisticated social media and big data solutions in the world. 

BlueTrace is a Shellfish Traceability System. Their Tide to Table system is made for growers, harvesters and dealers to stay compliant with regulations while efficiently growing their businesses.