1.24.2023 - 1.26.2023

Blue Innovation Symposium 2023

Highlights from the 2023 symposium included remarks from Frank Wright of BOEM, Molly Magee of the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium (UTIC), Jim Bellingham of Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy, and Captain Michael Brasseur, Commodore Task Force 59. Over the course of the three day event, we had more than 54 speakers, 30 sponsors, and 320 attendees. We heard about new, innovative technologies, from 16 FlashTalk presenters.  Greensea Systams, Center for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE), and Millicent Pitts of Ocean Exchange were presented with Rising Tide awards. And the Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN) presented its inaugural Steve Withrow award to Cheryl Zimmerman, founder of Farsounder, Inc.

The Blue Innovation Symposium is organized by the Blue Venture ForumMarine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN), and the Consulate General of Canada in Boston.


Blue Venture Investment Summit

Join the Blue Venture Forum as we launch the first annual Blue Venture Investment Summit from 8:00AM-12:00PM, on January 24th, 2023 at Roger Williams University. The oceans are pivotal to sectors such as climate change, food security, national defense, and more. But, until recently, the only path to funding for startups that were seeking to address the major challenges in these areas, was to bootstrap or look to the government for funding, particularly through the SBIR program here in the US. Many of these startups were spun out of the research developed at key institutions like the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), the University of Rhode Island (URI), and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Today, institutional investors, including Venture Capital and Angel firms, along with philanthropic organizations and corporates, are now making strategic investments in blue technology firms. This is fueling the development of next generation innovations to address the major challenges in ocean exploration, aquaculture, traditional fisheries, defense, undersea communications, climate monitoring, and more. During this program, we will hear directly from investors about why they’re investing in blue technology firms, discuss the companies and technologies they’re investing in, learn what it takes to secure an investment from one of these investors, and hear what they see as emerging opportunities in the sector.


Piranha Pond Blue

What is the Piranha Pond?  It is a “pitch party” where a select group of entrepreneurs has up to 5 minutes to convince a panel of investors to meet with them to further discuss their ventures. Using a format similar to the popular television show Shark Tank, our investors provide feedback to the entrepreneurs about their presentations and companies, and information to all about why they decide to be “In” or “Out.” If they are “In” they will meet with the Entrepreneur at a later time to discuss their company. If they are “Out” there is no interest at this time. Again, the investor lets us know why s/he will not move forward with the presenter. 

For this event, we seek companies beyond the idea stage who are developing a “blue” technology product or service. The ideal company will have raised funds from friends, family, and/or grants such as SBIR’s. If the company’s product is a software or SAAS product, it should be in beta testing or later.  

A selection committee will choose the top 8 applicants to present. The successful applicants will be deemed to have companies most likely to interest the investment panel.

This Piranha Pond is being co-organized by the Blue Venture Forum, Innovate Newport, SoCoEco, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce.

10.4.2022 - 10.5.2022

World Ocean Tech and Innovation Summit

There are many reasons to believe the ocean is the next economic frontier. Innovation and investment are two sides of the coin that is galvanising economic activity in the ocean. To help meet the growing global demand for more energy, greater efficiency, resilient supply chains, and other expanded commercial opportunities, the future of the blue economy is crucial. Along with the risks come new opportunities to reimagine what modernisation and growth looks like for our oceans.

Economist Impact’s World Ocean Tech and Innovation Summit, hosted by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster in collaboration with the Province of Nova Scotia and the Halifax Partnership, will convene innovators, business leaders, thought leaders and investors to learn about and engage with the latest “blue economy” innovators and technologies, and identify solutions that will form the roadmap to a sustainable, thriving ocean economy.

Taking place in Halifax, Canada, the two-day programme will showcase local innovations that have the potential to be scaled globally, and welcome international business leaders, investors and scientists to share learnings and unleash new opportunities for cross-border partnership and investment.


Blue Tech Investment, a Roundtable Discussion

Join the Blue Venture Forum at 10:00AM on October 3, at Innovate Newport, for a panel discussion on the state of investment in blue technology.

Southern New England has long been the epicenter for marine technology startups. Many of these startups have spun out of the research being developed at key institutions like the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), the University of Rhode Island (URI), and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Until recently, the only path to funding for most of these startups was bootstrapping or government funding, particularly through the SBIR program. However, today, institutional investors, including Venture Capital and Angels, along with corporates are now making strategic investments which are fueling the development of innovations to address the major challenges in ocean exploration, aquaculture, traditional fisheries, defense, undersea communications, climate monitoring, and more.

During this discussion, we will hear directly from investors about why they’re investing in blue technology firms, discuss the companies and technologies they’re investing in, learn what it takes to secure an investment from one of these investors, and hear what they see as emerging opportunities in the sector.

This event is being held in partnership with Innovate Newport as part of RI Startup Week.


– Thorne Sparkman, Managing Director, Slater Technology Fund, Inc.,
– Neil Hamel, Head of US Ventures and Open Innovation, Orsted,
– David Ford, Investor, Blue Angels,
– Adam de Sola Pool, Investor,
– Jeffrey Smith, Vice President and General Manager, Unmanned Undersea Systems, SAAB, Inc.,


Growing a Blue Technology Startup

Join us for the Blue Venture Forum’s “Growing a Blue Technology Startup” panel discussion where we’ll hear from four founders who are building blue technology companies right here in the region.

These startups are brining innovative solutions to market, which address critical needs in climate monitoring, ocean exploration, and defense, and have collectively raised over $8 million in investment. 

The need to better understand our oceans, so that we can more effectively manage, protect, and use ocean resources is driving a new wave of BlueTech startups.  These startups are developing innovative new products, methodologies, and systems for commercial, governmental, and defense customers.

During this panel discussion, co-founders and representatives of promising blue technology startups will discuss their experience raising an investment and working with investors, bringing a product to market, identifying customers, working with strategic partners, and more.


· Ian Estaphan Owen, Co-Founder & CEO, Jaia Robotics, Inc.

· Ray Schmitt, Co-Founder & President, Salient Predictions,

· Rusty Warren, Co-Founder & CEO, Armada Marine Robotics,

· Alessandra Bianchi, Communications Director, SeaTrac,

Panel Moderator: Toby Stapleton, Director, Blue Venture Forum,

The Ocean Technology Council of Nova Scotia in partnership with the Government of Canada, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship is pleased to present the H2O: Home to Overseas Conference on Monday, June 13 to Thursday, June 16, 2022 at the Halifax Convention Centre.


The Future of Ocean Sensors

The Future of Ocean Sensors, Opportunities, Obstacles, and Innovations.  Virtual and face-to-face at Innovate Newport. 

June 7th, 3:30-5:00PM. Reception to follow.

Join the Blue Venture Forum for a panel discussion about leading edge innovations, challenges, and opportunities in oceanographic sensor development. During this year’s Blue Innovation Symposium we had a lively discussion about the future of sensing and this panel will expand on that topic. Panelists include Mike Wardlaw, Office of Naval Research (ONR), and Vic Ricci, Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

Blue Innovation Symposium


Blue Innovation Symposium

The Blue Innovation Symposium is the premier event in New England for connecting the marine technology industry for education, networking and facilitating partnering opportunities. The conference brings together a broad spectrum of representatives of the marine technology industry from the US and beyond.  Each year, the program has welcomed more than 270 attendees and nearly 40 sponsors for the three-day event, which included keynote addresses, panel discussions and a unique series of five-minute flash talks.  


Climate Change, Weather Modeling, and Ocean Observation

Join The Blue Venture Forum, virtually, from 5:00-6:30PM (Eastern), on November 17th, as we discuss “Climate Change, Weather Modeling, and Ocean Observation: Implications for Blue Technology”.

Learn what technologies are needed to help us better understand how the oceans impact and are impacted by climate change, develop accurate weather models for forecasting, and enhance and improve our ocean observation capabilities. 

We’ll hear from the companies, who are at the forefront of developing the technologies to address these areas, to get an understanding of what opportunities they’re pursuing, how they’ve raised funding to-date, and how they plan to scale their businesses.

Dive Technologies Vehicle


Blue Venture Forum Launch

Join The Blue Innovation Symposium, virtually, from 5:00-6:30PM (Eastern), on October 27th, as we launch the Blue Venture Forum and hold our inaugural event, Venture Capital and Blue Technology, a case study featuring Dive Technologies.

Over the last 6 years, driven by the need to better understand our oceans, there has been an increase in the number of blue technology startups, successful blue technology “exits”, and investors who are now considering “blue” investments. The Blue Venture Forum will serve as a platform to connect this ecosystem through targeted programming, matchmaking, and partnering opportunities. The BVF wants to particularly thank the van Beuren Charitable Foundation (vBCF), the Greater Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, DTN Ventures, and the City of Newport for their support.

Until recently, Blue Tech startups typically grew through bootstrapping and non-dilutive funding, such as SBIRs, and it was almost unheard of to have an outside investor involved. Today, however, the industry is witnessing a wave of interest and investment activity from individual , Angel, and institutional investors, such as Venture Capital (VC) and Private Equity. Founders need help to better understand the nuances of when and how to work with an equity investor and investors need a better understanding of the scope and scale of this sector. Learn how, and why, Dive Technologies pursued Venture Capital Funding and successfully secured more than $7 million in funding.