The early-state ocean companies, whose businesses range from rescuing endangered marine life to advancements in underwater communications, will receive $25,000 in non-dilutive funding and access to mentoring, workspaces, workshops and experts through the incubator.
Overseen by the provincial innovation and venture capital agency Innovacorp, Start-Up Yard is an incubation facility and accelerator that provides resources to companies in energy, marine and fisheries industries. The program will run for six to nine months, hosting workshops and bootcamps on customer discovery, intellectual property and product development.
The companies in the cohort are:
Having previously received funding through Dalhousie’s Launch Oceans and Launch Dal’s Collide programs, Aaron Stevenson, Maxwell Poole and Ross Arsenault have created a solution that can not only help fishermen, but also help prevent death of an endangered species. By equipping crab and lobster traps with geo-tracking and underwater buoys to collect data, fishermen can locate lost or stolen traps and eliminates entanglement of right whales. “When you look at what we have for resources, it’s no contest,” said Stevenson. “Our oceans and our harbour – that’s something we can’t take for granted. It’s something we have an advantage of over anywhere else in the world.”
Specializing in underwater communications, Colin Ross and Tejinder Sandhu are looking to improve signal transmissions between Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, which tend to be sporadic and unreliable since they’re often operating in harsh environments. “Being able to connect and communicate between submerged assets is going to be a critical component for the expansion of effective AUV operations,” said Ross.
Louis Beaubien, Grant Wells and Mike Smit are developing a technology solution to improve supply chain efficiency in the ocean sector. With organizations drowning in mass amounts of data, the goal is to help them tap into the value that data holds, which organizations may find difficult to retrieve. “We would like to have something in place in terms of a prototype by the time we finish with our engagement with COVE and the Start-Up Yard,” said Beaubien.
St. Francis Xavier University alumni Sheamus MacDonald and Aleksandr Stabenow are collaborating on a traceability system for the seafood and fisheries industry, targeting the live lobster industry. By eliminating waste and decreasing mortality through real-time condition monitoring, it allows harvesters to take better care of their catch and provide a higher quality product to the public. “Through our experience in commercial fishing, we know where some of the fragmentation is, so that’s what we’re looking to correct,” said MacDonald.
Ulaş Güntürkün is using his research on fifth-generation cellular communication technology and physics to create an underwater communication system that will deliver information, even in the harshest conditions. Said Güntürkün: “The big advantage of our communication system is that it will be truly eco-friendly since we are reducing the transmission power to 10 per cent of what is currently the industry standard. In other words, we are making a lot less noise underwater.”
Co-founders Franziska Broell and Andre Bezanson developed a tagging device to monitor and track the movement of marine life while working with Dalhousie University’s Ocean Tracking Network. Once a tag is attached, it collects and stores data that can be used to measure an animal’s activity and underwater behaviour. Broell brings a high level of expertise to her product and believes Nova Scotia is the best place to expand her startup. “There are so many great resources here. There’s really no other place in Canada like this,” said Broell.
Disclosure: Innovacorp and Dalhouse are clients of Entrevestor.