British Columbian startups OnDeck Fisheries AI and PhyCo have been awarded $10,000 each as part of the Ocean Startup Project’s first-ever Ocean Idea Challenge competition.

The Ocean Startup Project, which encourages the launch and development of oceantech startups, launched the Idea competition to help startups to validate their sustainable ocean ideas. The organization announced four winners of the competition last Thursday.

The two top prizes went to Vancouver-based OnDeck, which is building an automated video review software for electronic monitoring of commercial fisheries, and Burnaby, BC-based PhyCo, which is developing biodegradable bioplastic from seaweed.

"The Idea Challenge was invaluable in helping us validate our business idea and understand its potential through the lens of prospective customers," said OnDeck CEO and Co-Founder Alexander Dungate in a statement.

"We are thrilled to keep building on that momentum by getting to the next stage of development as quickly as possible, and by collaborating with Dalhousie University-based DeepSense to hire an intern."

The team members of PhyCo, which is led by Ranah Chavoshi, actually met during the competition.

The other winners are:

Seathru Technologies - $2,500 prize

Holyrood, NL

Abdelmoneim Soliman, Owner

Seathru is developing a digital remote monitoring system to improve marine vessels' equipment maintenance.

Sustainable Sea Products - $2,500 prize


Matt Sawler, Owner

Sustainable Sea Products is developing a multi-species egg hatching model to supply seed products for the aquaculture industry.

Over the past two years, the Ocean Startup Project has provided funding for more than 80 oceantech startups, which in turn have created more than 100 jobs across Canada.

"The high-calibre ocean ideas and founder talent this competition drew out from across the country really illustrates the momentum in Canada's ocean startup ecosystem," said Don Grant, Executive Director at the Ocean Startup Project.

"In just over two years, we've seen significant growth in early-stage ocean startups across this country, and we are so impressed by the cutting-edge technologies being developed and the focus on impacting the health of our oceans."