Spring launches $10,000 pitch competition to power young ocean startups

Spring has partnered with COAST—the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies—to host this competition; the deadline to apply is April 17

B.C.’s beautiful and abundant coastline has become a hub for ocean-saving innovation. Keith Ippel, co-founder and co-CEO of Vancouver accelerator Spring, notes that the province is home to a growing number of ocean startups because its coastline connects to a wide range of investors, industry partners and customers in communities where the innovation economy is thriving—so Victoria, Squamish and Prince Rupert, for example. This has piqued entrepreneurial interest in solving some of the ocean industry’s most pressing challenges—a.k.a. blue economy innovation—“and that’s why we’re seeing this growth in companies and startups,” says Ippel. 

However, he adds, finding the right partner—in the form of an industry leader or R&D institution like UVic and UBC—is still hard, and access to capital remains a constant challenge.  

To help early-stage blue economy startups get “catalytic capital” that will fuel their growth and impact, Spring is putting together the COAST Pitchfest in partnership with Victoria-based COAST, the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies. Young companies are invited to apply by 11:59 p.m. on April 17, after which finalists will pitch their solutions in-person at the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel in Vancouver on April 22 and compete for a chance to win $10,000 in cash, courtesy of COAST. These companies will also get introduced to Spring’s network of 110 impact investors across Canada, the Spring Collective, all of whom are tuned into advancing the climate solution economy, according to Ippel. 

“COAST Pitchfest is an opportunity to really amplify and highlight B.C.-based blue economy startups to the ecosystem,” he says. “It’s designed to be a showcase of those bright shining stars, those young up-and-coming companies, and to really elevate the awareness and interest in this sector with both industry partners and with investors.”

Ippel explains that COAST is a national leader in the blue economy—“in bringing the ecosystem together, in fostering innovation and bridging connections between entrepreneurs and universities, etc.” He anticipates that the collaboration between Spring and COAST will have a lasting impact on ocean startups: “We’ll bring that ability to become capital-ready for the founders, and bridge the connections to the right investors at the right time.” 

The deadline to apply for COAST Pitchfest is April 17. More details here.