Startups Portfolio

Blue Economy, blue tech, blue technology, ocean conservation, ocean impact, ocean innovation, OceanHub Africa, African innovation, Pan African, Pan-Africanism, sustainability, ocean, ocean innovation Africa, Cape Town, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship, startup, ocean health, carbon sink, carbon throwdown, SDG’s, Sustainable development goals, acceleration program, climate change, innovation, sea, marine health, marine life, circular economy, recycle, waste management, ocean solution, reuse, marine pollution, plastic in the ocean, acidification, ocean wave, deep sea, ocean day, ocean conservancy, plastic ocean, marine energy, renewable energy, startup accelerator, mangroves, business accelerator, startup incubator, tech incubator, start up incubator incubators and accelerators, innovation accelerator, best startup accelerators, top startup accelerator, accelerator programs for startups, blue ocean economy, SDG14, NoPlanetB, OneOcean, Great Blue Wall, ocean justice, equity, coastal communities, resilience, coastal, maritime, fishing, renewable

Testimonials

Cohort 1

Our first cohort of start-ups consisted of six ocean-minded entrepreneurs that were shortlisted among +30 applications.

Shark Safe Barrier

SharkSafe Barrier, which Sara co-founded, provides an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping both humans and marine animals

Symbytech

Growing up along the coast and witnessing the polluted state of the waters, Grant du Toit knew he would one day do work related to the ocean

Captain Fanplastic

Captain Fanplastic raises awareness about plastic and litter and inspires behavioral change in primary-school children . . .

Mean Sea Level

Traditionally, solar and wind power have become the go-to clean alternatives for energy generation, but Mean Sea Level is looking to add a new option to the mix by developing the world’s first truly...

Inseco

There is a big problem in our oceans that many of us are not aware of, and that’s the amount of fish being caught simply to create fishmeal – something that has been produced for many, many years....

Impact-Free Water

Remember when Cape Town was experiencing its devastating drought and we couldn’t understand how a coastal city could not have sufficient water? Turns out that gaining potable water from the ocean is...

Cohort 2

Our second cohort of start-ups consisted of six ocean-minded entrepreneurs that were shortlisted among +130 applications.

Arena Recycling
Tanzania

Arena Recycling offers Eco-Building Materials made from recycled plastic waste for construction projects using polymer-sand....

Brayfoil Technologies
South Africa

Increasing the performance and reliability of wind turbines by working with turbine manufacturers to implement patented morphing wing technology into their....

GIVO
Nigeria

GIVO works toward creating a circular economy for communities in Africa by leveraging technology to collect and process recyclables into consumer and industrial....

Green Ocean Namibia
Namibia

Green Ocean Namibia is facilitating accessibility of sustainable fish products and creating decent income for small scale fisherman in....

Plant Biodefenders Company Ltd.
Tanzania

Offering VURUGA BIOCIDE, which is an effective, affordable and safe biopesticide, to achieve management of pests, profitable crop production and reduced pollution of runoffs entering the....

SOSO Care
Nigeria

SOSO Care is reducing plastic pollution and improving access to quality healthcare for millions of Nigerians by offering a low-cost health insurance accepted by 1000 hospitals and which uses...

Cohort 3

Our third cohort of start-ups consisted of six ocean-minded entrepreneurs that were shortlisted among +130 applications.

Think Bikes
Nigeria

Think Bikes reduces greenhouse gas emissions by providing clean transportation alternatives. They manufacture electric cargo bikes...

Happy Pads
Ethiopia

Happy Pads is a female-founded social enterprise promoting access to eco-friendly hygiene products for women, while reducing plastic pollution and...

Scrapays
Nigeria

Scrapays aims at powering the future of “Recycling as a Business” as a way to scale waste management while promoting job creation...

SeaH4
South Africa

SeaH4 offers the maritime sector an alternative to fossil fuels to decarbonize at scale, reducing GHG emissions. Their algae-based biofuel is carbon neutral...

Eja-iCe
Nigeria

Eja-Ice tackles the challenge of fish catch loss affecting small-scale fishers due to insufficient access to cold-chain facilities. They offer...

Kumbatia Seafood
Kenya

Kumbatia Seafood links marine ecosystem conservation and sustainable livelihood in coastal communities. They provide...

Other Programs

Startups from different programs that we helped

EcoAct
Tanzania

Addressing the challenges of post-consumer plastic pollution, waste management, deforestation and climate change through...

Greenway Africa
South Africa

Greenway is a social enterprise providing techological solutions and professional advisory services for waste management...

Alma
Mozambique

Alma run several projects aimed to raise awareness amongst communities, stakeholders and tourists to recycle, and upcycle waste...

Mazingira Yetu Organization
Kenya

Through their multiple impact projects which are aimed at restoring and rehabilitating rivers and wetlands as well as educating youth...

Abalobi
South Africa

ABALOBI is a South African-based, global social enterprise seeking to contribute towards thriving, equitable, Climate Change...

Pluvi (ST Manufacturing)
South Africa/Italy

ST Umbrellas (founded in 2011) partnered with PLV (founded in 2016) guaranteeing the manufacturing of Pluvi brand products and the exclusive marketing in Africa...

Shark Safe barrier

When Italian marine biologist Dr Sara Andreotti began studying for her PhD at Stellenbosch University and learned that there were only 300-500 white sharks left on South Africa’s coastline, she knew that something needed to be done. The shark nets and drum lines introduced to our country in the 1950s were causing more harm than good. While they may have been protecting surfers and swimmers from shark interactions, they were also trapping and killing the sharks. “Gill nets trap a lot of other harmless species, too,” says Sara, listing whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays as some of the unfortunate victims. Even lethal baited hooks (drum lines) specifically targeted at sharks are not a sustainable solution. “These large predators are important for the ecosystem,” Sara says.

SharkSafe Barrier, which Sara co-founded, provides an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping both humans and marine animals safe. The underwater barrier, comprising of staggered rows of separated vertical pipes anchored to the ocean floor and reaching above the water surface, resembles a dense accumulation of kelp. “Sharks know what a thick forest of kelp looks like, and they don’t like it,” says Sara, whose team studied shark behaviour and deterrent technology for more than five years, learning, among other things, how seals hide from their predators within such forests. “Sharks see how the pipes behave like kelp, moving with the waves, so they don’t come close to them.” When visibility is poor and the sharks happen to get too near, magnets inserted in the pipes deter them from approaching further. “They create a magnetic field that overpowers the sharks’ electromagnetic senses,” explains Sara.

“This is not going to solve the declining number of sharks on its own,” she says, “but it is a great step in the right direction, allowing everyone to enjoy the ocean without hurting it.”

Symbytech

Growing up along the coast and witnessing the polluted state of the waters, Grant du Toit knew he would one day do work related to the ocean environment. As an electronics engineer, he has spent many years working with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in an underwater setting, and has now brought that experience to SymbyTech, a company he has founded to help reduce the greenhouse gases being emitted by ocean vessels.

The robot he and his team are pioneering is an underwater drone that inspects and cleans the hulls of ships.

“Biofouling grows on the hulls,” Grant says, using a term that means the accumulation of micro-organisms like algae and bacteria on submerged artificial structures. This layer upon layer of undesirable growth causes a great reduction in the speed with which a vessel is able to glide through water. “It causes drag,” he explains. “And, because it slows boats down, they need to burn more fuel to go faster, resulting in an increase in greenhouse gases.”

The solid component of these gases, which ends up in the water, adds to the ocean acidity, destroying coral reefs that are essential for marine life, and contaminating fish consumed by humans. “If we can reduce the amount of biofouling, we can reduce the emissions,” says Grant.

Although the SymbyTech underwater drone is still in its prototype phase, Grant has ambitious dreams for making it a tool international vessels can use in a proactive manner. “I would hope to have it located in many major ports, grooming vessels regularly to prevent the problem of biofouling before it even occurs.”

Captain Fanplastic

“The ocean starts at your doorstep,” says Ruben Hazelzet, Director of Captain Fanplastic, an environmental literacy programme educating Grade 3-5 learners on the impact land-based pollution has on the marine environment. “It’s such a mystery to the majority of the population because people are so disconnected from the ocean.”

Captain Fanplastic raises awareness about plastic and litter and inspires behavioural change in primary-school children, including encouraging them to reduce their use of plastic. Its interactive programme is based on storytelling and gamification.

It goes beyond the everyday clean-up events – usually attended by people who are already environmentally conscious – and addresses children whose opinions of the world are still being formed. “They have room to progress because they don’t yet have a lot of ingrained behaviour, and they still have a great ability for fantasy, so they immerse themselves in the world of Captain Fanplastic but then still act on it in reality,” says Ruben.

The world he refers to comes alive in a fun story book where Captain Fanplastic – the main character, who appears at the school events – along with many characters he meets along the way, discover how trash can be treasure. After teaching the children about the 5Rs (refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle), the kids create eye patches from plastic bottle tops and turn into pirates, with a mission to find their own treasure. Armed with a map to document their findings, they set off for a treasure hunt on a beach, or at a park or river, collecting trash from the environment.

“There’s an explosion of thrill and excitement, and in 45 minutes the whole beach is clean,” says Ruben. “By gamifying it, they really want to walk the talk.”

Since launching last year, Captain Fanplastic has visited 12 schools, impacting over 1,000 learners while fostering environmental custodianship. It leaves a “treasure bin” at schools to make trash collection and recycling easier – all part of its vision for sustainable behavioural change.

Mean Sea Level

Traditionally, solar and wind power have become the go-to clean alternatives for energy generation, but Mean Sea Level is looking to add a new option to the mix by developing the world’s first truly commercially viable wave-energy technology, something that has not yet been achieved at significant scale.

“It’s really, really difficult to build in the ocean – you need very specific expertise,” says Managing Director Marius Hugo, adding that the cost of innovation in marine construction requires huge investment. His family, who co-founded the South African abalone industry in Hermanus and has been working in aquaculture for more than 30 years, recognised how abalone farms could benefit hugely from a renewable energy resource, making one of the farms the perfect testing ground for Mean Sea Level’s 1MW pilot project.

By building an on-shore dam higher than mean sea level, alongside the ocean, Marius and his team will capture the wild energy carried by the waves. The sloped dam wall allows waves to enter the dam over the top or via non-return valves, and then run back to the ocean with the force of gravity. The returning water generates electricity as it moves through a hydro-electric turbine.

“It’s taken us five years to get to where we are,” says Marius, an electronics engineer who has previously worked in the fields of aerospace and chemical engineering. Mean Sea Level’s concept has, during this time, been patented, and once the 1MW project is mastered, it will move on to a 3.5MW project, which has already been given the environmental go-ahead. Future dreams include powering other aquaculture farms, coastal cities and more isolated towns and industries that require alternatives to the national electricity grid.

Although Mean Sea Level is currently constructing and testing the technology on its own, Marius hopes to get big construction companies involved once the construction technique is proven. “And then we can focus on project development and innovation,” he says.

Inseco

There is a big problem in our oceans that many of us are not aware of, and that’s the amount of fish being caught simply to create fishmeal – something that has been produced for many, many years. Fishmeal is a brown powder obtained after cooking, drying and squeezing forage fish, which is then used as a source of protein to feed farmed fish, as well as pets and poultry.

“These forage fish are very important to the marine ecosystem, and when you cut them out, a variety of other species are compromised,” says Simon Hazell, co-founder and CEO of Inseco, a start-up that has found a sustainable alternative to the problem. “We farm insects and turn them into a high-protein powder that is used to replace resource-intensive products such as fishmeal and soybean meal,” he explains.

The Inseco team diverts organic food waste from landfill and uses black soldier flies to decompose this waste – solving another environmental issue simultaneously. The fly larvae consume the organic by-products and grow very quickly. They are then harvested and turned into an insect-protein powder that is both cost effective and environmentally sustainable.

“For every tonne of fishmeal and fish oil produced, four tonnes of wild-caught fish are needed,” says Simon. This means that a staggering 30-million tonnes of fish are caught annually just for the eight-million tonnes of fishmeal and fish oil required in the aquaculture industry each year.

Inseco completed its pilot facility in 2019 and is in the process of setting up a factory where it will farm black soldier flies who feed on organic by-products from various industries. In so doing, it will save thousands of tonnes of forage fish from being caught, thereby nurturing our marine ecosystem.

Impact-Free Water

Remember when Cape Town was experiencing its devastating drought and we couldn’t understand how a coastal city could not have sufficient water? Turns out that gaining potable water from the ocean is usually a very costly and environmentally destructive process that requires vast amounts of electricity.

Simon Wijnberg, the founder and CEO of Impact-Free Water, has seen this problem present itself around the world as his passion for diving and a professional career in the marine environment have taken him to many seaside communities that have no access to clean water.

“Water is life,” says Simon, pointing to the health and sanitation consequences faced when clean water is not available. This is why Impact-Free Water has been developing a cost-effective, eco-friendly solution to turn seawater into drinking water by harnessing the power of waves in a non-intrusive way. Wave energy is used to pump ocean water to shore through an underwater pipeline, where it feeds and drives a reverse osmosis process to produce fresh water.

“Wave power offers a very good solution because it’s so available to us,” says Simon, adding that electricity (produced from the wave pressure) becomes a useful by-product of this innovative system. “It’s a win-win scenario.”

Current projects include one in Saldanha, where Impact-Free Water is working with the local community to eventually get water to places that need it most, as well as a pilot semi-commercial plant in Coega, near Port Elizabeth, where it is aiming to supply 160 kilolitres of fresh water per day to a mariculture farm. It is also putting wave-powered desalination to the test at the University of Namibia’s Sam Nujoma campus in Henties Bay, supplying drinking water and electricity to the campus.

Says Simon of his motivation to create sustainable solutions for the future: “If people who know about the problems don’t do something about them, then who will? It’s a worthy cause to dedicate my life to.”

Arena Recycling

Arena Recycling offers Eco-Building Materials made from recycled plastic waste for construction projects using polymer-sand technology

Impact: Reduces plastic pollution and leakage in the Ocean by producing eco-bricks and eco-pavements

Technology: Use of polymer-sand technology to produce eco-materials that are proven to be anticorrosive, antifungal, waterproof and twice more durable compared to normal bricks

Brayfoil Technologies

Increasing the performance and reliability of wind turbines by working with turbine manufacturers to implement patented morphing wing technology into their devices.

Impact: Increases the production of clean energy in the energy mix by optimizing the performance of wind turbines

Technology: Application of biomimicry to produce morphing wind turbine blades, adaptive to the force and direction of the wind, hence, reducing breakage and downtime caused by maintenance and repairs.

GIVO

Creating a circular economy for communities in Africa, by leveraging technology to collect and process recyclables into consumer and industrial goods.

Impact: Reduces plastic pollution and empowers women and youth in underserved communities by setting plastic collection centres locally managed by local communities and reusing the plastic collected to produce high-value goods.

Technology: Use of machine learning to optimize the sorting of collected plastic and maximize the quality of plastic sheets produced out of the recyclables which are sold as input for the production of high-value goods.

Green Ocean Namibia

Facilitating accessibility of sustainable fish products and creating decent income for small scale fisherman in Namibia

Impact: Improves sustainable management of fisheries and local fishermen’s livelihood by acting as an intermediary between restaurants and small-scale providers of local sustainably-sourced seafood.

Technology: Use of a B2B online platform that connects restaurants and small-scale fishermen, while ensuring traceability of seafood.

Plant Biodefenders Company Ltd.

Offering VURUGA BIOCIDE which is an effective, affordable and safe biopesticide to achieve management of pets, profitable crop production and reduced pollution of runoffs entering the ocean. Plant Biodefenders Ltd has developed a climate resilient and organic pesticides proven more efficient than harmful pesticides against two of the main invasive pests affecting crops in Sub Saharan Africa. Named Vuruga (meaning ‘disruptive’ in Kiswahili), the patented biopesticide can not only contribute to food security and increase revenues for small scale farmers but it can also help regenerate coastal and marine ecosystems by resorbing spillage of chemicals into the Ocean. After working on refining their revenue model to pivot from a B2C to a B2B model, the biotech startup is gaining more and more traction with small farmers cooperatives across Tanzania and has started to export to Kenya. Its next focus will be to raise funding to increase their production capacity.

Impact: Reduces the negative impacts of chemical pesticides on land and ocean ecosystems using safe and regenerative substitute.

Technology: Use of a patented fungal-based biopesticide, recognized by FAO and specifically targeting 2 of the main pests affecting 80% of crops in Sub Saharan Africa; tutts absoluta and fall army worm.

Soso Care

Reducing plastic pollution and improving access to quality healthcare for millions of Nigerians by offering a low-cost health insurance accepted by 1000 hospitals and which uses recyclables as a premium.

Impact: Reduces plastic pollution while improving access to health in underserved communities.

Technology: Social innovation which allows people in underserved communities to redeem recyclables to finance their yearly health cover.

Think Bikes

Think Bikes reduces greenhouse gas emissions by providing clean transportation alternatives. They manufacture electric cargo bikes designed to meet small businesses’ needs across several sectors, including waste management and small scale fisheries.

Impact: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by providing clean transportation alternatives for small businesses in the form of electric cargo bikes. This is an affordable and efficient last mile transportation solution and reduces food waste.

Technology: The bikes are built to last, boasting a 300kg load capacity and range of 50km on a single charge. They also have a patented energy recuperation system which is installed in order to ensure that the solar panel is infused on the cargo box for on-board and continuous charging.

Happy Pads

Happy Pads is a female-founded social enterprise promoting access to eco-friendly hygiene products for women, while reducing plastic pollution and encouraging a circular economy in the agriculture sector. They produce an alternative to conventional plastic-based sanitary pads made of agro waste, making them 100 % biodegradable and chemical free.

Impact: A female-founded social enterprise promoting access to eco-friendly hygiene products for women, while reducing plastic pollution and encouraging a circular economy in the agriculture sector. They reduce CO2 emissions, plastic waste and create awareness on menstrual health.

Technology: They produce an alternative to conventional plastic-based sanitary pads made of agro waste (banana, corn and bamboo fiber), making them 100 % biodegradable/Compostable after 6 months of disposal and chemical free.

Scrapays

Scrapays aims at powering the future of “Recycling as a Business” as a way to scale waste management while promoting job creation. The integration of their online and offline operating system provides individuals with the support to start, grow and scale their mini-recycling businesses throughout each activity of the recycling value chain.

Impact: Scrapays aims at powering the future of “Recycling as a Business” as way to scale waste management while promoting job creation. The integration of their online and offline operating system provides individuals with the support to start, grow and scale their mini-recycling businesses throughout each activity of the recycling value chain.

Technology: Uses a low internet solution for pickup requests integrated with a wallet to receive payments as well as a web application inventory management to track; pick up and drop off, request management, collection, mapping, commission calculator and reporting.

SeaH4

SeaH4 offers the maritime sector an alternative to fossil fuels to decarbonize at scale, reducing GHG emissions. Their algae-based biofuel is carbon neutral and compatible with the existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Additionally, their community-based production approach develops new job opportunities within arid coastal regions.

Impact: Offers the maritime sector an alternative to fossil fuels to decarbonize at scale, reducing GHG emissions. Their community-based production approach develops new job opportunities within arid coastal regions.

Technology: Algae-based biofuel is carbon neutral and compatible with the existing fossil fuel infrastructure. Well established technologies that save 2.8t CO2 emissions per ton of fuel consumed. Their fuel contains 2x the amount of process energy required to produce it.

Eja-Ice

Eja-Ice tackles the challenge of fish catch loss affecting small-scale fishers due to insufficient access to cold-chain facilities. They offer solar-powered refrigeration systems and cold chain services in order to mitigate waste and sustain profit across the value chain; solar powered cold rooms for fish storage, solar powered cooling tricycle for last mile distribution and solar powered freezers for retailers.

Impact: Tackles the challenge of fish catch loss affecting small-scale fishers due to insufficient access to cold-chain facilities. They offer solar-powered refrigeration systems and cold chain services to mitigate waste and sustain profit within the industry.

Technology: Use of solar powered cold storage in the form of freezers (chest freezer, display and ice-cream freezers) as well as Solar powered cooling tricycles with fleet management solutions.

Kumbatia Seafood

Kumbatia Seafood links marine ecosystem conservation and sustainable livelihood in coastal communities. They provide small-scale fishers with capacity building, access to market, cold chain facilities and financing solutions in order to produce highly-profitable, traceable and ethically sourced seafood.

Impact: Kumbatia Seafood links marine ecosystem conservation and sustainable livelihood in coastal communities. They provide small-scale fishers with capacity building, access to market, cold chain facilities and financing solutions in order to produce highly-profitable, traceable and ethically sourced seafood.

Technology: By training harvesters on Japanese handling methods, financing inputs, and implementing a technology-enabled off-grid cold chain, they are able to ensure that they are able to operate within premium markets.

EcoAct

Addressing the challenges of post-consumer plastic pollution, waste management, deforestation and climate change through the creation of plastic lumbars. They use chemical free and energy conserving plastic extrusion technology called “Waxy ıı Technology” to recycle and transform post-consumer plastic waste, packaging materials and agricultural waste into durable, environmentally friendly and affordable plastic lumbers. In order to collect enough waste to manufacture their products, they create economic and social value to plastic waste in communities, increasing job creation and plastic collection. Their main target consumers include; Real Estate Developers, Construction Companies and Furniture Developers.

Greenway Africa

Greenway is a social enterprise providing techological solutions and professional advisory services for waste management. They aim at redefining waste value chains as a thriving platform for the youth and women in South Africa, particularly through their solution of GreenGrid – a platform through which valued waste materials can be recovered and traded in a secure and efficient way. They make use of a simple interface to automate and streamline resource recovery across the supply chain including waste mapping, emissions monitoring, carbon credits and market linkage through crowdsourcing.

Alma

Alma run several projects aimed to raise awareness amongst communities, stakeholders and tourists to recycle, and upcycle waste. They work to solve issues such as waste disposal (ie. Lack of proper dumping sites and education) around Tofo beach and surrounding Inhambane area, lack of/low income in the local community and expensive and unsustainable building materials. They have implemented regular waste collection and clean ups (both in town and on the beach), have attached value to plastic, creating jobs by paying collectors per kg of collected plastic which is the primary material in their production process. They use the plastic to create sustainable ecobricks, tiles, beams and other building materials which is then sold to consumers as a cheaper alternative to conventional materials.

Mazingira Yetu Organization

Through their multiple impact projects which are aimed at restoring and rehabilitating rivers and wetlands as well as educating youth on proper waste management, they are creating solutions to household level waste collection, adding value and selling potential of recyclable/reusable materials, changing community attitudes and behaviour towards waste management and solving youth unemployment through job creation. Focussing on their River Ngong restoration and sanitation works project as an example, they are working to restore 9km of rivers through; the removal of solid waste from the Rivers and maintaining it’s cleanliness, repairing the sewer lines, construction of toilets for surrounding locals, and empowering communities along the Rivers with alternative livelihoods that are less dependent on the Rivers. Through projects such as this, they are also preventing river pollution which frequently lands up flowing into our ocean.

Abalobi

ABALOBI is a South African-based, global social enterprise seeking to contribute towards thriving, equitable, Climate Change resilient and sustainable small-scale fishing communities through Technology For Good. At ABALOBI, we co-design inclusive, community-led technologies that poise small-scale fisheries for ecological, economic and social sustainability through participatory fisheries rebuilding strategies that consider ocean life and livelihoods. We perceive coastal communities as instrumental in the fight to preserve the health of our oceans and advocate for broader recognition of traditional fisheries in resource stewardship. By co-designing catch data & traceability technology in partnership with coastal communities, ABALOBI enables fishers to stimulate sustainable livelihoods, develop fair and responsible seafood markets (www.fishwithastory.org), and gather and use data to advance fisheries rebuilding.

Pluvi (ST Manufacturing)

ST Umbrellas (founded in 2011) partnered with PLV (founded in 2016) guaranteeing the manufacturing of Pluvi brand products and the exclusive marketing in Africa (ST Manufacturing, 2021) while PLV will manage the export in the rest of the world. Pluvi is an ultra-durable and lightweight, colourful and fully customizable umbrella, featuring a patented innovation that makes it truly eco-sustainable and 100% recyclable. The umbrellas are made using their technical polymer for each component, specifically chosen to be easily recovered and reused for the manufacturing of new products. This material, combined with their injection moulding production method, uses significantly less energy (-80%) and releases far fewer greenhouse gases (-88%) during manufacturing, making PLUVI highly eco-sustainable when compared with traditional umbrellas.