Norway’s Katapult Ocean accelerator fishing for 12 global startups
Norway’s Oslo-based Katapult Ocean accelerator is fishing for 12 global startups for its acceleration program beginning in 2019.
Offering $150,000 in investments, Katapult Ocean is looking for international startups with scalable businesses whose technology has a positive impact on the oceans.
Katapult Ocean will have the first acceleration program in January 2019, with 12 selected startups. The duration is three months and includes mentoring of 150 experts, among entrepreneurs and investors, with the aim of “avoiding the pitfalls of early startups.”
The deadline for startups wishing to apply for a place at Katapult Ocean ends on October 31. More information and applications are available at this link.
There will be an emphasis on product testing and customer first, so part of the program will be to provide access to a set of customers for pilot projects and test environments in partnership with research institutions and technology partners.
Katapult also signed a partnership agreement with nHack, a Scandinavian investment fund in China dedicated to this area of innovation. The program ends with a “demo day” and an investment of $150,000 in each startup.
Katapult Ocean CEO Maren Hjorth told Portuguese news outlet Dinheiro Vivo that the idea is to find teams that use technology to solve a challenge or seize a new opportunity. Areas of activity range from marine transport to fisheries, aquaculture, energy and ocean health.
“The main selection criterion for the program is a strong product and business model that has a positive impact on our oceans,” she said, adding, “we are looking for solutions with the potential to scale globally, developed by a strong team of founders.”
The selection process will be “rigorous,” with a search for startups at various stages of development. Among the necessary criteria are the existence of a functional prototype, a focus on real impact, a good team, some revenue or a client with pilot project and a credible business model. “We are also looking for products or services that can scale rapidly,” said Hjorth.
The Norwegian manager says she has always wanted to work on something of a nobler design than just business, although Katapult Ocean is very focused on turning ideas into revenue and creating a market. “We believe there are endless opportunities in the oceans and that the ocean will play a vital role in developing a sustainable future for all of us if we do the right things,” she said.
Hjorth has worked in the maritime sector and believes that the traditionalism and conservatism of the business are about to change, thanks to the innovation that will come from outside the startups. She says that Katapult’s great goal is to help entrepreneurs “accelerate ideas and save the oceans” at the same time. She calls it “impact investment,” in the sense that funding will be directed at solving environmental and social problems while building good business in a kind of sustainable investment.
“There are so many challenges in the oceans today,” she acknowledges, “but now we have the technology to solve them and, in addition, to find new opportunities.”