Looking Back on BlueSwell Cohort IV’s Demo Day 


On March 7, BlueSwell returned to the New England Aquarium’s Simons Theatre to celebrate Cohort IV’s graduation at our annual Demo Day. We’re looking back on our favorite moments from that night as these five startups share what they accomplished over the past several months. 

Opening Remarks: Emiley Lockhart & Alissa Peterson 

Beyond highlighting Cohort IV’s hard work and progress, Demo Day serves as a reminder of the ocean innovation ecosystem at large and where humanity stands in the face of climate change. Emiley Lockhart, Associate Vice President for Ocean Sustainability, Technology, and Innovation at the New England Aquarium kicked things off by reminding the room why we had gathered that evening.  

“Our activities are causing significant harm to the ocean. We must focus on working together towards solutions and sustainability … to support a more responsible future for our ocean and planet.” Lockhart asserted that innovation can generate crucial solutions to our most pressing ocean-related issues, a principle that lies at the heart of the BlueSwell program. 

Lockhart goes on to describe the impact of the program. “BlueSwell enables budding entrepreneurs to develop novel pro-ocean technologies that bypass tradition, convention, and the status quo.” 

Up next to the stage was Alissa Peterson, SeaAhead CEO and co-founder. Peterson expressed the importance of generating and supporting ocean innovation and closed with a call to action to both entrepreneurs and investors alike: “We need the best and the brightest to apply themselves to the problems that we see today. But we also need investors in the space because we cannot expect the best and brightest to apply themselves if they cannot expect to be supported.” 

Guest Speaker Emanuele di Lorenzo & Alumni Speakers Annie and David Lu 

Peterson then introduced Emanuele di Lorenzo, chairman and co-founder of Ocean Visions. Di Lorenzo shared information on the challenges of marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) and the numerous, complex pathways for emerging companies in this space. Innovators and investors are often disconnected from researchers when capitalizing on climate solutions. To refigure these crossed wires, he highlighted a solution in Ocean Visions’ very own Ocean Vital Signs Network, which offers real-time monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) services for carbon dioxide removal. Di Lorenzo also shared the exciting news that Vycarb is already in Ocean Visions’ ecosystem as a startup in their Launchpad program. 

Peterson welcoming Lorenzo to the stage 
Credit: Jonathan Clancy, Blue Wave Imagery 

Lena Weiss, Fisheries Specialist, BalanceBlue Lab team member, and manager for BlueSwell at the New England Aquarium moderated a fireside chat with Annie and David Lu, the co-founders of H2OK Innovations. For the first time in BlueSwell history, we had the pleasure of inviting back a previous cohort member to share their story and reflect on their journey since graduating BlueSwell.  

Annie and David Lu with Lena Weiss Credit: Jonathan Clancy, Blue Wave Imagery 

Annie reflected on the company’s priorities stating that “At the end of the day sustainability and business are never mutually exclusive”. The two entrepreneurs hope to continue providing value for partners like Coca Cola, Unilever, and Cargill. It was an insightful discussion on life post-BlueSwell and a demonstration of how far graduating companies can soar. 

Cohort IV Pitches 

After the energy was primed by Lorenzo and H2Ok, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived: the pitches from Cohort IV! 

Julia Pangan facilitates questions from the audience Credit: Jonathan Clancy, Blue Wave Imagery 

DetoXyFi’s co-founder Rohit Karnik stunned the audience with props and videos that demonstrated the functionality of their entirely biodegradable filter made from waste wood. DetoXyFi filters offer a revolutionary approach to ensuring clean drinking water access for both underserved communities and areas in need of disaster relief. 

Bluemvmt’s CEO Joe Wheeler began his pitch with a heartwarming video of two right whales swimming together, reminding the audience that protecting the endangered right whale is a top priority yet deeply challenging. Wheeler explained that Bluemvmt’s Blue/AI platform can unlock comprehensive and rapid data-driven decision-making from any dataset and sensor, thereby strengthening right whale conservation efforts. Bluemvmt can support other crucial efforts such as pollution prevention, disaster forecasting, and more.  

atdepth MRV’s CEO Carlos Muñoz Royo highlighted how atdepth MRV’s highly advanced ocean modeling techniques can help customers understand and monitor any human interventions in the ocean. Royo showed two ocean models of the exact same geographical area – one using conventional ocean modeling, and another using atdepth MRV’s unique system – and it was clear to the audience that atdepth MRV can provide a much higher resolution (5 times higher, according to Royo). 

Garret Boudinot, CEO and Founder of Vycarb, presented Vycarb’s unique management system which performs highly accurate and measured removal of carbon in water. He addressed the elephant in the room: although mCDR is important, we lack tools for real-time measurement. Vycarb responds to this gap by measuring carbon in the water before and after treatment to ensure the CO2 removed achieves a healthy balance. Their removal methods are also safe for the surrounding ecosystem, a fact that has escaped the mission of chemical-based mCDR competitors. 

And although Marinas Bio was unable to join us that evening, we enjoyed a brief video message from CEO Allan Leung, outlining his background in the seafood industry and his objective to utilize cellular agriculture methods to make seafood delicacy production more sustainable. 


At the end of Cohort IV’s member presentations, everyone was invited into the Aquarium’s main building space for a night of celebration with food, drinks, and networking. The penguin exhibit and the giant ocean tank added the perfect backdrop. Each cohort member had their own table where attendees could meet to chat more about their work. With over 200 individuals in attendance, there were plenty of opportunities for connections and quality conversations. atdepth MRV brought a subsea sensor to the reception and attendees had the pleasure of seeing a live demonstration in the Giant Ocean Tank. Bluemvmt’s CTO Craig Harper ran multiple examples of Bluemvmt’s platform on a monitor at his table, showing interested attendees and skeptics alike Blue/AI’s ability to analyze and synthesize ocean data in real-time. 

Dr. Rohit Karnik at the reception Credit: Jonathan Clancy, Blue Wave Imagery 

Until Next Port… 

Thank you to our partners at the New England Aquarium for co-hosting an impressive show with us. To our community, we hope that our Demo Day program inspired you to stay engaged with bluetech innovation and seek climate-conscious ocean-focused change within your own organizations. 

Applications for BlueSwell Cohort V are opening soon. Polish your spyglass and keep a lookout for updates on SeaAhead’s LinkedIn and newsletter. We welcome any bluetech startup in its early stages to apply and benefit from access to our broad and intricate blue economy network, customized mentorship, and targeted programming on everything from capital formation to team building to governance. 

BlueSwell takes a whole-ocean approach to fighting climate change and advancing the blue economy. The program focuses on bridging gaps between innovators, ocean experts, industries, and the venture community. BlueSwell leverages SeaAhead’s bluetech domain expertise, network, and experience in building companies, and the Aquarium’s long history of using science developed by the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life to protect the ocean and marine animals to ultimately convert ocean-focused concepts into profitable, sustainable businesses.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!