Nuggets of wisdom from the 2020 Accelerator Cohort
2020 Third Wave Cohort tips and testimonials
If you have a for-profit, market-based solution geared towards protecting ocean, watch this video, read these wise words from the 2020 Cohort, then apply to Sustainable Ocean Alliance's 2021 Accelerator Ocean Solutions Program!
Courtney Boyd Meyers, Akua
“Analyze your co-founder; for a while, they are everything to you.”
“Make sure that that your skillsets balance each other out and that you’re prepared to go the distance with this person. They need to be someone who could be your best friend. You’re going to be in the trenches with them, so make sure that you have similar alignment of values and communication styles. But advice only goes so far - it’s up to you to follow through.”
“I contacted every alumni I could... the network really is incredible.”
"When you're working to create a sustainable business, I think oftentimes you feel like you’re alone out there. But once I got into SOA, I realized that so many other people believe in the same things as me. I’d say: if you know that what you’re doing is going to have an impact, other people that will see that too, and they’re the ones that are going to help you.”
“[We applied because] we felt we were at an inflection point in our business.”
"We were looking to find new advisors and partners to help us move through a pretty big transition - it was very well timed. So far, we've been very happy with some of the connections we've made. The program has done a good job of trying to listen to our needs and then find people within their networks who might help us avoid pitfalls and give us their perspective."
“Know what you want from SOA. It’s the best way to pitch yourself.”
“We participated in many other programs, and this one is especially good. It's very concentrated, so make the most of it. SOA has a lot to offer because they have a great advisor network. I’d say: if you’re interested, do it! It’s a one month program, so how do you want to transform? You need to be able to say what you want to have achieved at the end.”
Sarah & Jacob, Flywire:
“Take it very seriously.”
“A bit of advice that our advisor gave us a while ago is that sustainability doesn't sell. Doing the right thing isn't a revenue source, it's not a business model. You have to be able to identify an actual commercial problem and develop a solution that adds value to your identified customers commercially. Then, produce your environmental impact as a byproduct of that commercial activity. Leverage the economic incentive as a mechanism to drive your sale.”
“Our primary focus was networking - not fundraising.”
"I knew that the United States was going to be an important market for us. It was really important for us to establish some partnerships, and build a valuable network. I'm finding this really, really helpful. I'm getting to know top experts that I would never have had the opportunity to have a chat with outside of this accelerator."
“Make time, and bring as many team members on as you can spare.”
“Make sure you clear your schedule. We’ve got three members of ARCmarine, 50% of the team, attending events. We felt that we should all be reading from the same page. At 5 pm, we all meet and say “are you gonna take that? Who’s gonna do this?” It keeps the focus. So far we’ve been introduced to more people in the first week of this accelerator than in the first month of another accelerator we completed.”
Meet the entire cohort here.
2020 Mentor Spotlights
Dan Stekeete, Cenotech Solutions
With a long history in bluetech, Dan is currently the managing director at Cenotech Solutions. He is passionate about the oceans and has been part of the SOA community since the early days.
“I enjoy working with high impact entrepreneurs, investors and startups looking to make the oceans and world a better and more sustainable place. Nothing beats helping a young entrepreneur turn an idea into a product/service that has a positive impact on the environment.”
Laurie Menoud, At One Ventures
Laurie is a partner at At One Ventures where she finds, funds, and grows teams that catalyze planet-positive industries, from microbiological research to corporate innovation.
“I'm thrilled to join SOA as a mentor! There is an untouched potential for technologies to empower nature's ability to tackle environmental challenges. Ocean health is more than ever impacted by human activities, from CO2 emissions to plastic waste. Let's work together to create planet-positive industries.”