Grand Opening of COVE in Halifax

COVE Halifax Grand Opening - Central Hall

In early June, I was in Halifax for the Grand Opening of the Center for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) and the H2O Conference. The COVE facility is nearly ready for occupancy and we got to see a sneak preview of the space, which is located right on the Halifax Harbor with deep-water piers, office space, lab space and a co-located prototyping facility. For me, it was almost like walking into the future as it crystallized the vision that we have for SeaAhead’s future facilities here in New England.

My favorite part of the visit was the pitch session for the startups that are taking part in the Startup Yard at COVE. We heard from their recently selected first cohort:

  • Ashored Innovations Inc: These guys are retrofitting lobster and crab traps with underwater buoys that can be recalled acoustically to float to the surface, eliminating the surface buoy and tether. They also allow traps to be geolocated, reducing lost and stolen traps.
  • Acoubit Communications: The Acoubit team is working on acoustic data communications technology, focused on the transmission of data between AUVs, for ocean management and monitoring
  • BlueNode: This team is working on a big data play for improving supply chain efficiency in the ocean sector
  • Happy Fish Technologies: Happy Fish is introducing their SEDNA platform for end-to-end seafood supply chain intelligence, focused on the lobster industry, including harvester data & supply chain quality management data
  • Marecomms: This company wants to provide reliable underwater acoustic communications by bringing new signal transmission and processing techniques to lower the total power consumption by 90% compared to industry standard for identical distances
  • Maritime BioLoggers: The MBL team is creating modular, high-resolution bio-logging sensors, focusing on accelerometers, for the study of marine wildlife

I went to these events with a group of companies from New England assembled by the Canadian consulate. I asked Vanessa Couturier, the Business Development Officer from the Canadian Consulate in Boston that spearheaded our group, about her objectives and she told me: “Atlantic Canada has an incredible momentum, and it is only natural that a strong collaboration with the New England blue tech economy would be of primary importance. This area has a very dynamic ocean tech startup base, prominent institutions and it is only a short one-hour flight away from Halifax. We want to support targeted collaborations between the 2 booming ecosystems.”

The COVE and associated entities are set to take big advantage of the Canadian government’s new Ocean Supercluster program. This entity will be a public-private partnership for investing in the growth of the country’s ocean-based economy. The organizational foundations for the Supercluster are being laid now, but when the agreement is finalized with the government of Canada, they will have up to $250 million CAD to spend on ocean-based innovation. This could present a large opportunity for collaboration and implementation testing for our New England companies given the proximity, so SeaAhead will be keeping a close eye on this as it develops. If you are a New England bluetech startup interested in knowing more about Supercluster opportunities, please let me know and we can facilitate connections.

-          Alissa