How Katapult Ocean’s Accelerator Program Went 100% Digital
Oslo-based Katapult Ocean is world-renowned for its intense three-month ocean impact accelerator program that brings together a global network of over 100 mentors and partners as well as promising startups making a positive impact on our ocean.
Since 2018, they’ve received applications from startups across the globe and has made 32 investments across 16 countries and four continents.
This year’s program however, poses a challenge – how do you bring together 10 international startups for a three-month accelerator program
when the entire world is in lockdown?
The Goal: Keep engagement levels high despite being stuck behind a screen
As one of the world’s leading ocean impact accelerators, Katapult Ocean has made a name for itself thanks to its intensive yet rewarding programming and excellent network of mentors, advisors and in-house fund.
The struggle now was to translate that to a completely digital environment, while still delivering the same (and even more) value to its participants.
“Prior to the realization that we had to go digital, we had already concluded that we wanted to upend the original structure quite a bit. We already had a different pedagogical setup for the program, which helped us in transferring to a digital platform” said Ingrid Kylstad, COO of the Katapult Ocean program.
“We realized ourselves that it is going to be tough to sit through hours at a computer just listening to people. We knew it had to be interactive, so that became an important philosophy underpinning everything we did in terms of planning the program.” she added.
The Investor Readiness Program received high scores from all its participants within the Katapult Ocean Accelerator program.
All the startups are now revamping and upgrading their investor strategy and many have adopted the tools and insights shared during the course of the program.
“I was highly skeptical of the three-hour live online sessions. I thought that would just be a drag and difficult to sit through. But the way it was structured, being output-oriented and having people solve tasks with guidance has made it an amazing program and has really contributed to our overarching philosophy and has fit perfectly with the rest of the program.” said Ingrid.
She also noted that the startups were more dedicated in a completely digital environment due to needing to commit less time in their calendars. Startups could also include more relevant team members in the program, due to it being digital.
“This entire experience has shown us that it can be done. It’s efficient, and cost-efficient. It also allows us access to better deal flow because we’re not limited to only companies that are able to relocate. That has a big impact and has actually made us more competitive in that sense.”
“Katapult Ocean is quickly becoming the North Star for the Ocean-Tech communiity. Not only are their progams advanced and effective, they’ve started to reach out to other Ocean Tech ecosystems to mentor and coaach, to provide lessons learned, share best practices, and grow the global community as a whole. This type of cooperation is healthy for the industry and serves as an example for other cluster leaders to follow.”
Industry Fellow, Sutarja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology
UC Berkeley College of Engineering
“We would have been a completely different company if we had not been through the Katapult Ocean Accelerator Program. Our ability to attract the funding that we need has now increased exponentially.”
Co-Founder of SolarDuck
“It’s been really great in both being a tough program that requires a lot, but it gives you a lot back. We feel significantly more ready to raise money in the long term now than we’ve been before. We’re a lot more optimistic and courageous on how fast we can move forward with the right fundraising plan.”
Co-Founder, Hooked Foods
The Blue World Perspective 2020
As a part of Katapult Ocean’s investment process, they have screened more than
1400 ocean startups the past year and mapped the global landscape for impact driven ocean startups.
Every year, they share the findings in The Blue World Perspective. In the 2020 report, you’ll get the latest number of where blue solutions are built, what sectors the solutions represent and answers from Katapult Ocean’s ocean ecosystem survey of startups, investors and industry players.