Daniel Kleinman represents exactly what The Shrimp Society is all about.
He is the 27-year-old first-time founder of Seaworthy Collective - a social impact startup community and venture studio focused on ocean innovation - or as he calls it "The Regenerative Blue Economy".
Daniel is a Miami-native that wants to help build this city into the global hub of ocean innovation.
Despite what you might think, South Florida's ocean technology & innovation ecosystem isn't as mature as cities like Boston and San Diego.
This is counterintuitive since we've all heard "Miami will be underwater in 30 years."
Well, Daniel is confronting this problem head-on. His energy & passion for Seaworthy Collective's mission is invigorating. Daniel accumulated subject matter expertise over the past 5 years with experiences like:
Contributing to designing unmanned underwater vehicles for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Piloting and testing Bluefin Robotics' unmanned underwater vehicles in Boston
Contributing to mechanical engineering R&D for maritime systems as a contractor for the U.S. Navy in San Diego
Working towards a Master's degree in Exploration Science at The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School for Marine & Atmospheric Science
His technical expertise paired with his systems thinking approach has uniquely positioned Daniel to lead Seaworthy Collective.
Introducing Seaworthy Collective
Seaworthy Collective was created to empower a community of current & aspiring ocean entrepreneurs, known as Sea Change Makers, to innovate for regenerative ocean impact.
Daniel's unique insight is that innovation for ocean regeneration is actually more critical to develop than ocean sustainability. He is seeking ways to systemically solve problems with the Blue Economy, not just apply "band-aids" to mitigate the deterioration. Seaworthy Collective achieves this by creating a “pipeline of ventures” that work as collective systems of solutions.
Daniel explains this in more depth in Seaworthy’s Roadmap for a Regenerative Blue Economy:
"The current ocean innovation pipeline primarily serves the defense and fossil fuel industries, which has been driven by declining public funding for the ocean sciences. As a result, this pipeline is also failing to create solutions for the most urgent issues facing the oceans: warming, acidification, overfishing, sea-level rise, plasticization, pollution, and more.
Furthermore, sustainability for the oceans is only an incremental step towards mitigating, rather than solving, these problems. The blue economy needs to be regenerative, with a tangible, solutions-based focus that reverses detrimental anthropogenic impacts. Seaworthy Collective was created to address the systemic barriers to catalyze solutions for the oceans' greatest problems. "
In January 2021, Seaworthy announced its Opportunities for Sea Change - six key areas of opportunity to build a regenerative blue economy as a collective system of solutions.
Seaworthy Collective's Opportunities for Sea Change
Seaworthy is taking applications for Seaworthy Collective’s Opportunities for Sea Change through April 30, so if you are interested be sure to submit your application soon.
Social Impact Business
Not only is Daniel innovating on technology to conserve the ocean, but he is also using a new and innovative business structure called a Hybrid Social Impact Business.
A social impact business is a company that seeks to solve systemic challenges that results in shared value across a community or the whole globe, making “Profit through purpose”. The hybrid structure allows Seaworthy Collective to accept grants and corporate donations, yet still build a profitable business.
This falls in line with Daniel’s guiding “Why” for Seaworthy Collective:
“We're empowering current and aspiring entrepreneurs to get into the field [ocean regeneration], making it more interdisciplinary, accessible, diverse, and inclusive.”
Daniel doesn’t want to build just another CRM or productivity tool. He is pulling together non-profit organizations, government agencies, leading universities, and aspirational entrepreneurs to make a difference for “71% of the planet”. That’s awesome.
In line with the #MiamiTech Manifesto, Seaworthy Collective is purposeful about the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the Miami Tech ecosystem and the ocean and climate sciences industry. The company offers accessible and prerequisite-free opportunities to co-found your own impact venture or grow your existing startup in the ocean and climate tech space through its venture studio.
You can learn more about Seaworthy Collective’s Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Blue Future plans here.
Business Model: Venture Studio
Venture studios are an interesting business model and perfect for what Daniel is looking to achieve.
A venture studio ideates, co-builds, and launches multiple startups at the same time.
Venture studios completely flip the script on more commonly used incubators & accelerators. Incubators & accelerators have been around for decades. They seek out early-stage (pre-seed or seed-stage) startup founders who need access to experienced mentors, operational know-how, talent pools, tangible resources, and connections to investors.
They often have a targeted industry vertical, as well. Incubators & accelerators normally take a small percentage of equity in the startups or invest small amounts in the earliest rounds.
A venture studio, on the other hand, seeks out ambitious entrepreneurs to co-build new ideas into successful startups. The venture studio provides the idea, the space, frameworks, industry exposure, and all the resources just like an incubator or accelerator.
The big difference is that venture studios fully own their startups from the onset, and then bring in founding teams with large equity incentives to lead the idea into a viable startup.
The advantage of a venture studio, especially in Seaworthy Collective’s case, is that Daniel & his core team can build a collective system of innovations that compound for greater impact. In traditional accelerators, the innovations are largely siloed even if there is a core industry theme.
The venture studio is only one phase of Seaworthy Collective’s “Innovation Pipeline” strategy. The innovation pipeline provides a launchpad for ideas through the venture studio, then helps the validated startups raise seed capital, and finally provides a structured accelerator for growth.
Think of it in three phases:
Phase 1: Venture Studio - Co-create startups and place founding teams
Phase 2: Pitch Competition - Seed capital for co-created startups & crowdsource existing startups along the regenerative blue economy theme
Phase 3: Accelerate - Launch & grow the collective pipeline of startups
Seaworthy Collective will be co-creating 6 total ventures across its Opportunities for Sea Change themes with 3 co-founders for each venture. I know you’re thinking, "Where are they going to find 18 talented entrepreneurs to build these startups?"
That's where the collective piece comes in.
The collective is a network of strategic collaborators all focused on ocean conservation. The individuals & organizations involved support a pipeline of talent, research, access to technology, and pilot opportunities.
Daniel has partnered with leading organizations like the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, Ocean Exchange, Regenerative Resources Co., 5 Gyres, Marine Research Hub, and other advocacy organizations.
Seaworthy Collective has also built an impressive and diverse mentor network with industry and local leaders like:
Dr. Mark Abbott - Previous President, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Dr. Kenny Broad - Director at Abess Center for Ecosystem Science, Professor in the Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society at UM, National Geographic Explorer of the Year (2011)
Millicent Wallace Pitts - CEO/Executive Director, OceanExchange.org
Additionally, they also focus on also leveraging early career movers and shakers like:
Dr. Katherine Skinner - Postdoctoral Researcher in Underwater Robotics, Georgia Institute of Technology
Caleb Carr - Founder, President, & CEO at Vita Inclinata Technologies, Forbes 30 under 30
Rose Santana - Research Analyst Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology Lab Florida International University
At a more tactical level, Daniel has inspired a team of over 20 active volunteers to contribute time and energy to get Seaworthy Collective off the ground.
A true testament to the young entrepreneur's enthusiasm and leadership.
How can we help?
Echoing Mayor Suarez' now-famous "How can I help?" question, we want to share how our community can help Daniel succeed with Seaworthy Collective.
The Shrimp Society is all about helping young Miami entrepreneurs succeed, so let’s see what our community can do for Daniel and Seaworthy Collective.
Co-founders & Prospective Entrepreneurs
Seaworthy Collective is looking for prospective co-founders for its venture studio startups as well as entrepreneurs that are interested in its pitch competition.
If you or someone you know is passionate about ocean innovation, technology, conservation, or regeneration then make sure they submit an application for Seaworthy Collective’s Opportunities for Sea Change is open now until April 30th.
Raising a Seed Round
Daniel is raising a seed round of $4.4 million right now to support growing and developing 40 ventures over the next 3 years. If you are interested in learning more, reach out to him at email@example.com.
Philanthropic & Corporate Sponsors
Seaworthy Collective provides a great avenue for non-profits and corporations to directly impact ocean conservation through sponsorships. The sponsorships support Seaworthy Collective’s Social Impact programs including its:
Ideas for Sea Change panels
Seaworthy Conversations panels
Grow Seaworthy’s Network of Mentors & Strategic Collaborators
If you or someone you know that has experience they can share with current and aspiring entrepreneurs and a passion for the oceans (or keeping your Miami Beach house above water in the next decade) then reach out to Daniel.
More information about becoming a part of Seaworthy’s mentor & collaborator network can be found at https://www.seaworthycollective.com/network.