MassChallenge and 401 Tech Bridge Announce Inaugural Blue Tech Cohort

MassChallenge selects a promising group of maritime entrepreneurs for its inaugural 8-week hybrid accelerator program dedicated to the Blue Tech industry in cooperation with 401 Tech Bridge.

October 20, 2021 (PROVIDENCE, RI) – MassChallenge, the global for innovators, in cooperation with 401 Tech Bridge, which  accelerates the development of advanced materials and technology for commercial and  defense applications, today launch the Blue Tech Accelerator and Fellowship Program made possible with support from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation Technology (SPRINT) Challenge. This initiative combines MassChallenge’s highly specialized accelerator program with 401 Tech Bridge’s network and expertise to support new and growing businesses in the blue technology sector. 

While MassChallenge has had Blue Technology innovator participation in its traditional early-stage program, this is the first time the organization has offered a program that is specific to the industry. In its inaugural year, the program welcomes an expanded group of 12 startups to participate alongside 4 fellows to accelerate their innovations in the ocean, defense, and wind industries. Initially, the cohort was not to exceed 10 startups, but because of the promising nature of the group, a larger cohort emerged. The cohort represents 10 blue tech focus areas that include undersea/unmanned vehicles, sensors (concepts, signal processing techniques), IT communications, data transfer, cybersecurity, digital twins, modeling & simulation, composite materials, electronic systems, oceanographic research, materials certification, and artificial intelligence/machine learning (autonomy & data science). Learn about the Blue Tech Cohort here.

The Blue Tech Accelerator Program exists to address a critical need for growth in the blue economy. “This program builds upon the existing strength of the region and the opportune moment in time we are facing.  The blue economy is arguably the next economic frontier and Rhode Island is poised to drive its growth,” said Hope Hopkins, Managing Director, Early Stage New England.  “The startups and fellows selected for this program represent technically innovative solutions that address challenge areas coming from established and emerging industries alike.  There is no greater opportunity for these companies than within our region.” 

This program launch comes at a critical time for the Rhode Island economy as it is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. By launching a program focused on developing emerging Blue Technology businesses in an area known for its robust 400 miles of waterfront, the Rhode Island economy stands to be restored. Throughout the 8-week program, the cohorts will participate in weekly programming sessions that include Workshops led by industry leaders, peer-to-peer Pod Sessions, and Office Hours with the 401 Tech Bridge team and wind, ocean, and Navy experts.

”The 401 Tech Bridge team is excited to partner with MassChallenge to support the 12 start-ups and 4 fellows as they move through the Blue Tech accelerator,” said Christian Cowan, executive director of 401 Tech Bridge and chief operating officer of the URI Research Foundation. “Innovation in undersea technologies is an area of strength in the region, and key to future economic growth. Together, 401 Tech Bridge and MassChallenge will help the start-ups explore commercial, government and defense applications for their technology, and hone their go-to- market strategies, leading to growth and job creation.”  

MassChallenge has a world-class network of investors, serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and academics evaluated applications based on each startup’s ability to demonstrate high impact and high potential in the blue economy. Together with 401 Tech Bridge, the Blue Tech accelerator will leverage preexisting relationships within the undersea technology, offshore wind, and recreational marine industries, the Navy, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership national network, the University of Rhode Island and other academic institutions in the region, to build on Rhode Island’s position as a premier destination nationwide for innovation and investment in ocean technology. 

At the end of this year’s program, startups will have pitched their technologies at two collider events, to be culminated by a demo day that will be open to the Blue Technology community in New England. Attendees will be able to network and connect with the game-changing innovators who are solving massive challenges and changing the blue economic status quo. To save the date and be added to the invitation list, click here.  

Learn about the BlueTech Cohort, who they are, where they’re from, and their backgrounds, here

About MassChallenge

MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,900 MassChallenge alumni have raised $8.6B in funding, generated $3.6B in revenue, and created more than 186,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at

About 401 TechBridge 

401 TechBridge supports economic growth in Rhode Island and the region, mentoring companies and connecting them to resources to bridge gaps in their research & development process, and to commercial, defense and government applications for their technology. 401 Tech Bridge partners with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport and the Naval X Northeast Tech Bridge in their mission to accelerate innovation to the fleet, providing tech scouting, prize challenge management and outreach to connect leading edge technology into the innovation cycle. 401 Tech Bridge is recognized as an Innovation Campus in the state of Rhode Island, and receives grant support from NIST MEP, the US EDA, the EDA SPRINT Challenge, the Office of Naval Research, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation, Learn more about 401 Tech Bridge at