OTIS Applies Alaskan Talent to Blue Growth
The Ocean Technology Innovation Sprint (OTIS) is an elite program based on the Google Ventures Sprint process engaging designers, engineers, marketers, finance and startup enthusiasts, forming interdisciplinary teams. These teams experience the excitement of ideation to solve big challenges in Alaska’s blue economy – the sustainable and impactful development of our ocean resources. OTIS represents the best of Alaskan innovation.
OTIS runs over 4 Saturdays and one Demo Night evening event. Participants are required to attend all five sessions and are expected to contribute time outside of these sessions for “homework,” prototyping & engineering sessions, pitch preparation, and ideation.
Applications for OTIS 2019 are not yet open. Please check back in August 2019 for more information.
In 2018, Team Silver won with a business plan for marine refurbishment, utilizing engineered bacteria and robots for bioremediation of pollutants and safe removal of paint, ultimately finding new value for old fishing vessels. Team Silver was the virtual team, bringing together participants from across Alaska to address challenges in the blue economy. Team Sockeye won “fan favorite” for their PSP testing kit business plan at Demo Night, where their Happy Clam 3-D printed prototype won over the crowd. Team King produced an app to measure fish in the field, and Team Coho created a business plan for an Alaska Marine Biotechnology Institute.
Over four Saturdays, teams identified a challenge facing industries in the blue economy, brainstormed solutions to those challenges, prototyped their solutions, and created a comprehensive business plan and customer market map. On November 14, teams presented their ideas to the community at a Demo Night celebration and pitched to judges for a chance to win an $1800 consulting session or business workshops.
OTIS 2018 involved 16 participants, 15 mentors, and 22 sponsors.
In 2017, Team Chukchi won with their Sea Green Bar, a seaweed energy bar that addressed challenges of incorporating seaweed into viable, valuable products. Team Arctic produced the FISHL Bycatch Reduction System, combining underwater trawl net cameras, computer vision fish identification, and a drop-in bycatch release hatch to allow non-target species to escape working trawl nets. Team Beaufort created the C3 Tidal Generator, an affordable renewable energy option for coastal consumers and small villages. Team Pacific developed an idea for the application of machine learning to salmon counts in Alaska. The virtual team, Team Bering Sea, produced an app, Wheelhouse, a powerful online workforce development tool. Wheelhouse is now an early-stage startup operating out of Juneau and Seward and has recently been a speaker at the AOC’s Ocean Tuesday webinar presentation.
OTIS 2017 was widely acclaimed across the state and represented the first “innovation sprint” event held in Alaska, spurring the development of similar programs. Notable not only for its innovative focus but also its ability to unite Alaskans from different locations and backgrounds, OTIS 2017 was a runaway hit, becoming a keystone of the Alaska Ocean Cluster’s programming.