MarineLabs is a coastal intelligence company and real-time data provider, transforming coastal safety, mobility and building climate-resilient coastlines. We provide real-time wind and wave data at the world’s highest resolution. We are built on deep passion and respect for the ocean. Our mission is to transform marine mobility and enhance the climate resilience of coastlines. We take pride as strong and reliable partners for collaborators and customers.
Tell us about yourself?
As a kid growing up on Vancouver Island, I loved the beach and the ocean as well as tinkering with technologies. Breaking and then rebuilding everything electrical and mechanical like engines, stereos, RC cars & airplanes, and model rockets.
From there, I discovered a passion for math and physics, where I tutored friends throughout my high school years. I later went to the University of British Columbia for an undergrad in Mechanical Engineering and got into designing test rigs for wind tunnels tow tanks and got excited about ocean renewable energy. I started surfing around 2004 and joined a doomed wave energy start-up as their first engineer and quickly learned I needed a space to research wave technologies in a deeper way, so I moved on to a Master’s at the University of Victoria which led to a Ph.D. where I did all kinds of wave physics and math, experimental design, algorithm development, experimental testing on ocean wave energy. After that, I became a consultant for tech companies, USDOE, and other governments and realized my next step was to harness the opportunities in ocean data!
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself two years ago: Don’t worry so much, your ideas are solid, and the world needs what you’re building.
What problem does your business solve?
90% of the world’s goods are shipped by sea, and there is an exploding demand for goods. As a result, ships are getting larger, but…
- Ports are generally staying the same size
- There’s new intensity to regulations that reduce carbon emissions
- Climate change is making sea conditions more volatile and more extreme. All of this demands increasing sophistication and awareness from ports and vessel operators to ensure safe and efficient waterways, reduce the risks of marine accidents, and minimize wasted fuel.
Vast lengths of coast around the world are exposed to increased flooding due to climate change, requiring tens of trillions in coastal protection investments, yet there is a lack of accurate data along coastlines that can be used for the design of climate resilient infrastructure. Often the engineers working for municipalities rely on unvalidated desktop model studies, producing conclusions that are not certain enough to catalyze the required spending on coastal adaptation.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
MarineLabs is heavily inspired by CubeSat companies like Planet. They sell access to data and insights from fleets of satellites they operate, and their data is changing the world. Before MarineLabs, the state of the art in coastal weather data was provided by large, expensive, sparsely located, legacy buoys that transmit their data infrequently and are often broken. We think that North America’s ~70,000 floating marker buoys should all be real-time data stations. With our solution, we will light up coastal regions that are under-served with data, bringing unparalleled real-time weather awareness and decision-making capabilities to Port and Maritime operators.
What is your magic sauce?
MarineLabs’ fleet of ocean sensors and data sources provide the world’s highest resolution data, measuring and transmitting every wave and gust of wind. It updates in real-time, nearly four times faster than legacy systems. MarineLabs’ data transmits 5Mb of data every 5-minutes (others transmit just 5 bytes) and provides persistent, reliable, long-term data. The data is processed and stored in the CoastAware™ cloud-based platform and subscribers can access data via their web browser, mobile device or through a custom API. Our subscription model frees the customer from the hassles and unforeseen costs of operating assets at sea – they simply log in and use the data.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
MarineLabs has units on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, below Alaska near Prince Rupert and near San Diego. MarineLabs can be deployed onto anything that floats, including the tens of thousands of buoys along Canada’s coast, sending real-time coastal data instantly to its subscribers. Our goal is to be attached to thousands of aids to navigation and expand further into the US and across the world.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Major challenges are abound for technology companies, but even harder for companies that include hardware, and even harder for marine & maritime. We’ve built and destroyed countless prototypes, iterated, and redeployed to get where we are now. Supply chain issues are a current challenge, however, from the leadership perspective, the challenge is mainly about maintaining a sense of focus. What customer segment, technology feature, trade show, or event really deserves our time? The preservation of focussed execution is the largest challenge of all.
How can people get involved?
We are rapidly scaling and always on the lookout for enthusiastic, ocean-minded team members. If you’re looking to join our amazing team, check out www.marinelabs.io/careers/, or email us your CV at email@example.com!