Key to solid funding strategies, thorough validation
Defining a solid funding strategy, which involves finding and selecting funding opportunities that matches the innovation project in question, requires thorough validation. To avoid wasting time and other resources, it is utterly important to analyse elements ranging from project scope to timing as different funding opportunities are relevant for different projects and at different stages. In turn, this gives a funding strategy that not only ensures formal eligibility and compatibility but also enables success throughout the growth journey. Hence, we follow clients over time to help assess when to take what funding step. We met up with USEA Ocean Data, a Norwegian client that we have been working closely with to validate funding opportunities.
USEA is introducing innovative technology that will revolutionise the way we collect critical data and knowledge from the seabed, an important measure to support the green transition. Ocean data is on global demand as it allows, for instance, exploratory and biomonitoring research. In contrast to current technologies and operations, USEA is determined to change seabed data collection into a responsible, considerate, and sustainable process. More detailed, USEA is developing unique unmanned vessels and fully automated systems that allow underwater drones to be launched and recovered, in addition also charged and able to transfer data whilst submerged. In turn, drastically reducing risk for personnel as well as time and cost for operation. Importantly, the use of unmanned and autonomous systems also leads to minimised environmental impact as the USEA technology cuts emissions and avoids causing harm to the marine life. As USEA puts it “we map the blue depths for a greener future”.
Such offshore innovation projects can be both complex and capital intensive, which makes soft funding particularly important to minimise the risks involved. Soft funding can in more general terms be described as funding without the requirement for dilution of ownership nor return on investment from the funding body, often granted for specific purposes. When we first came in contact with USEA, there were no doubts that their project and technology held potential. We discussed several opportunities over the years, with Norwegian and European programmes. In mid-January 2023, USEA received a pre-approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority, indicating perfect timing for further developing and testing their technology on a greater scale. Again, this is a complex and capital-intensive process where soft funding play an important role. Cassandra Myhre, Innovation Consultant at Innovayt who have been working closely with USEA, pinpoints that:
We do see that more and more soft funding opportunities target and support green technology, both on the national and the European level, which could allow companies, such as USEA, to develop and introduce game-changing innovations. However, a good timing and proper match is important to secure the well-needed funds.