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Startup Accelerator

Partnering with startups to support thriving oceans and a robust, sustainable maritime industry. 

Alaska is the location to develop, test, and commercialize ocean technologies. We can help. 

Founded and incubated by the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association since 2017 with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Startup Accelerator, formerly known as the Alaska Ocean Cluster is one of a dozen programs around the country advancing sustainable economic development in the Blue Economy. In 2022, management of the program was transferred to AFDF and it rebranded as the AFDF Startup Accelerator.

The Startup Accelerator takes a creative approach to supporting early-stage companies as they grow. We work one-on-one with each company to directly address their unique needs and plug them in to our globe-spanning network of early-stage founders, investors, philanthropists, and strategic partners. The work of the AFDF Startup Accelerator is guided by an Industry Advisory Committee in order to bring focus and synergy between its efforts and the priorities for technology, research and development in the Alaska seafood industry.

The program has supported more than 16 startups, facilitated multiple deployment projects, and grown our network. We have: 

  • Tested salmon bycatch reduction technology in the Bering Sea aboard three pollock trawlers with SafetyNet Technologies, Denali Commission, and Coastal Villages Region Fund.

  • Researched the availability of commercially valuable shellfish byproducts present in Alaska with Sandia National Laboratories.

  • Supported development of an improved sea ice forecasting model with PolArctic LLC. and Alaska commercial fishermen.

  • Worked with the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to improve the commercial crab offloading process.

  • Developed and hosted a two-day event focused on technological innovation needs for U.S. commercial fishermen with Seafood Harvesters of America, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Schmidt Marine Technology Partner, among others.

  • Presented at public forums including Pacific Marine Expo, ComFish, Alaska Bycatch Reduction Taskforce, Alaska Mariculture Conference, Arctic Encounter, and the Arctic Circle Assembly.

  • Secured a resolution of support from the Alaska Legislature.

  • Secured funding through 2024 from Builders Vision, an impact platform founded by Lukas and Samantha Walton.


Explore the portfolio of startups we're working with to support thriving oceans and a robust, sustainable maritime industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not at the moment. However, we do help startups connect with grant programs, investors, and other potential sources of funding. We encourage those seeking funding to contact us.

The process begins with a conversation. We will work with you to identify key needs and determine whether our program can help. AFDF extends a formal invitation into the program if we think we can help you grow. We typically meet bi-weekly to advance specific goals we've defined. 

Startups accepted into the program will receive direct support from the Startup Accelerator staff as well as our network of mentors and advisors. We work with each startup to draft a scope of work tailored to their individual needs. We can edit that pitch deck, make an intro to an investor or customer, help find talent, or just be generally nice and supportive!

With over 33,000 miles of shoreline, 158 coastal communities, and one of the largest, most sustainable wild fisheries in the world, Alaska is an ideal place to develop, test, and deploy emerging ocean technologies. The 49th State also boasts access to the harsh conditions of the Arctic. That's part of why we say, "If it works in Alaska, it'll work anywhere in the world."

Team & Program Advisors

Peter Warden


Peter Warden 

Peter supports the strategic planning, recruitment, and administration of the Startup Accelerator. Originally from the East Coast, Peter moved to Alaska in the Summer of 2022 to work in the salmon processing industry. Prior to that, he spent 7 years in New York City working on private equity and debt investments across a broad range of industries. He is a graduate of Fordham University and is passionate about all things related to Alaskan fisheries and seafood.

  • Builders Vision

    Taylor Holshouser

  • Pt Capital

    Kevin Payne

  • Portland Incubator Experiment

    Rick Turoczy

  • Bering Sea Fishermen's Association

    Karen Gillis

  • Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation

    Kristy Clement

  • S2G Ventures

    Larsen Mettler


    Ephraim Froehlich

  • F/V Patricia Lee, F/V Aleutian #1

    Edward Poulsen

  • Journey Partners

    Clyde Hutchinson

  • Blue Wood Capital

    Matt Dittrich