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Victoria, BC-based Julie Angus understands the ocean better than most people – its beauty, power and environmental importance. In 2006, Angus became the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean with her partner on a 156-day, 10,000-kilometre odyssey from Portugal to Costa Rica.
“Being on the open ocean in all of its states is an astonishing thing to witness,” Julie tells us. “We need to protect it if we want to protect ourselves.”
They faced several dangers on the muscle-powered adventure – getting circled by white sharks; two hurricanes; a near-death collision with a freighter and much more – all of it culminating with the pair winning National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year award.
Aside from being a thrill seeker, author and motivational speaker, Julie is also a co-founder and CEO. Her startup, Open Ocean Robotics, designs and sells autonomous boats that harvest energy and collect data in real time. That means insight on everything from the frequency of tsunamis and earthquakes, to the state of manatees off the Gulf of Mexico. The company’s opportunity to save lives, benefit the environment and advance industry is extraordinary. And with the help of the Women in Cleantech Challenge, that opportunity is now reality.
Julie came across the competition while scouring the Internet for funding. “I knew immediately that my company was a perfect fit,” she says. “Our technology tackles some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges.”
Julie and her team now have 30 months to further develop her product. Then, she makes an impassioned pitch for the $1 million prize and the title of Challenge champion. Still, win or lose, Julie remains confident: “We want to play a dominant role in the innovation market in the next five years. We’re going to have a fleet of boats and lots of customers across sectors. Open Ocean Robotics will succeed because the world needs to understand the ocean to survive.”
On to the next adventure.