Putting the Seafloor on the Map

About 71 per cent of the planet’s surface is, quite literally, off the grid. There are no mapping apps, no indications, directions, nor details available about the terrain of our underwater world. The water-covered surfaces on planet Earth are simply written off as a gigantic blue patch on most charts, maps, or navigation systems.

But Planblue is building a global seafloor database using underwater satellites to monitor and protect our oceans. As co-founder Joost den Haan stressed during his interview, oceans are not only key to billions of people in terms of jobs and food, they also sequester more CO2 than anything else on the planet. So why exactly aren’t we paying more attention to them?

“The seafloor is not a place where we live as people, so automatically it’s not so much on the radar… but it should be!” Joost den Haan

Planblue’s technology combines hyperspectral and RGB images with underwater navigation and artificial intelligence to create interactive seafloor maps that simplify vast amounts of data and footage obtained by either divers or robots sent to the depths of the sea to make sense of the unknown. Plastic waste pollution, wrecks, unhealthy coral reefs… Planblue aims to shed light on what’s beneath the surface, facilitating decision-makers so as to speed up much-needed climate legislation.

“Oil and gas are very interested in our technology, but for us as a company, it’s a decision that we not go in this direction.” – Hannah Brocke

When the company was founded in October 2017, Hannah and Joost had already been part of the Maritime ClimAccelerator programme in Berlin for a little while, and even now that planblue is a fully formed company with dozens of employees, the back and forth with their former coaches is far from over.

“We still work with most of the coaches from back then, one of them actually became an investor in the company. We found new investors, developed new partners… Even the lawyer who helped us set up contracts and all, is still our lawyer to this day.” said Joost.

The start-up is now one of over 70 portfolio companies backed by EIT Climate-KIC. As an impact investor, we offer the most promising Stage 2 ClimAccelerator start-ups funding and support services in exchange for future equity.

Climate SAFE is a special kind of Advanced Subscription Agreement delivered through the ClimAccelerator programme; a combination of cash and in-kind support including fast-track access to relevant EU funding opportunities, a dedicated portfolio manager, exclusive access to the ClimAccelerator marketplace and a wide variety of tools and resources, beyond the tailored training and mentorship delivered by our local delivery partners.

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