Packed full of startups, accelerator ship Unreasonable at Sea heads towards SA

Unreasonable at Sea

Unreasonable at Sea

Geeks on a plane? Meet startups on a ship. Yep, startup accelerator Unreasonable Institute has been taking entrepreneurs on a voyage around the world while they work on solving social and environmental problems and bringing their businesses to international markets.

Unreasonable at Sea has just passed the halfway mark on its 100-day journey, sailing past Mauritius on its way to its next pit stop in Cape Town, South Africa. The ship, which left San Diego in early January and plans to dock in Barcelona in April, is packed full of startups looking to expand globally and mentors who can help them do it. A spot on the ship offers them access to meetings with potential investors, local industry experts and government officials to give them a push in the right direction. As an added twist, they’re also sharing the ship with hundreds of Semester at Sea‘s college students, who are taking classes on entrepreneurship and helping out as interns.

Over 1000 ventures from 80 countries applied for a spot on the ship — but only 11 made the cut. So how has it been going, now that they’ve passed the half way mark? TechCrunch spoke to the Unreasonable Institute’s Daniel Epstein about the journey so far and explained more about the unique venture. “I think there are two things that really differentiate Unreasonable at Sea from other tech accelerators — and it’s not that we’re on a ship going around the world,” he said.

“One is the stage of the companies that we’re working with. Eight of the eleven companies we’re working with are already profitable. Most of them have scaled in multiple countries, and have come on this ship sailing around the world because they want to scale internationally faster,” he explained.

“The second side is that all the companies we work with are geared towards impact. They’re trying to solve these seemingly intractable social and environmental challenges, whether that’s using nano technology to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere profitably or providing clean drinking water to a quarter of a million people every single day,” said Epstein.

After an entrepreneurial workshop with girls in South Africa’s informal settlements and an investor gathering and pitch event in Cape Town, they’re off to countries like Ghana, Morocco and Spain. Some of the mentors soon to step on board include WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg and former Facebooker and entrepreneur Prince Fahad Al Saud.



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