There a whole host of different niche, product, and market focused accelerators out there. These range from hardware accelerators, financial industry accelerators, health tech accelerators, even an agriculture tech accelerator. Well, you can add another thematic accelerator to that. On Tuesday, the OCEAN accelerator announced that it has opened applications for its second batch. Although this will be their second accelerator, this is the first time we have come across the Cincinnati, OH based program, and it is unlike any we have seen.
OCEAN is the first faith-based accelerator in the U.S. Structurally, OCEAN operates in a similar fashion as the standard accelerator model: exchanging seed capital for equity, while subjecting the startups of each class to an intensive curriculum and workshop program. However, “the primary differentiating factor is that OCEAN also brings a unique focus on comprehensive founder development—addressing critical needs such as faith, family and community within the context of business.”1 Genine Fallon, the executive director of OCEAN laid out the accelerators mission in the announcement of the 2nd batch applications:
Our vision is to be a top-tier accelerator with God at the center. As an accelerator, we are working with teams at their earliest stage, where we can invest in them holistically and set them on a path for success.2
As far as companies and niches, the accelerator is looking for startups in the general tech sector. As far as the faith-based component is concerned, OCEAN has a simple criteria for determining if founders are eligible:
We ask all applicants to answer the following question on our application: Do you agree with the OCEAN Statement of Faith and/or are you open to exploring what we believe as part of accelerating your business and personal journey? This is an exciting chance to challenge yourself on what is important in your life as you build a thriving company.3
Applications for the 2016 program are open now. The 6 month program begins in January of next year.