In this second episode of our international startup series, we would like you to meet ReShore.
The LIVING breakwater: Protecting coasts and rebuilding ecosystems
ReShore, a startup based in Wageningen, has developed the LIVING breakwater technology. A reliable, nature-inclusive innovation for protecting coastlines from flooding and erosion. To continue working from the East Netherlands, the place where both founders completed their studies and have built their business, a startup visa was necessary. Oost NL is an official startup facilitator and helped ReShore go through the process successfully.
ReShore was founded in 2020 by co-founders Mitchell Williams and Frej Gustafsson. Both Mitchell and Frej graduated from Wageningen University in 2020 with MSc degrees in Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management, specializing in ecology and governance.
Co-founders Frej Gustafsson and Mitchell Williams
The LIVING breakwater is a combination of a floating breakwater and reef-building organisms, i.e. shellfish and seaweed. The primary function of the LIVING breakwater is to dissipate waves to protect assets and coastlines. The secondary function is to build reefs using reef-building organisms to rebuild ecosystems and help customers meet new legislation.
The inclusion of reef-building organisms does not only provide valuable ecosystem services, but also increases the wave attenuation performance of the LIVING breakwater, which is its primary function. This is done by increasing the mass, friction, and turbulence of the breakwater itself, which in turn increases the dissipation of incoming waves.
The LIVING breakwater
Legislation and stakeholder demands
The reef-building organisms provide a host of ecosystem services such as habitat creation for other species, water filtration, and an increase in biodiversity. By generating these ecosystem services, the LIVING Breakwater can meet new, or increasingly strict, environmental legislation or policy, such as Natura 2000 in the Netherlands. Outside of direct legislation, ReShore’s customers also face increasing stakeholder demands that prohibit their social license to operate. Stakeholders want to see solutions that are greener and more environmentally friendly, which the LIVING breakwater supports.
ReShore has an award-winning concept, which has been supported by the NWO, RVO, WWF, MARIN, the Ocean Community Challenge, Wageningen University, and StartLife. Other collaborators and partners include Huisman Equipment, Deltares, Van Oord, and Conservation International.
In the past year, ReShore was a semifinalist in the Philips Innovation Award and finalist in the Monaco Ocean Protection Challenge.
Most recently, ReShore has been granted a demonstration project in Scheveningen Harbour, in collaboration with the municipality of Den Haag, the Campus @ Sea program, and the Port Authority of Den Haag. This is a critical milestone for the company which will allow the company to continue its research and development program in an operational setting and move the company closer to market entry. It represents the company’s largest opportunity, but also its largest challenge to date.
You can see the LIVING breakwater on the water in early 2023, and it will be featured as an innovation in the Ocean Race in 2023.
ReShore recently completed StartLife's accelerator program. ReShore participated in the StartLife program in Fall 2021 and has benefited greatly from the network and program of study that the Accelerator provides. They have been an essential partner in helping ReShore scale their business activities as well as their impact.
Without the continued support of Oost NL – who has provided expertise and network – to ReShore from their early stages as student entrepreneurs at Wageningen University, none of these achievements would have been possible.
A lot of interest is already being shown in this new concept and ReShore received a NWO grant of €40,000 last year. The solution has been tested and further developed together with the Wageningen-based Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN).
ReShore is going to launch a demonstration of their LIVING breakwater concept in the harbor of Scheveningen in 2023.
To do so, they are looking for further seed capital to execute the project and partners who are motivated to be a part of the next generation of nature-inclusive marine infrastructure.
If you want to be part of this groundbreaking project and innovation, please reach out.
About the Startup visa and Oost NL
Powered by the Dutch National Enterprise Agency (RVO) The Netherlands Point of Entry is the first stop for international talent looking to work or set up a business in the Netherlands. A Startup visa is one of the means to enter The Netherlands. East Netherlands Development Agency (Oost NL) is an official startup facilitator. This means that, with Oost NL as their facilitator, innovative non-EU citizens can grow their startups in East Netherlands (Gelderland or Overijssel). Oost NL is welcoming international startups who aim to solve global challenges using our regional ecosystem.