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Winners Announced; Rhode Island Israel BlueTech Startup Competition

The Rhode Island Israeli Collaborative (RIIC) in collaboration with Innovate Newport, The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, and HUBASHDOD Israel is pleased to announce its winners of the BlueTech Startup Competition.

The Israeli competition winner is nakAI Robotics.

nakAI Robotics develops cutting-edge vessels' Conditioning & Inspection solutions, aimed at preserving and improving our ocean's health by significantly reducing millions of tons in Air and Water pollutions, and also by minimizing the transmission of Aquatic Invasive Species.

nakAI is building a fully Autonomous Hull Cleaning Robot to address this massive pain point and market opportunity - our Robot & Docking station always travels with the ship, removes early-stage Slime & Biofouling while vessels are In-Transit.

The Rhode Island competition winner is Jaia Robotics.

Jaia Robotics is a Rhode Island based business that has world leading expertise in autonomous aquatic data collection systems. As leaders in low cost, high speed, micro-sized autonomous aquatic robots called JaiaBots that work in pods of up to 20 vehicles, Jaia Robotics is positioned to do what no other system can do in collecting aquatic data from depths of 1 to 100m, in oceans, surf zones, estuaries, rivers and lakes.

The goal of the competition was to cultivate the international blue tech ecosystem by supporting startups and connecting them with strategic partners, mentors, and resources. The program successfully created connections specifically between the Ashdod Bluetech ecosystem and the Greater Newport Bluetech ecosystem.

The BlueTech Startup Competition identified startup companies in the Bluetech space from each location based on criteria developed by the innovation hubs in each city: HUBASHDOD and Innovate Newport. The companies competed for a 1st place prize that includes cash as well as a customized trip including flights to the partnering country where the winner will gain access to personalized introductions, meetings, and coworking space. U.S. Newport judges judged the Israeli pitches; whereas Israeli judges judged the American pitches.

This start up competition is the first initiative of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce’s International Innovations Series, which is intended to develop partnerships and strengthen relationships with other international port cities made up of similar economies and industries to help bridge our markets and expand opportunities for entrepreneurs. Future joint activities are planned for both for the future and will be announced in the coming weeks.

A special thanks to the Rhode Island judges: Christian Cowan (401 Tech Bridge), Jay Coogan (IYRS School of Technology & Trades), and Molly Magee (Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance and the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium). A special thanks to the Israeli judges: Shani Rahamim (Windward), Ran Sasson (CLP Israel), and Ben Benny (Dankor)

Sponsors of this event included: Rhode Island Israeli Collaborative (RIIC), Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, HUBASHDOD, Innovate Newport, El Al Israeli Airlines, and the Israel Consulate General to New England.

To learn more about the project, go to the webpage created for the project.

For more information, contact

Mollie Williams

Hai Vahnish

Erin Donovan-Boyle


The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce is one of the state’s largest business advocacy organizations, whose mission is to connect, innovate, enhance and advocate for the businesses of Greater Newport. As a trusted and reliable institution for nearly 100 years, the Greater Newport Chamber is a vibrant collective body of the greater Newport business community with nearly 1,100 members representing over 50,000 employees. We work to create valuable strategic partnerships, promote strong economic growth, diversity and prosperity to serve its members and the Greater Newport region.


Innovate Newport is a coworking space and private office provider with the goal of supporting the Greater Newport region as a driving ecosystem for business enablement and innovation. We provide flexible space, access to resources and a collaborative community that allows businesses to thrive. Through our co-working space, business events, strategic partnerships, dynamic programming, and networking, Innovate Newport aims to cultivate a community of collaborators, innovators and entrepreneurs.


The Purpose of The Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative (RIIC) is the Promotion of Commerce, Academics and Science. The collaborative is a not-for-profit organization that fosters and strengthens trade, business, academic exchange and research between Rhode Island and Israel to benefit the economy and community of each location. The Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative (RIIC) does so by building and strengthening the relationships between government organizations, businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, members of academia and the research community in Rhode Island and Israel.


HUBashdod Is an open space for technological entrepreneurship which is part of the youth (20-35) center in Ashdod. Its goal is to promote the ecosystem in Ashdod and the surrounding area, and in 2020, it was ranked by StartupBlink global ranking in 6th place in the ranking of Israel's ecosystem. The entrepreneurs who work at the place take part in weekly events and activities of the community. HubAshdod is the driving force of the municipal vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.


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