Our Backstory – Starting Cura Oceanus

Our Backstory – Starting Cura Oceanus

Once we decided to go after the plastic floating in the ocean, we needed to put a plan together.
We initially assumed that people would jump at the idea of taking positive action to control plastic in the ocean. We’d seen research from the UN, European Union, the EPA, NOAA and several non-profit organizations – all highlighting the dangers and impact of unmanaged plastics. So, we looked into starting a company that would operate as a for-profit organization. That approach didn’t last long, as we quickly found that no one wanted to be obliged to pay for ongoing ocean clean up.
At this crucial juncture, the region of the Florida Intra Coastal Waterway known as the Indian River Lagoon experienced a severe algae bloom, brought on by an influx of nutrients. While this was a terrible thing, it happened just as we were considering how to detect minute traces of plastics and chemical pollutants in the ocean. We realized that we could contribute to the effort to monitor the Indian River Lagoon as we built and tested our designs for our ocean plastic-hunting mission. We were going to be have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to improving the health of a body of water we enjoyed being around and paddling on. So, we organized the Cura Oceanus Foundation as a Florida non-profit corporation and applied to the IRS for 501(C)(3) tax-exempt status.
At this point it is worth noting that the founders either had jobs or were running their own businesses. We knew Cura Oceanus was going to take some time to build up, and we wanted to make sure that we had something to add to the conversation when we finally spoke up.
It was a long 18 months.
Very early on in our assessment of the Indian River Lagoon, we identified one key challenge for researchers; due to the way that research grants had been structured, most of the data gathered in 30 years of monitoring the Lagoon was inaccessible to researchers outside of the organizations that had gathered the data.
This was a situation our robots could definitely remedy.

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