Ride a Rising Tide (Summit) To Sustainable Ocean-Focused Businesses

By David Bloom

Vipe Desai didn’t know how apt the name, Rising Tide Summit, for his new ocean-focused conference would be until he put it out there. But now, like the conference name, the gathering’s momentum is rising, and fast. 

“I didn’t know how the response would be on the conference,” said Desai, Rising Tide’s founder. “Then all of a sudden, people were like, ‘Wait, we want to get involved.’”

Rising Tide features two days of speakers from small and big business in conversation with non-profits, researchers, legal, political and marketing organizations, all focused on finding solutions for the problems facing our oceans.

The conference will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on March 28 and 29, at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, 2456 Signal St. in San Pedro. AltaSea and XPrize are the presenting sponsors.  

“There’s no better time for start-ups and big brands to help save our oceans,” said Matthew Mulrennan, director of the XPrize’s Ocean Initiative. “Rising Tide is tapping the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and the power of exponential technologies to solve the biggest ocean problems.”

AltaSea’s involvement is a natural, given the organization’s founding commitment to creating environmentally and economically sustainable businesses. 

“If the 20th Century was focused on exploration of our frontiers in space, the 21st Century will be about a frontier much closer to home: our vast, largely unexplored oceans,” said AltaSea Executive Director Jenny Krusoe. “AltaSea brings together ocean-based science research, STEM education and sustainable business incubation, to solve the great challenges facing our world. Hosting the inaugural Rising Tide Summit here in the busiest port complex in the nation is a natural fit. We must work together to address the challenges facing all of us.”

Conference speakers includes Dr. Marcus Eriksen, discussing the second version of his “BAN List” of the top 20 plastic pollutants that can and should be replaced by biodegradable alternatives. BAN, by the way, stands for Better Alternatives Now.

Heal the Bay’s Sarah Sikich will discuss more sustainable business practices for the restaurant industry. Other speakers include legal experts, 72AndSunny’s Director of Brand Citizenship Jim Moriarty, business development consultant Ann Carpenter of Braid Theory, and speakers from the Surfrider Foundation, Sustainable Surf, The Longest Swim, Algalita, Ocean Champions and the Lonely Whale Foundation talk about various solutions and approaches they’re bringing to the table.

Desai also promises some surprises, including from “some heavy hitters doing something really special for us.”

Desai is himself a businessman, founder and CEO of HDXMix.com, makers of an environmentally friendly sports drink.

Vipe Desai, Jr., Dr. Robert Ballard, James Cameron, Vipe Desai, Congressman John Culberson


“For the last 20 years, I’ve been very concerned about the health of our oceans,” Desai said. “My journey began when I joined the board of the Surfrider Foundation. I realized that businesses could be used as a force for good. I felt there was an opportunity to bring this dialog to innovators and business operators. Really, there isn’t a conference that brings in the business owners and invites them into discussing what can be done.”

The conference will be packed with speakers but also provide plenty of time for personal connections and conversation. And at a cost of $100, it’s far less expensive than most business-minded conferences.  For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

“I made it affordable for everybody to attend,” said Desai. “I would like to see a new level of dialog take place between non-profits, businesses and government, and really driven by businesses.”

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