Miami University student-led fund invests in local sustainability startup Blue Ocean Solids

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Source: Liz Engel, Cincy Inno

June 30, 2022

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Marc Beller is the co-founder of Loveland-based Blue Ocean Solids.​​​​​​​

A $250,000 fund led by students at Miami University has added its fourth portfolio company with an investment in a Greater Cincinnati sustainability-focused startup.

The Social Impact Fund, one of the only undergraduate-led funds of its kind in the nation, has invested in Loveland-based water treatment sustainability company, Blue Ocean Solids, the university announced Monday. 

The funding amount was not disclosed. 

Blue Ocean Solids, co-founded in 2020 by Marc Beller and Kathleen Collier, makes a variety of concentrated chemical products to treat corrosion, scale, microbe and fouling in boilers, cooling towers and closed-loop water systems.

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Kathleen Collier is co-founder and director of sales and marketing for Blue Ocean Solids.

Kathleen Collier is co-founder and director of sales and marketing for Blue Ocean Solids.

Blue Ocean Solids

A concentrated product eliminates potential for toxic chemical spills, with a reduced carbon footprint, and the company’s recyclable, 11-pound bottles replace the need for hazardous 550-pound drums, Blue Ocean Solids said. 

The company's potential market includes medical, educational, government, industrial and hospitality facilities around the globe. 

“Working in Cincinnati and across the nation, Blue Ocean allows companies to reach their sustainability goals in a previously inaccessible way,” Social Impact Fund managing director Scott Graumlich said in a release. “Blue Ocean is transforming the industry eliminating hazardous toxic liquid chemicals, in turn reducing carbon-footprints.”

Beller told me the company plans to use the Social Impact funds to educate its potential end users by attending industry-specific trade shows, for research and development and to build out inventory due to current supply chain issues.

He said the Social Impact Fund team has shown "great support, professionalism and enthusiasm." Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub, Cintrifuse, Alloy Development (formerly HCDC), Cincinnati 2030 District and Green Umbrella have also provided key mentorship and coaching.

Blue Ocean Solids participated in Flywheel’s "SustainableCincy" cohort in fall 2021.

Bill TuckerFlywheel's retired executive director and an entrepreneur-in-residence at Miami's John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship, which houses the Social Impact Fund, is credited for introducing Graumlich and his team to Blue Ocean Solids.

Graumlich said Blue Ocean Solids will aid in the fund's continued work toward bringing positive impact to Ohio. Social impact funds in particular seek to generate a positive social benefit alongside a financial return.

Social Impact Fund aims to provides early-stage funding for startups identified by a team of students. 

By participating, students become equipped with skills and real-world learning in social impact investing and create a portfolio of impact investments for Miami University, officials said.

Its portfolio has grown steadily since its founding in 2018.

Social Impact Fund last year invested in Cincinnati's Queen City Certified, now known as Ellequate, which offers DEI programming for employers; and North Carolina-based Keepsake Tales, which creates personalized children’s books focusing on strengthening self-image and representation of disabled and diverse children. 

Social Impact Fund’s first investment came in June 2020 in Louisville-based Moxie Girl, a youth mental health provider that rebranded as Resolv last year. Resolv was acquired in June by Mindfully, a Fairfield-based mental health services provider owned by Assure Health.