RIIC names 2 winners in its startup competition


PROVIDENCE – Israel-based NakAI Robotics and Rhode Island-based Jaia Robotics have won the BlueTech Startup Competition, awarded by the Rhode Island Israel Collaborative in collaboration with Innovate Newport, the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce and HUBASHDOD Israel on April 14.

According to RIIC’s website, NakAI Robotics is a cutting-edge nautical conditioning-and-inspection solutions company aimed at preserving and improving the ocean’s health by significantly reducing millions of tons of air and water pollution.

NakAI is building a fully autonomous hull-cleaning robot that will travel with a ship and remove early-stage slime and bio-fouling while vessels are in transit.

Jaia Robotics, of Jamestown, is a world-leading expert in autonomous aquatic data-collection systems. According to the company’s website, Jaia.tech, its micro-sized autonomous robotic system collects data from the surface to depths of 100 meters in oceans, surf zones, estuaries, rivers and lakes.

Launched on Feb. 22, 2022, the goal of the BlueTech Startup Competition is to support startups and connect them with strategic partners, mentors and resources.

Specifically, the program seeks to create connections between the Ashdod Bluetech ecosystem, in Israel, and the Rhode Island Bluetech ecosystem. The winners will receive a cash prize as well as a customized trip, including flights to the partnering country, where the winner will have access to personal introductions, meetings and co-working space.

“We are an all-volunteer organization, including myself, and we would love to see more participation from others and support in the Jewish community,” said Avi Nevel, president and CEO of RIIC.

On April 11, RIIC received the 2022 Rhode Island Foundation Best Practice Award for its Latino Web Page project, which helps R.I.-based Latino business owners with their online presence and matches them with college students pursuing majors in design, business, marketing and web-based technology.

“This activity should be celebrated by the Jewish community and the community at large as it builds relationships between people for the better good of all,” Nevel said.

To learn more about RIIC, go to www.theriic.org.

SETH CHITWOOD (www.sethchitwood.com), of Barrington, is a features reporter for The Standard-Times, in New Bedford. He is also the creative director of the award-winning Angelwood Pictures production company.