Our History

OCT's Beginning

Ocean Tech Hub Lda was founded in Peniche, Portugal in 2018 by Jon Erik Borgen - a Norwegian naval architect and serial ocean tech entrepreneur, and Dr. Robin Teigland - a Swedish/US Professor in Digitalization and educator within innovation and entrepreneurship, together with Robin's son, TG Teigland - a Norwegian/US edtech entrepreneur.

OCT co-founders Jon Erik and Robin

Jon Erik and Robin were initially inspired by the younger generation and their efforts to improve the world within their own areas of interest. Jon Erik's source of inspiration was Nordic Ocean Watch and the tireless dedication of Simen Knudsen and Anne Lerfald to cleaning up the ocean and creating awareness of ocean plastic. For Robin, her children were instrumental, and in particular her oldest son, TG, not only challenged her to start a tech hub now instead of waiting until retirement but also to take on the challenge of reducing the growing digital divide between cities and rural areas.

Jon Erik cleaning in Hoddevika, Norway

Robin & her son, TG, in Peniche

Robin, her kids, and a friend Claudia Olsson on their way to Berlengas

Peniche as OCT's Base

Peniche was the definite first choice for Ocean Tech Hub's base. Only 100 km from Lisbon, Peniche is not only one of the remaining active fishing ports with a marine industry in Portugal, but it also hosts IPL - Polytécnico de Leiria and Smart Ocean while attracting surfers from across the globe who come for the excellent waves all year long. And most importantly, the people of Peniche are very friendly and inviting into their community.

One of the Many Active Fishing Boats in Peniche

Jon Erik and Robin with Dr. Sergio Leandro, Director of IPL and Scientific Director Smart Ocean

Go4surf Surfers on Gamboa Beach

Discussions with the Peniche Municipality

The Green Warehouse

After several months of searching, the OCT team finally found the perfect location for Ocean Tech Hub - an older fisherman's warehouse owned by one of Peniche's larger fishing families about 100 meters from Gamboa Beach. A funny story of coincidence with the Peniche Motorcycle Club led to the deal being signed and the Green Warehouse on Rua da Ponte Velha becoming the home of Ocean Tech Hub.

During its first two years, TG initiated the development of the Green Warehouse together with OCT's partner, Jorge Costa of Go4surf. Since then, the Green Warehouse has seen many volunteers from numerous countries pass through its doors in addition to being gradually converted into a circular microfactory and coworking space.

The First View

Initial Plans

Exterior Renovation

Circular Microfactory

OCT's First Initiative - Peniche Ocean Watch

OCT's first initiative was Peniche Ocean Watch (POW), and the seed for this initiative was planted during a 2018 summer internship by Robin's daughter, Karoline Teigland, and Jon Erik's son, Balder Habberstad Borgen.

Together with the local Peniche community, the Ocean Tech Hub team worked to develop a blue circular economy model enabled by digital technologies, which has been the guiding vision since then.

POW talk_OCT website.pdf

POW's Blue Circular Economy Model

The POW blue circular economy model is described in a white paper and a TEDx talk in 2018 and a documentary on RTP by SingularityU Portugal in 2019. During the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, OCT was highlighted by TV2 Norway.

Robin describes her personal story in a talk for SingularityU Portugal and Nova Business School in November 2018 (to the left).

Today's Operations

Today OCT's team in Peniche has grown to include Alex Fortunato, Glenn Mattsing, Jorge Costa, and Tiago Castelo while its extended team in Sweden includes Mafalda de Freitas and Karoline Teigland as well as the co-founders Jon Erik in Norway and Robin in Sweden. Further, OCT has established collaborations with many local organizations such as Docapesca and CERCIPENICHE.

In addition to the Peladrone Project, OCT's activities have also led to the spin off of the Ocean Community Challenge in Portugal and Ekbacken Studios AB in Sweden. Currently, OCT is incorporating Circular Ocean LDA.

TG & Alex in POW's First T-shirts

Gathering Used Fishing Nets for Upcycling

Alex Presenting the Peladrone Project

Circular Microfactory Taking Shape (Photo: Santiago Vergara, TV2 Norge)

Interested in Joining our Journey?

While co-funding from the EEA enabled OCT to launch the Peladrone Project, POW's development has been personally financed by OCT's co-founders and supported by the efforts of many volunteers through the years.

We are currently looking for investors for OCT, Peladrone, and Circular Ocean. If you would like to learn more about how you can join us on our journey towards developing a blue circular economy model that can serve as inspiration for other coastal communities across the globe, please contact us at info@oceantechhub.com.