Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Eleven companies graduate from TechX Pioneers Programme

The TechX Pioneers Programme graduates
The TechX Pioneers Programme graduates

Eleven exciting companies will graduate from the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) TechX Pioneers Programme.

The TechX Pioneers Programme is a unique technology accelerator and incubator helping ambitious start-ups take their solutions to the energy market.

In just four months, the 11 Pioneering companies have completed more than 200 meetings with industry leaders, including Equinor, Apache, BP, Aker Solutions and Wood, secured three commercial contracts, created four new jobs, opened two new facilities and collectively secured 10 field trials with major operating companies – and this is just the beginning as our graduates move to the OGTC’s two year incubator, TechX Plus. 

Throughout the programme, these graduates have received expert support from experienced business mentors, forward-thinking business partners, rapid prototyping, test facilities and co-working space. This year, in a UK energy sector first, TechX Investor Day brought together ten oil and gas operator corporate venture teams, investment funds and angel investors to help bridge the investment gap that currently exists within high risk, early stage technology development.

Using the OGTC’s extensive network to make connections with investors and companies, the Pioneers have been able to fast-track their technology and business in just 16 weeks. Uniquely, they’ve also received funding of up to £100,000 with TechX requiring no equity or payback, with the company retaining all intellectual property.

Colette Cohen, CEO at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre commented on the success of the programme:

“The TechX Pioneer programme is a key foundation of the OGTC focused on creating an entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem in the NE Scotland and enabling young innovative companies to succeed. These 10 companies represent the next generation of inspiring entrepreneurs and I am encouraged to see such incredible results in the 16 week programme.

“This could only be achieved with the support of our mentors and programme partners BP & KPMG and the broader industrial community who have already committed to 10 field trials with these new companies. It’s an exciting start for this cohort and the future of the North Sea”

2019 also saw the benefits of partnering with Deep Science Ventures (DSV) – a truly unique collaboration, creating low-carbon technology start-ups. DSV created five transformational technology start-ups, two of which were deemed to have strategic focus for the OGTC and were awarded a coveted place on the TechX programme. Eltiera and Optic Earth were both at a very early technology concept stage before joining TechX and now are reaping the benefits of the programme with field trials underway and inaugural projects secured – outstanding performance from both companies, who didn’t even exist before April 2019!

Adding comment on TechX Ventures, Dom Falcao, Founding Director of DSV, said:

“We’re extremely proud to contribute to the energy transition through venture creation in partnership with the OGTC. The TechX programme is a best-in-class accelerator programme, leading the energy sector. There is nowhere else in the world that offers such profound, tailored and guided access to the most valuable customers in the market.”

TechX strategic partner, BP Ventures has once again played an integral role in the programme and has today confirmed it will award additional funding of £135,000 to two exceptional Pioneers, as well as dedicated access to BP’s facilities and expertise.

AI Exploration will receive the BP TechX Technology Award of £80,000 to continue to support their technology development. Optic Earth a DSV alumni, will receive the TechX Performance Award of £55,000.

Speaking on BP’s partnership with TechX, David Gilmour, Vice President Business Development BP Group Technology, said:

“TechX goes from strength-to-strength with the second cohort, like the first, showcasing some truly innovative thinking and breakthrough ideas, including cleantech solutions that will help deliver the industry’s focus on secure, sustainable energy while advancing a low carbon future.

“What the TechX Pioneers have achieved in a few short months is incredible and BP is proud to have been a part of that. TechX has set these companies up for a bright future and BP will be watching with interest as they grow their presence and pursue their ambitions.”

Over 120 experienced mentors and partner companies have provided invaluable expert advice and support throughout the 16-week programme, with the Pioneers being invited to make nominations for both Mentor of the Year and Partner of the Year.

Steve Bruce was unanimously awarded Mentor of the Year Award with two Partner of the Year Awards winners; KPMG and AB15.

Martin Findlay, Partner, KPMG, who has been awarded Partner of the Year and is a vital part of the TechX delivery team, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded Partner of the Year – it’s been fantastic working with the TechX team over the past two years and I am thrilled to collect this award on behalf of KPMG.

“The energy sector is going through a period of rapid change and transformation, driven by innovation. The downturn forced everyone in the sector to shift away from their traditional business models, towards a more tech-driven approach. The TechX Pioneers are a great example of entrepreneurial behaviour driving future growth in the industry. The wealth of ideas and collaboration displayed by the group is inspiring and KPMG is proud to support their transformational passion and ambition.”

Commenting on the evolution of this year’s programme, David Millar, TechX Director at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said:

“Our challenge is to reimagine the energy sector and create a more sustainable future for the UK, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the TechX programme. The past 16-weeks has been a fantastic journey for both the TechX team and the 11 graduating TechX Pioneers.

“We couldn’t have predicted the success of this cohort, with three commercial contracts already in place and 10 field trials secured, the growth has been phenomenal, but this is just the start for these companies – the future is in their hands and we can’t wait to see what the next two years in the TechX Plus incubator period will hold for them. And once again, we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with BP Ventures, BP UK and KPMG on future programmes, as they will once again be supporting the programme in 2020.”

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