Sixteen technology start-ups are vying for a place on the TechX Pioneer accelerator programme, which starts in June at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen.
TechX helps smaller, ambitious technology developers take their solutions to the oil and gas market. It aims to attract leading lights in technology development to the north-east of Scotland and anchor the supply chain in the region for generations to come.
125 entrepreneurs applied for the programme and a review process, involving more than 50 TechX mentors, partners, and members of the centre, whittled this down to 16. The successful applicants will pitch their business and technology idea to a panel of industry experts on 7 March in the centre’s Innovation hub.
The finalists include five organisations that Elevator has supported through its accelerator programme or ‘Grey Matters’ programme, delivered in collaboration with Scottish Enterprise. Blue Gentoo and Innerpath Technologies graduated from Grey Matters, RAB Microfluidics graduated from the accelerator, while Resolute Energy Solutions and Sensalytx have benefitted from both programmes.
The panel will select the final group of start-ups to form the first pioneer cohort. The programme comprises a 16-week accelerator, funding – with up to £100,000 available – and the opportunity to join a follow on 12-month incubator.
OGTC is working with its strategic partner BP in the Pioneer programme. In addition to the core funding and support from TechX, BP Ventures will offer a group of pioneers an additional £100,000 each, as well as access to BP’s facilities and expertise.
David Millar, TechX’s director, said: “We are delighted with the response to the Pioneer programme and encouraged to see applications from a wide range of industries and countries. We believe that the 16 finalists selected to pitch have technology ideas that could truly transform the future of the oil and gas industry.
“We wish them all the best of luck with their pitches. I know we’ll have a challenge on our hands selecting the final 10!”
Mark Thomas, president of BP North Sea Regional, added: “It’s great to see such a strong response to the TechX Pioneers programme, an initiative BP is proud to support as we seek to accelerate the development of new ideas and technologies, encourage fresh thinking and explore improved ways of working.
“The North Sea is a growth region for BP and our aim is to maintain a material, globally-competitive business here for decades to come. Emerging and game-changing technologies will help us achieve that goal by enabling us to tackle the tough challenges and access the full remaining resource potential.
“We will be watching with interest as the Pioneers finalists are put through their paces in March.”
Professor Gary McEwan, Elevator’s chief executive, said: “I am encouraged but not surprised at the high quality of those who have made the shortlist. This is an incredibly innovative region and if we use the right levers we can do much to unlock and anchor this potential.
“Elevator is clearly creating high quality teams that feed well into Tech X. The Grey Matters programme is a particularly appropriate precursor to what Tech X will deliver. We are in advanced discussion on the delivery of our follow-on Scale-Up programme that will support and accelerate businesses through the resulting early growth phase.
“It’s very heartening to be playing our part to ‘join the dots’ in the north east – this is genuine collaboration in action.”
The 16 finalists are: