The OGTC launches third year of TechX accelerator with Equinor strategic partnership

THE Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) has officially launched the third year of its award-winning accelerator programme, TechX, with the announcement of new industry partner, Equinor.

The TechX Pioneer Programme – a unique technology accelerator and incubator – helps ambitious start-ups take their solutions to the energy market faster. To date, 21 companies have now graduated from the award-winning programme, developing groundbreaking technologies including a Lab-on-a-chip (RAB microfluidics), machine learning seismic imaging software (Optic Earth) and a complete oil field well surveillance technology (Ai Exploration).

In just two years, £2.8 million has been co-invested into these pioneering companies with a further £1 million of additional investment being secured post-graduation from the programme.

Collectively, three field trials have been completed with seven planned over the next year and another 10 on the horizon, while 13 new jobs have been created and two new facilities have been opened. David Millar, TechX Director at the OGTC, commented on the new collaboration: “We’re excited to be partnering with Equinor, to harness their passion, entrepreneurship and technical innovation in mentoring this next cohort of Pioneers.

“While they have already supported the TechX programme during the customer validation stage, this strategic partnership will also allow us to align and broaden our focus on the Norwegian ecosystem, exposing UK-based start-ups and entrepreneurs to an important overseas export market that is leading the way for net zero carbon technologies. “We look forward to strengthening this year’s programme, working closely alongside our broader partners, BP and KPMG, who have been instrumental in achieving our current success to date.”

Commenting on the new business partnership, Ivar Vee Aune, Investment Director at Equinor Technology Ventures, said: “Through our participation in the previous cohort we got to experience first-hand the passion and determination of the participating founders, as well as the exceptional quality delivered by the TechX team, other industry partners, mentors and everyone else involved.

We were incredibly impressed, and are happy to announce that ETV, in line with Press Announcement our commitment to a be a long-term UK energy partner, will now be working closely with the TechX team to ensure the future success of the programme.” BP Ventures, BP UK and KPMG will continue to support the programme, providing unrivalled access to technology specialists, financial experts and test facilities which will accelerate growth within the energy sector.

For the third year in a row, BP will award additional funding of £135,000 to two exceptional Pioneers. Speaking on BP’s continued partnership with TechX, David Gilmour, Vice President Business Development BP Group Technology, said: “BP is proud to continue its successful partnership with TechX as it seeks to uncover yet more potentially game-changing technologies. We look forward to working with the next cohort of Pioneers to accelerate new ideas that could help transform the energy sector, not just in the North Sea but across the globe.”

KPMG, a vital part of the TechX delivery team, bridge the investment gap that currently exists within high risk early stage technology development – connecting start-ups to corporate venture teams, investment funds and angel investors.

A truly unique offering to a technology accelerator programme. Martin Findlay, Senior Partner at KPMG in Aberdeen, said: “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 programme is a great example of driving and supporting change through entrepreneurial behaviour in the industry. I’m always struck by the wealth of ideas and collaboration displayed by the individuals who take part. It’s pretty inspiring and KPMG UK is proud to support this innovative initiative.” Applications for the Pioneer programme are now open for cohort three until 10th January 2020, including a specific focus on technologies that will help deliver digital transformation, low carbon including renewables, subsurface, asset integrity, wells, marginal developments and decommissioning.

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