National energy companies Williams, ONEOK and Devon Energy, along with venture capital firm Energy Innovation Capital (EIC) and technology-focused nonprofit Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL), are collaborating to transform the region into a hub for energy technology startups.
Led by EIC, the program is designed to attract energy technology startups to the region with access to resources including free office space and custom start-up support services. EIC also provides early-stage capital through a $50 million fund and assists startups in piloting forward-looking technologies with Tulsa-based founding corporate partners Williams and ONEOK and Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy.
By boosting R&D and innovation, the project is expected to create more than 1,700 jobs across the energy industry over the next five to 10 years, advocates say.
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“The EIC team has a proven track record of investing in and helping build energy technology startups, including market leaders in solar, wind, grid management, and traditional energy sustainability, with a combined market capitalization of over $20 billion,” Kevin Skillern, EIC’s managing partner, said in a statement. “We are honored to have the opportunity to build an energy technology ecosystem to stimulate the creation of new disruptive companies.”
The collaboration will include the following:
EIC Rose Rock: This is a $50 million fund to lead seed and Series A funding rounds for early-stage energy technology companies. Initial investors including the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Devon Energy, ONEOK and Williams have committed $30 million, which will be supplemented by national and regional investors. Energy Innovation Capital is headquartered in San Francisco, but also has offices in Houston.
EIC Fusion: EIC Fusion, a program that supports energy companies to advance their innovation agendas, works with companies to identify each company’s strategic focus areas and connect them with leading start-ups to develop solutions that match their R&D needs. Program. The programme is run by EIC and will be used by Devon Energy, ONEOK and Williams to support their corporate innovation agendas.
Rose Rock Bridge: An energy technology incubator program developed by TIL that will support early-stage energy technology companies with up to $100,000 in non-dilutive capital, office space and services to accelerate commercialization. Rose Rock Bridge will receive $10 million in funding over the next five years.
Rose Rock Bridge has begun accepting applications from companies, and eligible companies will be accepted on a rolling basis. To learn more, visit roserockbridge.org.
“The Rose Rock program will give Devon and our partners direct access to Oklahoma’s advanced technical and creative talent,” Trey Lowe, vice president and chief technology officer of Devon Energy, said in a statement. and accelerate breakthrough solutions to positively impact lives around the world, knowing that disruption and continuous improvement are necessary to meet growing energy demands while reducing environmental impact.”
Greg Lusardi is Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at ONEOK.
“Our extensive energy infrastructure and midstream operational expertise position us well to play an important role in a sustainable and transformational energy future,” Lussadi said in a statement. “Partnering with our energy company, EIC and the George Kaiser Family Foundation is a great fit as ONEOK’s long-term business strategy includes potential renewable energy and low-carbon investment opportunities that contribute to long-term growth, profitability and business diversification.”
Chad Zamarin is Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy Development at Williams Corporation.
“Williams is committed to delivering the next generation of energy by leveraging our natural gas and emerging energy infrastructure and new technologies that help our customers achieve their decarbonization goals,” he said in a statement. “Together with like-minded peers, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and EIC, the establishment of this fund is a catalyst for accelerating innovation so our nation can continue to meet society’s growing need for clean energy.”
The initiative was conceived by TIL, an organization established by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to establish a technology center in Tulsa. TIL identifies opportunities for the region to meet the country’s energy needs in the coming years by investing in a variety of emerging energy technologies.
“Tulsa has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage its energy assets and position itself as a center for energy technology research and commercialization,” Nicholas Lara, managing director of the Tulsa Innovation Lab, said in a statement. “Through our diversified investments in the industry, we will be able to realize diverse and future-proof energy jobs in Tulsa.”