Accelerator program returns for oil & gas startups

By:  CityBusiness staff reports 
July 7, 2016

Energy industry executives are partnering with entrepreneurs again this year in a 12-week business accelerator program for Louisiana-based oil and gas startups.

The Southeast Louisiana Energy Initiative began working with The Idea Village to launch ENERGYx last year for up to five early-stage companies. Private equity investor Hank Torbert will lead the program again this year as entrepreneur-in-residence, according to a news release.

The Idea Village is accepting applications through Aug. 5. for the program, which aims to capitalize on the state’s energy and petrochemical upswing.

Four entrepreneurs — Chad Deville with Louisiana Technical Instruments; Julie Kuchta with OBOCS ; Brett Gauthier with 3rd Dimension Media and John Tauriac with Data Specialties Group — participated in the inaugural program.

OBOCS was awarded a $75,000 grant at the Energy Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summit during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March.

“ENERGYx was a great experience for our emerging company,” Kuchta said. “The exposure to industry leaders and professionals is without compare and those introductions have been incredibly beneficial to OBOCS’ continued growth.”

“Our goal is to leverage Louisiana’s energy sector ecosystem, which includes companies, universities, R&D institutions, investors, and economic development organizations, to support entrepreneurs who have developed disruptive technologies and services for the oil and gas sector,” Torbert said.

In addition to regular meetings with Torbert, the ENERGYx cohort will leverage strategic group meetings over the over the course of the program covering everything from the state of the market to optimizing operations and scaling up. The sessions will include presentations by energy company executives, investors, engineers, and other critical industry experts.

Participants will get the chance to present their companies and receive real-time feedback from potential partners, investors, and customers.

The ENERGYx program will end in December, when participants present their businesses to the members of the Southeast Louisiana Energy Initiative. Select founders will be given opportunity to advance to The Idea Village’s CAPITALx program.

CAPITALx, which is centered on connecting startups to investors, will culminate during the 9th annual NOEW, taking place March 19-24, 2017. Participating oil and gas entrepreneurs will be eligible for a $50,000 cash prize, courtesy of the Southeast Louisiana Energy Initiative.

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