Jim Sledzik of Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures - U.S. moderated the “shark tank” panel at the 2019 Innovation & Entrepreneurship Symposium in Houston, where eight startup companies trying to raise funds pitched their business plans to investors who specialize in evaluating new energy technologies.
The startups at the workshop develop everything from well cementing techniques to data science applications. The panel was styled after the popular television series “Shark Tank” that tests the ideas of budding entrepreneurs against seasoned businesspeople. The Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Gulf Coast chapter organized the event.
“Remember that every company founder thinks their business is the best of the bunch, but objective people – investors such as yourselves - might disagree with that,” Sledzik quipped before asking the investors to give thumbs up or thumbs down on each business plan presented.
Investors from Rice Investment Group, EV Private Equity, SCF Ventures, Goose Society Venture Capital Group and Energy Innovation Capital voted in front of a large audience and discussed whether they would like to hear additional details on each startup in a follow up meeting.
A couple hundred energy industry professionals who made up the crowd also voted electronically on the viability of each company’s business plan.
SAEV’s participation in the event is a sign of its importance to the growing energy venture capital community in Houston. Sledzik joined SAEV as managing director for North America in October after a long career at Schlumberger and EV Private Equity.
Startups that participated in the event were Centraflow, which works on cement displacement technology; CoreAll, which logs data from core samples in real-time, Data Gumbo, which creates interfaces to unify disparate data systems; DCiii, which automates well chemistry injection; Geosite, a data science company; Oplii, which offers compliance software, USI Technology, which provide cloud-based reservoir simulation software; and Pandata Tech, which uses artificial intelligence in maintenance systems.