Tech start-ups vying to be a TechX Pioneer

Tech start-ups vying to be a TechX Pioneer

16 innovative and exciting technology start-ups are vying for a place on the TechX Pioneer accelerator programme, which starts in June 2018 at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen.

TechX helps smaller, ambitious technology developers take their solutions to the oil and gas market – faster. It aims to attract the 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 rigorous review process, involving more than 50 TechX mentors, partners and members of the Technology Centre, whittled this down to 16.

The successful applicants (listed below) will pitch their business and technology idea to a panel of industry experts on 7 March in the Technology Centre’s Innovation Hub.

The finalists include five organisations that Elevator has supported through its Accelerator Programme or the 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 an intense 16-week accelerator, game-changing funding – with up to £100,000 available – and the opportunity to join a follow on 12-month incubator.

In addition to the core funding and support from TechX, BP Ventures will offer a small, exclusive group of Pioneers a further £100,000 of funding each, as well as dedicated access to BP’s facilities and expertise.

David Millar, TechX 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, BP North Sea Regional President, said:

“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.”

Prof. Gary McEwan, Elevator CEO, 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.”


Grey Matters initiative rolls out after pilot spawns successful businesses

Grey Matters initiative rolls out after pilot spawns successful businesses

A transformative initiative which aims to bring together experienced oil and gas professionals who have been made redundant and help them create new businesses is to be launched in Aberdeen following a successful pilot.

Applications are now open for Grey Matters, a joint initiative from Elevator and Scottish Enterprise, which will get underway on January 25, 2018. More than 11 applications have been received already.

The pilot programme which ran earlier this year saw several scalable companies being established, including Blue Gentoo, which offers products and services to support gas hydrate management.

Grey Matters aims to drive the future of energy in Scotland by bringing together the experience and knowledge of ambitious individuals facing redundancy from the oil and gas sector and supporting them to work together to create a high growth business.

Up to 20 participants will take part in idea generation and innovation workshops so a business idea is not essential.

Grey Matters Project Manager John Harris said the pilot programme had shown that the unique knowledge of senior oil and gas professionals could spawn exciting and ambitious business ideas.

“The pilot of Grey Matters resulted in several businesses being created and some of those are already doing extremely well,” he said. “The opportunity to meet like-minded people but with different skills sets and experience allows participants to work together to either brainstorm industry solutions or to build on an existing idea that could have huge potential.”

John said there was the potential for a huge amount of knowledge to be lost when people are made redundant.

“There is currently little or no support out there for oil and gas professionals who have built up a vast amount of knowledge, not to mention key skills in leadership, collaboration, problem solving and building teams, yet find themselves redundant.

“We are looking for a variety of people – either those who don’t currently have a business concept, but do have a vast amount of knowledge and expertise, or those who do have the spark of an idea that they can work on with a team of like-minded people.

“Grey Matters will give them an intense learning and growth experience set in our world-class centre for entrepreneurship in Aberdeen.”

Applicants must be able to dedicate 12 weeks to the programme, which will be based at Elevator’s Centre for Entrepreneurship at The Hub in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. The social enterprise works across Scotland to help facilitate the start-up, acceleration and growth of new and existing businesses.

Eleanor Mitchell, Scottish Enterprise’s Entrepreneurial Growth Director, said: “Following the success of the pilot of Grey Matters, Scottish Enterprise is really excited to be running a second programme with Elevator. The enthusiasm and eagerness to learn shown by the previous cohort, coupled with the wealth of industry knowledge still located in the North-east demonstrates the potential for high growth companies solving market problems to be formed and grown in the region.”

Collaboration both within the cohort and with external partners will be encouraged and there will be a strong emphasis on networking and engaging with local and global experts and mentors.  Topics covered will include business planning, globalisation, marketing, fundraising, team management and intellectual property.

Phil Bremner was one of the participants in the pilot of Grey Matters and is now CEO of Blue Gentoo.

“I was overwhelmed at the ‘can do’ attitude from the mentors, the knowledge shared and presented by academics and industry leading figures,” he said. “From day one, it was such a great environment and everyone was so motivated to help us succeed from our chosen business dream and turn it into a reality.”


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