NEWS & INSIGHT | article
A Year of Change: TechX Accelerator Programme delivered virtually
Today, the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) launches the third cohort of its award-winning TechX Accelerator programme.
In a year of adapting, the designated 16 weeks will now be delivered entirely in virtual form. From events to a supportive online network, this year’s pioneering companies will continue to be fully supported by the TechX team and the TechX partners and mentors.
This year, Equinor joins bp & KPMG as the programme’s strategic industry partners, which will work closely with the Pioneers to provide unrivalled access to technology specialists, financial experts and test facilities, as well as an opportunity to showcase their technologies globally.
They are also ably supported by a multitude of other delivery partners and associates as they complete the challenging and transforming 16 week programme. The TechX team will guide the 12 Pioneer companies through each stage of this exciting journey.
Each start-up will receive investor readiness skills and training as well as support from over 110 experienced mentors, forward-thinking business partners, while having access to rapid prototyping, test facilities and co-working space. This provides a unique and unprecedented opportunity to access the energy market.
In addition, the programme continues to support the industry’s drive towards a net zero future with 50% of this year’s cohort made up of cleantech companies. This includes technology that supports the bio-recycling of plastics using a unique enzyme and ultra-efficient direct air carbon capture.
With a unique funding model of up to £100,000 available and no equity take or payback required, all intellectual property will be retained by the start-ups. Now in its third year, so far TechX has supported 33 companies and provided around £3.3M of funding to support these early stage technology start-ups.
Following their successful completion and graduation from the accelerator programme, each business will join the TechX alumni from cohort two and have access to scale-up and support through the TechX Plus incubator – free of charge for 24 months.
This will provide them with a further opportunity to learn from the Pioneers of previous cohorts, who continue to deliver post-TechX; including 20 completed field trials; another 44 field trials in planning; five Scottish EDGE winners; over £2m additional investment raised and three commercialised businesses.
David Millar, TechX Director at the NZTC, said:
“2020 has been a disruptive year for everyone. At TechX we have embraced the disruption and pivoted our offering to a virtual one to ensure we continue to provide world class support to these exciting start-ups.
“As we look towards the accelerated energy transition and ever looming threat of climate change we are delighted that half of our cohort this year are focused in this area. All 12 companies in this year’s cohort have high growth potential and are ready to take on the industry challenges they have been selected to solve.”
Colette Cohen, CEO of the NZTC, added:
“With 50% of this year’s cohort being cleantech, not only is TechX supporting the UK oil and gas/energy industry, but also the industry’s pivot towards a net zero economy.
“The disruptive and exciting technologies offered by these upcoming start-ups are key to our success as an industry. Especially in the midst of a global pandemic and one of the world’s worst economic downturns, our TechX Pioneers represent a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Strategic partners, delivery partners and mentors have been selected from across industries and roles to provide the key experience and knowledge to the cohort. This element is essential to the success of each company, providing a broad and varied range of skills to be shared with each team.
Nacho Gimenez, Managing Director of bp Ventures for Europe & Middle East, said:
“bp is delighted to once again support TechX, marking our third year as a strategic partner in this innovative programme. The calibre of the 12 pioneers selected this year is extremely high.
“TechX continues to identify and nurture talented teams and concepts, setting them up on the course to grow into new and exciting businesses. This is exactly what the world needs if we are to tackle some of the industry’s major challenges.
“As we reinvent bp and set a new strategic direction to a low carbon future, it’s fantastic to see several cohort three pioneers focusing on solutions to reduce emissions and deliver sustainable energy.
“bp Ventures along with our colleagues in the bp North Sea region look forward to working with the pioneers to develop and progress their concepts.”
Jeroen Van der Hoek, Investment Manager at Equinor Venture EPI, said:
“Equinor is pleased to be part of the 2020 TechX Accelerator and to support radical innovations from small start-ups with BIG ideas!
“By working #together we can develop game changing technologies that have the potential to make a lasting impact on the energy industry and bring us closer to our goal of net zero.
“This years’ cohort of TechX Pioneers reflects the new reality and we believe that the innovation, creativity and agility of start-ups is key to driving the energy transition.”
Amy Burnett, Manager at KPMG Private Enterprise, said:
“2020 has been an incredibly challenging and destabilising year for the energy sector with a combination of oil price fluctuations, Brexit uncertainty and Covid-19. But, the industry has proven time and again that it’s resilient and future-focused.
“With innovation at its heart, the TechX programme is a perfect example of the work being done on the ground in Aberdeen to ensure such a vital industry has a sustainable, long-term future. The fact that 50% of this year’s intake are focused on cleantech and net-zero demonstrates that the sector is looking to the future.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has transformed how we collaborate, but it’s also opened up even more opportunities for our team, enabling experts from KPMG across the UK, and globally, to provide support to this year’s cohort, meaning they’ll have arguably better access to support and mentoring than ever before.”
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