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NEWS & INSIGHT | article

Two years on: a pioneering journey in oil and gas entrepreneurship

13 February 2020

• 8 field trials completed
• £3.5 million investment raised
• 14 new jobs created
• £2.9 – 6 million further investment in discussion

The Oil & Gas Technology Centre’s (OGTC) unique technology accelerator and incubator programme, TechX, is celebrating the results from its first intake of Pioneers. Backed by more than 120 industry partners and mentors, the first cohort of ‘pioneers’ have completed eight field trials, secured £3.5 million of additional funding, created 14 new jobs and in discussions for £2.9 million of further investment.

TechX offers a unique funding model of up to £100,000, with no equity or payback required, as well as business scale-up and field trial support 24 months upon completion. This has allowed entrepreneurial start-ups to advance their technologies from concept through to field trial and commercialisation, in as little as 3 years compared to an average of 5+ years.

Intebloc, who provide intelligent offshore solutions for safer and more efficient crane operations, initially entered the accelerator programme with one of their products in very early stage TRL (Technology Readiness Level).

In the last 12 months since graduating from TechX, the company has completed a field trial with international drilling company, Stena Drilling, with another planned. This has allowed their product to progress to late stage TRL, with plans to successfully commercialise the product early this year.

After graduating from the programme, Intebloc have received significant recognition and won several awards, including the RBS Scottish Edge Awards, providing the company with a further £90,000 investment.

Ross Mcleod, Intebloc CEO, discussed his development since completing the programme: “Since entering the TechX programme we have won several awards, engaged with multiple businesses and secured additional funding.

We have also built a strong team, which has taken us from 15 years’ experience to over 95 years between us all. At Intebloc, we pride ourselves on creating jobs here in the North East of Scotland.”

Similarly, Tubular Sciences, which is developing the next generation of metal to metal pipe connection technology for the offshore industry, has seen the benefits of completing the TechX programme.

Elaine Galston, CEO, gave praise to the support during her time on the programme: “We have taken on a number of mentors who were influential to us at various points in our TechX journey. From the very beginning they were extremely knowledgeable, sharing their networks, expertise and understanding of an industry we lacked experience within.

“Now we sub-contract some critical work to one mentor who has an understanding of this complex area – something we couldn’t have done on our own. This has provided invaluable to Tubular Sciences.”

Reflecting on its success, David Millar, Technology Accelerator Director, commented on the accelerator programme: “TechX was designed to provide a world class offering that made an impactful difference to the most exciting technology start-ups trying to break into the UK energy sector.

“Our inaugural cohort have continued to go from strength to strength and surpassed all our expectations in terms of their market traction, field trials and successful investment raised. We’re excited to see a number of technologies very close to commercialisation, which is outstanding considering some didn’t even exist two years ago.”

The TechX programme shows no sign of slowing down. Fast on the heels of cohort one, the pioneers of cohort two have already shown similar success; with one field trial complete, 10 others in the opportunity stage and some already raising investment to grow their business.

Applications for cohort three have just been closed with the next intake scheduled to be announced at the end of February 2020.

Check out the short video below, which features updates from the pioneers of cohort 1 on what they took away from the programme and the progress they have made:

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