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Programme uniting energy firms with tech startups launches second cohort

EnergyTech connects emerging digital tech companies with major players from across the energy industry to drive digital transformation and "culture change".
EnergyTech connects emerging digital tech companies with major players from across the energy industry to drive digital transformation and "culture change".

An effort to drive digital innovation in the energy sector has proved fruitful as the second programme to offer firms the chance to learn “radically different” ways of offering goods and services takes off again in the spring.

EnergyTech, delivered in partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs, CodeBase and Opportunity North East (ONE), designed to connect emerging digital tech companies with major players from across the energy industry to drive digital transformation and “culture change”, the organisers said.

EnergyTech is delivered in partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs, CodeBase and Opportunity North East (ONE).
One Tech Hub, Aberdeen.

Energy service company Petrofac was one of six established companies to take part, and confirmed it has struck a deal to develop technology developed by a start up as a result of its part in the programme.

Sandy Merson, operations and maintenance director of Petrofac, said: “EnergyTech has raised our awareness of the challenges startups have and how, as a larger company we can support them.

“We are moving to a formal agreement with one of the startups and with a common understanding and language have been able to deploy their technology quickly, meaning we’re also able to accelerate to a point of value creation for our customers.”

Fifteen emerging digital technology companies participated in the first 12 month programme which was largely conducted via video calls due to the pandemic.

Share experience and learn

Aberdeen-based eCerto, which was formed in 2019 to offer technology focused on financial performance of capital projects, was among the new companies recruited to the programme.

Steve Shearman, founder eCerto, said: “It can be difficult and time consuming to get time with your potential client base to understand their challenges.

“EnergyTech facilitates that and puts you together with likeminded startups and technology companies to share experiences and learn from and support each other.

“EnergyTech has had a great impact on our business to date, it’s helped us understand the complexities of developing technology, and how we communicate the value that we can bring to customers and the market.”

It can be difficult and time consuming to get time with your potential client base to understand their challenges.”

Steve Shearman, founder of eCerto

Martin Boyle, startup & corporate programmes at CodeBase, said: “What makes EnergyTech different is that we are not trying to put the startups and the incumbent companies in a position where one’s pitching to the other, they’re trying to learn together.

“What we tried to create from the beginning is a community where everybody learns at the same speed and at the same time, and the feedback has been very positive.

“Over the course of the 12 month programme, people have a good opportunity to get to know one another and with workshops under Chatham House rules, people feel able to express opinions and share experiences.

“Ultimately, it is the sense of getting to know each other and creating a community which helps with that sense of trust.”

Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Opportunity North East (ONE).

Recruitment is under way for energy corporates and startups to join cohort 2 of EnergyTech starting in spring 2022.

Highly interactive

Jennifer Craw, chief executive of ONE which sponsors the programme, said: “Highly interactive, expert-led monthly meetups include speakers with experience from both inside and outside the sector.

“Participants have heard from leaders from Palantir Tech, Airbus Skywise, Barclays, Cisco, Halliburton Labs and bp Launchpad, exposing them to radically different ways of delivering products and value compared to the energy sector’s traditional approach.

“In 2022 we will deliver our most extensive programme ever of sector specific start-up accelerators and business growth programmes for ambitious founders and businesses owners to successfully start or scale their business.”

Ms Craw will be a guest panellist at this year’s Barclays Eagle Labs annual EnergyTech event on 25 January.

The panel will look at barriers to entry and explore what changes will make the difference and attract the best tech talent to create and deliver the tech products and solutions to support a low carbon economy.

Tech companies join programme to drive culture change in traditional energy firms

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