Energy Leaders Invest $60 Million to Transform America’s Heartland into Hub for Energy Technology Startups
Leading energy companies Devon Energy (DVN), ONEOK (OKE) and Williams (WMB), venture capital firm Energy Innovation Capital (EIC) and tech-focused non-profit Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL) have joined together to transform America’s heartland into a hub for energy technology startups and redefine a sector that has shaped the region’s economy for more than a century.
Spearheaded by EIC, the first-of-its-kind initiative aims to attract energy technology startups to the region with access to resources including free office space and custom startup support services. EIC will also provide access to early-stage capital with a $50 million fund and assist startups to pilot forward-looking technologies with founding corporate partners, Devon Energy, ONEOK and Williams. By fueling R&D and innovation, the project is expected to create more than 1,700 jobs across the energy industry.
“The EIC team has a proven track record in investing and helping build energy tech startups, including market leaders in solar, wind, grid management and the sustainability of traditional energy that represent more than $20 billion in market value in aggregate,” said Kevin Skillern, Managing Partner at EIC. “We’re honored for the opportunity to build an energy tech ecosystem that spurs the creation of new, disruptive companies.”
This multi-prong collaboration will include the following:
EIC Rose Rock: A targeted $50 million fund to lead Seed and Series A rounds for early-stage energy technology companies. Initial investors, which include the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Devon Energy, ONEOK and William, have already committed $30 million, and will be supplemented by an ecosystem of other national and regional investors.
EIC Fusion: A program offering energy corporations support to supercharge their innovation agendas, EIC Fusion works with corporations to identify strategic areas of focus for each firm and connects them with leading startups developing solutions aligned with their R&D needs. The program is operated by EIC, and Devon Energy, ONEOK and Williams, will leverage the program to support their corporate innovation agendas.
Rose Rock Bridge: A one-year incubator program, located in Tulsa, will provide support to early-stage energy technology companies including up to $100,000 of non-dilutive capital, office space and services to accelerate commercialization.
Rose Rock Bridge is accepting applications from companies starting today and qualifying companies will be accepted on a rolling basis. To learn more, please visit roserockbridge.org.
“The Rose Rock initiative will give Devon and our partners direct access to advanced technologies and creative talent right here in Oklahoma,” said Trey Lowe, vice president and chief technology officer, Devon Energy. “We are excited to foster and expedite ground-breaking solutions to positively impact lives everywhere, and know that disruption and continuous improvement are necessary to meet growing energy demands while reducing environmental impact.”
“Our expansive energy infrastructure and midstream operating expertise position us well to play a vital role in a sustainable and transforming energy future,” said Greg Lusardi, senior vice president, corporate development of ONEOK. “Working with our fellow energy companies, EIC and the George Kaiser Family Foundation is a good fit as ONEOK’s long-term business strategy includes potential renewable energy and low-carbon investment opportunities that contribute to long-term growth, profitability and business diversification.”
“Williams is committed to delivering the next generation of energy by leveraging our natural gas and emerging energy infrastructure together with new technologies that help our customers achieve their decarbonization goals,” said Chad Zamarin, senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Development, Williams. “Establishing this fund, together with like-minded peers, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and EIC, is a catalyst to accelerate the innovations that will enable our nation to continue meeting society’s growing demand for clean energy.”
The initiative was conceived by TIL, an organization founded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to build a tech hub in Tulsa that leverages the strengths of the Heartland and expands inclusive opportunities in tech. TIL identified the opportunity for the region to meet the country’s energy needs over the coming years by investing in a diverse range of emerging energy technologies.
“Tulsa has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage its energy assets and position itself as a hub for energy tech research and commercialization,” said Nicholas Lalla, managing director of Tulsa Innovation Labs. “By diversifying investments in the industry, we will be able to diversify and future-proof energy job opportunities in Tulsa.”
About Tulsa Innovation Labs
Recognizing that the jobs of the future are rooted in a thriving innovation economy, the George Kaiser Family Foundation pioneered Tulsa Innovation Labs to develop a city-wide strategy that positions Tulsa as a tech hub that leverages the strengths of the Heartland. Through a diverse coalition of public and private partners, TIL is creating programs that seek to make Tulsa the nation’s most inclusive tech community.
About Energy Innovation Capital
Energy Innovation Capital invests in companies that are building innovative businesses and technologies transforming the energy and resource intensive industries. EIC investments focus on enabling the future of energy across three themes: energy transition, digital technologies, and sustainability.
About Devon Energy Corporation
Devon Energy is a leading oil and gas producer in the U.S. with a premier multi-basin portfolio headlined by a world-class acreage position in the Delaware Basin. Devon’s disciplined cash-return business model is designed to achieve strong returns, generate free cash flow and return capital to shareholders, while focusing on safe and sustainable operations. For more information, please visit www.devonenergy.com.
( NYSE: OKE) is a leading midstream service provider and owner of one of the nation’s premier natural gas liquids (NGL) systems, connecting NGL supply in the Rocky Mountain, Mid-Continent and Permian regions with key market centers and an extensive network of natural gas gathering, processing, storage and transportation assets.
As the world demands reliable, low-cost, low-carbon energy, Williams ( NYSE: WMB) will be there with the best transport, storage and delivery solutions to reliably fuel the clean energy economy. Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Williams is an industry-leading, investment grade C-Corp with operations across the natural gas value chain including gathering, processing, interstate transportation, storage, wholesale marketing and trading of natural gas and natural gas liquids. With major positions in top U.S. supply basins, Williams connects the best supplies with the growing demand for clean energy. Williams owns and operates more than 30,000 miles of pipelines system wide — including Transco, the nation’s largest volume and fastest growing pipeline — and handles approximately 30 percent of the natural gas in the United States that is used every day for clean-power generation, heating and industrial use. Learn how the company is leveraging its nationwide footprint to incorporate clean hydrogen, next generation gas and other innovations at www.williams.com.
SOURCE Tulsa Innovation Labs