In September, a new Tulsa-based venture capital fund was announced. It’s called EIC Rose Rock and it’s not your typical venture capital fund. The fund was founded by Bay Area-based venture capital firm Energy Innovation Capital (EIC) for energy technology and innovation. The $50 million fund has several high-profile, Oklahoma-based investors made public, including the George Kaiser Family Foundation and major energy companies Devon Energy (DVN), ONEOK (OKE) and Williams (WMB).
Like its sponsor fund, Energy Innovation Capital, EIC Rose Rock is expected to invest in innovative energy technology start-ups, with a primary focus on energy transition, digital technologies and sustainability. The state of Oklahoma itself is also likely to be a major theme, given the location of the Fund and the investors. Technologies relevant to the core business of the Fund’s corporate investors could also be targeted, including industries such as pipeline integrity and safety and power transmission, including natural gas, hydrogen and diesel. other fuels. The Fund will lean towards the first part of the venture capital investment, leading the seed and Series A financings.
The term energy transition refers to the general trend in the energy sector towards a low-carbon economy. Greentech, Cleantech, Clean Energy and Green Investing are just some of the other terms used to describe investing in this energy shift. It is also one of the three themes of the now ubiquitous term ESG Investing (Environmental, Social and Governance). EIC energy believes that the world needs rapid, large-scale innovations in energy supply, demand reduction and optimized distributed energy systems to meet global societal and regulatory demands. EIC Rose Rock will focus on financing the growth of companies that can facilitate this trend, including opportunities that reside in technologies that will make emerging energy infrastructure more efficient, more efficient and at lower cost.
Digital technologies are transforming all aspects of global society, including things like always-connected mobile devices and personalized on-demand solutions as a service. In the energy, resources, manufacturing and industrial sectors, digital technologies and solutions are having a huge impact on product development, manufacturing, markets and logistics. Energy Innovation Capital believes that continued improvements in cheaper batteries, computing, high-speed connectivity, cloud-hosted processing, advanced analytics, big data, artificial intelligence, code Modern open, autonomy and robotics and other technologies are going to be a big part of the energy revolution. EIC Rose Rock Ventures could fund start-ups in these and other areas that are already based in Oklahoma, or based elsewhere but with the intention of bringing a portion of their operations to the state.
Sustainability is closely linked to the energy transition. Specifically, technologies related to sustainability include themes such as recycling and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, tidal power, etc. Carbon reduction and reduction technologies, electric vehicles and energy efficiency are also important in sustainability efforts. Energy Innovation Capital also believes that energy will play a key role in developing conventional resources in a more sustainable way. Energy Innovation Capital and EIC Rose Rock can be expected to invest in companies that will help provide much-needed conventional energy resources, more sustainably, throughout the decades-long energy transition.
When first publicly announced, EIC Rose Rock was described as one of three parts of an innovation collaboration between the founders of EIC Rose Rock and Tulsa Innovation Labs, an economic development effort and innovation founded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation in May 2020. Other aspects of the Rose Rock effort are Rose Rock Bridge and EIC Fusion.
Rose Rock Bridge is a newly created energy technology incubator based in Tulsa and publicly announced in collaboration with EIC Rose Rock. The incubator is expected to provide support to early-stage energy technology companies, providing them with office space, general business services, networking, and even up to $100,000 in non-dilutive capital for companies accepted into the program. To date, Rose Rock Bridge has not announced the names of startups accepted into its incubator program, but it has said it is accepting applications and companies will be accepted on a rolling basis.
The third part of the innovation collaboration announced in Tulsa is Energy Innovation Capital’s corporate innovation program called Fusion. Fusion offers energy companies assistance in their innovation efforts, including identifying areas of strategic focus and connections with top energy startups developing related technologies. The program is managed by Energy Innovation Capital from its headquarters in Orinda, California. Corporate investors from EIC Rose Rock, Devon Energy, ONEOK and Williams, use Fusion in their corporate innovation efforts.
This recently announced innovation collaboration between Energy Innovation Capital, Tulsa Innovation Labs, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Devon, ONEOK and Williams is expected to create more than 1,700 jobs in the energy sector. Presumably, many of them will be new jobs in Tulsa and/or other parts of Oklahoma. The final number of jobs created will likely never be known, but this is certainly a positive step in bringing much-needed energy innovation to the region.