Industry Experts Converge at Rice Alliance’s 13th Annual Energy and Clean Technology Venture Forum

Earlier this month the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (Rice Alliance) held the 13th Annual Energy and Clean Technology Venture Forum in Houston. It’s an industry convention-type conference billed as the largest of its kind in the southwest. It’s an event anyone with an interest in the energy field will enjoy and learn from, according to its website Alliance.Rice.edu.

“This event represents an opportunity to learn about the latest emerging technologies, meet investors to seek funding, see promising companies, learn about investment opportunities, meet individuals from the energy and clean technology industry, and learn about promising companies seeking to expand their management team,” a statement from their site reads.

One of the most regularly anticipated events at the conference is the release of their ’10 Most Promising Energy and Clean Technology Venture Companies’ list, which is judged by a panel of investors and industry experts.

New and innovative business strategies are becoming increasingly important to an industry that was once one of the most lucrative and powerful, but has seen a sharp decline this past year due to a variety of factors. It also doesn’t help drilling producers that the amount of global proved oil reserves has increased by about 27% (350 billion barrels) over the last decade.

Still, the oil and gas industry accounts for approximately 9.8 million jobs and 8% of the economy in the United States. Brad Burke, Rice Alliance managing director, believes the reason for much of the convention’s success is the continuous improvement in the quality of companies involved, according to a press release from BusinessWire.com.

“Over the past 13 years, more than 1,700 companies have presented at Rice Alliance Technology Venture Forums. These companies have raised more than $2.1 billion in funding,” Burke said. “This speaks to the quality of the companies and to the robust entrepreneurial ecosystem of investors that has been developed to support these companies. Despite the challenging economic environment over the past several years, good companies have been able to attract investors.”

One of the companies he’s speaking about that made the list this year is a San Diego-based surveyor called GroundMetrics. Bill Tucker, a long-time writer on everything energy-related and current Forbes contributor, wrote about the significance such a recognition can have on an innovative company looking to make some noise in the industry.

“[GroundMetrics uses] a unique electromagnetic technology which allows it to detect not only underground pockets of deposits, but to determine what is in those pockets more accurately so a decision to drill or not to drill can be made with greater certainty,” Tucker wrote.

GroundMetrics CEO, George Eiskamp, told Tucker he’s been “overwhelmed” by the opportunities the distinction has made available to him. They are no longer trying to raise funding, and are now in the process of attempting to persuade drilling rig companies that their services will help them save time and money. There is currently about 53 years worth of oil reserves for global production. Their process could be a groundbreaking new way to locate, analyze, and plan for new drilling projects going forward.

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