Maryanne Barker, HTC Energy

What do roundups, branding, steer wrangling, lassoing, calf roping, and bronco riding have in common? The first guess might be that they’re part of the Houston Rodeo, but these activities also can be defined in terms of Houston Technology Center’s (HTC) Energy Practice. HTC assists in growing emerging technology companies and to date has coached more than 250 companies, has graduated more than 60 companies, and its clients have raised more than US $750 million dollars. HTC currently has more than 60 early stage companies in its client portfolio.

HTC Energy’s roundup includes 30 energy clients that represent all industry sectors: upstream, downstream, petrochemicals, conventional, and renewable energies that range from nanotechnology to harnessing the power of waves to generate energy, such as Texas Natural Resources Seadog technology.

Over the past century each new energy technology, once proved, has taken about 25 to 30 years to grow, so increased branding and identifying the value of a new technology is important to start-up companies. Proper branding has brought Point Energy Group to close an international trial of its solar streetlight poles in New South Wales, Australia. Point Energy Group delivers an innovative solar lighting "i-pole" technology.

Steer wrangling to provide insight and business guidance to scientists and technologists, HTC clients lasso wide-ranging dreams into focused directives that can demonstrate the market potential for their technology, such as Neohydro’s brinecell anode technology for renewing waste water. Neohydro has executed its first three projects, treating waste water for reuse in fracing, by treating 12,000 bbl of water.

Accelerating new energy technology and entrepreneurship have never been more important. Attracting seasoned professionals, calf-roping, for an early stage company can be very difficult, but having a well rounded management team is critical to attracting investment. With an experienced entrepreneurial team, Orbital Traction, a company that is developing a continuously variable transmission technology, won a Small Business Innovation Research grant award from the Department of Defense.

Showcasing commercial successes, bronco riding, is vital to our industry. TerraSpark Geoscience’s groundbreaking 3-D seismic interpretation and directional well path planning technology recently secured $6 million dollars in growth capital from Lime Rock Partners.

And lastly, spurring on energy innovation, the Energy Technology Venture Capital Conference, hosted by HTC, offers a forum for more than 150 innovative energy technologies to showcase their technologies and connect with over potential clients and investors.

It’s undeniable that the future of Houston and the future of energy are in supporting energy innovation.