Velda Addison, Hart Energy

Times are tough for oil and gas companies. Imagine being a startup trying to seek investors.

But now could actually be a good time for startups, considering oil and gas companies are on the lookout for innovative new products and techniques that will grow production and profits.

A forum at Rice University will put entrepreneurs and potential investors into a room together. But the deadline is nearing for startups that want in on the action.

As part of the Energy and Clean Technology Venture Forum, put on by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, a representative from a company is given five minutes to introduce his or her business to a roomful of investors, industry experts and others who want to gain insight on what could become the next big thing in energy technology.

The event is about two months away, but the application deadline for presenting companies is July 17.

There will also be an opportunity for companies to participate in what event organizers call “investor office hours” on Sept. 16 when representatives from presenting companies can meet with venture capitalists, corporate investors and angel investors during one-on-one meetings.

The event is a great way for investors to find innovative technology and work with new companies to push their ideas forward.

Last year more than 50 companies participated. Some introduced what they called lower-cost, faster seismic acquisition and processing technology. Others presented their solutions for asset monitoring and equipment failure prediction.

One company introduced technology that provides real-time monitoring of underground fluid flows inside the reservoir during production.

And people, including investors, are taking notice. Modumetal spotlighted its new class of protective metal alloys. The company has worked alongside oil and gas companies that include ConocoPhillips and Chevron.

Organizers encourage companies developing technologies in alternative, clean energy; oil and gas E&P; oil and gas refining and marketing; electricity and power generation; energy storage, transportation, efficiency or conservation; environmental remediation; and software applications for the energy and clean tech industry to apply to present.

The event is an opportunity to not only line up funding, but also gain visibility and form partnerships.

Get more information or apply here.

The annual forum takes place from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at Rice University’s McNair Hall.

Velda Addison can be reached at or via Twitter @veldaaddison.