Hossein Rokhsari
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CEO & Co-Founder, Darcy Partners, Houston
33 FortyUnder40 feat. Rokhsari, Hossein

“Our industry is under a lot of external pressure, [and] the bar for resilience and agility keeps going higher. One tool that could help us in this journey is innovation and technology,” says Hossein Rokhsari, CEO and founder of Darcy Partners, a Houston-based technology research and consulting firm.

Under Rokhsari’s leadership, Darcy has showcased over 200 new technologies to E&P operators and uncovered more than 2,000 new innovative solutions for the energy space as part of its mission to accelerate the adoption of innovation in the industry. 

Darcy conducts research on behalf of E&P operators, assesses new technology and develops field-ready solutions that can be of value to a company’s operations. The firm’s research studies cover topics along the upstream value chain from geology and geophysics to drilling and completions to production and facilities. 

“Innovation and creativity are factored in the DNA of the company,” he says. “We hire, nurture and reward people who push the boundaries and keep developing novel ideas on how to better serve our members.” 

Describing his approach to new ideas, he says that “your idea is like a kid. If you protect it too much, it will never grow strong.” 

Career path: By 25, Rokhsari had acquired his Ph.D. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology. The early accomplishment facilitated his entrance into the business world, as he joined the management firm McKinsey & Co. as a consultant right after graduation. 

He worked at McKinsey for eight years, advising CEOs and executives of Fortune 100 companies, private equity investors and sovereign wealth funds on energy related matters.

“There is more technology that goes into reaching oil than what goes into sending man to the moon. It is a fundamental energy required for life on earth– at least now and for the years to come.”

Rokhsari then transitioned to the technology sector of the industry, and in late 2015, he and his partner Jeremy Sweek founded Darcy with a desire to establish a greater transparency between the industry and its technology partners. 

“There is more technology that goes into reaching oil than what goes into sending man to the moon,” he says. “It is a fundamental energy required for life on earth—at least now and for the years to come—so we need to develop it efficiently and with care. Today, E&P companies end up making technology decisions with less data than we have when buying a toaster. Darcy is changing that rapidly.” 

Lessons learned: When his dad quit his job as a school teacher to pursue painting, Rokhsari was inspired to apply that approach to his life. He says his dad’s decision unconsciously made him comfortable with change, taking calculated risks and pursuing his passions. 

“The failure of my first business was a hard one to deal with, but when I see how that failure resulted in the birth of the next successful venture, it changed my view on failure.” 

Rokhsari has successfully grown Darcy’s clientele of E&P operators to represent more than half of U.S. oil and gas production. And as a business, almost a quarter of the technologies that the company has introduced have turned into commercial projects within six months. 

Goal: “My mission is to make ideas to flow much faster. This helps minimize inefficiencies and also to attract the best talent to solve tough problems for the industry.” 

Short-term, Darcy will continue to operate as a pathway for innovation to lead the race in harnessing the power of technology. 

Advice to young professionals: “Talk about your ideas with everyone! Don’t be afraid. Others are 100 times more likely to refine and support your ideas than steal them.”