The program accepted four oil and gas startups into the program this fall, concluding this December when each entrepreneur will present their business models to members of the Initiative.
“The Idea Village’s accelerators are the best in the country for those founders looking to grow their business in New Orleans,” said Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village.
Selection criteria included: past experiences, leadership history, and skills of the management team; the potential business opportunity, including market size, potential to scale globally, barriers to entry, and competition; existing product-market fit and traction, timeline and hurdles to a market-ready product; go-to-market strategy; and viability, reality, and defensibility of the business model.
“The greatest challenge these companies will have, unlike other businesses, is recognition and the ability to scale,” said Hank Torbert, Entrepreneur-In-Residence for the program. “You have to have a sponsor within an oil and gas company to take on your product and that’s not always easy, but it can be done.”
3rd Dimension Media is an animation startup based in Baton Rouge that provides custom 3D industrial and technical animations using an assortment of different 3D animation software packages.
The company is owned and operated by Brett Gauthier, who has nearly a decade of professional experience in 3D animation. After graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Gauthier has built the brand and now is joined by three other colleagues.
3rd Dimension Media focuses on producing high quality 3D animations that can be used across fields and purposes, including industrial, architecture, concepts, trade shows, presentations, training and more. “Our services are being used to communicate new ideas, bridging areas of expertise, and filling the knowledge gap for the engineering, scientific community, and anything that requires an animation to get the point through in a clear, easy-to-understand manner,” said Gauthier.
Data Specialties Group, a run by John Tauriac, is a data monitoring manufacturing and services company that provides integrated solutions to critical operations creating a safer work environment.
Real time information brings the well data directly to the client via satellite or radio networks, which eliminates the need to travel to the well site and improves safety of operations. This information also allows multiple well sites to be monitored from one location.
Although the oil and gas industry is hurting, Tauriac still has plans to grow his Lafayette-based startup. “The environment makes my company’s well-monitoring equipment and services more critical as oil and gas companies seek out safer, more efficient and cost-effective ways to enhance their operations,” he said.
Chad Deville’s startup, Louisiana Technical Instruments, aims to use technology that reduces “methane bleed” particularly to help pipelines meet emissions standards.
Based in Covington, their goal is to provide a technology that will help pipeline operators, refineries, power plants, paper mills, offshore platforms, and additional industries comply with the proposed methane emissions regulations. These regulations were set forth by the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency in January 2015.
The company’s proprietary technology, the EPAS, provides one solution for reducing pneumatic controller methane emissions and decreasing “lost and unaccounted for” gas. Torbert describes the device as a “very timely and cost-saving device for gas pipeline operators and maintenance providers…it potentially has thousands of miles of pipeline where it can be implemented.”
Lastly, OBOCS (Onboard Oil Containment Systems), led by entrepreneurs Julie Kuchta and Michael Miller, has developed a product that is a boom on a reel that can be deployed at any site immediately upon an oil or chemical spill.
“The air source comes direct from the ship or tug boat’s own air supply or by an air compressor on site for land based applications,” explains Kuchta. “This provides an immediate method of containment without having to await onshore spill response teams.”
Torbert says OBOCS has created an innovative solution for oil spill containment that can potentially save an enormous amount of time and certain costs for users in the marine and oil and gas sector.
Following the presentations later this month, qualifying startups will have a chance to advance to the CAPITALx program and showcase their products and companies during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) in March. For more information about the program, visit ideavillage.org.