With the 8th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) March 11-18, all eyes turned to Louisiana. As the fastest growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the U.S., more than 10,000 attendees came to the Big Easy to hear world-renowned keynote speakers and attend dozens of panel and educational sessions.
Specifically, many attendees—from VCs to public sector representatives—came to NOEW with an eye on a key slice of Louisiana’s ecosystem—oil and gas. With prices of crude oil the lowest they’ve been in 13 years, the Gulf Coast’s economy is feeling the pain—and it’s beginning to affect other industries. In fact, Jolie’s Bistro in Lafayette, a nationally acclaimed restaurant named for world-renowned artist George Rodrigue’s 1974 Jolie Blonde painting (and one of my personal faves), recently closed its doors, citing the direct hit the local economy has taken because of the oil industry downturn. In addition, the entire community of Morgan City is taking a huge hit, with even a school considering closing its doors because of the crisis.
So now, Louisiana must find other ways to sustain our economy so we don’t face a repeat of the 1980s oil glut. We’ve thankfully diversified since then with key industries such as agribusiness and software development—proving that tough economic times encourage entrepreneurialism. In fact, some of the world’s most successful businesses, such as Disney, McDonald’s, Microsoft and Google, were all founded in tough economic times. And what better industry for the fastest growing entrepreneurial hub to begin disrupting than the one that has not changed its ways in almost 200 years?
The lack of disruption, combined with abundant uncertainty, has spurred oil and gas giants such as Shell, Halliburton and Chevron to begin investing in private tech companies. Clearly, innovation is top of mind during this downturn. In fact, The second annual Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit took place at NOEW, focusing on the status of venture investing at major petroleum companies.
There are a few companies that have already answered the call to help the oil and gas industry increase efficiencies, safety and productivity—ultimately, positively affecting the bottom line.
Below, I’d like to introduce you to five Louisiana-based oil and gas technology startups to watch now.
It’s an exciting time for the Louisiana entrepreneurial ecosystem as these companies will concurrently create more efficiencies for an industry so desperately in need of a shake-up, and help the Silicon Bayou become acclaimed as the leading entrepreneurial hub for the oil and gas industry.
3rd Dimension Media
Another 2015-2016 member of the Idea Village EnergyX accelerator, this Lafayette-based startup provides 3-D animation for O&G industry tradeshows, interactive safety trainings and marketing materials. The animations often provide the viewer with an easy-to-understand visualization to very complex industry hardware, technology and processes. 3rdmedia.us
Both on- and offshore oil and gas service companies can use this SaaS solution to eliminate inefficient, manual and often paper-based activity recording. The New Orleans-based technology company provides a platform that allows for the efficient and accurate capture of field and vessel activities, and provides real-time revenue, personnel and other information. cleargistix.com
Louisiana Technical Instruments
A 2015-2016 member of the Idea Village EnergyX accelerator, this New Orleans-based tech company provides pipeline operators, refineries, power plants, paper mills and offshore platforms with a solution to help meet emissions standards through a technology that reduces “methane bleed.”
Spotter by Envoc
This tablet app for iPad and Android allows companies to create and manage their own inspection questionnaires or forms for users in the field. Created by Envoc, a Baton Rouge-based software and design firm, Spotter was created to replace the inefficient pen and paper in order to make audits and inspections more accurate than ever before. envoc.com
A New Orleans-based startup servicing the shipbuilding space, an $11 billion industry in Louisiana alone, Maritant connects engineers, shipbuilders and vessel operators with preferred vendor equipment data, helping to reduce research time through a trusted source. maritant.com
Blair Broussard is vice president of the award-winning tech PR firm, AR|PR. Originally published on SiliconBayouNews.com.
Published in the second quarter 2016 edition of 10/12 Industry Report.