First Rice Alliance Venture Day selects four 'most promising' companies

Venture Day

Twenty emerging energy technology companies were pitched to investors at the first Rice Alliance Venture Day @ CERAWeek at the Agora, and the audience voted four of those companies -- Connectus Global, DrillDocs, Revterra and Revolution Turbine Technologies - as the event’s “most promising” investment opportunities.

Connectus Global, which is based in Calgary but has a U.S. base in Houston, makes software used to monitor people’s locations in buildings, airports, mines, facilities and manufacturing plants.

DrillDocs, based in Houston, created a “computer vision system” that promises to revolutionize shale shaker monitoring and help reduce drilling costs and risks.

Revterra, another Houston company, provides cost-effective and long-duration grid storage through a flywheel energy storage system, which company officials say ensures renewable, 24/7 power availability.

Revolution Turbine Technologies, from North Carolina, is developing a compact, emissions-free turbine that generates power using only “waste gas pressure” for remote locations.

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship is the university’s nationally-recognized initiative devoted to supporting technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education and the launch of technology companies.

Each of the 20 companies selected by Rice Alliance gave a four-minute presentation with three minutes for questions from the venture capital investors. The audience then split into four groups and voted, through a Zoom poll, for the four companies they felt offered the best investment opportunity.

“Our mission is to serve as a catalyst to help in the formation and growth of technology startup companies,” said Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance, in his welcome message. In the program’s 20 years, it has seen 2,860 startups participate and raise a total of $20 billion.

Burke said this year’s group of companies was intentionally diverse. It included companies looking for funding and others that have already raised up to $20 million. Participants joined from as far away as Finland, with specialties ranging from climate analytics to clean energy storage to tracking assets and personnel.