They came. They pitched. And today, Pix Force is taking home $28,000 in prize money from the SPE ATCE Startup Village Energy Startup Competition.
“This means quite a lot and shows that we’re on the right track,” said Renato Gomes, Co-Founder and President of Pix Force, when asked what it meant to be recognized by industry peers. “It’s not just any peers — it is some leading engineers and people involved with venture capital. It’s like a little push — keep going, because you’re going in the right direction.”
Pix Force is a Brazilian company focused on automating visual inspection and monitoring processes by using artificial intelligence algorithms and computer vision.
Now in its seventh year, the ATCE Startup Village Energy Startup Competition aims to ignite entrepreneurial spirit in the energy industry.
This year’s competition attracted 75 applicants, and the top 10 pitched at ATCE in San Antonio. The first-place Best in Show company took home $25,000, two Rising Star companies won $5,000 each, and the People’s Choice award won $3,000.
Pix Force won both the Best in Show, and People’s Choice awards, landing the company $28,000 in prize money.
“In the era of energy transition, startups are critical to the oil and gas industry,” said Pramod Jain, CEO of Computer Modelling Group (CMG). “Startups bring innovation, agility, and fresh perspectives. The companies who presented at ATCE are not only vying for a prize — they’re shaping the future of energy. It’s a testament to our industry’s capacity for transformation and the relentless pursuit of innovation. New leaders, young talent, and fresh ideas are really important in an industry that is both growing and transitioning at the same time.”
Bryant Mueller, SVP of Sales at Datagration, and one of the co-founders of the startup pitch competition at ATCE agreed, saying the kinds of companies pitching has also changed over the last several years.
“We’ve had more applicants focus on ESG and green-related technologies, and we’re now seeing a greater ratio of digital to hardware applicants,” he said.
Mueller says that companies who apply are typically at a Series A stage, with under $1 million in funding, and the goal is to connect them with funders to foster an ecosystem of new ideas and technologies, as well as introducing companies to potential investors and buyers.
“We try to keep younger companies in the competition,” Mueller said. “We’ve had several success stories of people saying that once they left the stage, they got hooked up with investors right away.”
The ATCE Startup Village Energy Startup Competition was judged by an esteemed group of leaders who come from a range of backgrounds in the energy industry.
This year’s judging panel included:
- Kevin Frederick, President, Ameron Poles at NOV
- Gregory Hundt, Sr. Manager, Scouting and Innovation, Halliburton Labs
- Daniel Sutton, Manager of Strategy and Sustainability, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures
- Kiran Venepalli, General Manager for Energy Transition and Unconventional Resources at Computer Modelling Group Ltd (CMG)
- Kemal Anbarci, Vice President & Managing Executive of Venture Capital at Chevron Technology Ventures
This year’s companies that pitched included:
- Drishya AI, an Alberta-based Industrial AI company specializing in creating digital twins of legacy industrial facilities in sectors such as Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, and Utilities.
- EarthEn, an Arizona-based company that develops novel thermo-mechanical solutions that use CO₂ to store energy at a low cost and in a scalable manner.
- IonTech Energy Solutions, an Ohio-based company that makes sodium-ion batteries that the company hopes will replace lithium-ion batteries.
- LiQuidium, a Texas-based company that provides a sustainable membrane technology for direct lithium extraction.
- PDQ Decisions, a North Carolina-based company that helps petroleum engineers make better decisions by implementing reporting, compliance, and analysis workflows.
- Pix Force, a Brazilian company focused on automating visual inspection and monitoring processes by using artificial intelligence algorithms and computer vision.
- Saher Flow Solutions, a Saudi Arabia-based company that provides multiphase flow-metering devices to the oil and gas industry to help them increase revenue with optimized production, while also meeting ESG targets by minimizing emissions.
- Tranzmeo IT Solutions, an Indian company focused on artificial intelligence, machine learning and fiber optic sensing for anomaly detection.
- WellWorth, a Texas-based company that offers a cloud platform to streamline the workflow for finance teams to perform asset valuation, evaluate prospective deals, and model corporate items like G&A, hedges, RBL, and debt.
- PrePad, an Alberta-based company that simulates the end-to-end well drilling and completions process for hundreds of unique designs, in minutes.
When asked what it was like being a startup in a big industry like energy, Gomes of Pix Force applauded the welcome he’s received.
“It’s an industry that’s very welcoming to innovation. As soon as you have something that works and makes sense, they’re going to embrace you and try to push you along. I think it’s the beauty here.”