OCIF Funds $500K Avatar Green Tech Accelerator

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In 18 months, Avatar Innovations is already building a track record of successfully driving green energy ideas into businesses and tangible projects, and on Thursday, the Opportunity Calgary Innovation Fund committed $500,000 over three years to continue powering the incubator.

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Avatar was born from the need to form solutions to the carbon emissions challenges of the oil sector, and in a short time they have had 1,800 applications, 644 of which have been embedded and 30 technologies have been sponsored by the industry.

“Today represents a major step forward for Calgary’s thriving energy sector and its ability to deliver innovative technologies in the energy transition and build tomorrow’s leaders,” Kevin Krausert, CEO and co-founder of Avatar. “With this contribution, Avatar will be able to accelerate the pace of technology commercialization in the energy transition within oil and gas, to the benefit of the city.”

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Avatar works with a three-phase approach, the first is a 12-week course aimed at developing ideas, technology and leadership among the participants. These are apps that come from across the oil and gas industry, including the Big Four: Enbridge, Suncor, TransCanada Corp. and Cenovus. Essentially, this is a free space for your workers to develop energy transition technologies.

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The best ideas identified by industry are then placed into a central accelerated technology development accelerator to build a prototype at local post-secondary institutions such as SAIT and the University of Calgary.

The final phase is the initial investments and bringing the technologies to market, which moves quickly because the technology has been developed by the industry.

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“We can take the risk out of corporate travel,” Krausert said. “The ones that work are the proof in the pudding to be able to show that even if their technology fails, the system works. I think that’s what’s so powerful about Avatar.”

The Calgary-based incubator also received $2.1 million from the federal government in January and has a private funding base.

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This is all part of the industry’s net-zero path and is just one element of the goals to reduce the impact of carbon emissions to zero by 2050. According to Martha Hall-Findlay, chief climate officer at Suncor, tar sands represent the 10 percent. of Canadian emissions.

“The only way we’re going to be able to do that is through innovations and creativity in cleantech investments that pave the way for tech hits and successes,” he said.

Brad Parry, CEO and President of Calgary Economic Development and CEO of OCIF, said there are other tech incubators in Calgary and they supported some of them in 2021. Avatar, however, is unique in its total focus on energy development. green for the oil and gas sector, and which are already showing results.

“We believe in the energy transition, so the investments now are ours and we are making sure that we are setting ourselves up for long-term success,” he said.

OCIF is a $100 million fund with the goal of growing Calgary’s technology sector and creating jobs and investment in the city. Since 2018, around $68.5 million has been allocated to 23 projects.

[email protected]

Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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