Google, Apple, IBM, Adobe and countless others helped create Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Since then, the area has become home to thousands of tech startups, generating a third of all U.S. venture capital investments and employing about a quarter million IT professionals.
But now another Silicon Valley is forming in Oklahoma City, where young tech companies are revolutionizing the oil and natural gas industry one innovation at a time.
“The oil and gas industry is a very creative industry,” says Evan Anderson, CEO of Oseberg, which works to streamline public oil and natural gas data into a central, searchable interface. “It’s an old industry, which means it’s ripe for disruption — it’s ripe for some new ideas.”
Anderson and his Oklahoma City-based startup are aiming for nothing less than total transformation for the oil and natural gas industry. And he’s not alone.
Charles Crenshaw, IT Manager at Flogistix, a company that designs and manufactures high-tech vapor recovery systems, says the industry is in the midst of a technological revolution — and Oklahoma City is in the middle of it.
“Oklahoma City has really become a tech hotspot,” he says. “There are opportunities throughout the industry to apply new technologies to solve old problems.”
Greg Archbald owner of Greasebook, which allows pumpers to monitor well sites from their home offices, says now is the time for young people to enter the industry.
“And not only just enter it, but move up very quickly,” he says. “These spots need to be filled — I mean what an opportunity.”
With all of this tech taking place in one industry and largely in one city, Donavan Farrow, CEO of Alias Forensics, saw an opportunity. Alias Forensics specializes in information security and digital forensics with a focus on the oil and natural gas industry.
“We have blown it up in technology, but we forgot to lock the door,” he says. “Being able to be a company that helps protect the economy of Oklahoma has been a true blessing. It’s all about securing the future of Oklahoma.”
To provide a home for these companies, Oklahoma City is creating the Innovation District, which is already home to several tech startups and research facilities.
“Oklahoma really is becoming the Silicon Valley of energy innovation,” said Mike Ming, Vice President – Executive Liaison, Baker Hughes, a GE Company.
A formal home with infrastructure built for tech will only further cultivate oil and natural gas innovation and encourage more companies to build businesses in Oklahoma City- creating a hub of startups, entrepreneurs and young tech minds that will continue to revolutionize the industry.