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SURGE: Disrupting The Energy Space

SURGE Accelerator, based in Houston, was founded by leading energy industry executives, venture capitalists, angel investors, potential pilot companies and successful entrepreneurs. SURGE kicked off its inaugural spring 2012 class in early January. And on day 55, the Rackspace Startup Program stopped in for a visit to see how things were developing in the energy startup sector. Until SURGE, there wasn’t a collective effort to take ideas from prototype to commercialization in the field of energy and take advantage of the massive changes occurring like cloud computing and big data.

The Space Cowboys had a chance to talk with Kirk Brand Coburn, co-founder and managing director of SURGE, and he enlightened us on how the teams are focusing on changes happening in technology, policy and expertise in the energy vertical. “We think that there is some disruption that can be made as it applies to energy, so the SURGE focus is really on entrepreneurs that are solving the world’s energy problems using software.”

Coburn goes on to say, “In the words of Marc Andreessen, software is eating the world. The major energy companies used to own 85 percent of the world’s energy reserves and today they have less than 15 percent. That’s a big change and what could happen if a software company or a software revolution came and changed what that world looked like? In the energy world, there is something known as the great generational crew change. Most of the leaders in energy are Baby Boomers and over half of their employees are Gen-Y and Millennial. What we know about the Gen-Y’ers and the Millennials is that they are technology dependent. We think that’s a big reason for innovation disruption.

“We’re here in Houston to try to be part of that disruption to help energy become more efficient by enabling entrepreneurs to truly find customers in the space, find traction and find capital,” continues Coburn on disrupting the energy industry. “The energy community is excited about SURGE. Energy is a relatively closed, quiet and secretive type of industry. People in energy have been open to sharing ideas, open to giving our companies pilots and opportunities. And we have done a good job of finding entrepreneurs that are really solving big problems and leveraging some know-how that is current today in cloud technology and big data. Those are really where a lot of the disruption is happening in energy.”

Take a look at the SURGE video featuring Kirk Brand Coburn for all of the insight on why the inaugural spring 2012 class at SURGE Accelerator is set on disrupting the world of energy. The Rackspace Startup Program looks forward to filling you in on the SURGE teams and their advances in cloud computing and big data as it relates to energy in the months to come. Contact the Space Cowboys today for more information on SURGE Accelerator in Houston, the Energy Capital of the World.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by John McKenna.

John McKenna loves startups and is a Space Cowboy with the Rackspace Startup Program. He also crafts customer stories and produces really cool videos for the Customer Reference Program. John enjoys telling stories through his writings…and loves the beach, the ranch, his dog Blue and most of all his three beautiful daughters.


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