by kirkcoburn
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As the fugleman, I made a promise in 2010 that I was committed to leading SURGE for at least 10 years. Building a community takes time, blood, sweat, tears, fun, and cash. Brad Feld, an early supporter of SURGE, talks about taking the long-term view. Houston (and our industry) still needs a lot of hard work to see this vision realized. And SURGE is committed to playing its part. Many of our mentors and investors have contributed greatly to our cause. Thank you, because the work is only beginning.

I am excited to share that SURGE has been busy over the past few months. I took a pause to “smell the roses” (the grease and oil of hard work) coming out of our alumni. I have traveled from coast to coast meeting with investors, partners, friends, and entrepreneurs (and was even able to get in a long-run in the mountains with one of my ultra running buddies). The following is my conclusion and current status of SURGE.

SURGE is stronger than ever. Let me explain.

  • Our Alumni are doing great things.
  • We are nailing down dates for a new class.
  • We have great news to share in the next few months.

SURGE Alumni

For me, the best part of SURGE is being able to hang out with entrepreneurs. Here are just a few updates from SURGE Alumni defying all odds:

  • Autonomous Marine Systems, the drone for the world’s oceans, recruited/attracted the best engineers in the industry to join them. And these masterminds have already made an impressive impact.
  • @Bractlet, the software + hardware company reducing building energy consumption (including the SURGE Shack), is landing new customers while competitors are wilting.
  • Deep Imaging Technologies, the subsurface imaging company for oil & gas, is having success in the field deploying their technology. Customers are noticing despite the downturn.
  • @Dynamo_uPower, building advanced turbines for oilfield power equipment, just landed a large customer order.
  • @Expert_Kn (f.k.a. In.Acuity) joined an EdTech program in NYC this summer and has validated their go to market strategy.
  • @Meshify, the Energy IOT platform company, continues to add more devices and anchor customers to its platform. And they just launched the industry killer product that self installs.
  • Metal Networks, the industrial metals sales and procurement platform, landed the industry’s most important customer, raised another round, and is literally taking its industry by storm.
  • @RunTitle has the largest database in North America for mineral ownership interests and just raised a Series A round from industry insiders and respected Silicon Valley investors.
  • @SecureNok, the leading provider for securing critical infrastructure in the energy industry, landed a multi-year contract with National Oilwell Varco to deploy their solution throughout their fleet of automated rigs.
  • Vert Solar, helps EPC’s and developers transact middle market solar projects, raised its foundation capital and continues to build its pipeline and portfolio of mid-sized utility scale solar projects ahead of schedule.
  • @WatrHub, the data-mining and analytics company that delivers timely, tailored market intelligence on water & wastewater systems, just closed a seed round.

Let’s face it, the entire energy industry is struggling due to commodity prices, the crew change, and older technology systems. Therefore, the opportunity has never been better!

SURGE New Class

We have re-opened applications. We will be announcing dates for the new program soon. As I have written before, the sooner we know you, the better chance we have to understand your business, team, and fit within SURGE. Please apply and we will be in touch.

Great News to Share

Five years ago, we realized SURGE as an ambitious idea to disrupt the energy industry from the inside out. We focused on Energy Software and we never looked back. The community has invested close to $10M into SURGE since inception. On an unrealized basis, we are tracking towards venture returns (DISCLAIMER: an unrealized return is equivalent to no return. And we believe that cash is the best barometer of success long-term). However, we are still early. I promised the original investors that after 5 years, we would not be ready to make a decision on whether our experiment was working.

If you are an active early stage investor, you are familiar with the “J” Curve (“unsuccessful companies tend to fail early, and big exits from the successful ones tend to take a long time to develop, when you graph it on a timeline, the overall value of an angel portfolio makes a shape like the letter “J”.”).

So what is the great news? Stay tuned for an official announcement, but I can tell you a few important areas of focus: (1) we believe that Houston is an important startup community that requires a lot of nurturing. And we will be increasing our involvement. (2) SURGE has developed strong relationships amongst the industry customers and partners and this needs to get even better. (3) SURGE will be strengthening its position as the “1st institutional” investor and partner for energy technology entrepreneurs.

So please stay tuned and take your seats, our work is just beginning.

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