NCDMB Doles Out $50,000 For Gas Startups 

Yemisi Izuora

Five Nigerian startups winners have been revealed at the Nigerian Oil and Gas Technology, NOGTECH Hackathon, being promoted by the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB.

The top five Nigerian startup winners included Fuel Intellisense, Homefort Energy, Gricd Mots, Kiakia Gas and Airsyng.

Top five winners are to share $50 000 for product development.

Fifteen selected semi-finalists were asked to present their innovations to a panel of experts during the three-day NOGTECH hackathon.

After the presentation, and the opportunities to engage with industry experts, mentors, and entrepreneurs, five Nigerian startups were selected as the winners of the hackathon.

The five winning teams were awarded a cheque valued at $10 000 as an equity-free grant.

In addition, the selected teams namely, Fuel Intellisense, Homefort Energy, Gricd Mote, Kiakia Gas, and Airsynq will undergo a three-month incubation programme. The incubation programme will provide a workspace, expert mentors, global partners, and the opportunity to gain access to networks relating to the nation’s oil and gas industry.

The incubation programme aims to equip entrepreneurs with tools and resources that will ensure startups become commercial and investor-ready.

The five startups will be supported by the board for the next phase, product development, drawing from the $50-million Nigerian Content Research & Development Intervention Fund.

The startups will receive patents for innovations, conduct field trials, accelerate business startup, and get the support needed to build a prototype as well as gain access to industry connections.

In an official press release, Wabote comments that the support the top startups will receive is dependent on the success of the product incubation phase.

“The goal is to fund bankable businesses, not charities.”

The hackathon was initiated during COVID-19 to encourage digital tech entrepreneurs to create innovations that will solve challenges faced in Nigeria.

Wabote explains that entrepreneurs that were selected demonstrated motivation and passion and did not prioritise quick financial gain.

“All the greatest inventors, particularly in the technology space did not start by looking for money as the objective. They started because they wanted to make a difference and create a change. The prize money is not the key factor. It was meant to bring people together. Once you have a passion for anything that you do, you will be successful. But once you put money first, you will be chasing money and it will be running away.”

NOGTECH is reportedly the first technology Hackathon in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry, organized by the NCDMB in partnership with Learners Support Consultancy Company.

A total of 630 entries were reportedly received at the close of submission.

The entries were reviewed in two separate stages. The first stage was reviewed by internal NCDMB Judges followed by external judges which was the deciding factor in choosing the top 15 teams for the three-day Hackathon.

Fuel Intellisense is a project assisting fuel stations with getting accurate data to avoid loss of revenue which can occur through siphoning underground fuel or stealing fuel from different outlets.

The project encourages the installation of a system that can be viewed anywhere, indicating the amount of fuel dispensed per day and what remains. The system will be installed and operated on existing pumps and tanks.

Homefort Energy is a project that aims to make cooking gas affordable and accessible to low-income families. The objective is to allow customers to pay for gas using the pay-as-you-go model. The project intends to help millions of Nigerians, especially targeting the rural poor to shift from using firewood or kerosene to using cooking gas.

Gricd Mote is another winning project that provides cool shade transportation for temperature-sensitive items within the health sector as well as the oil and gas industry. The project aims to store related products in the correct conditions in addition to monitoring products to track temperature humidity and the location of the items.

Kiakia aims to provide gas to the end-users and relay the quantity of gas left in their cylinders. Kiakia was developed to assist end-users to ensure they don’t run out of gas in their homes. In addition, The Kiakia system will be utilised to order gas that can be deployed by gas plant owners to manage sales in their plant.

Airsynq implements the use of helium to stay in flight up to an estimated 2 160 hours or roughly 90 days. Aisynq requires a come down for 24 hours for its routine maintenance of the balloon lifted satellite. The technology used allows one-year continuous area surveillance using artificial intelligence (AI) software that allows international oil companies and security teams to facilitate all activities around relevant areas the balloon is deployed.

The balloon can operate from an estimated altitude of 3 000 meters and 3 000 feet above the ground. It has a routine of checking each image in real-time and uses sensors to report every activity happening.

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