Petrobras launches largest ever startups call

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Petrobras launches largest ever startups call

Brazil's Petrobras has launched the third and largest call for its Connections for Innovation Program, the Startups Module that is aimed at selecting early-stage innovation companies that develop solutions for the energy sector.

The new round has a budget of 22mn reais (US$4.39mn), which makes it the largest innovation call focused on startups ever opened in the oil, gas and electric power sectors, the NOC said in a statement.

Petrobras will invest 500,000-1.5mn reais per project depending on the challenge category (soft or deep tech, for example). The program is being carried out in partnership with Brazil’s micro and small enterprises support service Sebrae.

Petrobras and Sebrae came up with 32 challenges in the areas of energy efficiency, security technology, robotics, carbon reduction, geological modelling, inspection technology and digital technology. 

Winning startups will receive financial support for the development of projects, training for market positioning and business structuring plans, in addition to interacting with Petrobras' technical staff and participating in demo days with the developed technologies.

Registration is open and runs until August 1. More details can be found here.

The Startups Module is part of Petrobras' strategy to foster innovation with high potential to impact and lead to efficiency gains in areas of interest to the O&G/electric power sectors. 

“We created an important innovation ecosystem capable of developing solutions for Petrobras' activities, supporting the execution of its strategic plan and focusing on adding value to the company,” said Petrobras’ digital transformation and innovation director, Nicolás Simone.

“We have already done a lot [in this regard] in recent years, but we want to further develop our ecosystem, making the company more agile, safer for operations and competitive for business."

The other two calls related to innovation were also launched by Petrobras. 

They are the Solutions Test and the Ignition modules and involve selecting technologies for tests in a real environment, and to assemble teams of university students for the development of prototypes, respectively.

In the Solutions Test Module, the call is aimed at startups and other innovative companies that have technological solutions and wish to test them quickly. 

There are opportunities in the areas of health and safety, digital transformation and human resources. Those selected will receive up to 60,000 reais to carry out the tests. Details of the module can be found here.

As for the Ignition Module, the process is conducted together with Rio de Janeiro’s Catholic University (PUC-Rio). A total of 24 university students will be awarded research grants to develop innovative projects using emerging technologies (blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet of things, etc).

This program lasts for one year and most of the activities will take place at PUC-Rio. Details on this module can be obtained here

Petrobras plans to invest US$1.5bn in digital transformation and innovation in the next five years, according to its 2021-25 strategic plan.  

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