Jan 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

BP aims to create energy tech unicorns

A money unicorn

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

BP is revealing more info about Launchpad, a quietly formed internal unit aimed at creating billion-dollar technology companies — including firms that help produce oil-and-gas more efficiently.

Driving the news: BP says Launchpad is aimed at building five companies each worth a billion dollars — or "unicorns" in startup-speak — by 2025.

  • BP says it's aimed at the challenge of meeting growing energy demand with fewer emissions.
  • I learned about it — and confirmed with BP — from this Financial Times piece Sunday.

The intrigue: Launchpad is separate from BP Ventures, the company's internal VC arm.

"[H]ere we intend to majority-own or wholly-own companies that we can grow into large entities. These companies could be from outside or grown out of our technology."
BP spokesperson David Nicholas

Where it stands: Right now BP says Launchpad has three portfolio companies, including the subsurface data company Lytt and Stryde, a seismic technology firm. But it's slated to soon grow beyond oil-focused firms, per FT.

  • "Other companies in development include a predictive wind energy infrastructure maintenance platform and a carbon management and offsetting app," they report.

But, but, but: Yesterday's FT piece wasn't the first revelation of the in-house unit. The Houston Chronicle briefly described it last May in a story focused on Lytt.

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