Registrations now open for Avatar Program 2023 with program additions and Houston Expansion

CALGARY AB, Nov. 30, 2022 /CNW/ – Avatar Innovations (“Avatar”), a Calgary-based innovator in the global energy transition is pleased to announce the launch of the Avatar Leadership Fund I (“the Fund”) with a $750,000 lead investment from Cenovus Energy.  The Fund – targeted at $3 million – will provide early-stage risk capital to emerging energy transition technologies developed through Avatar’s groundbreaking platform, The Avatar Program (“the Program”). Solving for the near absence of risk capital available to early-stage energy technologies in Canada, the Fund will unlock and catalyze investment in the multi-decade decarbonization theme, assisting the energy companies of today, lead in the energy world of tomorrow. 

Additionally, Avatar is pleased to announce the opening of registrations for the 2023 Program, with the program commencing February 10th, 2023. Supporting this next cohort are the core founding partners of the Program – Cenovus, TC Energy, Suncor and Enbridge alongside key partners Spartan Controls, Emerson, Hitachi, Shaw, GHD and Fluor. Avatar is also welcoming new partners – Chevron and Keyera to the 2023 cohort, with more announcements coming soon. Also partnering with Avatar to jointly deliver the curriculum are leading subject matter experts, including the International CCS Knowledge Centre, Modern West Advisory, Energy Futures Lab, Young Pipeline Professionals USA, and the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN).

In response to the growing – and global – demand for the Program, the 2023 Program is expanding to Houston, Texas. Not only will this link North America’s energy capitals – Houston and Calgary – it creates a North-South corridor where innovative energy transition technologies can be developed, scaled and financed, with the goal of ensuring a low carbon energy future. 

To ensure globally leading energy transition research, validation and prototyping, Avatar is continuing its long-standing partnerships with the University of Calgary, Innovate Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).

In the less than 2 years since Avatar has been incorporated, it has generated nearly1600 applications from industry professionals to participate in its ground-breaking energy transition and technology entrepreneurship program, created 644 alumni of the program, generated 30 technologies sponsored by industry, supported 2 teams which are finalists in the Elon Musk Foundation’s $100M Carbon Removal XPRIZE – and created the Energy Transition Centre in downtown Calgary with our partners at the University of Calgary. This successful first closing of Avatar Fund I is the next exciting step as Avatar delivers its ambitious vision of building the new energy future.

All three phases of the 2023 Program – Avatar Ignite, Avatar Studio and Avatar Ventures – will be housed in the Calgary Energy Transition Centre with virtual accessibility available to participants across Canada and the United States and certain elements in-person in Houston.

About Avatar Ignite: Beginning February 10th, a 14-week energy transition and entrepreneurship curriculum will task hundreds of emerging leaders to generate solutions to complex technology challenges. Working together on semi-autonomous teams under the guidance of industry and academic experts they will have the chance to solve major energy transition challenges such as hydrogen, carbon capture, sustainable aviation and more. At the end of the curriculum, they will pitch their ideas to a Shark Tank of industry executives for potential implementation.

About Avatar Studio: At the completion of Avatar Ignite, the very best projects will be selected for admission to the Avatar Studio. The project team members admitted will work through a rigorous technology entrepreneurship and rapid prototyping curriculum. With support from SAIT, University of Calgary and Innovate Calgary and industry, the teams will attempt to build a minimum viable product and have the chance to pitch for investment from North America’s leading industry and financial energy transition investors.

About Avatar Ventures: At the completion of the Avatar Studio, the technologies and projects which have succeeded through this rigorous selection process will be supported for commercialization and scale through Avatar Ventures. Now providing early-stage capital investment through the Fund, Avatar Ventures will pair investment with expert mentorship, business strategy and technology development systems to ensure the best technologies generated benefit industry, society and meaningfully lower emissions.

Registrations are now open for the Avatar Program 2023 to interested applicants here. Registrations will close at 5:00pm MT on January 13th, 2023.


“In only 20 short months, Avatar Innovations has become an engine of value creation in the Canadian energy industry. With the launch of the Avatar Ventures Fund I, Avatar is able to continue delivering new technologies and leaders at record speeds, fill a major investment gap in Canada, and position the Canadian energy sector as a global leader in the energy transition.”

–  Bryan Trudel, CFO, Avatar Innovations

“Innovation has always been key for the oil and gas industry and we share Avatar’s core belief that most significant challenges can be turned into opportunities while adding business value. The Avatar Leadership fund will attract the next generation of innovators to the energy sector and accelerate development of new and emerging energy technologies which will be central to Cenovus’s and our industry’s net zero ambitions.”

–  Drew Zieglgansberger, Executive Vice-President Natural Gas & Technical Services, Cenovus Energy 

“We are excited to be a returning partner of AVATAR in 2023, a program that empowers our people to collaborate with emerging innovators across the industry and develop new solutions to transform our shared energy future. At TC Energy, we are committed to supporting our people through the journey of innovation and continuous improvement – ensuring diverse, innovative minds are met with a high level of psychological safety to experiment.”

–  Chris Foster, Chief Innovation Officer, TC Energy

“In order to continue to make progress on Canada’s climate goals an unprecedented level of collaboration will be required.  Suncor is proud to partner with Avatar for another year and we look forward to amplifying and learning from the ideas and solutions of creative innovators from across multiple companies and sectors.”

–  Arlene Strom, Chief Sustainability Officer and General Counsel, Suncor

“The passion, ingenuity and innovation of young energy professionals is at the heart of the energy transition and will be the key to unlocking, and capitalizing on, opportunities that create a more sustainable future. Enbridge is proud to continue to support these opportunities through our partnership with Avatar as we work toward a shared goal of industry-driven, industry-built energy solutions.”

–  Cathy Ward, Vice President Sustained Business Optimization, Enbridge

SOURCE Avatar Innovations

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: [email protected]


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