Ambyint, which provides AI-powered optimization software for the oil and gas industry, is bringing its headquarters back to Calgary four years after the company moved to Houston, Texas.
In an interview with BetaKit, Ambyint CEO Benjamin Kemp said the move is aimed to help the company tap into “ready-to-go” tech programs that will help the company scale quickly.
Founded out of Calgary in 2004 as Pumpwell Solutions, Ambyint’s deep-learning AI solution, which has been described by its chief commercial officer Chris Robart as “the Nest thermostat for oil wells,” is aimed at improving oil wells by automating the detection of production and equipment irregularities.
“[We] are excited to win a promising company back to Alberta and to support their next chapter of growth.”
– Yasmine Al-Hussein, Accelerate Fund III
In 2015, Ambyint raised an $11.5 million USD Series A led by recurring investor Mercury. A few years later, Ambyint moved its headquarters to Houston, Texas, according to Kemp, shortly after which it secured a $15-million USD Series B funding round in 2020.
Kemp said the move back to Calgary is justified on four fronts: innovation, future investment, talent, and its customers.
“Calgary’s done a wonderful job building a very strong tech ecosystem across Alberta,” Kemp said. “It makes life for a scaling company a lot easier if you can just tap into that ecosystem versus building your own.”
While Ambyint plans to maintain its presence in Houston, Kemp said “there’s undiluted capital available,” referring to government programs that support scaleup companies that reduce emissions, in Canada that are not available at the same volume in the US market.
Canada is home to a number of programs aimed to support cleantech solutions with the 2023 federal budget containing a $500 million commitment to cleantech innovations through the Strategic Innovation Fund. However, Ambyint’s decision also follows a recent report released by Boston Consulting Group, which said that only 17 percent of climate tech investor dollars remain in Canada, with the vast majority flowing into the US.
“Nobody can match what the USA has done with their (Inflation Reduction Act) program. It’s not matchable; there’s just not the capital available,” Ernst & Young partner Sean Verret said at a panel at Vancouver Startup Week earlier this year, warning that Canadian cleantech organizations are being lured south of the border. “I’m not sure in Canada we have a real response right now.”
Export Development Canada also released a report earlier this year, indicating Canada’s cleantech sector faced an array of challenges, including inadequate levels of private research and development spending per capita and difficulty converting startups to scaleups.
Alongside its move back to Canada, Ambyint also announced it raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round led by existing investors Mercury and Montrose Lane, in addition to new Canadian investors BDC Capital and Alberta’s Accelerate Fund III.
“We’re impressed with the recent accomplishments of the Ambyint’s team and are excited to win a promising company back to Alberta and to support their next chapter of growth,” Yasmine Al-Hussein, an investment associate at Accelerate Fund III, said in a statement.
Image source Ambyint via Facebook.