Wilding out

Houston-based, energy-focused digital media company launches networking app

This Houston-based media company launched a networking platform to help solve the energy crisis. Photo via Headway/Unsplash

A Houston-based media organization dedicated to covering the energy industry has officially launched the beta program of their networking app.

After producing zanily named energy podcasts like “Big Digital Energy” and “What the Funk,” Digital WIldcatters is trying to bridge the hiring gap in the energy industry. By providing a platform for individuals to get their questions answered by experts and a space for companies seeking qualified talent, Collide is structured to ignite the next generation of energy innovators. Collide is currently available for users in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Collin McLelland, co-founder and CEO of Digital Wildcatters, says he aims to expand their professional community through this networking platform. Rather than being a transition away from Digital Wildcatters’ roots as a digital media organization McLelland explains Collide is an integration of the community they have built through podcasts and events into an interactive platform.

“If you look at what we’ve done historically with Digital Wildcatters, we’ve built an extremely engaged community of energy professionals — it’s a next generation community, very young forward thinking professionals that are working towards solving the world’s energy crisis,” McLelland shares.

Screenshots via apps.apple.com

The roll out of Collide has been intentionally gradual, McLelland says because they want to shape the user experience based on feedback from ongoing focus groups. Currently they have about 1,000 users and are examining how they can make the app valuable to them before providing the platform to a wider audience.

McLelland says there are two major issues within the energy sector that Collide hopes to address — a lack of knowledge about energy verticals and difficulty recruiting talent. McLelland attributes the information gap to how expansive the energy sector is, incorporating beyond oil and gas, everything from renewables to lithium mining. Similarly, by zeroing in on the energy sector, McLelland believes Collide can draw upon the network of talent Digital Wildcatters has already cultivated to tackle recruiting issues.

“What we really see with our platform is being able to bring people together where if you want to find a piece of information, you need to find a subject matter expert, or if you want to find your next job, it happens on the Collide platform,” McLelland says.

Unlike other hiring platforms, Collide offers users the opportunity to look for information about the energy sector by integrating all of Digital Wildcatters’ podcasts and videos into a content search engine. This program is part of their DW Insight subscription product which also has a startup database with overviews of various companies, from their demos to a portal to contact them.

“We hope someday that we’ll have this knowledge base that can be searched and queried to where if you want to find out any piece of information, you’ll be able to find it on (DW Insight),” McLelland explains.

McLelland co-founded Digital Wildcatters with Jake Corley. The two started the Oil and Gas Startups podcast in 2019.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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