A Houston-based tech startup focused on artificial intelligence in the oil and gas industry is planning to expand its operations and go on a hiring spree after closing a $15 million Series B funding round.
Tachyus, which was founded in Silicon Valley but has since relocated most of its just 18-person team to Houston, closed the Series B round of funding last week, led by Cottonwood Venture Partners, a growth equity firm that partners with technology companies providing digital solutions for the energy industry.
Founded in 2014 by a former Microsoft developer Paul Orland, Tachyus has offices in the Galleria area and maintains some presence in Silicon Valley. It serves customers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Argentina, Norway, and Thailand.
Tachyus' software products allow geoscientists and reservoir engineers to interpret the deluge of data collected from sensors and monitors in the oilfield at a fraction of the time it would normally take.
Leahy said engineers typically have two options for determining the future production rates and structure of an oil reserve: using mathematical computations to make predictions, which lacks certainty or using more expensive and advanced 3D modeling that is more accurate but takes months to produce results.
Tachyus' platform lies in the middle of those solutions, he said, allowing engineers to improve the accuracy of their predictions in less time. Its software products combine machine learning and artificial intelligence with the physics of how oil, water, and injected fluids flow in the subsurface. It builds a predictive model of an oil reservoir and optimizes the production plan based on the model to achieve a business goal.
The software also allows engineers to quickly predict mechanical equipment failure, relationships between completion design and initial production and how the reservoir will respond to the injection of water, steam and other substances used in oil production.
Tachyus customers range from small independent oil and gas companies to state-owned oil companies and a large supermajor oil company.
The company will use the Series B funding to further develop its software based on feedback received from its customers, Leahy said.
''The core of the engine everyone is excited about - this Series B funding is going to allow us to mature the platform, which is going to help us better fit into the market,'' he said.
The company can also expand its footprint and plans to increase its staff anywhere from 50 percent to more than doubling in the next year or so, he said. Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. acted as exclusive financial adviser to Tachyus in closing the funding round.
Leahy said the technologies that Tachyus and other artificial intelligence platforms provide free up time for reservoir engineers to focus on solving bigger complex problems they could not tackle before.
''Leveraging the strength of machine learning and AI are really expanding the scope of technical problems oil and gas operators can attack,'' Leahy said.