A Fort Worth company will soon launch the mineral industry’s first end-to-end transaction platform that might reshape how business gets done.
Ryan Vinson, the new company’s co-founder and CEO, had the vision but not the technology a decade ago.
In 2009, when not many had penetrated the marketplace, Vinson founded Energy Clearinghouse, a Denver-based company that offered an online platform to buy and sell oil and gas interests.
After a couple of refinements to the platform, a brief spell as an advisor at Bessemer Trust and then founding his other company MineralWare, development on the initial idea was put on hold.
Technology has now evolved. Regular buyers and sellers can now access information more easily than ever before through the internet.
Reworked and with better technology, Vinson is moving forward with the idea with the launch of his new company, Energy Domain.
At Energy Domain, Vinson is joined by several of his MineralWare colleagues and Nathan McIntyre, co-founder and president.
McIntyre is based out of Akron, Ohio. He has previously worked in land and technical operations field with companies that bought and sold properties. His experience includes developing and integrating high accuracy geographic information system (GIS) for asset management.
Energy Domain will incorporate geospatial technology into its online platform.
The new company is setting up its operations in a 9,000 square feet office space, adjacent to MineralWare headquarters in Fort Worth Club Tower.
Energy Domain will soft-launch its platform in December. A formal launch is scheduled for February 2020.
Energy Domain’s two co-founders are calling it the Zillow of oil and gas minerals and royalty interests.
The Business Press spoke with Vinson and McIntyre to learn more about the platform and the region’s oil and gas and mineral royalty industry.
What do you think the future holds for the oil and gas and mineral industry?
Vinson: As far as the future and market size, we’re just the tip of the iceberg here. If you think about it, there’s been so much technology and so much capital invested in the operation side and the non-op size is really just picking up steam here.
McIntyre: The industry has caught up to the times, if you will. There’s now a lot of publicly-traded mineral companies, which is something that’s new. It’s not a 100-year-old concept. There is a change in the industry. They are recognizing the value in minerals. And that’s why we see a big opportunity of assisting in ways that we can assist.
I think from a timing perspective, it literally could not be better. Five, 10 years ago, the industry was in a different spot. Today, we’re filling a big void that we know exists.
How did the idea for Energy Domain come about?
McIntyre: Because we had past success in the industry already, we have a great network. Great colleagues, past customers and so on. So, before really going the product development round, we met with and interviewed [people] and asked a lot of questions on what they saw as the complexity, the challenges if we were going to go build technology. And [asked], what are the key things we could do to make [their] jobs better, to make it fit for what the industry needs?
The platform was built from what we found the industry was wanting and had recognized what the industry was missing.
Vinson: Just like what Zillow did with real estate, we’re bringing that transparency. Because right now there is no transparency for the mineral owners. As a result, there’s a lot of bad deals out there. Literally, mineral and royalty owners get these letters in the mail, wanting to buy their minerals and they have no idea who this person is. They have no idea if this is a legitimate offer. There is zero, no competitive bid process.
FWBP: How does Energy Domain work?
McIntyre: Individuals who want to sell go post what they own, so the world can see it. Buyers – who are monitoring the platform or who are getting notifications from the platform that a new listing went for sale that matches their criteria – can go in and participate by either offering to buy or placing a bid, if it’s an auction. So, the platform takes a lot of that hustle and we’re allowing technology to connect the dots.
FWBP: Will running two companies together in the same industry hinder progress in either?
Vinson: Not really. The vision is unified. You look at the leadership of both companies, there are crossovers. It’s not a different leadership team in each company. Even though it is two separately funded companies, there are a lot of synergies and parallels.
Obviously, MineralWare has spent the past six years building technology and also the unique datasets we have. MineralWare is one of the handful of companies that has the well and permit production datasets. That gives Energy Domain a benefit. We [Energy Domain] do have an arrangement with MineralWare.
What makes Energy Domain different than any other platform out there?
McIntyre: The revolutionary part of what we’re doing is bringing the parties together in an incredibly user-friendly experience. We’re not trying to go out and invent the new wheel. We recognize that real estate has also perfected a lot of things and we can learn a lot from that. This is where we, all business-minded individuals at this company, have taken a lot of lessons across our careers and blended them all together.
Vinson: When buying a house, you’ll have to go inspect it and do some due diligence. Well, the same thing with oil and gas is you got to do some due diligence to buy the property. We’re making it easy for buyers to do that by encompassing all the due diligence, documents and data, analytics on the platform. It makes that process simple. They can do it from the comfort of their own home, 24/7, 365.
Describe a main challenge for Energy Domain?
Vinson: We want to be a part of whatever our clients have an interest in, regarding their minerals and royalties. Today, the challenge is really making it user-friendly and simple. Because you can have all the greatest and latest features in the world, which we do, but [the challenge is] taking that and really dumbing it down and make it a really simplified process. We’re going to have a wide range of users all the way from individual mineral owners to a large institution that manages multi-millions in mineral royalty interests.
What is the mineral market in and around Fort Worth like?
Vinson: The mineral owners here own minerals mostly in Texas, but also all over. If you’re talking about Fort Worth, specifically, you got the Barnett Shale here. And, as we’re well aware, gas prices are not doing too well. I think it’s anybody’s best guess on what gas prices are going to do. As we know, the Barnett Shale is mostly all gas and very little liquids … I can’t personally predict that future, but I do know that most of the mineral owners here have assets in that and other basins.