Meetup to Encourage Startups to Engage in SOCAR Türkiye's Innovation Efforts

January 27, 2023

SOCAR Wennovation Challenge – an online open innovation program – welcomes entrepreneurs and game-changers worldwide who are shaping technologies of the future today in the refinery and petrochemical industries. The innovation program provides an open and collaborative approach to building partnerships to solve the digital transformation challenges of SOCAR Türkiye by fostering digital innovation. Ten startups will be selected for the Challenge Day to pitch their solutions on 2 March 2023.  

SOCAR Wennovation Startup Challenge Online Meetup, held on Zoom on 25 January 2023, aimed to bring SOCAR Türkiye’s digital team and startup founders together, raise awareness for the SOCAR Wennovation Startup Challenge, and provide information about the rapidly evolving need for innovation in oil & gas industry.

The meetup began with Kaan Akın’s, Founder & CEO, Hackquarters, opening remarks, and SOCAR Wennovation Startup Challenge program details, where he underlined the significance of corporate- startup partnerships, which is the core value proposition of the program.

After Kaan’s, Hakan Irgıt, Chief Digital Transformation & Information Officer, SOCAR Türkiye, shared  SOCAR Türkiye’s approach to open innovation in his welcoming speech. “Transparency, speed, connectivity, and flexibility drive innovation today. We welcome you to the SOCAR Wennovation Startup Challenge to leverage digital innovation together. That's why we're excited to partner with Hackquarters and startups to leverage data, increase efficiency and drive innovation throughout our organization.”

Later, Burcu Alkan Fincan, Transformation Group Director, SOCAR Türkiye, shared Program Details with SOCAR Türkiye's Vision. “As Turkey's most prominent industrial holding company, we operate in the petrochemical, refining, natural gas trade, transmission, and distribution sectors. Within the framework of the clustering model, we are transferring our production power to a sustainable future by extending our value chain from the source to the end user. To maintain our high profile, we started the SOCAR Wennovation Platform. SOCAR Wennovation engages startups, corporates, and academia to leverage digital transformation.”

Lastly, in the Fireside Chat: Program Details and Benefits, moderated by Kaan Akın, Uğur Kemal Solak, Digital Transformation Group Coordinator, SOCAR Türkiye, and Duygu Ökesli, Digital Ecosystem Supervisor, SOCAR Türkiye talked about what SOCAR Türkiye expects from startups. Also, Çınar Laloğlu, CEO & Co-founder, Bren, talked about his partnership experience with SOCAR Türkiye. 

“What are the application eligibility criteria for startups?” Kaan asked Duygu.

“The application eligibility criteria for startups interested in participating in SOCAR Türkiye's Wennovation Startup Challenge include having a ready-to-use product or service that offers digital solutions for the topics identified by SOCAR Türkiye, being at or beyond the prototype stage, being open to global startups, and having the option for previously met startups to apply again if there have been updates to their products. Additionally, startups currently collaborating with SOCAR Türkiye can also apply if they wish to offer solutions to different departments within the organization.”

“What are the benefits for startups that are selected? “Kaan asked Uğur.

“Startups selected to participate in SOCAR Türkiye's Wennovation Startup Challenge will have the opportunity to go through a Proof of Concept (POC) process with the juries, out of which some may return to collaboration. Last year, SOCAR Türkiye had meetings with around 250 startups offering digital solutions and conducted at least a demo/pilot/POC process with more than 10 of them. The Digital Transformation team is looking for companies that can cooperate with, not invest in, and we want to develop and learn from each other. An example of this kind of collaboration is with Bren on steam trap monitoring, where Bren will better convey his experience with SOCAR Türkiye.”

Later, Çınar talked about his partnership experience with the digital transformation team.

“Working with the SOCAR Türkiye team has been a great experience for Bren. We initially proposed our digital solution to the Digital Transformation team, and they were open to exploring it further. They then conducted a thorough needs analysis with the relevant Business Unit and even made field visits to determine the need. Throughout the process, the Digital Transformation team has been highly supportive and facilitative, making it a smooth and efficient collaboration for us.”

The meetup closed with a Q&A session where SOCAR Türkiye Team answered questions from curious participants. The SOCAR Wennovation Startup Challenge application will be open until 5 February 2023. Explore the challenges and submit your solution for consideration. Let’s collaborate to drive digital innovation!

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