Gabe WIlcox, co-founder and CEO of MineralSoft.

By Laura Lorek
Publisher of Silicon Hills News and Host of the Ideas to Invoices Podcast

A native of Arkansas, Gabe Wilcox and his family know firsthand the problem mineral rights owners have in managing their assets.

“It has been a very archaic industry,” said Wilcox, CEO and co-founder of MineralSoft.

In the U.S., individuals can own the rights to any oil and gas that lies beneath the surface of their land and that’s what is called mineral rights, Wilcox said. Before MineralSoft, people made do with a lot of paper and technology tools that weren’t made to manage the assets, he said. When Wilcox couldn’t find a good tool to oversee his family’s assets, he saw an opportunity to build one.

At the time, Wilcox was working in investment finance and spent a summer in San Francisco where he reconnected with John Parker, now the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Together they founded MineralSoft, now based in Austin, which allows mineral rights holders to analyze their portfolios in real time.

Wilcox is featured in this episode of the Ideas to Invoices podcast discussing how MineralSoft is disrupting an industry.

Initially, to test their idea, Wilcox and Parker printed up business cards for a “company that didn’t yet exist.” And they flew to Houston to attend the annual NAPE Summit, the oil and gas industry’s marketplace for buying, selling and trading prospects and producing properties.

“We got really positive feedback and we learned a lot,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox, who had been studying for an MBA at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, dropped out to focus on MineralSoft full time. Wilcox and Parker joined the Y Combinator startup program and graduated from that accelerator in 2016.

In February, MineralSoft announced that the company raised $4 million in funding. Investors included Cottonwood Venture Partners, based in Houston. Earlier investors included Bear Capital and Y Combinator.

In addition, MineralSoft recently entered into a joint venture with oil and gas data analytics company Drillinginfo, another Austin-based startup.

“Our products are really complementary,” Wilcox said.

An estimated 12 million private owners in the U.S. own mineral and royalty interests, according to the National Association of Royalty Owners. Those are MineralSoft’s customers as well as endowments, investment funds, trusts and other institutions.

MineralSoft has built a strong team of employees with oil and gas and technology backgrounds. The company has 20 employees currently and plans to double in size within the year, Wilcox said.

“We are changing the way people do things in this industry,” Wilcox said.

“Our challenge is really to go to the market and make them aware we are out there and that is a new and more efficient way to manage the asset.”

MineralSoft acquires its customers through word of mouth and through referrals, Wilcox said. The company will be doing more marketing and public relations outreach this year, he said.

MineralSoft is a cloud-based software company that charges its customers monthly for its service. Today, the company has more than 100 customers on the enterprise-side and its growth has been rapid the last few years, Wilcox said. It launched into the market when oil was at $20 a barrel.

“When oil is in the 20s you better have a value proposition, or no one is going to buy,” Wilcox said.

For more on MineralSoft, listen to the entire interview and please rate and review the Ideas to Invoices podcast on iTunes and you can also support Ideas to Invoices on Patreon.