One of Watford City’s first tech start-ups is merging with an old standby, and it’s a deal that plans to take mineral management for royalty owners to a new level.
Krown Energy Group, owner of the popular mineral management app MineralTracker, opened as a tech startup in Watford City in 2017. The idea behind it was simple: To help mineral owners track their royalties. In addition to its app, the business also offered mineral appraisal and brokerage.
Krown Energy has now been purchased by First International Bank, which has offered a mineral land service department geared toward helping mineral owners for decades.
“When we can marry expertise and technology with people who live here and understand the industry really well, good things come out of it,” Krown Energy co-founder Joel Brown said. “This merger will continue to perpetuate that and raise the ceiling of what we could accomplish as Mineral Tracker. I think we will just accomplish a lot more powered by First International Bank and Trust.”
Cathrine Grimsrud, FIBT Mineral and Land Services Director, said mineral owners need an ally now more than ever.
“With MineralTracker and FIBT, you have a team to manage your mineral interests and royalty income, offer advice on current market conditions, and what to expect for the future,” she said. “Our management, appraisal and brokerage services coupled with MineralTracker software best positions our clients to build and preserve their wealth.”
First International Bank and Trust Chairman and CEO Stephen L. Stenehjem, meanwhile, said energy is a powerful force in the North Dakota economy.
“FIBT’s Mineral & Land Services helps guide that force by putting power back in the hands of the families who own these precious natural resources,” he said. “We’re elated to welcome the folks at MineralTracker to the FIBT family and excited to steer this partnership while the Bakken continues to thrive.”
Brown, who will be transitioning into the role of MineralServices Manager at FIBT, opened Krown Energy with fellow petroleum engineer and business partner Jeff Kummer in 2017.
“It was kind of in and of itself a historical event for Watford City,” Brown said. “It was the first tech company to come out of McKenzie County.”
Initially, on startup, MineralTracker received a lot of attention, mainly because it was reaching a much-underserved segment of the oil and gas industry, that being the 100,000 or so mineral owners in the state who collected around $3 billion in revenue in 2018.
“There’s just a tremendous amount of wealth being generated in the state with very little support to ensure those who are realizing that wealth are having their asset managed correctly,” Brown said.
Kummer and Brown designed MineralTracker with a user friendly platform that allows mineral owners to quickly organize, map, and track wells, audit royalty income, and forecast future revenue and production. It includes a proprietary Bakken-specific reservoir model that is one-of-a-kind.
Not long after opening, Krown Energy branched out into other spheres, and eventually started doing appraisals and land valuation for the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands.
Brown said with both Krown and First International Bank being in Watford City and bringing substantially different strengths to the same table, a merger was a no-brainer.
“We both saw that mineral ownership in North Dakota was a very underserved market,” Brown said. “We both approached it from a slightly different angle, and we both built something that was doing well on its own. By bringing them together, it creates something unique that hasn’t been done in North Dakota. So I think it is a great thing for both sets of our clients and, in general, for the mineral owners in North Dakota.”