year in review
2023's top 5 most-read Houston impact innovation stories
Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, InnovationMap is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston innovation. In the impact innovation category on InnovationMap, top stories included a new addition to UH's campus, top ranking for Houston, and a Rice team winning Accenture's competition, and more. Be sure to click through to read the full story.
The University of Houston will construct a new hub for innovation on its main campus. The building is planned to be adjacent to the M.D. Anderson Library. Photo via uh.edu
Over a year ago, the University of Houston got the greenlight from the state of Texas to create a central hub for innovation on campus, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president of energy and innovation at the University of Houston, tells InnovationMap.
“We asked the state two years ago for appropriations to create an innovation hub at the University of Houston,” Krishnamoorti says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. “We are now in the process of creating an innovation hub central to the campus at the University of Houston."
While the project is still in its early stages, the university has revealed some details on the building, which is slated to open in 2025 next to the M.D. Anderson Library on UH's main campus. It will be around 70,000 square feet and will house a makerspace, the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, the Energy Transition Institute, innovation programs, and Presidential Frontier Faculty labs and offices.
Houston fell on the international list of emerging startup hubs, but — when it comes to North America — Houston still ranks favorably. Photo via Getty Images
The evolution of Houston’s startup scene continues: A new report awards the region a No. 1 ranking for the robustness of early-stage funding among North America’s emerging startup ecosystems.
Policy advisory and research firm Startup Genome reports that startups in the Houston area attracted $884 billion in early-stage funding from the second half of 2020 to the end of 2022. Early-stage funding generally refers to a startup’s seed and series A rounds.
The $884 million figure puts Houston at No. 1 for early-stage funding among emerging startup ecosystems in North America and at No. 9 globally. Istanbul, Turkey, grabs the top global spot. Startup Genome characterizes the funding meccas in this ranking category as “Strong Starters.”
Startup Genome’s 2023 report on startup ecosystems emphasizes that early-stage funding “is an important indicator of potential success,” since most startups that receive series A rounds have demonstrated their potential by generating revenue, creating a minimal viable product, or being close to launching a product.
A team of students from Rice University won Accenture’s 2023 Innovation Challenge with extended reality project. Photo via accenture.com
A team of students from Rice University may see their award-winning idea incorporated into programming from the nonprofit Smithsonian Institution — the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex.
Rice’s Team Night Owls, made up of four undergraduates, recently won Accenture’s 2023 Innovation Challenge. The team’s winning concept: a three-month, six-town mobile bus exhibit designed to expose the Smithsonian to residents of rural areas in the U.S. One of the highlights of the exhibit would be an augmented reality/virtual reality feature.
The Rice team competed against more than 1,100 applicants. Participants were asked to “envision ways to deliver the spirit and wonder of in-person visits” at the Smithsonian to rural communities nationwide.
“Our biggest takeaway from the challenge was learning how to generate innovative ideas and then combine the best aspects from each one to include into one coherent solution,” says one of the team members, Sean Bishop.Continue reading the article from June.
Annual report highlights Houston's big innovation wins across tech, life science, space, VC funding, and more
The Greater Houston Partnership's annual Houston Facts report recently released. Here's what to know across the city's five most innovative sectors. Photo via Getty Images
Houston, a city known for its energy legacy, is rapidly transforming into a diverse hub of innovation, life science, technology, and aerospace, according to the 2023 Houston Facts report, released by the Greater Houston Partnership.
Three of Houston's mayoral candidates shared the stage at Tech Rodeo to talk about how they would lead the city toward greater success within the innovation space. Photo by Natalie Harms/InnovationMap
It's an election year in Houston, and one of the big topics on the minds of the candidates is how to continue the momentum of Houston's developing innovation ecosystem.
Houston Exponential put three of the declared candidates on the stage yesterday to ask them about their vision for Houston on the final day of Houston Tech Rodeo 2023. HX CEO Natara Branch moderated the discussion with Chris Hollins, Lee Kaplan, and Amanda K. Edwards. Each candidate addressed issues from diversity and equity, the energy transition, and more.