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5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week

One of this week's top stories is about a Rice University professor discovering new ways to conserve Houston's prairie ecosystem, which might even result in flood mitigation. Courtesy of Cassidy Brown Johnson

Editor's note: It's been a truly exciting week for Houston innovation news — from a medical device company gaining FDA approval to a global accelerator program landing in Houston. Now, Houston innovators, investors, investors, and more are headed to SXSW to keep up the momentum.

5 Houston innovators headed to SXSW to know this week

Take a good look at these Houston entrepreneurs' faces, because you might be seeing them in downtown Austin next weekend for SXSW. Photos courtesy

Welcome to a special edition of InnovationMap's weekly innovators to know series. This week has more innovators featured than ever, and we're highlighting a particular group of people: The Houston founders headed for SXSW in Austin later this week. From startup founders, coworking space leaders, and pitch competition organizers, here's the Houston SXSW attendees you should know about. Continue reading.

Houston conservationist is helping to find new ways to protect local species and ecosystems

Memorial Park, which is currently undergoing a master plan renovation, and other Houston parks can be a great opportunity for introducing urban conservation inside the city limits. Rendering courtesy of Nelson Byrd Woltz

The Houston toad is a species that was discovered in Harris County in the 1950s. It has a very distinct, loud call that reverberates at quite a high pitch. But the Houston toad's call hasn't been heard in the city of Houston for almost 50 years. The species is locally extinct and critically endangered elsewhere. In fact, it's the most endangered amphibian in North America, says Cassidy Brown Johnson, a Rice University lecturer and president of the Coastal Prairie Partnership.

"When we think about extinction, we think of the dodo bird or the woolly mammoth," Johnson says. "But extinction is happening right underneath our noses." Continue reading.

Houston medical device company gains FDA approval

Houston-based Saranas has received de novo distinction from the FDA for its bleed monitoring technology. Courtesy of Saranas

When it comes to early bleeding detection, Houston-based Saranas, which closed $2.8 million in funding last year, is ahead of the game with its Early Bird Bleed Monitoring System. The Food and Drug Administration has recognized the medical device company and granted it De Novo distinction. Continue reading.

Exclusive: Global early stage accelerator program launches second Texas location in Houston

Palo Alto-based Founder Institute is launching its Houston program at Station Houston. Image courtesy Founder Institute

Silicon Valley-based Founder Institute has announced its second Texas program in Houston, which will operate out of Station Houston. Founder Institute Houston applications for the inaugural cohort close May 19. The early stage accelerator focuses on advancing startup companies in the pre-funding phase.Continue reading.

This new-to-Houston startup is simplifying trading for the next generation of investors

Andre Norman founded Jellifin, an options trading platform, flipping the script on the traditional investment process. Courtesy Jellfin

Say you're a young, working professional who wants to get involved in trading. Where do you start? If you get involved in options, which are contracts that give investors the ability to buy or sell a stock at a specific price on or before a specific date, you might go the traditional route and seek out a brokerage that focuses on options trading. There's a major catch, though: most brokerages tack on a fee of anywhere between $7 and $20 per trade, says Andre Norman, founder of Jellifin, an online options trading platform, is disrupting that norm. Continue reading.

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Building Houston

 
 

A local venture capital investor has teamed up with the Ion to bring four workshops focused on helping founders navigate startup funding. Image courtesy of the Ion

Calling all founders — the Ion is hosting a four-part workshop series geared at educating startup CEOs on venture capital.

The Venture Capital for First Time Founders series is put on by Energy Transition Ventures and the Ion and is completely free to attendees. Serial entrepreneur and investor Neal Dikeman is hosting the series with guests joining him for each event. A networking opportunity follows onsite at Second Draught.

“Houston needs more founders," says Neal Dikeman, co-founder and partner of Energy Transition Ventures, in a news release. "The Investor Studio Series is the unvarnished reality of what it takes."

More information and registration is available online. Here's what each workshop will focus on, according to the release:

  • Startuplandia - What Makes Startups Go on Wednesday, January 11, at 4 pm. So you want to do a startup? We all have a choice in life to work for someone else or start something. But half of what you’ve been told about how tech startups form and launch is wrong - get the real story. Guest: Juliana Garaizar, vice president of Innovation and head of Greentown Labs Houston, and a board member of the Angel Capital Association
  • VC 101 - How Venture Capital Funds Work on Wednesday, January 18, at 4 pm. If you’re going to be, or raise money from, a VC, you better have a good idea of how their business works and what makes them tick — demystifying the decisions and person behind the curtain from a venture capitalist’s own experience. Guest: Andrew Nicholson, managing director of Goose Capital
  • How to Raise Venture Capital as a First-Time Founder on Wednesday, January 25, at 4 pm. Raising venture capital is an art with unwritten rules the VCs, and your advisors don’t tell you. Luckily venture capitalists are more predictable than they think — avoid the rookie mistakes and get the story on how to pull it off from a 7-time startup founder turned VC. Guest: Brad Burke, managing director of Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship
  • The Biggest Mistakes Founders Make After Raising Money on Wednesday, February 1, at 4 pm. So now you’re in the rarified Funded Founders Club. Can you avoid the first-time founder mistakes or build a VC-backed company and make it to a successful exit? Guest: John Reale, venture lead for the Texas Medical Center Venture Fund and managing director of Integr8d Capital,

More guests may be announced and featured at the upcoming events. Each workshop takes place at the Ion.

“As Houston's HQ for innovation, the Ion is the perfect meeting place to host this workshop series for anyone interested or has a stake in a startup," says Christine Galib, senior director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Ion, in the release.

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