Joining forces

Accenture invests in and partners with Houston-based company

Houston-based P97 has a mobile payment technology in over 20,000 retail fuel locations. Getty Images

Accenture — through its investment arm, Accenture Ventures — has entered into an alliance with a Houston-based company following an investment.

P97 Networks Inc., a leading cloud-based, mobile commerce company that provides in-vehicle payments and digital marketing solutions for fuel retail and vehicle-manufacturing industries, received an undisclosed amount from Accenture Ventures.

"Accenture's end-to-end digital services make the company an ideal partner for P97," says Donald Frieden, founder and CEO of P97, in a release. "We have a long history of firsts in our markets and look forward to many more working with Accenture — including connected car services, voice-enabled payments, fuel retail innovations and blockchain technology — as we pursue our goal of serving more than half of the U.S. fuel market by 2020."

The alliance establishes Accenture as "a preferred implementation partner," according to the release. Accenture will be able to use P97's PetroZone® platform — that allows users to make digital payments at the pumps, for instance —for solutions for its clients.

"We are tremendously excited about advancing our relationship with P97," says Andrew Smart, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its energy industry group, in the release. "Working together, we will help our clients take advantage of more connected customer experiences."

P97 was founded in 2012 in Houston. Its patented technology uses Microsoft Azure Cloud Services and has been utilized at over 20,000 retail fuels locations in the United States.

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Building Houston

 
 

Lane Martin will lead the Rice Advanced Materials Institute beginning this summer. Photo courtesy of Rice

A recently established institute at Rice University has revealed its new leader.

The Rice Advanced Materials Institute has named Lane Martin as director. Martin will also serve as Welch Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering in the George R. Brown School of Engineering. He begins both roles on July 1.

“Lane is everything we expect our faculty to be — hard-working, committed to excellence, dedicated to students and collaborative across disciplines,” says Howard R. Hughes Provost Amy Dittmar in a news release. “I look forward to seeing Rice faculty and students reap the benefits of his leadership.”

Prior to his appointment at Rice, Martin was the chancellor’s professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He also served as chair of the materials science and engineering department, faculty scientist in the material sciences division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and co-director of the Collaborative for Hierarchical Agile and Responsive Materials, according to the release.

“I had the privilege of mentoring Lane when he was a doctoral student at Berkeley,” says Ramamoorthy Ramesh, vice president for research, professor of materials science and nanoengineering and professor of physics and astronomy. “He is a gifted scientist with the boldness and vision to build this new institute into a research powerhouse.”

The new institute was created following a $100 million gift from Houston-based Welch Foundation. It will bring together chemistry, materials science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to revolutionize the future of industry.

“This institute will keep Rice at the forefront of high-impact research related to energy transition, advanced materials and future computing,” says Luay Nakhleh, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the school, in the release. “It will empower our faculty and students to help solve some of the most pressing problems of our day.”

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