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Hardtech fellowship names 11 innovators to inaugural Houston cohort

The inaugural Activate Houston cohort has 11 fellows across energy, materials, life sciences, space, and other sectors. Photo via

A national hardtech-focused organization has named its 2024 batch of innovators, which includes the inaugural Houston-based cohort.

Activate named 62 fellows and 50 companies for is latest class, which spans Berkley, California — where the organization is based, Boston, New York, and Houston. Additionally, Activate Anywhere, the program's virtual and remote cohort, was named. According to Activate, it received over 1,000 applicants.

“People, not ideas alone, move the world forward. It is through the drive and determination of brilliant scientists and engineers that we are witnessing true progress,” says Activate CEO Cyrus Wadia in a news release. “Our current Activate Fellows and alumni are already pioneering innovative solutions that make a measurable difference. We’re thrilled to support the next 62 visionaries who will lead the charge in addressing our most urgent issues through groundbreaking science and technology.”

It's the first year Activate has hosted a Houston-based cohort. The organization initially announced its expansion early last year. The inaugural cohort has 11 fellows across energy, materials, life sciences, space, and other sectors.

The named Houston fellows selected for the 2024 class include:

  • Krish Mehta, founder and CEO of Phoenix Materials, a company that decarbonizes concrete using industrial waste.
  • Gabriel Cossio, founder and CEO of Nanoscale Labs, which is developing a high-throughput and low-cost nanomanufacturing system.
  • Matthew McDermott, founder and CEO of Refound Materials, a materials technology company developing more efficient synthesis recipes for accelerated materials discovery.
  • Alec Ajnsztajn, founder and CEO of Coflux Purification, a company that's creating a product that allows industries and water providers to cheaply remove forever chemicals to provide safe drinking water at a fraction of current energy use.
  • Ryan DuChanois and Yang Xia , co-founders of Solidec, a Houston-based startup redefining chemical manufacturing.
  • Meagan Pitcher, co-founder and CEO of Bairitone Health, which brings advanced imaging diagnostics into the home environment.
  • Wei Meng, co-founder and CEO of LumiStrain, a startup offering novel technology for mechanical strain mapping.
  • Sonia Dagan of Atolla Tech, which is developing a lidar and machine-learning algorithm for identifying and quantifying airborne insects.
  • Rodrigo Alvarez-Icaza, founder and CEO of Elysium Robotics, a company that's replacing electric motors with muscle-like actuators to enable massive deployment of highly capable and low-cost robotic systems.
  • Blake Herren, CEO and Co-founder of Raven Space Systems, which is modernizing composite manufacturing with 3D printing and Industry 4.0 solutions to build the factories of the future.


This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.

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