who's who

3 Houston innovators to know this week

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Carlos Estrada of BioWell, Elizabeth Gore of Hello Alice, and Daniel Barvin of Coya Therapeutics. Photos courtesy

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to a handful of Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes a podcast with the leader of a new bioindustrial accelerator, a fintech leader celebrating a big win, and an operations expert fighting for an ALS cure.

Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell

Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to share why Houston is already a great hub for bioindustrial innovation. Photo courtesy of BioWell

Bioindustrial technologies have a high potential for impacting sustainability — but they tend to need a little bit more help navigating the startup valley of death. That's where the BioWell comes in.

Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, says the idea for the accelerator was came to First Bight Ventures, a Houston-based biomanufacturing investment firm, as it began building its portfolio of promising companies.

"While we were looking at various companies, we found ourselves finding different needs that these startups have," Estrada says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "That's how the opportunity for the BioWell came about." Read more.

Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice

It's a win for Hello Alice and Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president (right). Photo courtesy Cayce Clifford/Hello Alice

A Houston fintech company is celebrating the dismissal of a lawsuit from former Trump Administration officials.

Last year, America First Legal sued Houston-based Hello Alice and its partner, Progressive Insurance, alleging that their program to award 10 $25,000 grants to Black-owned small businesses constitutes racial discrimination. AFL was founded by former Trump Administration adviser Stephen Miller and features a handful of other former White House officials on its board.

The case has been dismissed by a federal judge in Ohio, who said that the “Plaintiffs fail to allege any injury in fact that would support their standing to seek either retrospective or prospective relief," according to a news release from Hello Alice.

“This resolution marks a pivotal moment not only for our company but for the broader small business community in the United States,” Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice, says in the release. “Facing a labor shortage, heightened interest rates, and inflation, this country needs its small business owners, and they, in return, need the capital and resources that programs like Hello Alice provide." Read more.

Daniel Barvin, vice president of operations and patient advocacy at Coya Therapeutics

Daniel Barvin has a neurodegenerative disease in his near future. He joined Houston-based Coya Therapeutics to help fight for a cure to the aggressively deadly ALS. Photo courtesy

When genetic testing proved to Daniel Barvin that he, like his grandfather, aunt, uncle, and father before him, would most likely die of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, and/or frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) in his 40s, he didn't slow him down.

in a guest column for InnovationMap, he writes "instead I chose to fight for every chance to change not only my life, but the lives of millions who are suffering or may one day suffer from neurodegenerative disease."

He joined Houston-based Coya Therapeutics in 2021 to support operations and patient advocacy at a company actively developing a therapeutic that can fight neurodegenerative diseases like ALS. Read more.

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