Houston innovators podcast episode 132

Fresh off a $50M series B, fast-growing Houston startup aims to upgrade energy sector tech

Armand Paradis joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss how his energy software business is scaling rapidly. Photo courtesy

The energy industry has historically made critical and timely decisions with antiquated and disjointed software, and that just was not ideal for Armand Paradis.

“In our space, all the decisions are expensive,” Paradis tells the Houston Innovators Podcast. “We could go all the way into the billions of dollars making decisions using software from 30 or 40 years ago. I really thought this was a problem.”

Paradis, observing this opportunity in the industry, left his job at Equinor to launch ComboCurve, a comprehensive and more effective software platform for various verticals within the energy industry.

ComboCurve has raised over $60 million in venture capital investment — $50 million of which was closed in the company’s series B round earlier this year. It wasn’t just funding ComboCurve expanded over the past few years. The original product launched in May of 2020 and in 2021, added around 100 companies onto its platform. Now, not even halfway through 2022, almost 200 companies use the software.

“We built something that resonated with the market — and we were super passionate about the product and taking care of our industry,” Paradis says on the podcast.

“We don’t want to be the best in oil and gas. We want to be the best software company,” he continues.

One focus ComboCurve has is on the energy transition. He says energy companies are making moves in lowering their carbon emissions and investing in greener technology — they just might not be talking about it.

“We want to be the role model — the company that’s being super proactive in their environmental practices,” Paradis says. “To be able to do that, you have to be open and proactive about reducing emissions. The other piece is to talk about it.”

At this point, Paradis says we need all energy — fossil fuels, nuclear, renewables, etc. This year, ComboCurve will roll out its GHG, or greenhouse gas, module to help customers track and lower their emissions.

“We are working with a handful of operators working in this space,” he says. “We want to allow for operators to be able to predict their emissions and see the impact on their projects.”




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Houston-based Melax Tech has developed multiple Natural language processing tools that are used by more than 650 health care and life science organizations. Photo via MelaxTech.com

Melax Tech Partners, a leader in natural language technology processing, announced a new partnership with the University of California at Irvine that will help researchers derive insights from the UCI Health Data Science Platform’s electronic health records system and improve patient care.

Melax will implement its signature text annotation tool LANN to pull information from clinical notes, and its CLAMP product to develop natural language processing customizations through the use of AI, according to a statement from the company.

“There has been a strong desire among UCI researchers to have the capability to analyze free-text clinical narrative data using cutting-edge NLP technologies," Kai Zheng, chief research information officer at UCI Health Affairs, says in a statement. "We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Melax Tech to deploy their AI-driven annotation and analytics tools to help our researchers advance their research agenda by leveraging the vast amount of free-text data that our health system has accumulated in the past two decades.”

Natural language processing, or NLP, allows organizations and healthcare groups to sift through and analyze massive amounts of data at a rapid rate through the use of machine learning and AI. Houston-based Melax Tech, founded in 2017, has developed multiple NLP tools that are used by more than 650 health care and life science organizations, according to its website.

In addition to the recent partnership with UC Irvine, Melax has also recently partnered with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Western Pennsylvania on similar clinical projects.

Melax has also used its platforms to pull vital information from datasets relating to COVID-19, in both medical and social settings.

In March 2022, it was awarded a Phase 1 NIH Award, valued at $300,000, to develop informatics tools based on COVID-19 datasets with the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. The tool aims to help researchers better understand vast amounts of virus-related data and connect findings with other similar results.

In August, Melax also received another $300,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop NLP-based algorithms that will "model, extract and synthesize vaccine misinformation from multiple popular social media sources," according to a statement. Melax will also develop a visualization that presents its findings on the misinformation into a compressible format.

"This is a very real topic affecting culture at present," Andre Pontin, CEO at Melax Tech, says in a statement. "And shows that we as a collective business and group of experts continue to be on the cutting-edge of science in the NLP and AI domain."

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