building blockchain

Growing Houston blockchain company expands C-suite

Houston-based Data Gumbo has a new C-level exec to lead its growing sales team. Courtesy of Data Gumbo

After expanding into the Asian market last month, a Houston blockchain startup has grown its C-suite with the addition of a chief commercial officer to lead its sales team.

Data Gumbo Corp. has brought Bill Arend onto its team. Arend brings over 20 years of experience in software sales from the likes of Workday, Oracle. and Microsoft. The new hire comes at a time when Data Gumbo continues to expand, and, in March, the company brought on Indonesia-based client, Air Drilling Associates Indonesia-based client, Air Drilling Associates, a drilling and project management service provider.

"The opportunity abounds for Data Gumbo to help industry leaders to streamline current processes, eliminate errors, reduce contract leakage and save on costs," says Andrew Bruce, CEO of Data Gumbo, in a news release.

"Arend has the proven track record to support our mission in helping industrial players realize greater efficiencies and the leadership skills to scale our growing team as we continue to garner commercial momentum."

Data Gumbo's GumboNet is a robust blockchain network that provides automated contract execution for industrial clients. Beginning in the energy industry, Data Gumbo has since expanded into water management and construction.

"I am excited to join the Data Gumbo team to serve the market," Arrend says in the release. "There is a huge opportunity to provide industrial global enterprises a solution that drives down operating expenses by automating smart contracts."

Since its inception in 2016, the company has raised over $9.3 million in equity funding and grown its clientbase. The company, based out of The Cannon, operates as a blockchain-as-a-service model to improve efficiency for its industrial clients.

"In today's business climate, company's must look at their processes critically to find ways to improve productivity and cost efficiencies," Arend continues in the release. "Data Gumbo is well positioned to aid in that digital transformation for forward-looking companies."

Bill Arend has been named Data Gumbo's chief commercial officer. Photo courtesy of Data Gumbo

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Building Houston

 
 

Veronica Wu, founder of First Bight Ventures, recently announced new team members and her hopes for making Houston a leader in synthetic biology. Photo courtesy of First Bight Ventures

Since launching earlier this year, a Houston-based venture capital firm dedicated to investing in synthetic biology companies has made some big moves.

First Bight Ventures, founded by Veronica Wu, announced its growing team and plans to stand up a foundry and accelerator for its portfolio companies and other synthetic biology startups in Houston. The firm hopes to make Houston an international leader in synthetic biology.

“We have a moment in time where we can make Houston the global epicenter of synthetic biology and the bio economy," Wu says to a group of stakeholders last week at First Bight's Rocketing into the Bioeconomy event. "Whether its energy, semiconductor, space exploration, or winning the World Series — Houstonians lead. It’s in our DNA. While others look to the stars, we launch people into space.”

At First Bight's event, Wu introduced the company's new team members. Angela Wilkins, executive director of the Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice University, joined First Bight as partner, and Serafina Lalany, former executive director of Houston Exponential, was named entrepreneur in residence. Carlos Estrada, who has held leadership positions within WeWork in Houston, also joins the team as entrepreneur in residence and will oversee the company's foundry and accelerator that will be established to support synthetic biology startups, Wu says.

“First Bight is investing to bring the best and the brightest — and most promising — synthetic biology startups from around the country to Houston," Wu continues.

First Bighthas one seed-staged company announced in its portfolio. San Diego-based Persephone Biosciences was founded in 2017 by synthetic and metabolic engineering pioneers, Stephanie Culler and Steve Van Dien. The company is working on developing microbial products that impact patient and infant health.

Wu, who worked at Apple before the launch of the iPhone and Tesla before Elon Musk was a household name, says she saw what was happening in Houston after her brother moved to town. She first invested in Houston's synthetic biology ecosystem when she contributed to one of Solugen's fundraising rounds. The alternative plastics company is now a unicorn valued at over $1 billion.

“I founded First Bight because of what I see is the next great wave of technology innovation," she says at the event. "I founded it in Houston because the pieces are right here.”

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