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2 Houston startups make strategic hires

Two Houstonians have been named to the C-suites of growing startups. Photos courtesy

A pair of Houston tech startups have recently announced new appointments to their leadership staff. A digital supply chain commerce company named a new CFO, while an Irish health tech company has named its new Houston-based leader.

GoExpedi names new CFO

Jorge Ordonez is the newly named CFO for GoExpedi. Photo courtesy of GoExpedi

Houston-based GoExpedi, an innovative end-to-end digital supply chain and data analytics solutions company, named Jorge Ordonez as CFO for the company.

"With our rapidly accelerating growth, ongoing investment activity and new industrial customers coming online, it was crucial that we bring on board an experienced financial leader who can help us successfully scale at a fast pace," says Tim Neal, GoExpedi CEO, in a news release. "Jorge led one of the top medical equipment providers in the country as well as a leading industrial technology solutions provider. We'll greatly benefit from his diverse financial experience, helping us to become the leading digital industrial supply chain and data analytics providers in North America."

Ordonez brings 25 years of finance and accounting experience across industries, including 10 years in distribution and logistics. His most recent position was CFO at US Med-Equip, a medical equipment provider.

"I am honored to join GoExpedi, one of the most innovative industrial supply chain and data solutions providers out there, at this time of rapid growth," says Ordonez in the release. "I look forward to working closely with GoExpedi's leadership team to support sustained financial success as the company expands into different geographies and sectors. My goals are to help the company continue its financial success and build optimized financial decision-making models and processes that will equip the company to scale and expand capital availability to continue its growth trajectory."

Health tech startup with US operations in Houston names new CEO

Benjamin A. Hertzog will lead Intelligent Implants through its next phase of development. Photo courtesy of Intelligent Implants

Benjamin A. Hertzog, entrepreneur in residence at Johnson and Johnson’s Center for Device Innovation at the Texas Medical Center, has a new title. Last month, Hertzog was named CEO of Intelligent Implants, a development-stage digital medicine and orthopedics startup based in Ireland with its United States operations based in Houston.

“Ben joined Intelligent Implants as Executive Chairman of the Board in 2020, and his broad experience in complex Class-III medical devices, leadership, and exceptional track record made it an obvious choice to have Ben join us at the helm of the company,” says John Zellmer, Intelligent Implants co-founder and founding CEO, in a news release. “Ben has the skills and credibility to guide Intelligent Implants as we navigate through the next stage of clinical and commercial activities. We look forward to his leadership as we continue to achieve key milestones.”

Zellmer will transition into the role of COO while Hertzog is tasked with leading product development, as well as clinical, and commercial activities for the company’s novel and proprietary smart orthopedic implant platform.

With more than 20 years of experience in healthcare and life sciences as an engineer, investor, and entrepreneur, Hertzog has founded medical device startup, Procyrion, leading the cardiac device company through Series C financing, product development, animal studies, strategic investment, and human clinical trials. He also served as managing director of AlphaDev (now Fannin Partners), an early-stage venture development firm.

“I am thrilled to work with John and the entire Intelligent Implants team as we make progress towards bringing this novel technology platform to the market,” says Hertzog. “Throughout my career, I’ve been driven by and focused on bringing innovative medical device therapies to the market, and I believe that SmartFuse represents the future of medical devices; smart connected implants that provide therapeutic benefits and real-time data to support clinical decision making. Ultimately, I believe these implants will have significant advantages to traditional implants in addressing unmet clinical needs and improving patient outcomes.”

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Building Houston

 
 

Activate is planting its roots in Houston with a plan to have its first set of fellows next year. Photo via Getty Images

An organization that directs support to scientists developing impactful technology has decided on Houston for its fifth program.

Activate was founded in Berkeley, California, in 2015 to bridge the gap between the federal and public sectors to deploy capital and resources into the innovators creating transformative products. The nonprofit expanded its programs to Boston and New York before launching a virtual fellowship program — Activate Anywhere, which is for scientists 50 or more miles outside one of the three hubs.

"Our mission is to empower scientists to reinvent the world by bringing their research to market," Aimee Rose, executive managing director of Activate, tells InnovationMap. "There's so much technical talent that we educate in this country every year and so many amazing inventions that happen, that combining the two, which is the sort of inventor/entrepreneur, and giving them the support mechanisms they need to get on their feet and be successful, has the potential to unlock an incredible amount of value for the country, for the environment, and to address other social problems."

This year, Activate is planting seeds in Houston to grow a presence locally and have its first set of fellows in 2024. While Activate is industry agnostic, Rose says a big draw from Houston is the ability to impact the future of energy.

"We're super excited about Houston as an emerging ecosystem for the clean energy transition as being the energy capital of the world, as well as all the other emerging players there are across the landscape in Houston," Rose says. "I think we can move the needle in Houston because of our national footprint."

The first order of business, Rose says, is hiring a managing director for Activate Houston. The job, which is posted online, is suited for an individual who has already developed a hardtech business and has experience and connections within Houston's innovation ecosystem.

"We want to customize the program so that it makes the most sense for the community," Rose says about the position. "So, somebody that has the relationships and the knowledge of the ecosystem to be able to do that and somebody that's kind of a mentor at heart."

The program is for early-stage founders — who have raised less than $2 million in funding — working on high-impact technology. Rose explains that Activate has seen a number of microelectronics and new materials companies go through the program, and, while medical innovation is impactful, Activate doesn't focus on pharmaceutical or therapeutic industries since there are existing pathways for those products.

Ultimately, Activate is seeking innovators whose technologies fall through the cracks of existing innovation infrastructure.

"Not every business fits into the venture capital model in terms of what investors would expect to be eventual outcomes, but these these types of businesses can still have significant impact and make the world a better place," Rose says, explaining how Activate is different from an incubator or accelerator. "As opposed as compared to a traditional incubator, this is a very high touch program. You get a living stipend so you can take a big business technical risk without a personal risk. We give you a lot of hands on support and mentoring."

Each of the programs selects 10 fellows that join the program for two years. The fellows receive a living stipend, connections from Activate's robust network of mentors, and access to a curriculum specific to the program.

Since its inception, Activate has supported 104 companies and around 146 entrepreneurs associated with those companies. With the addition of Houston, Activate will be able to back 50 individuals a year.

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