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5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week

Events not to miss this month — and other Houston innovation news that trended this week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note:Another week has come and gone, and it's time to round up the top headlines from the past few days. Trending Houston tech and startup news on InnovationMap included June business events not to miss, innovators to know, and more.


3 Houston innovators to know this week

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Ramanan Krishnamoorti of UH, Valerie Tompson of SWAN Impact Network, Evan Erickson of TexPower Technologies. Photos courtesy

In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from battery tech to impact investing — recently making headlines in Houston innovation. Read more.

10+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for June

Check out these conferences, pitch competitions, networking, and more in the month of June. Photo via Getty Images

It's time to look at what's on the agenda for June for Houston innovators — from pitch competitions to networking events.

Here's a roundup of events not to miss this month. Mark your calendars and register accordingly. Read more.

Texas angel investor group expands to make impact in Houston

Austin-founded SWAN Impact Network has entered the Houston innovation ecosystem. Photo via Getty Images

An angel investment network founded in Austin has announced its entrance into the Houston market.

SWAN Impact Network, which focuses on funding early-stage, impact-driven startups, announced that Houston will be its next market expansion. Founded in 2016, the organization expanded to Dallas two years ago. Now, SWAN is hitting the Bayou City and is actively looking for potential angel investors to join its network.

"Houston is the logical place for us to go because a lot of our deep expertise we developed is grounded around life science, health and wellness, and environmental," Bob Bridge, executive director of SWAN, tells InnovationMap. "There's a lot of people in Houston in the spaces where we've spent most of our time and money." Read more.

Houston digital health startup acquired by Illinois-based company

Houston-based Melax Tech has been acquired. Photo via MelaxTech.com

A Houston startup has exited to a clinical terminology management and data quality solutions company.

Melax Technologies Inc., an artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology company, has been acquired by Intelligent Medical Objects, which is headquartered in the Chicago area. It's the first acquisition for IMO, and the deal will allow for the company to expand its offerings to various segments in the health care market.

"Today marks an exciting moment for IMO as we complete our first acquisition,” says Ann Barnes, CEO at IMO, in a news release. “Combining Melax Tech’s analytics and NLP capabilities with IMO’s clinical terminology and data quality platform will enable healthcare organizations to have a more comprehensive solution for both clinical operation and research. Read more.

Houston health care institution secures $100M for expansion, shares renderings

Baylor College of Medicine's Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower is set to open in 2026. Rendering courtesy of SLAM Architecture

Baylor College of Medicine has collected $100 million toward its $150 million fundraising goal for the college’s planned Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower.

The $100 million in gifts include:

  • A total of $30 million from The Cullen Foundation, The Cullen Trust for Health Care, and The Cullen Trust for Higher Education.
  • $12 million from the DeBakey Medical Foundation
  • $10 million from the Huffington Foundation
  • More than $45 million from members of Baylor’s Board of Trustees and other community donors, including the M.D. Anderson Foundation, the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation, and The Elkins Foundation.

“The Cullen Trust for Health Care is very honored to support this building along with The Cullen Foundation and The Cullen Trust for Higher Education,” Cullen Geiselman Muse, chair of The Cullen Trust for Health Care, says in a news release. “We cannot wait to see what new beginnings will come from inside the Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower.” Read more.

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Ampersand has been acquired by a college loan and student services provider based in San Diego. Photo ampersandpro.com

A Houston startup, founded to streamline and optimize the intern-company relationship, has been acquired by a student loan and services provider.

San Diego, California-based Ascent, a collegiate student loan company that also provides student support services, announced it has acquired Ampersand, a software platform that provides skills training to young professionals. The news was announced today, July 27, coinciding with National Intern Day.

With the acquisition, Allie Danziger, co-founder and CEO of Ampersand, joins Ascent as senior vice president and general manager of student success. She will lead the company's educational program that focuses on equipping students with skills from education to employment.

“Since launching Ampersand in 2020, we’ve received constant praise from employers, students, and universities on the real education-to-employment skills gap we are filling,” says Danziger in a news release. “I take immense pride in the fact that we’ve helped thousands of students enter the workforce with confidence, earn higher salaries, and get set on the right career path. I know joining the Ascent team will unlock even more opportunities for our combined companies, expanding our collective impact to millions of students and job seekers.”

The demand for skilled young professionals continues to rise, explains the release, as internship participation declines over time — from 29.2 percent in 2018 to 17.6 percent in 2022, according to a report. Ascent recently announced it plans to roll out initiatives to increase students’ wages by $10 billion in five years. Acquiring Ampersand is one step toward this goal, says Ascent CEO and Co-Founder Ken Ruggiero.

“This move strengthens our ability to maximize outcomes by eliminating the education to employment skills gap, and further positions Ascent as a leader in student success focused on driving positive outcomes,” says Ruggiero in the release. “Ampersand’s custom tools and learning modules will continue to optimize the journey for our customers from classroom to career as they build confidence, secure jobs with livable salaries, and become successful members of the workforce.”

Ampersand's platform, which includes a wide collection of asynchronous professional development training, will be added to Ascent’s existing resources platform, the Student Success Program.

Danziger, who is an expert contributor to InnovationMap on the topics of interns, Gen-Z, and more, has grown her company to facilitate training and internship opportunities to over 7,000 young professionals. Ampersand was also a partner with the City of Houston's Hire Houston Youth program in 2022.

Ascent CEO and Co-Founder Ken Ruggiero will work with Allie Danziger, co-founder of Ampersand, in her new role as senior vice president and general manager of student success at Ascent. Photo via LinkedIn

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