5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week
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 innovators to know, Ion's new startup program naming a new cohort, and more.
This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Samantha Lewis of Mercury, Lydia Davies of Teamates, and Karen Leal of Insperity. Photos courtesy
Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from sportstech to venture capital — recently making headlines in Houston innovation. Read more.
The four companies will work out of the Ion's coworking space. Rendering courtesy of Common Desk
A new program has tapped four Houston startups and invited them to work out of the Ion surrounded and supported by fellow tech entrepreneurs.
The Ion's Onramp program, launched in July of this year, selects a handful of startups to operate out of the innovation hub's coworking space operated by Common Desk. Patenteer, Sensytec, Bridge Energy Solutions, and Stratos Perception will begin the program in January, according to a release from the Ion.
"These startups were selected due to the strength of their focus on leading digital transformation and leveraging technology to solve challenges that affect numerous industries in Houston," says Jan E. Odegard, executive director of the Ion, in the release. "Solving these challenges—which include commercializing research from Houston's academic institutions, developing resilient and robust infrastructure, leading the clean and sustainable energy transition, and propelling future aerospace advancements—is integral to Houston's success." Read more.
Houston Community College and its partner received funding that will go toward creating a certificate program that will launch in the fall 2022 semester as part of The Resilient Workforce Collaborative. Photo via HCC
Houston Community College and partners received a $1.8 million grant from JP Morgan Chase this month with the goal of training underserved Houstonians in jobs that will help boost the city's preparedness for the aftermath of natural disasters.
The funds will go toward creating a certificate program that will launch in the fall 2022 semester as part of The Resilient Workforce Collaborative.
“The Resilient Workforce Collaborative brings together the public sector, private sector, higher education institutions, and our nonprofit partners to make transformational change in our most underserved neighborhoods,” Mayor Sylvester Turner says in a statement. “The collaborative complements our efforts within the Complete Communities to prepare low-to-moderate income Houstonians for high-demand jobs and increase the diversity of candidates in the talent pipelines for green careers that will advance our city’s resilience. This resourceful partnership is a welcomed addition to Houston’s workforce development landscape.” Read more.
A Rice University student decided to use his data science skills for good. Photo courtesy of Biokind Analytics
For Alex Han, it all started with peanut butter.
Han was a high school student in Korea when he learned that the spread is a pure odorant that could be used to test smell in each hemisphere of the brain—issues on the left side was thought to be a predictor for Alzheimer’s disease. He later learned that the method wasn’t as airtight as previously thought, but Han was hooked. Alzheimer’s research became the teenager’s passion. While still in high school, Han began volunteering for Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, translating their brochures into Korean.
When it came time to choose a college, Han says Rice University appealed to him for many reasons.
“I loved the atmosphere. I loved the campus—it’s so beautiful. The diverse food, the people, I even liked the highway,” he says of Houston. “In Korea, everything is so close and compact. I loved the whole scenario of the city.”
A scholarship was also part of the appeal, as well as the pull of the world’s largest medical center. Han’s instincts were correct. Now, a junior at Rice, he has been working at renowned geneticist Huda Zoghbi’s Baylor College of Medicine lab for almost two years.
But dividing his obligations between full-time studies and his wet lab position wasn’t enough to keep Han’s active mind occupied. Last May, the statistics and biochemistry student began another endeavor that uses both his specialties. It was then that he founded Biokind Analytics. The nonprofit was designed to explore how data science can support health care nonprofits.Read more.
The ultimate who's who of 2022 — favorite Houston Innovators Podcast guests of last year. Photos courtesy
Editor's note: In 2022, I recorded over 50 episodes of the Houston Innovators Podcast — a weekly discussion with a Houston innovator, startup founder, investor, and more. I've rounded up seven podcast episodes that stood out for me looking back at the year of recordings. Scroll through to see whom I selected and stream their individual episodes, and tune into the last episode of the year where I explain why I selected each guest. Read more.