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Houston neck-and-neck with Austin in third quarter venture capital funding reports

Houston essentially matched Austin in venture capital funds received in the third quarter of 2018. Getty Images

It was a Texas showdown when it came to venture capital funding between Houston and Austin in the third quarter of 2018. According to Crunchbase data, Houston startups pulled in $138.8 million — 39.2 percent of the state's entire VC funding — while Austin startups reported receiving $150.6 million — 42.6 percent of the funds.

"It's something we've never even come close to before and, all of the sudden, boom, we're right there," Station Houston CEO Gabriella Rowe tells InnovationMap. "I think that's what we are going to continue to see in Houston."

"We're not going to see little wins now. We're going to start seeing big wins."

Before the startup scene can truly celebrate, it's worth noting that the entire state struggled in the third quarter. VCs contributed $353.7 million to Texas startups in 91 known deals, according to the report. That's less than half of what was reported in the second quarter, and, actually, it's less that what Austin alone received in Q2. However, the state is up year-over-year in VC funding by 11 percent, as the state only saw $319.6 million in Q3 of 2017.

Chart courtesy of Crunchbase

Crunchbase reported that the largest four funding rounds in Houston were as follows:

  • OncoResponse (immuno-oncology): $40 million in September
  • ViraCyte (biopharmaceuticals): $30 million in September
  • Enchanted Rock LLC (utilities): $23.6 million in July
  • DNAtriX (cancer treatment): $15.5 million in September

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Building Houston

 
 

The Postage — a Houston-based company that's streamlining afterlife planning — has rolled out a new app. Photo courtesy of The Postage

The passing of a loved one is followed with grief — and paperwork. A Houston company that's simplifying the process of afterlife planning and decision making is making things even easier with a new smartphone app.

The Postage, a digital platform meant to ease with affair planning, recently launched a mobile app to make the service more accessible following a particularly deadly year. The United States recorded 3.2 million fatalities — the most deaths in its history, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After losing three family members back-to-back, Emily Cisek dealt first hand with the difficulty of wrapping up a loved one's life. She saw how afterlife planning interrupted her family's grieving and caused deep frustration. Soon, she began to envision a solution to help people have a plan and walk through the process of losing someone.

The Postage, which launched in September, provides a platform for people to plan their affairs and leave behind wishes for loved ones. The website includes document storage and organization, password management, funeral and last wishes planning, and the option to create afterlife messages to posthumously share with loved ones.

"Right now, as it stands ahead of this app, end-of-life planning is really challenging. It's this daunting thing you have to sit down and do at your computer," says Cisek. Not only is it "daunting," but it's time-consuming. According to The Postage, families can expect to spend nearly 500 hours on completing end-of-life details if there is no planning done in advance.

With more than 74 percent of The Postage's web traffic coming from mobile users, an app was a natural progression. In fact, Entrepreneur reports the average person will spend nine years on their mobile device. Cisek wanted to meet users where they are at with a user-friendly app that includes the same features as the desktop website.

"What we wanted to do [with the app] is make it so easy to plan your life and the end of your life using one click — as easy as it was for posting and commenting on social media," explains Cisek. "People are so used to reflecting on those behaviors and clicking one button to add a picture ... we wanted to make it that simple," she continued.

Cisek and her team focused on providing a "seamless experience" within the app, which took approximately four months to build, which mirrors the desktop platform.

Though The Postage's website had mobile functionality, the app includes the ability to record and upload content. Whether snapping a picture of their insurance policy or recording a video to share with loved ones, The Postage app allows users to capture photos and videos directly within the app.

After snapping a picture, "the next step inherently is sharing it with your loved ones," says Cisek. Photos, family recipes and videos can easily be shared securely with loved ones who accept your invitation to The Postage so "that legacy continues on," she says.

Since The Postage's fall launch, the company has grown a steady base of paid subscribers with plans to expand.

"We're really starting to change the way people plan for the future," says Cisek.

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