innovative gifts

8 gift ideas from Houston startups

From after-alcohol relief to a smart pillbox, these Houston-founded companies have innovative holiday gifts to offer. Images via Instagram

It's holiday gift crunch time right about now, and whether you're scrambling for gifts or planning how you're going to treat yourself, Houston startups have innovative options for you.

All of the following gift ideas have a Houston tie, which makes for an extra special gift within a gift. While they are all available online, some might specify it's too late to ship by Christmas.

Here are eight ideas for gifts made by Houston startups.

A smart pillbox to make taking medicine cool

EllieGrid, the smart pillbox, makes it easier — and way cooler — to take your medicine. EllieGrid/Instagram

Never would you ever think to get a loved one a pillbox for Christmas — but EllieGrid is not your ordinary pillbox. The medical device has been completely reimagined by its Houston founders. The box, which is synced with a smartphone, will light up when it's time to take a dose. The lights indicate which compartment to pull from and how many pills to take. The app notifies you too, and, if you're gifting this to someone you want to stay on top of, you can actually opt in to receive the notifications and can be alerted if there's not compliance.

The box is available online for $149.

A personal, creative card that doubles as a work of art

tellinga

Tellinga creates artistic and personal cards for every occasion. Courtesy of Tellinga

There's giving a card, then there's doing even more than that. Houston-based Tellinga isn't just a maker of greeting cards; it's in the business of storytelling, and customers can have personalized artworks delivered right to their mailboxes — a site for reclaiming, founder Alex Kurkowski says, from the dread of bills and marketing materials.

"I'm trying to tap back into the tangible, physical and real side of life," Kurkowski says.

The cards begin at $9.99 and are perfect for reaching that loved one who you don't get to spend time with this holiday season.

A portable workspace for the friend on the go

Alcove

Alcove transforms from a laptop case to a private workspace in just a few moves. Courtesy of Alcove

It's a mobile world we're living in, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice comfort, design, and privacy. Houston-based Alcove has designed a solution in its laptop-carrier-turned-workspace. The item can convert into a productive work area in seconds — the wings pop out, the top lifts, and a kickstand holds the case upright while ergonomically holds up the laptop at a 40- to 45-degree angle. Founder Yared Akalou even consulted with an acoustic engineer to ensure the materials are optimized for users.

Alcove's items are available online in two colors in two sizes, starting at $49.

Skincare products from a Houston success story

drunk elephant

Houston-founded Drunk Elephant had a great year this year with a huge exit to an international company. Photo via drunkelephant.com

A couple months ago, a Houston skincare company was acquired in an international $845 million deal. So, while Drunk Elephant is far from just a local startup, you can give the gift of beauty this holiday season that is also a nod to a Houston success story.

Houstonian Tiffany Masterson, founder and chief creative officer, started the company in Houston in 2012. The quality of products and playful branding attracted a broad range of demographics as the company experienced exponential growth.

"I started this business as an industry outsider, and from the beginning I did things a little differently," Masterson says in a news release. "To join with a powerhouse beauty company such as Shiseido that leads the industry in innovation and global excellence is a dream come true for me and for Drunk Elephant. We share similar values, most importantly an unwavering commitment to the consumer. I chose a partner who will let the brand continue to be itself, with the same formulations and the same team."

Online, Drunk Elephant sells a few options for holiday gifts. The set pictured is on sale for $62.

An anti-stink workout shirt for the fitness freak

The perfect anti-stink workout wear is designed right here in Houston. Courtesy of Accel Lifestyle

Any devote workout fanatic deserves an opportunity to have workout clothes that don't smell up their entire laundry basket. Houston-based Accel Lifestyle, founded by chemist Megan Eddings, has a solution. The clothing is made with an anti-stink material created patented by Eddings. The pieces are also sustainably and ethically made in the United States. For every shirt bought, the company also plants five trees as a way of giving back.

Men and women's tops are available online in different styles from $59 to $89.

A creative cocktail that fizzes

What started as an idea to get her kids to drink more water has turned into a profitable party favor company. Courtesy of My Drink Bomb

The ability to make bar-quality cocktails at home has never been easier — or as fun — now that Houston-based My Drink Bomb is in business. The company, which has seen great success in the wedding favor industry, creates drink bombs that fizz like bath bombs that are packed with flavors and ingredients. All the user has to do is just add water and, if so inclined, their liquor of choice. Mocktails and kid-friendly options are available too.

The bombs are available online in two-packs for $12.50, but prices per bomb drop as you order larger packs.

A foolproof hangover cure

cheers

Cheers has a solution for after-alcohol recovery. Photo via Instagram/cheershealth

Hangovers are never fun and seem to just get worse as the years go by. Houston-based Cheers has created a suite of products that help you when you're in recovery mode. The key ingredient, Dihydromyricetin, a natural extract — like caffeine to coffee. This year, the company even has gift sets to choose from where you can even customize a message to your recipient.

The sets range from just $20 to $80, which includes all three products, and are available online.

Timeless table pieces for any occasion

rigby

This isn't your grandmother's tableware company. Courtesy of Rigby

A good tableware set comes into your life once in a lifetime — and usually that occasion is from a wedding registry. But a Houston entrepreneur wants to change that way of thinking. Sara Kelly created her direct-to-consumer tableware brand called Rigby, which features handcrafted stoneware dishes, glassware, and a flatware line.

"With Rigby I want to encourage individuals in all life stages to feel at home with the present," says Kelly in a news release. "You shouldn't feel like you have to wait for a big lifetime event, like getting married or buying a house, to purchase tableware and other items that make your time at home more enjoyable."

The products, which are sold in sets, range from $19 to $280. They are available online, as are gift card options.

Trending News

Building Houston

 
 

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.

Note: This post might be updated to add more events.


June 2 — Boost Your Brand's Online Visibility with a Book

Discover the untapped potential of self-publishing a book to establish your expertise, increase your visibility, and build your network. If you have ever considered publishing a book someday, this event is for you.

The event is Friday, June 2, from 8:30 to 10:30 am, at Impact HUB (Amegy Building - 1801 Main St 10th floor.) Click here to register.

June 2 — Best AI Tools for Business Innovation and Growth

This informative workshop is aimed at introducing participants to the latest AI tools available for businesses to innovate and grow. The interactive sessions will provide practical insights and expert advice from speakers who are experts in the field of AI. Participants will learn about the various AI tools that can be used for businesses, including machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and more.

The event is Friday, June 2, from 10 to 11 am, online. Click here to register.

June 7-9 — The Future of Global Energy Conference

To highlight Houston's role in the global energy transition, the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Energy Transition Initiative, and Center for Houston's Future will host a dynamic three-day conference focusing on the role community engagement, innovation and technology, workforce, and funding play in implementing Houston's energy transition strategy.

The event is Wednesday, June 7, to Friday, June 9. The event is hybrid at various locations in Houston. Click here to register.

June 8 — Out in Tech Houston | Monthly Mixer

Out in Tech provides an inclusive networking space for LGBTQ+ people and allies working in tech. Join this relaxed, social-mixer event, hosted on the second Thursday of every month.

The event is Thursday, June 8, at 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Avant Garden. Click here to register.

June 9 — The Future of Global Energy Conference: Luncheon

The Future of Global Energy conference concludes with a gathering of experts and thought leaders, exploring the roadmap for Houston to lead the transition to an energy-abundant, low-carbon future. Panelists include:

  • Jim Gable, President, Chevron Technology Ventures
  • John Hall, President & CEO, Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC)
  • Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Chief Energy Officer, University of Houston
  • MODERATOR: Jane Stricker, Senior Vice President, Energy Transition & Executive Director, Houston Energy Transition Initiative, Greater Houston Partnership

The event is Friday, June 9, from 10 am to 3 pm, at Hilton Americas. Click here to register.

June 9-10 — Mission Innovate - Reimagining Space Technology to Solve Today’s Challenges

This summer, innovators from around the greater Houston area will convene for a two-day event to innovate, disrupt, and help design innovative solutions that can address gaps in numerous key areas. Entrepreneurs will work with licensable intellectual property from NASA’s IP portfolio to solve some of the largest problems facing the industry. Experienced and first-time founders will form teams, ideate, and pitch their ideas to renown technology entrepreneurs, including members of the innovation teams at NASA. As part of the event, teams will be taught critical startup methodologies, advised by experienced business leaders, and network with an entire community that dreams of shaping key areas in emerging technology.

The event is Thursday, June 9, to Friday, June 10, at the Cannon West Houston. Click here to register.

June 12-14 — Energy Drone & Robotics Summit

The most influential gathering of over 1,500 industrial, energy, and engineering leaders from around the globe where the key challenges and solutions are addressed for operating robotics, drones, satellites, and remote systems successfully and managing AI/data, from the stars to the sea floor.

The event is Monday, June 12, to Wednesday, June 14, at Woodlands Waterway Marriott & Convention Center. Click here to register.

June 13 — Investor Studio Series: VC Due Diligence Best Practices

During this event, Golden Section, a venture capital fund and founders studio obsessed with B2B SaaS product development, will discuss how VCs approach investing and conduct due diligence, and why this matters for founders. The presentation will cover:

  • Market changes that effect how VCs approach investing
  • What founders need to prepare for this new environment
  • How Golden Section approaches due diligence

The event is Tuesday, June 13, from 4 to 6 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 13 — Using ChatGPT to Grow Your Business

Learn how to harness the power of artificial intelligence and use ChatGPT to not only stay ahead of the game but to redefine it. Whether it's handling queries, managing customer relationships, or generating leads, AI can automate and enhance many aspects of your work. This session will guide attendees through the fascinating world of AI and show them how to leverage it for maximum results.

The event is Tuesday, June 13, from 11 am to 1 pm, at Amcap Mortgage. Click here to register.

June 15 — Female Founders and Funders Meetup

Monthly, every third Thursday, Softeq Venture Studio and Sesh Coworking invite all rockstar female founders and funders in the Houston area to network and empower each other.

The event is Thursday, June 15, from 9 to 10 am, at Sesh Coworking. Click here to register.

June 20 — Co-Creating the Future: An African Startup Symposium on Collaboration

This physical symposium explores opportunities for cross-border entrepreneurial collaboration between the US/Houston and Africa. From Idea to Impact, delving into the African startup ecosystem, highlighting growth and potential for cross-border collaboration, key sectors driving innovation and growth, and legal, regulatory, and cultural considerations and challenges for cross-border collaborations. Startups and investment opportunities will be showcased.

The Agenda:

6:00 pm - 6:10 pm - Introduction to the event and The Beta Collective
6:15 pm - 6:20 pm - Sponsors Highlight
6:20 pm - 6:35 pm - Startup showcase
6:35 pm - 6:40 pm - Panel Introduction
6:40 pm- 7:30 pm - Panel
7:30 - 7:50 pm - Q&A
7:50 - 8:00 pm- Closing and Thanks
8:00 - 8:30 pm - Strategic Networking

The event is Tuesday, June 20, from 6 to 8:30 pm, at The Ion. Click to register.

June 22 — Ultrasound. Integrated. Everywhere.

Pump & Pipes is hosting an event focused on thin-film ultrasound technologies from energy applications into aerospace, health, and medtech sectors.

In collaboration with NASA Tech Talks, and the Mingle Monday Health & MedTech series at The Ion, join Pumps & Pipes as they venture into a discussion on the use of ultrasound technologies from both terrestrial and space medicine perspectives.

The event is Thursday, June 22, from 6 to 9 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 28 — June Transition On Tap

Transition On Tap is Greentown Labs' monthly networking event devoted to fostering conversations and connections among the climate and energy transition ecosystem in Houston and beyond. Entrepreneurs, investors, students, and friends of climatetech are invited to attend, meet colleagues, discuss solutions, and engage with our growing community. If you’re looking for a job in climatetech or energy, trying to expand your network, or perhaps thinking about starting your own energy-related company, this is the event for you.

The event is Wednesday, June 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

Trending News