TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

4 Houston-area businesses rank among Inc.'s best-led companies in the country

Castle Biosciences CEO Derek Maetzold has something to be proud about.Photo courtesy of Castle Biosciences

Some Houston-area companies now have some major bragging rights — and perhaps, an influx of resumes on the way. Inc. magazine has released its new list of the country's 250 best-led midsize companies, and four Greater-Houston firms are in the spotlight.

The Houston-area companies are:

  • Castle Biosciences, Friendswood, No. 126
  • Sunova Energy, Houston, No. 156
  • Cactus Wellhead, Houston, No. 224
  • National Energy Services Reunited, Houston, No. 228

For those brushing up CVs or ready to invest, Castle Biosciences develops and commercializes diagnostic and prognostic tests for dermatologic cancers.

To compile the list, Inc. evaluated private and public U.S.-based companies with 2020 revenue of $50 million to $2 billion, or a valuation of $50 million to $10 billion. With help from Pitchbook and Shango Labs, Inc. sifted through data related to management excellence for more than 10,000 companies.

"This inaugural list of companies represents the remarkable mid-sized companies, both public and private, often founder-led, that are at the vanguard of reinventing American business," says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. magazine. "With their leadership, all businesses will benefit from an exciting, competitive future full of possibilities."

Bozeman, Montana-based software company Snowflake tops the Inc. list.

Elsewhere in Texas, An Austin company is generating buzz as the best-led midsize business in Texas. Dating app provider Bumble ranks first in Texas and 40th overall. Here's how the Austin companies fared overall:

  • Bumble, No. 40
  • BigCommerce, No. 70
  • YETI, No. 91
  • Digital Turbine, No. 101
  • Open Lending, No. 137
  • Everly Health, No. 150
  • The Zebra, No. 170
  • Helias Construction, No. 177
  • Cirrus Logic, No. 180

As for Dallas-Fort Worth, these companies landed on the list:

  • Goosehead Insurance Agency, Westlake, No. 148
  • The Container Store, Coppell, No. 153
  • Sabre, Southlake, No. 181
  • Trintech, Addison, No. 184
  • MB2 Dental, Carrollton, No. 203
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Optellum, which has its United States operations based in the TMC Innovation Institute, has raised fresh funding. Photo via Getty Images

A Oxford-based health tech startup that has its United States headquarters in Houston has announced the close of its series A round of funding.

Optellum, which has created a breakthrough AI platform to diagnose and treat early-stage lung cancer, has raised $14 million in a series A funding round. The round was led by United Kingdom-based Mercia, with additional investors California-based Intuitive Ventures and New York-based Black Opal Ventures. Existing investors, including St John's College in the University of Oxford, IQ Capital, and the family office of Sir Martin & Lady Audrey Wood, also participated in the round, per a news release.

"Lung cancer is an urgent public health crisis and Optellum's groundbreaking approach utilizing AI to accelerate early detection and intervention may fundamentally alter the healthcare community's approach to combating this disease," says Dr. Oliver Keown, managing director of Intuitive Ventures, in the release. "Optellum is uniquely positioned to align and provide considerable value to patients, providers, and payers alike. Intuitive Ventures is thrilled to provide our full arsenal of financial and strategic support to Optellum as we work towards a world of better outcomes for cancer patients."

The fresh funding will go toward scaling Optellum's operations and commercial launches in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Additionally, the company plans to expand its platform, including providing personalized therapy support using imaging data with molecular data, robotics, and liquid biopsies.

"With this strong support and commitment of highly specialized investors, we are positioned to accelerate commercial deployment in both the UK and the United States to expand our installed base," says Jason Pesterfield, CEO at Optellum, in the release. "Following years of research and clinical trials that have shown the impact of our software on the diagnosis of at-risk lung nodules, we're focused on expanding patient access to this crucial technology and identifying deadly lung cancer faster in more at-risk people. The funding will also boost our research and development with world-leading institutions and partners to progress further innovation."

Optellum's software provides support for physicians making decisions in early lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. The company was launched to provide better diagnostics and early-stage treatment to increase survival rates and improve health outcomes.

Last year, Optellum — whose U.S. headquarters is at Houston's TMC Innovation Institute — announced it would be included in J&J's Lung Cancer Initiative. The startup was a 2019 graduate of the Texas Medical Center's accelerator and its software platform, Virtual Nodule Clinic, received FDA clearance, CE-MDR in the EU, and UKCA in the UK.

"Optellum is the latest in a series of companies to channel research from the UK's world-leading universities into commercially viable products that can make a difference to the provision of medical care," says Mercia Investment Director Stephen Johnson in the release. "Having observed Optellum achieve great milestones over the years, we are now excited to become part of their success and apply our experience with scaling up software and deep-tech companies to help accelerate Optellum's impact on patient lives across the world."

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