eavesdropping in Houston

Overheard: 4 Houston BIPOC startup founders share their advice ahead of InnovationMap Awards

The four finalists in the BIPOC-Founded Business category for the inaugural InnovationMap Awards share their best advice for their fellow founders. Photos courtesy

Houston is often lauded as one of the most diverse cities in America, and that diversity is seen across its business communities as well, which includes its innovation ecosystem.

The InnovationMap Awards presented by Techwave announced its finalists across eight categories last week, and the winners will be celebrated at a hybrid event on September 8. Click here to register for the livestream.

The four finalists in the BIPOC-Founded Business category were asked to share their best advice to their fellow Black, Indigenous, and People of Color entrepreneurs. Here's what they had to say.

"Don't be afraid to network!"

Photo courtesy of LAMIK Beauty

— Kim Roxie, founder and CEO of LAMIK Beauty.

"Search for support within your community," Roxie continues. "There's always someone that knows someone who can introduce you to a potential buyer/investor/business opportunity."

Be "a sponge that soaks up all the knowledge as one moved forward in being a startup founder regardless of race."

Photo courtesy of Allotrope Medical

— Albert Huang, founder and CEO of Allotrope Medical.

Huang continues, saying: "This is the same mentorship that I've passed on to other BIPOC innovators and entrepreneurs that I've had the pleasure of working with."

"The road is long, and the wins are fewer than the losses at first. Celebrate each win, as much as you can."

Houston software startup to use fresh funds to become 'unquestionably the best' for the electricity industry

Photo courtesy of Molecule Software

— Sameer Soleja, founder and CEO of Molecule Software.

"Find your advocate. It is sometimes harder to prove yourself as a woman or minority, but a trusted advocate can build so much credibility for you."

Carolyn Rodz, CEO of Hello Alice

Photo via helloalice.com

— Carolyn Rodz, founder of Hello Alice.


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Building Houston

 
 

VR training startup, HTX Labs, has raised funding from an outside investor for the first time. Courtesy of HTX Labs

HTX Labs, a Houston-based company that designs extended reality training for military and business purposes, announced last week that it has raised its first outside capital.

The company has received a $3.2 million investment from Cypress Growth Capital. Founded in 2017, HTX Labs — developer of the EMPACT Immersive Learning Platform — has been granted funding from the Department of Defense as well as grown its client base of commercial Enterprises. The platform uses virtual and extended reality that "enables organizations to rapidly create, deploy, measure, and sustain cost-effective, secure, and centralized immersive training programs, all within engaging, fully interactive virtual environments," per a news release.

“We have been looking to secure outside capital to accelerate the growth of our EMPACT platform and customer base but we hadn’t found the right partner who provided an investment vehicle that matched our needs,“ says HTX Labs CEO Scott Schneider in the release. “We found everything we were looking for in Cypress Growth Capital. They have a non-dilutive funding model that aligns with our capital expectations and have the level of experience that really makes this smart money.

"Cypress has a decade-long track record of success in helping emerging software and services companies achieve scale," he continues. "It is clear that the team’s collective entrepreneurial and operating experience will be of tremendous benefit to us as we focus on expanding our customer base in a very intentional way.”

The fresh funding will go toward growing and scaling the company's operations — both within the current Department of Defense and expansion opportunities into key commercial markets, like heavy industry, manufacturing, and higher education. Additionally, the funding will support increased customer adoption.

“Scott and his team have built an exceptional business that is poised for dramatic growth,” says Cypress Partner Pat McCaffrey in the release. “HTX Labs’ modern, immersive training solution provides clients with a force multiplier for modernizing training and an unmatched ROI.”

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