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Houston-area energy tech startup acquired by engineering consulting company

LaserStream has been acquired by Stress Engineering Services Inc. Getty Images

A Humble-based startup that provides laser-based scans of pipeline has been acquired by Houston-based Stress Engineering Services Inc.

LaserStream's technology that can evaluate damage and corrosion as well as calculate measurements of various equipment has been folded into SES. Three of the startup's leaders will join SES to run the group, and the financial amount of the deal has not been disclosed.

"We are proud of the prior working relationship enjoyed between our two companies and we are confident that LaserStream will forge a successful future as part of SES," co-founder Jason Waligura, who will move over to SES, says in a news release. "We look forward to delivering strong results for our existing clients, as well as expanding our capabilities with the world class service and capability of SES."

SES has acquired LaserSteam's laser-mapping technology and will combine with its laboratories and service offerings in Houston; Waller, Texas; New Orleans; Cincinnati; Singapore; and Calgary, Alberta, per the release. The technology is impactful on several industry verticals, including upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas, as well as the aerospace, consumer, and medical services industries.

"We believe that growing our existing capabilities is critical to our success in the broad spectrum of markets in which we participate," says Kenneth Bhalla, chief technical officer at SES, in the release. "The acquisition of Laserstream will add new, innovative capabilities in our core markets. This will diversify our product portfolio and capabilities in new and important areas. We are very excited to add LaserStream to an already outstanding business and team."

LaserStream was named one of the 10 most-promising startups at Rice University's fifth annual Rice Alliance Startup Roundup event at the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference. The company was rounded in 2014.


Photo via laserstreamlp.com

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Building Houston

 
 

SeekerPitch exists to update the job hiring process in a way that benefits both the job seekers and recruiters. Photo via Getty Images

Companies across the country have been requiring resumes and cover letters from their new hire hopefuls since the World War II era, and it's about time that changed. A startup founded in Houston has risen to the occasion.

Houstonian Samantha Hepler had the idea for SeekerPitch when she was looking for her next move. She felt like she had developed a formidable career in digital transformation and had worked with big name clients from Chevron to Gucci. However, she couldn't even get an interview for a role she felt she would be a shoe-in for.

"I knew if I could just get through the door, a company would see the value in me," Hepler tells InnovationMap. "I wasn't being seen, and I wasn't being heard. I didn't know a way to do that."

And she wasn't alone in this frustration. Hepler says she discovered she was one of the 76 percent of job candidates who get filtered out based on former job titles and keywords. At the same time, Hepler says she discovered that 80 percent of companies reported difficulty finding talent.

Samantha Hepler had the idea for SeekerPitch based on her own ill-fated job hunt experience. Photo courtesy of SeekerPitch

"I was just a symptom of a larger problem companies were facing," Hepler says. "Companies were using algorithms to dilute their talent pool, and then the hires they were making weren't quality because they were looking for people based on what they've done. They weren't looking at people for what they could do."

SeekerPitch, which is in the current cohort of gBETA Houston, allows job seekers to create an account and tell their story — not just their job history. The platform prioritizes video content and quick interviews so that potential hires can get face-to-face with hiring managers.

"We empower companies to hear the candidates' stories," Hepler says. "We're bringing candidates streaming to computer screens. We are the Netflix of recruiting."

Hepler gives an example of a first-generation college graduate who's got "administrative assistant" and "hostess" on her resume — but who has accomplished so much more than that. She put herself through school with no debt and in three years instead of four. SeekerPitch allows for these types of life accomplishments and soft skills into the recruiting process.

SeekerPitch profiles allow job seekers to tell their story — not just their past job experience. Photo courtesy of SeekerPitch

Over the past few years, a trend in hiring has been in equity and diversity, and Hepler says that people have been trying to address this with blurring out people's names and photos.

"Our belief is that connection is the antidote to bias," Hepler says, mentioning a hypothetical job candidate who worked at Walmart because they couldn't afford to take multiple unpaid internships. "They can't come alive on a resume and they won't stand a chance next to another person."

SeekerPitch is always free for job seekers, and, through the end of the year, it's also free for companies posting job positions. Beginning in January 2022, it will cost $10 per day to list a job opening. Also next year — Hepler says she'll be opening a round of pre-seed funding in order to grow her team. So far, the company has been bootstrapped, thanks to re-appropriated funding from Hepler's canceled wedding. (She opted for a cheaper ceremony instead.)

Right now, SeekerPitch sees an opportunity to support growing startups that need to make key hires — and quickly. The company has an ongoing pilot partnership with a Houston startup that is looking to hiring over a dozen positions in a month.

"As a startup, your key hires are going to make or break your company — but you have to hire quickly," Hepler says. "That's the ultimate challenge for startups. ... But if you don't hire well it can cost your company a lot of money or be the demise of your company. It's people who make a company great."

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