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10 can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for March

Here's your one-stop shop for innovation events in Houston for March. Photo via Getty Images

It's time to look at what's on the agenda for Houston innovators for the month of March — a busy one, from the end of Tech Rodeo and the start of CERAWeek, plus many more things to add to your calendars.

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


March 2 — CodeLaunch Houston

Improving is hosting CodeLaunch Houston — a high energy startup pitch competition — which will round out Houston Tech Rodeo, which is taking place from Monday, February 17, through Thursday, March 2. Check out the finalists here.

The event is Thursday, March 2, from 6 to 9 pm, at 713 Music Hall. Click here to register.

March 4 — Softeq Chili Showdown

Softeq is hosting its chili cookoff event and official after-party of Houston Tech Rodeo. The event will include the broader Houston community, drive awareness of startup development resources available to the community, demonstrate new technology, feature local culture, and promote local startup job creation, all while benefiting Lemonade Day, a fun, experiential program that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their very own business.

The event is Saturday, March 4, from 10 am to 2 pm, at Truck Yard Houston. Click here to register.

March 6 — Energy Workforce of the Future Summit

At this year's summit, Ally Energy will unveil the Energy Workforce Outlook study on workforce transition and hear from leaders, policymakers, startup CEOs, investors, and innovators about how to take all energy forward.

The event is Monday, March 6, from 8 am to 2 pm, at The Petroleum Club of Houston. Click here to register.

March 6 — Transition on Tap at Greentown Labs

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.

The event is Monday, March 6, at 5 pm, at Greentown Houston. Click here to register.

March 6-10 — CERAWeek by S&P Global

CERAWeek by S&P Global returns to downtown Houston. The annual conference brings energy leaders from around the world to discuss the industry's trends and future. The Agora track focuses on the future of energy, which includes clean energy and innovation.

The conference is Monday, March 6, to Friday, March 10, at The George R. Brown Convention Center. Click here to register.

March 7 — Energy Tech Venture Day

The Rice Alliance Energy Venture Day is a fast-paced event connecting nearly 40 energy ventures with venture capitalists, corporate innovation groups, industry leaders, academics and service provider. Ventures will give 3-minute pitches with a networking reception so you can meet the energy ventures and learn more about their technologies.

The event is Tuesday, March 7, from 3 to 6:30 pm, at Rice University. Click here to register.

March 8 — Navigating Careers: Insights & Inspiration from Women Who Have Done It All

In today’s career landscape for C-level leaders, directors, university innovators, entrepreneurs, and founders, what does success look like? How do women navigate barriers, turn challenges into opportunities, and tackle whatever comes their way with poise and confidence? Join us at the Ion for a panel featuring high-profile women thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers--all on top of their field and all with incredible journeys and stories. These women will share their wisdom and wit in authentic ways. A not-to-miss panel, followed by breakout room discussions with each panelist!

The event is Wednesday, March 8, from 8:30 to 11 am, at the Ion. Click here to register.

March 8 — International Women’s Day Luncheon

This luncheon aims to celebrate womanhood while acknowledging and getting inspired for the challenge of promoting progress.

The event is Wednesday, March 8, from 11 am to 2 pm, at Sesh Coworking. Click here to register.

March 9 — Dream Big Ventures Investor Studio Series: Energizing Latino/a Investors

Join the Ion for a fireside chat with Dream Big Ventures Founder & CEO Staci LaToison, and Angeles Investors CEO & Board President David Olivencia, to discuss trends in venture capital and angel investing, and how they are helping increase access to capital for underrepresented founders.

The event is Thursday, March 9, from 5 to 7 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

March 10 — TMC Innovation: Federal Health Innovation Day

TMCi is hosting a Federal Health Innovation Day with participation from various federal government agencies focused on health care and innovation. There will be opportunity for face time with the representatives and food will be provided.

The event is Friday, March 10, from 8 am to 2 pm, at TMC Innovation. Click here to register.

March 10-19 — SXSW (in Austin)

Houston founders, investors, and other tech community members will make their way to Austin for SXSW, an interactive festival that is again bringing startup pitches, thought leadership, and more. The Greater Houston Partnership's Houston House returns on March 13 at the Fairmont Hotel, and will be open to badge holders.

The conference is Friday, March 10, to Sunday, March 19, in Downtown Austin. Click here to register.

March 27-28 — Mission Innovate: Reimagining Space Technology to Solve Today’s Challenges

Innovators from around the greater Houston area will convene for a two-day event to innovate, disrupt, and create commercial space companies. 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 the commercial space industry.

The event is Monday, March 27, to Tuesday, March 28, at The Cannon West Houston. Click here to register.

March 29 — The Cannon Fish Creek Grand Opening Party

Celebrate the opening of The Cannon Fish Creek, which is located in Montgomery, Texas, within the Woodforest community.

The event is Wednesday, March 29, from 4 to 6 pm, at The Cannon Fish Creek. Click here to register.

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A research team housed out of the newly launched Rice Biotech Launch Pad received funding to scale tech that could slash cancer deaths in half. Photo via Rice University

A research funding agency has deployed capital into a team at Rice University that's working to develop a technology that could cut cancer-related deaths in half.

Rice researchers received $45 million from the National Institutes of Health's Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, to scale up development of a sense-and-respond implant technology. Rice bioengineer Omid Veiseh leads the team developing the technology as principal investigator.

“Instead of tethering patients to hospital beds, IV bags and external monitors, we’ll use a minimally invasive procedure to implant a small device that continuously monitors their cancer and adjusts their immunotherapy dose in real time,” he says in a news release. “This kind of ‘closed-loop therapy’ has been used for managing diabetes, where you have a glucose monitor that continuously talks to an insulin pump. But for cancer immunotherapy, it’s revolutionary.”

Joining Veiseh on the 19-person research project named THOR, which stands for “targeted hybrid oncotherapeutic regulation,” is Amir Jazaeri, co-PI and professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The device they are developing is called HAMMR, or hybrid advanced molecular manufacturing regulator.

“Cancer cells are continually evolving and adapting to therapy. However, currently available diagnostic tools, including radiologic tests, blood assays and biopsies, provide very infrequent and limited snapshots of this dynamic process," Jazaeri adds. "As a result, today’s therapies treat cancer as if it were a static disease. We believe THOR could transform the status quo by providing real-time data from the tumor environment that can in turn guide more effective and tumor-informed novel therapies.”

With a national team of engineers, physicians, and experts across synthetic biology, materials science, immunology, oncology, and more, the team will receive its funding through the Rice Biotech Launch Pad, a newly launched initiative led by Veiseh that exists to help life-saving medical innovation scale quickly.

"Rice is proud to be the recipient of the second major funding award from the ARPA-H, a new funding agency established last year to support research that catalyzes health breakthroughs," Rice President Reginald DesRoches says. "The research Rice bioengineer Omid Veiseh is doing in leading this team is truly groundbreaking and could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. This is the type of research that makes a significant impact on the world.”

The initial focus of the technology will be on ovarian cancer, and this funding agreement includes a first-phase clinical trial of HAMMR for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer that's expected to take place in the fourth year of THOR’s multi-year project.

“The technology is broadly applicable for peritoneal cancers that affect the pancreas, liver, lungs and other organs,” Veiseh says. “The first clinical trial will focus on refractory recurrent ovarian cancer, and the benefit of that is that we have an ongoing trial for ovarian cancer with our encapsulated cytokine ‘drug factory’ technology. We'll be able to build on that experience. We have already demonstrated a unique model to go from concept to clinical trial within five years, and HAMMR is the next iteration of that approach.”

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