Houston-area schools make best universities list, tech nonprofit expands, and more trending news
Editor's note:Another week has come and gone, and it's time to round up the top headlines from the past few days. Trending Houston tech and startup news on InnovationMap included Houston schools scoring big on a recent ranking, a tech nonprofit platform expands, and more.
UH ranked No. 8 in Texas. Photo courtesy of University of Houston
Houston universities are ramping up high quality educational experiences for their students as three local universities earn top 10 ranks for the best Texas colleges in 2024, according to a new report by U.S. News and World Report.
Rice University claimed the top spot in Texas, and ranked No. 17 in the national ranking. Houston's "Ivy League of the South" had an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 4,500 students in fall 2022. In April, Rice's Jones School of Business ranked No. 2 in U.S. News' ranking of the best graduate programs in Texas. Read more.
OpenStax, founded out of Rice University, has continued its growth, adding new partners and textbooks. Photo via openstax.org
If everyone that attended a college or university were polled, they’d all likely agree that one of the worst parts of the experience was the rising costs of textbooks.
In an effort to combat the hefty price tag of assigned texts, OpenStax, a nonprofit education startup out of Rice University, which is on a mission to increase educational access for all, seeks to democratize high-quality education by offering free, peer-reviewed, openly licensed textbooks for students and knowledge seekers across the globe.
This school year, OpenStax is adding 16 academic institutions onto its platform, including Georgia State University, Southwest Texas Junior College, Texas A&M University-Commerce, University of San Diego, and more. It's the largest batch of new schools OpenStax has on boarded in a year. Read more
Activate announced Cyrus Wadia as its new CEO and opened its 2024 applications. Photo courtesy of Activate
A national organization that helps accelerate scientists into entrepreneurs has named its new CEO in the same week that applications opened for its 2024 cohort.
This week, Activate announced Cyrus Wadia as CEO of the organization. Based California, Activate recently expanded to Houston. The two-year accelerator provides funding and support for its selected cohorts. Read more.Read more.
Berkley Luck and Pedro Silva, co-founders of Milkify, join the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss the impact of their successful Shark Tank experience. Photo courtesy of Milkify
While Milkify's founders — husband and wife team Pedro Silva and Berkley Luck — secured partners on a popular business pitch and investment show, the entire experience almost didn't happen.
Silva and Luck, who got her PhD in molecular and biomedical s at Baylor College of Medicine, founded the company to provide breast milk freeze drying as a service to Houston-area families. Now, Milkify has customers across the country, but the duo didn't know if going through the process would be worth the investment and publicity, or if it would just be a distraction.
"The competitor in me wanted to be the first breast milk company to go on the show and to tell our story to the world — to show the world what my wife came up with that we thought was so great," Silva says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It was probably the scariest 45 minutes of my life." Read more.
Here's what energy transition companies stood out to Rice Alliance's experts. Photo via Rice Alliance
At the 20th annual Energy Tech Venture Forum presented by Rice Alliance for technology and Entrepreneurship, 11 startups scored recognition from the event's investors who evaluated over 90 early-stage energy transition companies.
"The selection process was both exhilarating and challenging given the incredible ideas we've seen today," says Jason Sidhu, director of information services business engagement at TC Energy, who announced the top companies. "I want to extend my gratitude to every company that participate din this year's Energy Tech Venture Forum. Your commitment to solving energy problems and pursuing ambitions ideas is truly commendable." Read more.