Houston health startups make most promising list, clean energy co. wins award, and more news
Houston startup news has still been full speed ahead, despite the year coming to a close, and there might be some headlines you may have missed.
In this roundup of short stories within Houston startups and tech, a climatetech leader steps down, two digital health companies have been recognized internationally, and more.
Two Houston startups land on most-promising health tech list
Houston has some representation on this year's Digital Health 150. Image via CB Insights
CB Insights released The Digital Health 150, an annual ranking of the 150 most promising digital health startups in the world, last week and two Houston companies made the cut. Houston-based companies Koda Health and Starling Medical were two of the eight Texas startups on the list.
Founded in 2020, Koda Health is a B2B Enterprise SaaS solution that guides patients through the process of proactive healthcare planning and document authentication. The company has been expanding its service across the country this year following a seed round of funding in February.
"Each year, 150 winners are selected from a pool of over 13,000 companies," Koda's CEO and Co-Founder Tatiana Fofanova tells InnovationMap. "Honorees have quickly become industry titans and household names, so we were honored — and frankly, surprised! — to be recognized in this year's group of honorees.
"I've personally taken inspiration from the Digital Health 150 for years now ± these are people and companies we've emulated and aspired to — so to see the Koda Health logo on there was incredibly affirming," she continues.
Starling Medical is using AI and telehealth enabled medical devices to enable millions with bladder dysfunctions to be able to urinate safely and conveniently again. The company has been named most promising by the Rice Alliance as well, and a top 10 company by MassChallenge.
Optellum, a United Kingdom-based company focused on lung cancer diagnostics, also made the list. They have their United States-based operations in Houston. Additionally, seven startups on the list — Babyscripts, Cerebriu, Iterative Health, Kintsugi, Mindtrace, Redox, and Lightbeam — have ties to TMC.
This is the fourth annual Digital Health 150, and this new cohort has already raised approximately $5.6 billion in aggregate funding across 378 deals since 2017, according to CB Insights.
Houston startup snags win at the 'Oscars' of energy industry
Syzygy Plasmonics was recognized for being an outstanding energy transition company. Photo via LinkedIn
At the 24th annual Platts Global Energy Awards gala, S&P Global Commodity Insights honored industry excellence across 19 categories. Described as the "Oscars" of energy, the program "recognizes corporate and individual innovation, leadership, and performance in the energy and petrochemicals industry," according to a news release.
"We are proud to recognize the leadership and innovation of this year's finalists and winners of the Platts Global Energy Awards," says Saugata Saha, president of S&P Global Commodity Insights, in the release. "These companies have demonstrated a commitment to excellence while serving customers and enabling a balanced energy transition, a key area of focus for the industry and our teams at S&P Global Commodity Insights."
Houston-based alternative energy company, Syzygy Plasmonics, took home a win for the "Energy Transition Technology of the Year Award." Syzygy, which recently raised a $76 million series C round, has a technology that harnesses the power of light to energize chemical reactions — rather than the traditional process that is fueled by heat. The Syzygy approach reduces feedstock waste and produces fewer emissions when powered by renewable electricity.
Greentown Labs CEO steps down
In her capacity as Greentown Labs CEO, Emily Reichert cut the ribbon on Greentown Houston over a year and a half ago. Photo by Lee Bond/Greentown Labs
The leader of Somerville, Massachusetts-based Greentown Labs, which has its only other location in Houston, has stepped down after a decade at the helm of the climatetech incubator.
In an email to the Greentown Labs community, Emily Reichert confirmed that she has stepped down as CEO and will remain involved as "CEO Emeritus." The organization's CFO, Kevin Taylor, has picked up more leadership responsibilities in the interim.
"As I hand the baton off to the next leader of Greentown Labs, I’m confident in our community’s ability to continue making an enormous impact deploying climatetech solutions and our team’s ability to continue growing Greentown to be an ever-more-impactful space for climatetech entrepreneurs and collaborators," Reichert says in the email.
Rice backs new research collaborations with Houston Methodist
Rice University and Houston Methodist have again teamed up to support life science research. Photo via rice.edu
Two Houston organizations — Rice University and the Houston Methodist Academic Institute — have created a seed grant program and awarded grants for research in robotics, imaging, cardiovascular bioengineering, and more. Twenty multi-year projects will be supported by both Houston Methodist and Rice, according to a news release.
It's the third collaborative program between the two organizations in less than two years.
“Our collaborations with Houston Methodist will impact human health and wellness, foster new research opportunities and advance our understanding of diseases," says Rice Provost Amy Dittmar in a news release.
The projects within the nursing category have not been announced, but the awards for the other categories have been named online.