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

This month, Houstonians have yet another good batch of in-person and online innovation events, and you and your tech network need to know about them.

Here's a roundup of virtual events not to miss this month — like pitch nights, workshops, conventions, and more.

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


December 1 — Fall 2021 D2K Showcase

The Rice D2K Lab is a hub for data science education. In the interactive D2K Showcase, you will explore D2K students' end-of-semester projects sponsored by D2K Affiliate members, researchers and community partners. Interact with student teams in the poster session and learn more about their projects. Vote on your favorite project and team as students compete for cash prizes.

The event is on Wednesday, December 1, at 5 pm. It's free and happening at Rice University (Duncan Hall - McMurtry Auditorium). Click here to register.

December 2 — TeeMates Launch Party

Join TeeMates for happy hour in town at The Cannon's new sportstech and media location. DJ, drinks, prizes, local businesses, and golf.

The event is on Thursday, December 2, at 4 pm. It's free and happening at The Cannon Sports + Media (5353 W Alabama St. Ste 450). Click here to register.

December 3 — Thought Leader Series: A Conversation with Houston's Medical Community

The Greater Houston Partnership invites you to the Thought Leader Series: A Conversation with Houston's Medical Community. This virtual event will feature a dynamic panel discussion with some of the region's top minds working to advance health care and medicine for the future. These leaders will discuss topics ranging from the region's health care system including funding, workforce, technology/innovation, equity and living in a post-pandemic world.

The event is on Friday, December 3, at noon. It's free and happening online. Click here to register.

December 5-9 — 23rd Annual World Petroleum Congress

Returning to the United States for the first time in over 30 years, the 23rd World Petroleum Congress will transform Houston into the epicenter of the global energy debate. Recognized as the energy capital of the world, the host city is home to 4,600 energy firms and a hub of technological innovation and entrepreneurship both within the energy sector and across aligned sectors. The Congress will gather together industry and government leaders from across the world to address all aspects of the industry from technological advances in upstream, midstream, and downstream operations to the role of natural gas and renewables, management of the industry and its social, economic, and environmental impact.

The event is from Sunday, December 5, through Thursday, December 9, at George R. Brown Convention center. Click here to register.

December 7 — Latest Trends & Opportunities in Sports Tech

Join DivInc on December 7th for an in depth discussion focused on trends, challenges and opportunities in this city and beyond at the intersection of sports and technology! The panel consists of subject matter experts from HTX Sports Tech, Intel, 2K, and The Cannon. We will also be sharing details and answering questions regarding upcoming Sports Tech accelerator.

The event is on Tuesday, December 7, at 4 pm. It's free and happening at The Ion (4201 Main St). Click here to register.

December 8 — Houston Veterans In Residence Showcase

Bunker Labs’ Veterans in Residence Showcase is a nationwide event spanning across twenty-two cities and 2 virtual cohorts, celebrating the almost two-hundred veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs launching their startups and businesses from our recent cohort. It gives you a chance to network with local participants. Become part of your local business community and learn how you can get involved by patronizing, investing in, or partnering up with veterans and military spouse entrepreneurs.

The event is on Wednesday, December 8, at 6 pm. It's free and happening at WeWork (The Jones Building - 708 Main St.) Click here to register.

December 8 — The Future of Energy Celebration

Join energy tech leaders right after World Petroleum Congress for drinks, live music and startups to celebrate the Future of Energy — powered by Halliburton Labs, Accenture, Greentown Labs and The Ion.

The event is on Wednesday, December 8, at 6 pm. It's free and happening at 8th Wonder Brewery (2022 Dallas St). Click here to register.

December 8 — HTXelerator's Pitch Event

The Pitch for the inaugural cohort is now upon us and you're invited to be a part of the celebration! Hear from the HTXelerator's nine finalists as they deliver a mock campaign speech for city council. Enjoy drinks and light bites in the courtyard of The Cannon Downtown as the judges crown first, second, and third place to close out the inaugural year.

The event is on Wednesday, December 8, at 7 pm. It's free and happening at The Cannon Tower @ Amegy on Main (1801 Main St). Click here to register.

December 10 — Feedback Friday: Strategy Planning for 2022

Join this session with Impact Hub Houston Board Member and startup advisor Brandy Guidry to receive feedback on your business goals for 2022.

The event is on Friday, December 10, at 1 pm. It's free and happening at The Cannon Tower @ Amegy on Main (1801 Main St). Click here to register.

December 14 — UpSkill Works Forum: New Mission, Transferable Talent: What Employers Need to Know About Hiring and Retaining Veterans

With more than 250,000 veterans in residence, Houston has the country's second highest veteran population. Veterans are a diverse, highly skilled talent population that can bring valuable experience to a workplace but can be difficult to effectively access and engage. Join the UpSkill Houston initiative, NextOp Veterans Executive Director Stephanie Drake, and area employers to learn how to attract, hire, support, and retain talented veterans in your workforce.

The event is on Tuesday, December 14, at noon. It's free and happening online. Click here to register.

December 14 — gBETA Houston Fall 2021 Cohort Pitch Night

Pitch Night is a celebration of all of the current gBETA cohorts. It's an exclusive reception during which participating companies have the opportunity to pitch to an audience of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and community members. Join either in-person or virtually for one or more Pitch Night events.

The event is on Tuesday, December 14, at 5:30 pm. It's free and happening online and at Cannon West Houston (1334 Brittmoore Rd #1327). Click here to register.

Register for some of these informative online events happening throughout the month of December. Getty Images

10+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events online in December ​

where to be

It's the last monthly events roundup for 2020 — and this month, understandably, is a bit slow due to the holidays, but we have a roundup of the must-attend events for December.

From workshops and panels to summits and pitch parties, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Note: This post will be updated to add more events.

December 1 — National Resilience Town Hall: Year in Review, Year Ahead

The Insurance Information Institute and ResilientH2O Partners, in partnership with the Resilience Accelerator, will hold the final session for 2020 in an ongoing series of thought-leadership among insurance, non-insurance, public sector, and technology senior executives. December's National Townhall will bring five unique perspectives together to discuss lessons-learned from 2020 and predictions for 2021's resilience and risk mitigation "agenda" across residential, commercial, industrial, government operations, infrastructure, facilities, and communities.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, at 10 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 1 — Angel Investing 101

Learn about how to make effective angel investment decisions and find out more about the newly launched Chicago Booth Angels Network of Texas. The event's keynote speaker is Ashok Rao, serial entrepreneur and board member of Houston-based GOOSE Capital.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, from 5 to 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 1 — The Ion's Industry Day

The goal of the inaugural Industry Day is to introduce and connect minority and women owned businesses (MWBE) with The Ion's Transwestern team. The hour long event is designed to facilitate networking and connect interested businesses with Transwestern, who will run operations for The Ion and catalyze local economic growth. Following the event, interested businesses can set up a walk through of The Ion in mid-December to finalize their bid.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, from 6 to 7 pm. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 2 — NASA and Your Small Business: Understanding the NASA Procurement Process

Join The Ion to learn about NASA's commitment to providing access for all categories of small businesses to participate in the procurement process.

The event is on Wednesday, December 2, at noon. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 3 — Capital Factory's Venture Summit

Capital Factory is calling all investors, accelerator leaders, limited partners, and more to its annual venture summit, which is taking place virtually this year.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 9:45 to 2 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 3 — Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation

JLABS @ TMC and Southwest National Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium are teaming up for the sixth Annual Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation. The evening of innovation will host top experts from Houston and across the country will discuss their views on the latest in pediatric medical device innovation and updates on bringing a pediatric medical device to market.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 3:40 to 5 pm. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 3 — An Evening With Women in Corporate Innovation

Join General Assembly Houston to hear from inspiring female leaders in corporate innovation who have blazed the path to stand up and stand out. From learnings to failings and their secrets of success, this event is an opportunity to learn from the best — serious wisdom, from seriously cool women, all designed to supercharge you and your organization's success.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 5 to 6:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 7 — Pumps and Pipes 20/20 Vision

The annual Pumps & Pipes event is focused on convergence innovation in the fields of aerospace, energy and medicine: a truly uniquely Houston approach. The day-long summit features an expo and various panels and speakers.

The event is on Monday, December 7, from 8 am to 3 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 8 — The Cannon Q4 Pitch Party: Presented by Dell Technologies

Join The Cannon and Dell Technologies in hearing from new companies working in Digital Transformation Tech.

The event is on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed via Zoom. Click here to register.

December 8 — How to Start a Startup with Heath Butler of Mercury Fund

The Ion is hosting a startup 101 workshop with Heath Butler from Mercury Fund. You have an idea...now what? Before you start looking for funding, it's important to make sure that your idea is both viable and valuable — if it doesn't have a sound model and a market willing to pay for it, investors won't be interested anyway.

    The event is on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed via Zoom. Click here to register.

    December 10 — Greentown Lab's Energy Bar: Wrapping Up an Unprecedented Year

    Join Greentown Labs virtually for the final edition of the EnergyBar networking event for 2020. Greentown Labs is ready to put a wrap on 2020, an unprecedent year for us all. Between the opening of the new community in Houston and a renewed national policy focus on climate action, the organization is looking ahead to 2021. Entrepreneurs, investors, students, and friends of climatetech are invited to attend, meet colleagues, and engage in a community that is focused on climate action at work.

    The event is on Thursday, December 10, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. It's free and can be access through Remo. Click here to register.

    December 15 — The State of Space

    The Greater Houston Partnership is hosting its first State of Space event featuring NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as the keynote speaker. Since his appointment as Administrator in April of 2018, Bridenstine has led NASA in advancing American aeronautic, science, and space exploration objectives.

    The event is on Tuesday, December 15, at noon. It's $35 for GHP members and $60 for nonmembers. Click here to register.

    From entrepreneur networking opportunities to thought-provoking panels, here's where you need to be in December. Getty Images

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

    Where to be

    Before everyone checks out of 2019, Houston has a couple more weeks filled with exciting entrepreneurial networking opportunities. Scroll through the curated list of innovation events you can't miss.

    For a full calendar of Houston innovation events, head to Houston Exponential's page.

    If you know of innovation-focused events for this month or next, email me at natalie@innovationmap.com with the details and subscribe to our daily newsletter that sends fresh stories straight to your inboxes every morning.

    December 3 — Intro to the Houston Startup Scene & Ask Me Anything with Omair Tariq and Dr. Brittany Barreto

    Are you new to the Houston tech startup community? Thinking about moving here? Trying to figure out how to plug in? Come hear a comprehensive overview from local community leaders and get a chance to introduce yourself and ask questions at the Intro to the Houston Startup Scene & Ask Me Anything. Tickets are $10.

    Details: The event is from 4 to 7 pm on Tuesday, December 3, at The Cannon (1334 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

    December 3 — Houston Coalition for Equitable Development without Displacement community forum

    The Houston Coalition for Equitable Development without Displacement is gathering for a second time to discuss securing a Community Benefits Agreement with Rice Management Company as they develop the 16-acre Innovation District around the old Sears building and Fiesta at the edge of Third Ward.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 8 pm on Tuesday, December 3, at Wesley Chapel AME Church (2209 Emancipation Ave.). Learn more.

    December 3-4 — InvestH2O 2019 Forum: Investing in Resiliency

    With nearly $1 trillion in losses over the past 5-7 years for FEMA and other federal agencies, states-counties-cities, private insurance and reinsurance companies, industry and business operations from water- and weather-related incidents, the need for alternative investment and resource allocation could not be more obvious. The event's programming will be focused on innovating solutions.

    InnovationMap readers can attend for free through this link.

    Details: The event is from Tuesday, December 3, to Wednesday, December 4, at various locations. Learn more.

    December 4 — The Cannon & EPIcenter - Jumpstart your innovation Happy Hour

    In partnership with The Cannon, EPIcenter's Incubator and Accelerator will be hosting a six-week seminar using the Wendy Kennedy curriculum, "So what? Who cares? Why you?" for innovators in any industry. Director of the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator and certified Business Coach Andi Littlejohn will lead participants through a proven methodology to discover, define and describe the commercial opportunities of innovations.

    Details: The event is from 4 to 6 pm on Wednesday, December 4, at The Cannon (1334 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

    December 4 — The Ion Smart Cities Accelerator Demo Day

    The Ion Smart Cities Accelerator will present its inaugural cohort of companies that are addressing the needs of Houston's people by deploying technology into the infrastructure and civic fabric that makes Houston so strong.

    Details: The event is from 5 to 8 pm on Wednesday, December 4, at ion Accelerator and Prototyping Lab (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2100). Learn more.

    December 5 — Houston Region Economic Outlook

    The Greater Houston Partnership's Annual Houston Region Economic Outlook event will feature Partnership Senior Vice President of Research Patrick Jankowski who will deliver the 2020 employment forecast for the region. ConocoPhillips Chief Economist Helen Currie will follow with a presentation on the national economy.

    Details: The event is from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, December 5, at the Royal Sonesta (2222 West Loop S.). Learn more.

    December 5 — Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation

    Please join JLABS @ TMC for the 5th Annual Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation as top experts from Houston and across the country will discuss the latest in pediatric medical device innovation and updates on bringing a pediatric medical device to market.

    Details: The event is from 3 to 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 5, at the TMC Innovation Institute (2450 Holcombe Blvd). Learn more.

    December 5 — Meet & Greet with Flyover Capital

    Meet Flyover Capital's Dan Kerr on his last night in town and learn how they are working to creating the next generation of technology success stories outside the coastal tech hubs.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, December 5, at WeWork (708 Main Street, 3rd Floor). Learn more.

    December 11 — ENRICH/LEAP Information Session

    ENRICH and LEAP are 6-8 week fellowship programs where you and a team of your peers will work directly with established companies on one of a wide scope of projects. These invaluable programs allow people the ability to gain skills and insights that only professional work can offer. Come hear Enventure leadership discuss these programs and learn how you can get involved.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 8 pm on Wednesday, December 11, at the TMC Innovation Institute (2450 Holcombe Blvd). Learn more.

    December 12 — WeWork Labs x NextSeed Launch Event

    WeWork Labs, a global acceleration program with a location in downtown Houston, and NextSeed, a Houston-based online investment platform, have announced a partnership set to begin in December. Together, the two entities will build a support system for Houston-based food entrepreneurs to provide workshops, programming, events, and more.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 8:30 pm on Thursday, December 12, at WeWork (708 Main Street). Learn more.

    December 14 — Smart Infrastructure Hackathon

    On Saturday, December 14, join Microsoft and The Cannon for a smart infrastructure hackathon. Bring your own ideas and team, or join a team when you arrive. Everyone is welcome, regardless of skill level.

    Details: The event is from to 9 am to 7 pm on Saturday, December 14, at The Cannon (1334 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

    December 14 — TEDxHoustonWomen 2019 : BOLD + Brilliant!

    Connect with a locally rooted, globally connected community of people interested in leading the change they wish to see in the world; and sow the seeds to collaborate with innovative thinkers who catalyze ideas toward action.

    Details: The event is from 10:30 am to 4 pm on Saturday, December 14, at Unity of Houston (2929 Unity Dr). Learn more.

    December 17 — The Future of Work: Closing the Skills Gap

    GA gathers Houston industry leaders to share how they approach the challenge of upskilling the workforce. In this discussion, we'll cover how to bridge the gap between current team capabilities and the skills needed to stay competitive. Whether radically reskilling existing teams or onboarding new talent, the companies who adapt fastest will stand the test of time.

    Details: The event is from 8:30 to 11 am on Tuesday, December 17, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin Street, 21st Floor). Learn more.

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    CultureMap Emails are Awesome

    Deadline extended: InnovationMap, HX open nominations for new combined awards gala

    calling all innovators

    Update: The deadline for nominations have been extended to midnight on Sunday, October 2.

    InnovationMap is back to honor local startups and innovators — and this time, we've upped the ante.

    Houston Exponential and InnovationMap have teamed up to combine their annual awards and event efforts to premiere a brand new program. The Houston Innovation Awards Gala on Wednesday, November 9, at The Ion will be a comprehensive event honoring Houston founders, innovators, investors, and more. InnovationMap and HX, which was acquired earlier this year, are in the same network of ownership.

    Nominations are open online until midnight October 2, and nominees will have until October 11 to complete an additional application that will be emailed to nominees directly. A group of industry experts and Houston innovation leaders will review those submissions and determine finalists and winners across 11 categories. The categories for this year's awards are:

    • BIPOC-Owned Business honoring an innovative company founded or co-founded by BIPOC representation
    • Female-Owned Business honoring an innovative company founded or co-founded by a woman
    • Hardtech Business honoring an innovative company developing and commercializing a physical technology across life science, energy, space, and beyond
    • B2B Software Business honoring an innovative company developing and programming a digital solution to impact the business sector
    • Green Impact Business honoring an innovative company providing a solution within renewables, climatetech, clean energy, alternative materials, and beyond
    • Smart City Business honoring an innovative company providing a tech solution within transportation, infrastructure, data, and beyond
    • New to Hou honoring an innovative company, accelerator, or investor that has relocated its primary operations to Houston within the past three years
    • DEI Champion honoring an individual who is leading impactful diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and progress within Houston and their organization
    • Investor of the Year honoring an individual who is leading venture capital or angel investing
    • Mentor of the Year honoring an individual who dedicates their time and expertise to guide and support to budding entrepreneurs
    • People's Choice: Startup of the Year selected via an interactive voting portal during of the event
    Nominees can be submitted to multiple categories.

    Additionally, the awards gala will honor an innovator who's made a lasting impact on the Houston innovation community. While you may nominate an individual for the Trailblazer Award via the online form, the judging committee will not require applications or nominations for this category and will be considering potential honorees from the ecosystem at large. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please reach out to cbuckner@houstonexponential.org.

    Last year, InnovationMap introduced its awards program and named 28 finalists and honored the nine winners on September 8. Click here to see more from last year's event.

    Tickets for the November 9 event are available online. Early bird tickets will be $60 per person and startup founders will be able to attend for $25.

    Click here to submit a nomination or see form below.


    Major corporation opens hub for global decarbonization in Houston

    seeing green

    Management consulting giant McKinsey & Co. plans to spend $100 million over the next decade to pump up Houston’s decarbonization economy.

    McKinsey says the initiative will, among other things, focus on:

    • Promoting innovations like carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and green hydrogen
    • Revamping business models for carbon-heavy companies
    • Ramping up the community of local startups involved in energy transition
    • Developing talent to work on decarbonization

    As part of this program, McKinsey has set up a decarbonization hub in its Houston office, at 609 Main St.

    “Decarbonization will lead to a new chapter of economic development, while also addressing a critical problem of climate change,” McKinsey partner Nikhil Ati says.

    Global decarbonization efforts over the next three decades will require a $100 trillion investment, according to Utility Dive. Houston, home to 40 percent of publicly traded oil and gas companies, stands to gain a substantial share of that opportunity.

    McKinsey’s Houston office has worked for several years on Houston’s energy transition initiatives. For instance, the firm helped produce a study and a whitepaper on energy transition here. The whitepaper outlines Houston’s future as the “epicenter of a global clean hydrogen hub.”

    “Texas is the nation’s largest renewable energy producer, home to half of the nation’s hydrogen pipelines, and its companies have unparalleled capabilities in building and operating complex projects,” McKinsey senior partner Filipe Barbosa says. “This is Houston’s moment in time on the global stage.”

    McKinsey estimates a Houston-based global hub for clean hydrogen that’s in place by 2050 could generate 180,000 jobs and create an economic impact of $100 billion.

    3 Houston innovators to know this week

    who's who

    Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from photonics to robotics — recently making headlines in Houston innovation.

    Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship

    Brad Burke joins this week's Houston Innovators Podcast. Photo via alliance.rice.edu

    Collaboration has made a world of a difference for growing Houston's innovation ecosystem, according to Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.

    "I think Houston has this culture of collaboration that I suspect that some other major cities don't have in the same way," Burke says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "And while we're a big city, the entrepreneurial ecosystem feels like a small network of a lot of people who work really well together."

    Burke has played a major role in the collaboration of Houston for the past 20 years leading the Rice Alliance, which coordinates many event programs and accelerators — including the Rice Business Plan Competition, energy and life science forums, the Clean Energy Accelerator, Owl Spark, Blue Launch, and more. Click here to read more.

    Trevor Best, CEO and co-founder of Syzygy Plasmonics

    A new partnership for Houston-based Syzygy will generate 1.2 million tons of clean hydrogen each year in South Korea by 2030. Image via Syzygy

    Houston-area energy tech startup Syzygy Plasmonics is part of a new partnership that will develop a fully electric chemical reactor for production of clean hydrogen in South Korea.

    The reactor will be installed in the second half of 2023 at Lotte Fine Chemical’s facilities in Ulsan, South Korea. Lotte Fine Chemical, Lotte Chemical, and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas are Syzygy’s partners in this venture.

    “Simply improving existing tech isn’t enough to reach the world’s decarbonization goals. Stopping climate change will require industries to reimagine what is possible,” Syzygy co-founder and CEO Trevor Best says in a news release. “Our technology expands the accepted paradigms of chemical engineering. We have demonstrated the ability to replace heat from combustion with renewable electricity in the manufacture of foundational chemicals like hydrogen.” Click here to read more.

    Nicolaus Radford, CEO and founder of Nauticus Robotics

    Houston-based Nauticus Robotics has hit the public market. Image via LinkedIn

    Fresh off its September 13 debut as a publicly traded company, Webster-based Nauticus Robotics Inc. is aiming for $90 million in revenue next year as it dives deeper into the ocean economy.

    The stock of Nauticus now trades on the NASDAQ market under the ticker symbol KITT. Nauticus went public following its SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) merger with New York City-based CleanTech Acquisition Corp., a “blank check” company that went public in July 2021 through a $150 million IPO. The SPAC deal was valued at $560 million when it was announced in December.

    Nauticus continues to be led by CEO Nicolaus Radford and the current executive team.

    “The closing of this business combination represents a pivotal milestone in our company’s history as we take public our pursuit of transforming the ocean robotics industry with autonomous systems,” says Radford, who founded what was known as Houston Mechatronics in 2014. “Not only is the ocean a tremendous economic engine, but it is also the epicenter for building a sustainable future.” Click here to read more.