Check out these conferences, pitch competitions, networking, and more in the month of September. Photo via Getty Images

As temperatures begin to cool — hopefully, the city's business community is heating up with another month of networking and conference events. Here's a rundown of what all to throw on your calendar for September when it comes to innovation-related events.

This article will be updated as more business and tech events are announced.

September 10 — Enventure BaseCamp - Special Edition Life Science Innovation Bootcamp

We invite all those interested in life science innovation to our monthly BaseCamp! Our community-driven series returns for a special edition Bootcamp! We are breaking down key concepts, start-up case studies, and more! Join us for a morning of learning, networking, and all things science and business.

The event is Saturday, Sept. 10, 10 am to 1 pm, online. Click here to register.

September 12 — Venture Houston

Venture Houston is illuminating the power of venture capital by bringing together venture capitalists across the nation along with Houston’s most innovative corporates and high-growth startups.

The event is Monday, Sept. 12, 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

September 14 — Access to Success Pitch Event

Underrepresented founders in climatetech face unique and growing challenges to accessing investors and fundraising in order to scale their companies and push forward the energy transition. How can startups bridge this gap, and where can investors who want to begin diversifying their portfolios find guidance?

The event is Wednesday, Sept. 14, 10 am to 2 pm, at Greentown Houston. Click here to register.

September 15 —19th annual Energy Tech Venture Forum

In its 19th year, the Energy Tech Venture Forum, hosted by The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, is the premier energy tech venture capital conference to connect energy innovators, investors, corporates, and the energy ecosystem. This year’s in-person forum will showcase promising energy tech companies that are boldly creating the future of energy, as well as a keynote and panel from industry leaders. You can also expect to see pitches from the inaugural class of the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator.

The event is Thursday, Sept. 15, 8 am to 5 pm, at Rice University, McNair Hall. Click here to register.

September 15 — Hispanic Business Summit

Join the U.S. Small Business Administration, Houston Baptist University, Baker Ripley, and Impact Hub for the annual Hispanic Business Summit. The event will include networking, information about the impact of Latino entrepreneurship in Houston, small business success stories, and a panel of lenders for tips on accessing business capital. Attendees will also have an opportunity to network with other business owners and local business resources.

The event is Thursday, Sept. 15, 9 am to noon, at the Ion. Click here to register.

September 15 — Meet Knightsgate Ventures

UH Technology bridge will be virtually hosting Durg Kumar, co-founder and partner at Knightsgate Ventures investment fund.

The event is Thursday, Sept. 15, noon to 1 pm, online. Click here to register.

September 16-18 — Houston Hackathon 2022

To celebrate the National Civic Day of Hacking, we invite all people who want to make a difference in our region to join us at the annual Houston Hackathon! This is a “civic” hackathon, focused on ideating, designing, and developing both policy-based and tech solutions to some of Houston’s greatest challenges. Project stakeholders will be there from the city, local organizations, and Houston's impact community.

The event is Friday, Sept. 16, to Sunday, Sept. 18, at Impact Hub Houston. Click here to register.

September 20 — State of the Texas Medical Center

Home to the largest medical complex in the world and the brightest minds in medicine, the Texas Medical Center is a leading life sciences destination taking on the greatest medical challenges of our generation. Learn more about the exciting developments planned for the TMC campus and discover how innovation and industry partnerships are helping us accelerate the pace of discovery, ensuring we will continue to be the global leader in patient care.

The event is Tuesday, Sept. 20, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, at the Hilton Americas. Click here to register.

September 20 — LatinTech Pitch 2022

LatinTech Pitch 2022 is presented in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest along with the Ion, Latinx Startup Alliance, and Texas Business Association.

The event is Tuesday, Sept. 20, 6 to 8 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

September 21 — Here For It Live in Houston

Palette, a female-focused coworking space and community created to support women in careers and life, will host its popular video series live on the road at partner spaces from coast to coast. Palette founder and Here for It LIVE host, Catherine Hover, will interview the founding partner of Curate Capital, Carrie Colbert, at Sesh Coworking.

The event is Wednesday, Sept. 21, 6 to 8 pm, at Sesh Coworking. Click here to register.

September 28 — Halliburton Labs Finalists Pitch Day

This hybrid event allows for attendees to attend in person at The Ion Houston or virtually online for a full program of innovative ideas, discussion, and inspiration — all centered on the startup finalists who are advancing the future of clean energy. The event will include a lively keynote discussion with Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine, hosted by Walter Isaacson, Halliburton Labs Advisory Board Member and Leonard Lauder Professor of American History and Values at Tulane.

The event is Wednesday, Sept. 28, 9 am to 12:30 pm, at the Ion or online. Click here to register.

September 29 — The Inaugural State of Infrastructure

Join the Greater Houston Partnership for the inaugural State of Infrastructure where a panel of experts from varying industries will discuss the investments needed to build equitable, resilient communities.

The event is Thursday, Sept. 29, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, at the Omni Houston. Click here to register.

September 29 — Fort Bend County Innovation Council Launch

Houston Exponential is excited to be expanding into Greater Houston innovator communities and invite you to join us for the official launch of the Fort Bend Innovation Council. In partnership with the Fort Bend EDC, The Cannon, Born Global, and Code Launch, we'd love to invite all ingenious innovators, enterprising educators, collaborative corporates, inquisitive investors, exhausted entrepreneurs, and all friends and family to help kick things off.

The event is Thursday, Sept. 29, 5 to 7 pm, at the HCSS Development Building. Click here to register.

September 29 — Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator Final Showcase

Join Greentown Labs Houston to celebrate the culmination of the Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator—the 2022 program in the Greentown Go Energize track—a-first-of-its-kind startup-corporate partnerships accelerator focused on advancing innovations that are key to enabling a low-carbon hydrogen economy in partnership with EPRI, Shell, the City of Houston, and the Urban Future Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

The event is Thursday, Sept. 29, 5 to 8 pm, online. Click here to register.

September 29 — Sesh Coworking Ribbon Cutting

Sesh Coworking began as an organization in 2017 and introduced a brick and mortar space in 2019. In 2022, the organization expanded and moved to its new location!. Join the event to check out the space and celebrate Sesh Coworking.

The event is Thursday, Sept. 29, 6 to 8 pm, at Sesh Coworking. Click here to register.

Check out these conferences, pitch competitions, networking, and more in the month of August. Photo via Getty Images

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

where to be

Houstonians are transitioning into a new summer month, and the city's business community is mixing in networking and conference events with family vacations and time off. Here's a rundown of what all to throw on your calendar for August when it comes to innovation-related events.

This article will be updated as more business and tech events are announced.


August 1 — Beyond Bias: Essentials for an Equitable Community

During this seminar, Tracie Jae, Founder of The Quiet Rebel, will share a paradigm shift designed to disrupt the current DEI model.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is the accepted workforce best practice. As organizations continue to find the mix of techniques for their particular culture, we began to see the addition of other words like Belonging, Justice, and Access. Meanwhile, the impact appears the same - a focus on making space for “others” rather than actively creating a welcoming environment of mutual respect and acknowledgement. We have chosen to modify rather than innovate.

The event is Monday, August 1, 10 am to noon, at The Ion. Click here to register.

August 3 — Bayou Startup Showcase

The showcase features 24 companies from four accelerators: RED Labs, OwlSpark, RED Launch and BlueLaunch. You will be able to engage with these businesses, sign up for pre-orders, and buy products at their booths. Teams have recorded their pitches for you to learn about them in advance, watch during the event, or review afterward.

The event is Wednesday, August 3, 5 to 8 pm, at Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Click here to register.

August 4 — National Cancer Institute | SBIR Funding Opportunities

The TMCi Accelerator is excited to partner with the National Cancer Institute for a discussion about small business funding opportunities.

The event is Thursday, August 4, 1 to 3 pm, online. Click here to register.

August 8 — Intro to Finance Automation

Understand the benefits of finance automation and how to identify meaningful automation opportunities in your business. Learn from firsthand experiences of FinOptimal’s Founder & CEO, Jesse Rubenfeld.

The event is Monday, August 8, 10 am to noon, at The Ion. Click here to register.

August 11 — Illuminate Houston: An Innovation Conversation

Illuminate Houston is an event series highlighting business leaders who challenge the way we think about the future, featuring dynamic formats where speakers and attendees discuss trends, technologies, and issues that define how we do business. The Partnership welcomes Roberta L. Schwartz, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Houston Methodist on Thursday, August 11.

The event is Thursday, August 11, 1 to 2:30 pm, at Partnership Tower. Click here to register.

August 11 — Summer in the City: UH Students' Showcase Day

Throughout the "Summer in the City" class, students from the University of Houston Honors College have learned about creativity, leadership, entrepreneurship, and smart cities. Taking a mixed-media approach, and benefiting from guest lectures by Robert Cremins, Director of Creative Work: A Pre-Professional Program at UH, as well as panel discussions featuring entrepreneurs, innovators, and founder at the Ion, students have developed their design thinking and innovation skills and tackled problems experienced in Houston.

The event is Thursday, August 11, 5:30 to 7 pm, at the ion. Click here to register.

August 16 — Softeq Venture Studio Public Demo Day 

The Softeq Venture Studio invested $125,000 in cash and services in each of the fourteen early-stage startups to help them refine their business model, build their technology, and prepare them to scale. With 14 startups, the Q2 2022 cohort is the largest yet and brings the total portfolio to 27 companies. In this capstone event, founders have seven minutes each to present their pitch deck, demo their product, outline their ask, and answer questions.

The event is Tuesday, August 16, 5 to 7:30 pm, at The Ion. Click here to register.

August 16 — Enventure "Inspire" Seminar Series - Entrepreneurship

The "Inspire" Seminar Series was developed by Enventure to help students learn about the reality of working in the biotech and biomedical fields. The series consists of a number of events starring guest speakers coming from different areas in the biotech and biomedical industries. Dr. Lauren Cornell is an experienced research scientist with a strong history of military collaborations.

The event is Tuesday, August 16, 6 to 7:30 pm, online. Click here to register.

August 18 — Evolve Houston Relaunch Event

This past year, Evolve introduced a new logo and website to continue embarking on its mission to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through transportation electrification.

The event is Thursday, August 18, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, at George R. Brown Convention Center. Click here to register.

August 18 — Transition on Tap

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. I

The event is Thursday, August 18, 5 to 7 pm, at Greentown Houston. Click here to register.

August 22 — Startup-Inside-a-Business 102: How to Find SIB Without Spending Any Money

Founders will learn how to look at their companies differently, to see how the capabilities and systems they’ve already created can be reconfigured to multiply growth, value, and valuation. Learn a step-by-step approach to finding the best potential startup inside and insights for estimating the potential value that’s waiting to be unlocked.

This workshop is the second in a series of three Startup-Inside-a-Business Workshops.

The event is Monday, August 22, 10 to 11:30 am, at The Ion. Click here to register.

August 29 — Startup-Inside-a-Business 103: Build One w/out Disrupting Existing Business

Founders will learn how getting investors involved early can end the need for founder cash investments while simultaneously establishing a higher company valuation. They’ll also learn how to manage the tradeoff between cost, risk, and reward by using proven techniques to gain proof before scaling up.

This workshop is the last in a series of three Startup-Inside-a-Business Workshops.

    The event is Monday, August 29, 10 to 11:30 am, at The Ion. Click here to register.

    Check out these conferences, pitch events, networking, and more happening in Houston in the month of April. Photo via Getty Images

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

    where to be

    After a very busy March, Houston innovators might need to prepare for another month of networking opportunities. Here's a rundown of what all to throw on your calendar for April.

    This article will be updated as more business and tech events are announced.

    April 5-6 — Energy CEO Summit

    Industry leaders and members of the Houston business community will discuss the evolution of the energy sector, Houston's pivotal role, and the critical events driving the change.

    Center for Houston's Future CEO Brett Perlman will moderate a panel on Electrical Grid Trends at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6.

    The event is Tuesday and Wednesday, April 5-6, online or at Asia Society Texas Center (1370 Southmore Blvd.). Click here to register.

    April 6 — 2022 PVAMU Industry Innovation Collaboration Day

    This event is designed to provide an interactive platform for academicians, researchers, students, industries, and government agencies an opportunity to meet and share recent innovations, developments, and technology trends. Collaboration between the university and various industries needs to be nourished to enhance innovation development for the benefit of society.

    The event is Wednesday, April 6, from 8:30 am to 5 pm at Prairie View A&M University-MSC Ballroom (155 L.W Minor St.). Click here to register.

    April 6 — Enventure "Inspire" Seminar Series - With Dr. Santosh A. Helekar, MD, PhD

    The "Inspire" Seminar Series was developed by Enventure to help students learn about the reality of working in the biotech and biomedical fields. The series consists of a number of events starring guest speakers coming from different areas in the biotech and biomedical industries.

    This particular event will star Dr. Santosh A. Helekar, M.D., Ph.D. Participants attending this event will learn about the story of Dr. Helekar and his experiences from transitioning from grad school & academia into an inventor & his experiences and current role. In addition, there will be a final Q&A where the audience will be able to ask direct questions to Dr. Helekar.

    The online event is Wednesday, April 6, from 6 to 7:30 pm. Click here to register.

    April 7 — Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator Kickoff

    Together with Greentown Labs and the Urban Future Lab, EPRI and Shell recognize the need to accelerate the development and commercialization of low-carbon technologies required to enable economy-wide decarbonization. As leaders in the utilities and energy industries, respectively, with domain expertise, R&D facilities, and access to global customers, EPRI and Shell are uniquely positioned to lead this transformation in partnership with startups innovating at the cutting edge of low-carbon hydrogen.

    The hybrid event is Thursday, April 7, from 5:30 to 8 pm at Greentown Labs (4200 San Jacinto St.) and streaming online. Click here to register.

    April 7-9 — 2022 Rice Business Plan Competition

    The 2022 Rice Business Plan Competition will be hosted in Houston at the Jones Graduate School of Business. This year, 42 teams have been invited to compete in the 22nd Annual Competition. The finals will be streamed online —watch on Saturday, April 9 on our YouTube. If you're a member, please visit our membership page to register to attend in-person.

    The competition is held Thursday through Saturday, April 7-9, at Rice University (6100 Main St.) and streamed online. Click here to register.

    April 12 — Energy & Energy 2.0 Council

    As the Energy Capital of the World, Houston is the headquarters and the intellectual capital for virtually every segment of the energy industry including exploration, production, transmission, marketing, supply, and technology. This Council explores how Houston's largest industry continues to lead in this critical sector while also advancing innovation that supports the transition to a more efficient and sustainable, low-carbon future that also accommodates global demand growth.

    The event is Tuesday, April 12, from 11:30 am to 1 pm at Partnership Tower (701 Avenida de las Americas, Suite 900). Click here to register.

    April 12 — Softeq Venture Studio Demo Day (Q1 2022 Cohort)

    The Softeq Venture Studio invested $125,000 in cash and services in each of the nine early-stage startups to help them refine their business model, build their technology, and prepare them to scale. In this capstone event, founders have seven minutes each to present their pitch deck, demo their product, outline their ask, and answer questions. And we need you there to evaluate them for investment (or at least support them).

    The event is Tuesday, April 12, from 5 to 7:30 pm at The Ion (4201 Main St.). Click here to register.

    April 13 — Serving & Selling: Building your Brand, brought to you by Insperity

    Find out how to solidify your brand, deliver exceptional service, and take your productivity to the next level, with Pete Hinojosa, CBPA.

    The event is Wednesday, April 13, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm at The Cannon (1334 Brittmore Dr.). Click here to register.

    April 14 — DivInc Happy Hour: Meet the Sports Tech Cohort

    Meet DivInc's Sports Tech cohort at a happy hour hosted at The Ion on April 14. The companies accepted into the new cohort are slated to be announced on April 11.

    The event is Thursday, April 14, at 5:30 pm at The Ion (4201 Main St.). Click here to register.

    April 19 — State of Technology

    The second annual Greater Houston Partnership event features business leaders discussing Houston's growth as a national leader in tech innovation and the many qualities the region possesses that support a robust tech ecosystem. Through a panel discussion, the event will also explore how Houston is uniquely enabling digital transformation across industries including energy, life sciences and healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, and aerospace.

    The event is Tuesday, April 19, at 10 am to 1:30 pm at Hilton Americas (1600 Lamar St.). Click here to register.

    April 20 — Spring 2022 D2K Showcase

    Explore Rice University's D2K students’ end-of-semester projects covering a wide range of topics including computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning applications, web scraping, time series analysis, signal processing and more. Celebrate the impact they are making through data science and interact with Rice students and learn more about their projects in the poster session. Attendees can vote for their favorite project/team to compete for cash prizes.

    The event is Wednesday, April 20, from 5 to 7 pm at Duncan Hall at Rice University (6100 Main St.). Click here to register.

    April 20 — The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Championships

    Join Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and support Rice University student startups at the H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Championships on Wednesday, April 20. Six student finalists will pitch their ventures for the chance to win a share of $75,000+ in equity-free funding. Attendance is open to Rice students, Rice alumni, friends of Rice, and the whole Houston entrepreneurial community. Seats are limited, so get your tickets while you still can.

    The event is Wednesday, April 20, from 5:30 to 9 pm at The Anderson-Clarke Center’s Hudspeth Auditorium (6100 Main St.). Click here to register.

    April 21 — Greentown Houston's First Anniversary

    A year after opening the Houston's first-ever climatetech startup incubator, Greentown Houston is home to over 60 startup members and 20 corporate partners. Join the green tech hub for a celebration of entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation, which together with the engineering strength and talent of the region’s energy industry will power Houston’s climate leadership. The day of festivities will include celebratory remarks, lightning pitches from some of our outstanding startups, a member showcase, networking, and more.

    The event is Thursday, April 21, from 1 to 7 pm, at Greentown Houston (4200 San Jacinto St.) or livestreaming online. Click here to register.

    April 27 — Engage VC: Revolution

    Revolution is a D.C.-based investment firm focused on investing in entrepreneurs building transformative companies outside of Silicon Valley. With $1.7 billion of capital commitments across portfolio companies including Houston-based Goodfair and relationships in 60+ startup communities, Revolution is dedicated to creating meaningful results for companies outside of the Bay Area. And they are coming to Houston. Join HX Venture Fund to hear Tige Savage, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Revolution Ventures, David Hall, Managing Partner at Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and Martin Simoncic, President B2B at PROS discuss Revolution's perspective on venture investing, current and future trends, and how Houston fits in among other topics.

    The event is Wednesday, April 27, at 8:30 to 10 am at The Ion (4201 Main St.). Click here to register.


    Don't miss these informative online events happening throughout the month of May. Photo by Getty Images

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

    Where to be online

    This month, Houstonians have yet another good batch of online innovation events — from Zoom panels to virtual conferences — and you and your tech network need to know about them.

    Here's a roundup of virtual events not to miss this month — like Houston Tech Rodeo, a virtual showcase from Rice University's data science students, and more.

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

    May 4 — Perfecting Your Pitch

    Join The Ion for our series with DeckLaunch and Fresh Tech Solutionz as they discuss the importance and value of your pitch deck when reaching your target audience.

    The event is on Tuesday, May 4, at 1 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 5 — D2K Virtual Showcase - Spring 2021

    Join Rice University online for the interactive D2K Showcase. Student teams from the D2K Capstone and other data science programs will showcase their data science work and compete for prizes.

    The event is on Wednesday, May 5, at 5 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 6 — Carbon to Value Initiative Kickoff

    Kick off a new accelerator dedicated to carbontech. The Carbon to Value (C2V) Initiative is a multi-year collaboration between The Urban Future Lab, Greentown Labs, and the Fraunhofer USA TechBridge Program. Welcome the first cohort of startups to this exciting new program, which includes Houston-based Cemvita Factory.

    The event is on Thursday, May 6, at 3 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 12 — Enventure "Inspire" Seminar Series - With Dr. Reece Norris

    The "Inspire" Seminar Series was developed by Enventure to help students learn about the reality of working in the biotech and biomedical fields. This particular event will star Mr. Reece Norris, JD, co-founder and COO of WeInfuse. Reece began his career in corporate law and eventually entered the provider-based infusion center market, where he went on to create a first-of-its-kind infusion delivery business model.

    The event is on Wednesday, May 12, at 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    MAy 13 — Changing the Colors of Investment

    Maria Maso of the Business Angel Minority Association and Stephanie Tsuru of SheSpace are planning an inspiring conversation on diversity in investment.

    The event is on Thursday, May 13, at 11:30 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 14 — Investor Speaker Series: Navigating Corporate Venture Capital

    Greentown Labs is putting on a virtual event about Corporate Venture Capital. CVCs have played an important role in advancing climatetech in general, and supporting the Greentown ecosystem specifically. In this conversation, we will connect with CVCs within the Greentown network—and representing diverse industries—to discuss what they look for in startups, how they work with startups, how they like to participate in deals, and their perspective on key trends in climatetech investing. Panelists include:

    The event is on Friday, May 14, at 11 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 17-23 — Houston Tech Rodeo

    The Houston Tech Rodeo — a festival of events put on both online and in person — celebrates the convergence of popular culture and innovation in Houston and has transformed into an essential destination for founders and talented individuals to spur new connections and ideas while highlighting all that Houston has to offer.

    The round-up of events takes place May 17 to 23. Check out all the events and register by clicking here.

    May 18 — Accessibility in Tech presented by Microsoft

    Attendees at this event presented by Capital Factory can look forward to a keynote chat from a serial entrepreneur or investor, insightful discussion sessions, a startup showcase pitch competition, multiple future of accessibility breakout sessions, and panels on accessibility in design and accessibility in hiring and human resource management.

    The event is on Tuesday, May 18, at noon. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 20 — Future of Patient Experience

    Healthcare centered around the patient's experience is becoming a bigger priority for systems around the world. Join experts from Houston, Texas Medical Center, the UK, and Denmark for a Biobridge event. Healthcare centered around the patient's experience is becoming a bigger priority for systems around the world.

    The event is on Thursday, May 20, at 9 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 25 — Industrial XR Forum: Enterprise Projects & Tech Roundup

    The Industrial XR Forum is hosting an industry-wide event focused specifically on industrial/energy and engineering large enterprise and rapidly scaling immersive tech program leaders to gain insights, use cases and technology needed for their large and often global VR/AR/XR, 3D, Digital Twin and Spatial Computing projects.


    The event is on Tuesday, May 25, at 10 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 25 — HYP Referral Networking: Building Stronger Relationships

    Join the Houston Young Professionals and General Assembly for a virtual networking event.

    The event is on Tuesday, May 25, at 11:45 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 25 — HALO Presents: Ongoing Changes in Consumer Behavior as a Result of Covid-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant shift in consumer behavior as cities around the world saw shut downs and restrictions. Every aspect of life was affected. As the the country reopens and we enter our new normal what trends from the pandemic will stick around and what will change? Join the Texas HALO Fund and some of its portfolio companies operating in the consumer space to hear their experiences of the pandemic first hand.

    The event is on Tuesday, May 25, at 5 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    May 26 — Houston Startup Showcase Semifinals

    Four semifinalists will come together on the virtual stage and compete for a chance to move on to the The Ion's Startup Showcase Finals. Watch the four startups pitch their company and see who the judges will select to move on to the Final and have the opportunity to compete for a prize package. The presenting companies are:

    The event is on Wednesday, May 26, at 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    Houston-based PolyVascular has invented a polymer-based heart valve for children with congenital heart disease. Photo courtesy of TMC Innovation

    Houston startup with life-saving innovation receives $2M grant

    for the children

    A $2 million federal grant will enable Houston-based PolyVascular to launch human trials of what it hails as the first polymer-based heart valve for children.

    In conjunction with the grant, Dr. Will Clifton has joined the medical device company as chief operating officer. He will oversee the grant as principal investigator, and will manage the company's operations and R&D. Clifton is president and co-founder of Houston-based Enventure, a medical innovation incubator and education hub. He previously was senior director of medical affairs at Houston-based Procyrion, a clinical-stage medical device company.

    PolyVascular's Phase II grant came from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which promotes technological projects.

    The PolyVascular heart valve will help treat congenital heart disease affecting more than 1 million around the world. PolyVascular plans to launch clinical trials of the valve in children 5 and over within two years.

    "Congenital heart disease remains the most common category of birth defect and a leading cause of childhood death in the developed world," reads a March 30 news release from PolyVascular, founded in 2014.

    PolyVascular says the valve can be implanted without surgery, and can avoid the use of valve replacements from humans or animals. Those valve replacements are difficult to find and often don't last too long, leading to frequent follow-up surgeries.

    "Our aim at PolyVascular is to transform the care of children with congenital heart disease by developing an entirely new generation of valves made of medical-grade polymer devoid of any biological tissue," Dr. Henri Justino, chief medical officer at PolyVascular, says in a release. "The valves in use so far for children have been made of biological tissue. Unfortunately, our immune systems target and destroy this biological tissue, sometimes rapidly, rendering the valve ineffective."

    The SBIR grant isn't the only win for PolyVascular in recent years.

    In 2019, the startup came away with several honors in the 2019 Texas A&M New Ventures Competition. It won the pitch competition (complete with a $5,000 cash award), and received the Biotex Investment Prize, Amerra Visualization Services Prize, and GOOSE Society Investment Prize.

    Also in 2019, PolyVascular, a member of TMCx's 2017 medical device cohort, won in the medical device and health disparities and equity categories at the fifth annual Impact Pediatric Health pitch competition. Additionally, the Southwest National Pediatric Device Consortium granted the company up to $25,000.

    Last year, MedTech Innovator, a nonprofit accelerator in the medical technology sector, announced PolyVascular was one of 50 companies chosen to participate in the organization's flagship four-month accelerator program.

    "During these uncertain and challenging times, the need for health innovations — specifically those that promise to deliver long-term value to the health care system and patients — is more critical than ever," said Paul Grand, CEO of MedTech Innovator.

    Another Houston startup, Vivante Health, also was picked for the MedTech Innovator program. Vivante is a digital health company that helps people address digestive health and wellness.

    Register for some of these informative online events happening throughout the month of March. Photo via Getty Images

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

    where to be online

    March marks a full year of attending online events — from Zoom panels to virtual conferences. But, the shows must go on with another month full of online innovation and startup events that Houston innovators need to know about.

    Here's a roundup of virtual events not to miss this month — from workshops and webinars to summits and pitch parties. Note: This post might be updated to add more events.

    March 1-5 — CERAWeek by IHSMarkit

    In lieu of the week-long, in-person mega-conference that is the annual CERAWeek by IHSMarkit, the 2021 iteration will be completely virtual. Need some ideas of what panels and talks not to miss? Click here for five recommendations of what to attend.

    The conference takes place Monday, March 1, to Friday, March 5. Click here to register.

    March 2 — Houston Innovates: Digital transformation and Innovation in Oil & Gas

    Digital forces are changing the skills an executive needs to manage organizations. In a world that's become increasingly digital, energy companies can sometimes find it hard to adapt. Join General Assembly Houston for a panel discussion with:

    • Sameer Khan, digital leader (MarTech and Transformation) at ExxonMobil
    • Sarah Vega, vice president of IT & Change at SmartestEnergy
    • Ricky Burns, business transformation team lead at BP
    • Jose Beceiro, senior director of Global Energy 2.0 at the Greater Houston Partnership

    The event is on Tuesday, March 2, at 9:30 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 2 — Ladies Who LaUNCH #13: The Female Superpower

    In 2020, 40 percent of US businesses were owned by women and generated $1.8 trillion. With these numbers in mind, it comes as no surprise that the presence of women in entrepreneurship and investing is growing.

    Why do women-led companies financially outperform their male counterparts? And what are the "female superpowers" behind our ability to excel in these fields? Join featured speaker, Megan Bent, as she explores the research, data, and her own experience in the importance of female leadership in entrepreneurship and investing, and how to leverage your differences to your advantage.

    The event is on Tuesday, March 2, at noon. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 3 — What's Next in Crypto?

    Baker Botts and TeamBlockchain are hosting a webinar discussing trends in cryptocurrency. Key speakers from the sector include:

    • Ali Dhanani, partner at Baker Botts
    • Sarah Beaumont, associate at Baker Botts
    • Jonny Fry, co-founder & CEO at TeamBlockchain Ltd
    • Spencer Randall, principal & co-founder at CryptoEQ
    • Ankush Jain, chief investment officer at Aaro Capital

    The event is on Wednesday, March 3, at 11 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 9 — Investing in Medical Devices

    Join the Texas HALO Fund for a conversation with three of the fund's portfolio companies: Adient Medical, Allotrope Medical, and PathEx.

    The event is on Tuesday, March 9, at noon. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 10 — Open Project Night: Achieving Gender Equality in Houston and Beyond

    Impact Hub Houston is bringing you a monthly opportunity to come together to work on solutions for some of Houston's most pressing issues. Our city is full of changemakers across all ages, cultures, skillsets, and industries. This is your chance to conned and collaborate for the greater good.

    The event is on Wednesday, March 10, at 5 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 10 — Conversations with Latinx Entrepreneurs in Houston

    Latinx entrepreneurs are starting small businesses faster than the rest of the startup population and becoming a bigger part of the total U.S. market every day. Join General Assembly for a panel of Houston Latinx leaders as they share stories about their heritage, failures and success.

    The event is on Wednesday, March 10, at 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 11 — How to Sell Without Being "Salesy"

    In celebration of Women's History Month, Catherine Brown and Leela Madan, both serial entrepreneurs and founders of Houston-based Founder's Compass offer their advice on selling your business.

    The event is on Thursday, March 11, at 10 am. It's $30 and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 11 — Inspire Seminar with Leslie Wise

    Join Enventure for a talk and Q&A with the president and principal consultant of Evidence Matters, Leslie Wise. Inspire is one part of Lilie's three-program career exploration series. The goal of Inspire is to share an individual's career journey so that trainees can see one of the many paths that can be taken, learn about the reality of working in these fields, and gain valuable advice from key leaders to better prepare themselves for their own career journey.

    The event is on Thursday, March 11, at noon. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 16-20 — SXSW

    Another conference is pivoting to virtual attendance this year. SXSW has flipped the switch to being online only for 2021. SXSW's seven conference themes are A New Urgency; Challenging Tech's Path Forward; Cultural Resilience in the Arts; The Rebirth of Business; Transforming the Entertainment Landscape; Connection in Disconnection; and An Uncharted Future. Stay tuned to InnovationMap for a Houston innovator's guide to the conference.

    The conference takes place Tuesday, March 16, to Saturday, March 20. Click here to register.

    March 17 — Top Legal Considerations for Startups

    Join Rice University's Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for a session with corporate and securities lawyer Aaron Barker, who specializes in advising companies from formation to exit, will give you the inside knowledge to help you launch your venture, and possibly save you from making a rookie mistake.

    The event is on Wednesday, March 17, at 4 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 23 — Igniting Leadership: Elevating Professionalism

    Join Ignite's conversation between Board Member Kelli Newman and Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. Ellen Friedman focus on insights the Director of BCM's Center for Professionalism has to share. In addition to the importance of emotional intelligence, practical methods for addressing problems before they escalate and professionalism for "women in a man's field," Dr. Friedman will answer your questions with practical advice for elevating your own professionalism.

    The event is on Tuesday, March 23, at 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

    March 24 — Houston Startup Showcase

    The Houston Startup Showcase is a flagship event from The Ion, formerly known as Demo Day. This event will allow for developing companies to receive feedback from subject matter experts and showcase their successes thus far. The event is a year-long series of monthly pitch competitions, and results in a final winner to close the series in November. Companies are encouraged to apply online to pitch.

    The event is on Wednesday, March 24, at 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

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    Houston company names lifetime achievement, finalists for annual energy industry awards

    they've got grit

    Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and three energy executives have been named first-time winners of lifetime achievement awards as part of ALLY Energy’s sixth annual GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces program.

    ALLY Energy says the honorees have demonstrated “a distinguished career championing change in energy and climate in the private or public sector in the areas of technology, policy, and workforce.”

    As mayor of Houston, Turner has led efforts to use renewable energy throughout the city.

    The other winners of lifetime achievement awards are:

    • Elizabeth Gerbel, founder and CEO of Houston-based EAG Services and EAG 1Source, which provide consulting services for the energy industry.
    • Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO of Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes.
    • Kevin Sagara, executive vice president and group president of San Diego-based utility company Sempra. He is chairman of Sempra-owned San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co.

    The lifetime achievement honorees will be recognized October 26 during an event at The Bell Tower in Houston. So will the winners in the GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces program. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Department of Energy official Shalanda Baker.

    “This year’s GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces finalists are a diverse cohort of game-changing entrepreneurs, gritty leaders, collaborative teams, and companies committed to combating climate change. The energy workforce is doing great things to transform our energy ecosystem, and we’re excited to spotlight exceptional talent and culture,” says Katie Mehnert, founder and CEO of Houston-based ALLY Energy, which provides a workforce development platform for the energy industry.

    Among the dozens of award finalists are energy-related organizations or their representatives. These organizations include Baker Hughes, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Marathon Oil, Rice University, Saudi Aramco, Shell, the University of Houston, Syzygy Plasmonics, and Wood Mackenzie.

    A complete list of the finalists is available on the ALLY Energy website.

    Houston named a market to watch within the life science sector

    h-town on the rise

    Houston is receiving more kudos for its robust life sciences sector.

    Bayou City lands at No. 13 in JLL’s 2022 ranking of the country’s top 15 metro areas for life sciences. JLL says Houston “is poised for further growth” in life sciences.

    Here’s how Houston fares in each of the ranking’s three categories:

    • No. 12 for supply of life sciences-oriented commercial real estate
    • No. 14 for access to life sciences talent
    • No. 15 for life sciences grant funding and venture capital

    Earlier this year, Houston scored a 13th-place ranking on a list released by JLL competitor CBRE of the country’s top 25 life sciences markets. Meanwhile, commercial real estate platform CommercialCafe recently placed Houston at No. 10 among the top U.S. metros for life sciences.

    JLL applauds Houston for strong growth in the amount of life sciences talent along with “an impressive base of research institutions and medical centers.” But it faults Houston for limited VC interest in life sciences startups and a small inventory of lab space.

    “Houston is getting a boost [in life sciences] from the growing Texas Medical Center and an influx of venture capital earmarked for life sciences research,” the Greater Houston Partnership recently noted.

    Boston appears at No. 1 in this year’s JLL ranking, followed by the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Washington, D.C./Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

    Last year’s JLL list included only 10 life sciences markets; Houston wasn’t among them.

    “The long-term potential of the sector remains materially unchanged since 2021,” Travis McCready, head of life sciences for JLL’s Americas markets, says in a news release.

    “Innovation is happening at a more rapid pace than ever before, the fruits of research into cell and gene therapy are just now being harvested, and revenue growth has taken off in the past five years as the sector becomes larger, an atypical growth track.”