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

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.

    Dallas Startup Week has pivoted to online panels and chats. Here's which ones Houston innovators shouldn't miss. Getty Images

    Here's what Dallas Startup Week events Houston entrepreneurs should attend

    where to be online

    While a 4-hour trip up Interstate 45 might, in years prior, could have caused Houston entrepreneurs pause from attending the annual Dallas Startup Week, this year there's no excuse.

    DSW is taking place online this year, and there are more than a couple virtual events Houston entrepreneurs need to attend. Here's which virtual events Houstonians should log on to.

    Monday - The State of Fundraising in Texas

    A panel of Texas-based venture experts will discuss the state of fundraising in Dallas and Texas as a whole. The panel includes:

    • Bryan Chambers, vice president of Accelerator & Investment Fund at Capital Factory
    • Cindy Revol, principal at Perot Jain
    • Laura Baldwin, managing director at Golden Seeds
    • Mike Marcantonio, principal at Live Oak Venture Partners

    The virtual panel is at 9 am on Monday, August 31. More information.

    Monday - Women Investing in Women

    Two Houston women — Leslie Goldman, co-founder and general partner of The Artemis Fund, and Kim Raath, co-founder and CEO of Topl — are taking the virtual stage to discuss women in investing.

    The virtual fireside chat is at 11 am on Monday, August 31. More information.

    Monday - Innovating in co-working in a COVID-19 world

    Trey Bowles and Delanie Majors from The DEC Network will host CEO and founder of Common Desk, Nick Clark, for a discussion on how COVID-19 affected co-working spaces and the entrepreneurs that used to work out of them.

    The virtual panel is at 11:30 am on Monday, August 31. More information.

    Tuesday - The Future of Marketing Post COVID-19

    In 2020, the world changed as we know it. Hear from these marketing leaders about how the landscape will continue to change, and how you can be equipped to market your business during and after a pandemic. Panelists include:
    • Ramon Mendez, co-founder of Brand Army
    • Phil Lockhart, partner & chief digital officer of Credera
    • Michael Pratt, founder of Digital Fight Club
    • Laci McKinney, founder of The People's Voice Creative Agency
    • Jennifer Cho, executive vice president and general manager if Weber Shandwick

    The virtual fireside chat is at 3:15 pm on Tuesday, September 1. More information.

    Wednesday - Do You Really Know Your Customer: Customer Segmentation is Key to Success

    Learn to keys to customer success from a panel of seven businesswomen, including:

    • Tracey Altman, principal, Altman Consulting
    • Sophia Johnson, founder & president at Alpha Business Images
    • Anjie Vichayanonda, founder & CEO of Leg Up Legal
    • Karen Jenkins, senior director and regional sales executive of Capital One
    • Kristy Alballero, co-founder & COO, IOOGO
    • Kristy Alballero is the co-founder and COO of IOOGO
    • Marty McDonald, CEO of Boss Women Media

    The virtual fireside chat is at 10:15 am on Wednesday, September 2. More information.

    Wednesday - How Smalls Can Win Big with Department of Defense

    Learning to win government contracts can be a challenging task, yet millions of startups in the United States are thriving because of them. As a founder, entrepreneur, or just a curious individual, check out this session to learn about the keys to success in government contracting. Panelists include:

    • David Shaw, co-founder and chief commercialization officer at Astrapi
    • Steve Guengerich, senior adviser at the University of Texas at Dallas
    • Dave Copps, CEO of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences
    • Sam Riehn, business development at Long Capture & Contract Management

    The virtual fireside chat is at 11 am on Wednesday, September 2. More information.

    Thursday - The State of Corporate Venture

    A panel of experts from some of the largest corporations in the world discuss how their companies work with and invest in startups. They will discuss ways to engage with them, what kinds of companies they look to invest in, and how investing has changed during a tumultuous 2020.

    • Duane Dankesreiter, senior vice president of Research and Innovation of Dallas Regional Chamber
    • Aman Sharma, partner of Capital One Ventures
    • Marisa Bertha, senior director at New Business Development & 7-Ventures, 7-Eleven
    • Jim Adler, founding managing director at Toyota Ventures

    The virtual fireside chat is at 1:05 pm on Thursday, September 3. More information.

    Preventing paper business card waste and hand-to-hand contact, Ncrowd has created a tool to maintain connecting in an evolving networking space. Photo courtesy of Ncrowd

    This Houston startup is revolutionizing event networking

    going digital

    A Houston-based startup is launching this month in order to up the ante for networking at events — whether they are in-person or virtual.

    NCrowd allows its users to avoid the hassle and awkwardness in-person networking and takes connecting into the virtual space. The app, available through the App Store and Google Play, is the only networking platform that uses an interactive RSVP list for users to market themselves and network before an event.

    "Professional networking has been done the same way for over 60 years," says CEO and co-founder Roland Martinez. "Young professionals do not approach networking as someone did decades ago."

    NCrowd users can create their own profile and their very own digital business card that allows for users to enter virtual networking lounges to view attendees that have RSVP'ed to events. The events are easy to find in the app, allowing users to pick and choose what event they would be interested in, exchange digital business cards, view other attendees' profiles, including their social media handles.

    "The app is user friendly and helps professionals see who is attending the event before the event happens," says Martinez. "This is pretty valuable for those aiming to make a great first impression."

    The platform is especially useful during the COVID pandemic where in-person events are being taken into virtual spaces.

    The networking platform makes it easy to stay connected online and all in one app. The digital business cards are archived on the platform providing a digital footprint and allowing users to call, chat, and email other professionals and create connections.

    "COVID-19 has changed the way people interact forever," says Martinez. "Networking will be forever changed because now we know it isn't essential to meet face-to-face. NCrowd optimizes virtual events with our platform that allows professionals to connect in an online environment."

    NCrowd allows users to connect while keeping social distancing measures that reduce the risk of infection by reducing the need to meet in large gatherings. That's not the only positive side effect, Martinez says that reducing paper waste was a huge motivator during NCrowd's development phase.

    "About 10 billion paper cards are printed each year and the vast majority end up getting lost or thrown away a few days later," says Martinez. "It makes a lot more sense to go digital and reduce paper waste to help the planet."

    Now that NCrowd has completed its year of beta testing, according to Martinez, he is excited to launch and grow their business. They will test out their platform later this month with a company that will be using telecommunication software and their app to make networking virtually easier.

    Ncrowd's co-founders are Craig Sico, Roland Martinez, Larry Olivarez, and Priscilla Olivarez. Photo courtesy of Ncrowd

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    Houston engineers develop breakthrough device to advance spinal cord treatment

    future of health

    A team of Rice University engineers has developed an implantable probe over a hundred times smaller than the width of a hair that aims to help develop better treatments for spinal cord disease and injury.

    Detailed in a recent study published in Cell Reports, the probe or sensor, known as spinalNET, is used to explore how neurons in the spinal cord process sensation and control movement, according to a statement from Rice. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Rice, the California-based Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the philanthropic Mary K. Chapman Foundation based in Oklahoma.

    The soft and flexible sensor was used to record neuronal activity in freely moving mice with high resolution for multiple days. Historically, tracking this level of activity has been difficult for researchers because the spinal cord and its neurons move so much during normal activity, according to the team.

    “We developed a tiny sensor, spinalNET, that records the electrical activity of spinal neurons as the subject performs normal activity without any restraint,” Yu Wu, a research scientist at Rice and lead author of the study said in a statement. “Being able to extract such knowledge is a first but important step to develop cures for millions of people suffering from spinal cord diseases.”

    The team says that before now the spinal cord has been considered a "black box." But the device has already helped the team uncover new findings about the body's rhythmic motor patterns, which drive walking, breathing and chewing.

    Lan Luan (from left), Yu Wu, and Chong Xie are working on the breakthrough device. Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

    "Some (spinal neurons) are strongly correlated with leg movement, but surprisingly, a lot of neurons have no obvious correlation with movement,” Wu said in the statement. “This indicates that the spinal circuit controlling rhythmic movement is more complicated than we thought.”

    The team said they hope to explore these findings further and aim to use the technology for additional medical purposes.

    “In addition to scientific insight, we believe that as the technology evolves, it has great potential as a medical device for people with spinal cord neurological disorders and injury,” Lan Luan, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice and a corresponding author on the study, added in the statement.

    Rice researchers have developed several implantable, minimally invasive devices to address health and mental health issues.

    In the spring, the university announced that the United States Department of Defense had awarded a four-year, $7.8 million grant to the Texas Heart Institute and a Rice team led by co-investigator Yaxin Wang to continue to break ground on a novel left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that could be an alternative to current devices that prevent heart transplantation.

    That same month, the university shared news that Professor Jacob Robinson had published findings on minimally invasive bioelectronics for treating psychiatric conditions. The 9-millimeter device can deliver precise and programmable stimulation to the brain to help treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Houston clean hydrogen startup to pilot tech with O&G co.

    stay gold

    Gold H2, a Houston-based producer of clean hydrogen, is teaming up with a major U.S.-based oil and gas company as the first step in launching a 12-month series of pilot projects.

    The tentative agreement with the unnamed oil and gas company kicks off the availability of the startup’s Black 2 Gold microbial technology. The technology underpins the startup’s biotech process for converting crude oil into proprietary Gold Hydrogen.

    The cleantech startup plans to sign up several oil and gas companies for the pilot program. Gold H2 says it’s been in discussions with companies in North America, Latin America, India, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

    The pilot program is aimed at demonstrating how Gold H2’s technology can transform old oil wells into hydrogen-generating assets. Gold H2, a spinout of Houston-based biotech company Cemvita, says the technology is capable of producing hydrogen that’s cheaper and cleaner than ever before.

    “This business model will reshape the traditional oil and gas industry landscape by further accelerating the clean energy transition and creating new economic opportunities in areas that were previously dismissed as unviable,” Gold H2 says in a news release.

    The start of the Black 2 Gold demonstrations follows the recent hiring of oil and gas industry veteran Prabhdeep Singh Sekhon as CEO.

    “With the proliferation of AI, growth of data centers, and a national boom in industrial manufacturing underway, affordable … carbon-free energy is more paramount than ever,” says Rayyan Islam, co-founder and general partner at venture capital firm 8090 Industries, an investor in Gold H2. “We’re investing in Gold H2, as we know they’ll play a pivotal role in unleashing a new dawn for energy abundance in partnership with the oil industry.”

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    This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.

    3 Houston innovators to know this week

    who's who

    Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to a handful of Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes an e-commerce startup founder, an industrial biologist, and a cellular scientist.

    Omair Tariq, co-founder and CEO of Cart.com

    Omair Tariq of Cart.com joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to share his confidence in Houston as the right place to scale his unicorn. Photo via Cart.com

    Houston-based Cart.com, which operates a multichannel commerce platform, has secured $105 million in debt refinancing from investment manager BlackRock.

    The debt refinancing follows a recent $25 million series C extension round, bringing Cart.com’s series C total to $85 million. The scaleup’s valuation now stands at $1.2 billion, making it one of the few $1 billion-plus “unicorns” in the Houston area.

    Cart.com was co-founded by CEO Omair Tariq in October 2020. Read more.

    Nádia Skorupa Parachin, vice president of industrial biotechnology at Cemvita

    Nádia Skorupa Parachin joined Cemvita as vice president of industrial biotechnology. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

    Houston-based biotech company Cemvita recently tapped two executives to help commercialize its sustainable fuel made from carbon waste.

    Nádia Skorupa Parachin came aboard as vice president of industrial biotechnology, and Phil Garcia was promoted to vice president of commercialization.

    Parachin most recently oversaw several projects at Boston-based biotech company Ginkjo Bioworks. She previously co-founded Brazilian biotech startup Integra Bioprocessos. Read more.

    Han Xiao, associate professor of chemistry at Rice University

    The funds were awarded to Han Xiao, a chemist at Rice University.

    A Rice University chemist has landed a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Health for his work that aims to reprogram the genetic code and explore the role certain cells play in causing diseases like cancer and neurological disorders.

    The funds were awarded to Han Xiao, the Norman Hackerman-Welch Young Investigator, associate professor of chemistry, from the NIH's Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program, which supports medically focused laboratories. Xiao will use the five-year grant to advance his work on noncanonical amino acids.

    “This innovative approach could revolutionize how we understand and control cellular functions,” Xiao said in the statement. Read more.