A Rice University course on fostering innovation at your company, investor Q&As, a summit for drone and robotics within the energy industry, and more online events not to miss this month. Getty Images

Virtual events at this point has become the new normal for Houston's innovation ecosystem. From interactive Q&As and virtual pitches to online courses and panels, here's what's in store for Houston entrepreneurs this month.

July 1 — The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator Cohort 2 Demo Day

The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator Cohort 2's Demo Day will be filled with sessions that speak to Cohort 2's themes of air quality, water purification, and cleantech efforts in Houston. These sessions will feature the work that is currently being done, and highlight the work that needs to be done.

Details: This event takes place Wednesday, July 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more.

July 8 — HXTV'S HouTech Talks ft. AvidXchange

Tyler Gill and Chris Elmore of AvidXchange join HXTV for a live Q&A that will tackle the big questions on everyone's mind, like how founders should adjust in the face of the pandemic and what fundraising will look like once the pandemic loosens its grip.

Details: This event takes place Wednesday, July 8, from 1 to 2 pm. Learn more.

July 9 — Intro to Investing & Ask Me Anything with Dumb Money and Joshua Baer

Join Capital Factory as they walk you through the ins and outs of investing in startups, stocks, and more with guest speakers from Dumb Money.


Details: This event takes place Thursday, July 9, from 2 to 3:30 pm. Learn more.

July 11 — Enventure Basecamp: Business Building Workshop

Enventure's community-driven business building basecamp series returns this June to support a local innovator construct their healthcare venture. This month, BioVentures team DiaPacer is featured.

Details: This event takes place Saturday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn more.

July 14 — HXTV's VC Ask Me Anything Virtual Event featuring Plug and Play

In this virtual event, Neda Amidi, Milad Malek, and Payal Patel will share information about Plug and Play's investment activities and other plans in Houston.

Details: This event takes place Tuesday, July 14, from 5 to 6 p.m. Learn more.

July 14-16 — Energy Drone & Robotics Virtual Summer Summit

Ahead of its fall summit, Energy Drone & Robotics is bringing live industry keynotes, asset owner panels, moderated discussion groups, 1:1 meetings, demos and use cases with hardware, software and service solution providers virtually.

Details: This event takes place Tuesday, July 14, to Thursday, July 16. Learn more.

July 15 — Maintaining an Ecosystem in a Time of Uncertainty

At this event, General Assembly is hosting local leaders to discuss how they are coping with the COVID-19 devastation and what they're doing to maintain community and interaction within their groups.

Details: This event takes place Wednesday, July 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Learn more.

July 16 — HXTV's VC Ask Me Anything Virtual Event featuring Bowery Capital

Bowery Capital is an early-stage venture capital investor focused exclusively on founders looking to modernize business through technology. The live Q&A that will tackle the big questions on everyone's mind, like how founders should adjust in the face of the pandemic and what fundraising will look like once the pandemic loosens its grip.

Details: This event takes place Thursday, July 16, from 3 to 4 pm. Learn more.

July 16-17 — MassChallenge's Virtual Showcase

Hear from all 56 startups in the Houston cohort as well as the Boston, Austin, and Rhode Island cohorts. The showcase environment is a premier opportunity for hear directly from the founding teams and get a sneak peek at the future of business and technology. At the center of the event will be the startup demo booths where each company will actively pitch their mission and business to event guests.

Details: This event takes place Thursday, July 16, to Friday, July 17, from noon to 3 p.m. Learn more.

July 17 — Open Innovation and Problem-Solving in an Organization

Open innovation enables firms to leverage data, talent and expertise to rapidly generate new ideas, solve problems and find efficiencies. This Rice University course will help business leaders identify urgent and critical problems amenable to open innovation solutions and develop creative strategies and implementation through open innovation.

Details: This event takes place Friday, July 17, from 9 to 11 a.m. Learn more.

July 29 — Transition into Tech (For Oil and Gas Professionals)

What happens when you've realized it's time for a change? For many, it can be as simple as a new look, a new restaurant, or a trip out of town. But what about when it's your career and livelihood that needs to be revamped? This can happen for any number of reasons, but the challenges and questions remain the same - what's next and how do I get there?

Details: This event takes place Wednesday, July 29, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Learn more.

Here's what interactive, virtual events to log on to this month. Getty Images

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

Where to be online

While some things in Houston are starting to open back up, society hasn't yet established a timeline for when groups of more than 10 people will be allowed to safely gather. But, the programming must go on.

With that in mind, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Be sure to register in advance, as most will send an access link ahead of the events.

May 4: Post-COVID Fund: Venture Investing in the Post-COVID World

Join Alumni Ventures Group for a webinar that explores how changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will create profound change—as well as unique opportunities for new ventures that tackle these challenges.

Details: The event is at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 4. Learn more.

May 5 — Sell Your Science: Developing a Non-Confidential Pitch for in Person and Virtual Presentations

Learn tricks in preparing a non-confidential pitch deck along with tips that are aimed to help you sell your science at in person meetings or virtually.

Details: The event is at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 5. Learn more.

May 6 — Impacting Public Health: How Can My Idea Be A Part of the Solution?


When a pandemic hits, as a start-up company you may find that your technology can be aligned to help. However, now your timeline is expedited with a global health emergency and you need to get your technology into the market. How do you start to connect with the right players to get your technology into the U.S. market to make an impact on public health safety and security?

Details: The event is at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6. Learn more.

May 6 — Virtual Event with Cindy Eckert - Expert Entrepreneur with Over $1B Exits

Cindy Eckert is an expert entrepreneur with over $1B in Exits, CEO of Sprout Pharmaceutical, and Founder of The Pink Ceiling. Attend the virtual fireside chat between Cindy Eckert and Femtech Focus founder Dr. Brittany Barreto.

Details: The event is at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6. Learn more.

May 6 — Curious About Starting a Career in Tech?

One thing we know is that web developers come from different backgrounds. From teaching to consulting, design to accounting, and they're here to tell you about making that transition. Hear from professional developers in the field about how their careers lead them what they're working on now, how they got there, and how their past experiences apply to the work they do currently. Join General Assembly if you are curious about starting a career in tech, but not sure exactly where to begin.

Details: The event is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6. Learn more.

May 7 — Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Day

Originally scheduled to be hosted at OTC, Rice Alliance Energy Venture Day will now be a virtual event to allow startups to connect with investors and energy companies. The event will showcase about 40 promising energy technology companies. These companies have initial funding and are seeking their A, B, C, or later rounds with technology validation, field trial experience, and/or initial company revenue. The event offers a great opportunity for viewers to learn more about innovative technologies and provides companies with access to potential partners and investment opportunities.

Details: The event is at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 7. Learn more.

May 8 — Lunch & Learn: Startup Funding Rounds

Seemingly every company wants to raise venture capital, but few founders are equipped to navigate the tangled mess of rounds, investment types, and investor expectations. At the end of this presentation, you will have a better handle on whether venture capital is right for your business and what it'll take to navigate from angels to exit.

Details: The event is at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 8. Learn more.

May 12 — Lunch and Learn with Asian Pacific American Entrepreneurs

According to New American Economy, Asian Pacific American entrepreneurs account for nearly a million of our nation's businesses. Whether it's apps, restaurants, social services, or consumer products, it's obvious that the entrepreneurial spirit is high in our nation. Let's hear it from our AAPI small business owners who will walk us through the triumphs and challenges they've faced while running their business and how they're making it work during a shaky period.

Details: The event is at noon on Tuesday, May 12. Learn more.

May 13-14 — 2020 Texas A&M New Ventures Competition

TNVC 2020 will be entirely virtual this year. This event is the culmination of a yearlong effort to identify and provide support to Texas-best technology ventures. There will be several private semi-finals judging rounds on May 13, with an Entrepreneurial Perspectives panel and Q&A with past winners and successful entrepreneurs. The finals will be on the 14th, followed by elevator pitches and an awards ceremony, all of which are open to the entire audience.

Details: The event is on Wednesday, May 14, and Thursday, May15. Learn more.

May 15 — How to Land a Job at a Tech Startup

Join General Assembly for this online event where a panel of tech startup talent acquisition professionals will take you through what types of opportunities exist in today's talent market, how the experience at a startup will make you more marketable in the long run, what talent acquisition professionals are actually thinking while reading resumes, advice for remote interviewing, and more.

Details: The event is at noon on Friday, May 15. Learn more.

May 29 — Mothers in Tech Breakfast

In celebration of Mother's Day, join General Assembly for a virtual breakfast featuring hard-working mothers that are also succeeding in their respective industries. A few incredible mothers will share their insights on how they reached their level of success, advice on navigating the workplace as a working mom, and how we can help the next generation of mothers in tech. Get ready for an honest, vulnerable, and insightful conversation.

    Details: The event is at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 29. Learn more.

    Here's what interactive, virtual events to log on to this month. Katleho Seisa/Getty Images

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

    where to be online

    Going into April, the city of Houston has another month at least of working from home, hopping on calls, and setting up video chats — but you don't have to go through this all alone.

    Here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Be sure to register in advance, as most will send an access link ahead of the events.

    April 1 — Social Entrepreneurship Meetup

    Impact Hub Houston is bringing this monthly meetup online. Registrants will receive an email with the link to attend the Zoom meeting.


    Details: The event is at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, April 1. Learn more.

    April 2 — Considerations for Emerging Companies in the COVID-19 Era

    A group of experts will discuss how the coronavirus and all its resulting complications will affect startups.

    Details: The event is at 2 pm on Thursday, April 2. Learn more.

    April 3 — UH's Red Labs Pitch Madness

    You are invited to watch the final round of Pitch Madness, a pitch competition for UH students. Students will give a four minute pitch and be asked questions about their startup idea by judges. You can attend digitally the finals and watch students pitch at bit.ly/pitchmadness_finals.

    Details: The event is at 1 pm on Friday, April 3. Learn more.

    April 7 — CARES Act and Managing your Startup through the COVID Crisis

    Carolyn Rodz, CEO of Alice, and Aziz Gilani, managing director of Mercury Fund, answer tech startups' questions about the CARES Act. Zoom link will be sent to attendee's prior to the event.

    Details: The event is at 4 pm on Tuesday, April 7. Learn more.

    April 8 — Startups & Sustainability - How to Make a Profit and Impact

    Join as General Assembly brings together entrepreneurs in sustainability to examine how business and tech can be a force for good. Hear from leaders who will share their insights into how industry can impact the environment. Event will be hosted via Zoom, and registrants will be sent a link to attend.

    Details: The event is at 5:45 pm on Wednesday, April 8. Learn more.

    April 9 — Out of the Lab & Into the Newsroom: Media 101

    This JLABs webinar will discuss trends in the media world, how these impact best outreach practices, and tips for designing a successful media campaign.

    Details: The event is at 9 am on Thursday, April 9. Learn more.

    April 9 — Webinar: In Today's Market - Do Patents Even Matter?

    Inventors and business professionals are asked to review the claims of their patent application before it is filed. This step is THE critical step that is supposed to ensure that the claims will protect their invention. The decision you make here determines if you will be part of the 97% of all patents that never recoup the cost of filing them. This event is virtual and a Zoom link will be emailed on the day of the event.

    Details: The event is at noon on Thursday, April 9. Learn more.

    April 13-16 — Capital Factory's Founders Academy Essentials

    Amongst all the excitement of running a startup is a lot of hard work and stressful decisions. Founders Academy Essentials is a 4-day lunch-n-learn curriculum designed specifically for driven entrepreneurs that are passionate about their business potential.

    Details: The event is from Monday, April 13, to Thursday, April 16. Learn more.

    April 14 — Black in Tech Summit

    Capital Factory welcomes you to its 2nd Annual Black In Tech Summit. We're dedicated to increasing diversity in the tech community and making our coworking space an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds and identities.

    Details: The event is at noon on Tuesday, April 14. Learn more.

    April 21 — Don’t Go Pitching in the Dark: How to Navigate Investor Interactions

    In this webinar, experts of the craft will share practical tips on becoming more effective in communicating your story to investors, increasing your chances of successful fundraising.

    Details: The event is at 9 am on Tuesday, April 21. Learn more.

    April 21 — Employable in 2030: Closing the skills gap.

    What jobs will exist in 2030? Come along and hear from a panel of industry leaders on how to stay relevant in the rapidly changing space for 2030 and beyond. Event will be hosted via Zoom, and registrants will be sent a link to attend.

    Details: The event is at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 21. Learn more.

    April 22 — Ion Startup Demo Day (Virtual Edition)

    Top tier mentors, local investors, and personalized pitch feedback for participating startups -- nothing's changed but the address. Whether you're a serial entrepreneur or just looking to get involved in the community, this event is for YOU.

    Details: The event is at 6 pm on Wednesday, April 22. Learn more.

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    For more virtual events, check out Houston Exponential's calendar.

    It's a busy month in Houston. Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

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

    Where to be

    Editor's note: SXSW has been canceled due to the coronavirus since the publishing on this events roundup. The original version of this article is below.

    March is a busy month for Houston in general — but especially when it comes to innovation. The inaugural Houston Tech Rodeo starts out the month and the Rice Business Plan Competition closes out March in a few weeks — and the interactive weekend at SXSW falls right in the middle of the month for those planning the trip to Austin.

    But for the Houston innovators in the energy industry, March got a little less busy when CERAWeek by IHS Markit was canceled due to the growing threat of the coronavirus, or COVID19.

    Should any other events below have that same fate, this article will be updated.

    March 2-6 — Houston Tech Rodeo

    A week full of events, the Tech Rodeo is made up of over 30 innovation events across Houston. These are InnovationMap's picks for what to attend during the week. For a complete list of the events (most of which are free), head to the website.

    Details: The event is from Monday, March 2, to Friday, March 6 across Houston. Learn more.

    March 5 — Space Center Houston's Thought Leader Series: Designing for Human Performance

    Learn how human factors engineering relates to spacecraft and spacesuit design while celebrating Women's History Month and the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station. Speakers include Celena Dopart, human factors engineer for Starliner at Boeing, and Katie Spira, NASA flight controller.

    Details: The event is at 7 pm on Thursday, March 5, at Space Center Houston (1601 E NASA Pkwy). Learn more.

    March 6 — Premier Talks: Women in Innovation & Technology 

    Join this panel of accomplished women as they discuss the importance of being a woman in the current workforce and leading among your peers. Be empowered to self-evaluate, inspire those around you, and raise the bar on your professional goals. Discuss the challenges women face in a male dominated technology workforce and why it is important to take the limits off of your thinking.

    Details: The event is from 9:15 to 11 am on Friday, March 6, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    March 6 — The Greater Houston Partnership’s Rise to the Top

    Celebrating International Women's Day, the Greater Houston Partnership and the Partnership's Women's Business Alliance brings the Rise to the Top event. Expect a keynote address from Gretchen Watkins, president atShell Oil Company and executive vice president at Global Unconventionals, Shell Oil Company, and candid conversations from a panel of female executives discussing the challenges and triumphs of succeeding as a woman in today's business environment.

    Details: The event is from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm on Friday, March 6, at Hilton Americas (1600 Lamar St.). Learn more.

    March 10 — Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator Meet & Greet

    If you're an energy-focused startup, don't miss this info session with the Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator, which is visiting Houston and looking for the 10 best energy companies for its next cohort.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Monday, March 10, at The Ion (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    March 10-11 — Energy 2.0: Equality, Environment, and the New Economy

    Join over 100,000 people taking part in Energy 2.0 2020; an innovative experience that addresses new frontiers in the energy industry where business, workforce, environment, innovation, and policy intersect. Spread across multiple locations and continents, corporate watch sites around the globe, and simulcast online, Energy 2.0 brings energy professionals and a diverse mix of experts across various disciplines together for learning and networking opportunities.

    Details: The event is from Monday, March 10, to Tuesday, March 11, online and at The Westin Houston, Memorial City (945 Gessner Rd.). Learn more.

    March 12 — Lunch n' Learn: In Today's Market - Do Patents Even Matter?

    Inventors and business professionals are asked to review the claims of their patent application before it is filed. This step is THE critical step that is supposed to ensure that the claims will protect their invention. The decision you make here determines if you will be part of the 97 percent of all patents that never recoup the cost of filing them.

    Details: The event is from noon to 1:30 pm on Wednesday, March 12, at The Ion (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    March 19 — Science First: How 3D Printing is Reshaping the Future of Healthcare

    Technology is evolving faster than ever – and advancements in 3D printing could revolutionize the delivery of healthcare products and solutions to change the trajectory of health for humanity.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Wednesday, March 19, at JLABS @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    March 24 — How to Form a Micro VC Fund Workshop at Mercury Fund

    Welcoming all angels, previous founders, MBA students, aspiring and current venture capitalists that are interested in learning more about the basic essentials for starting a small venture fund. Speakers are Blair Garrou of Mercury Fund and Justin LaPoten of BADR Investments.

    Details: The event is from 10 to 11 am on Tuesday, March 24, at Mercury Fund (3737 Buffalo Speedway, #Suite 1750). Learn more.

    March 25 — 2020 H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge - Startup Competition

    The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Startup Competition is Rice's newest entrepreneurship competition, awarding over $60,000 in prize money to Rice-affiliated teams. Students and alumni enter business ideas (high growth ventures or small business ideas) to compete.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Wednesday, March 25, at Liu Idea Lab For Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Rice University - Cambridge Office Building). Learn more.

    March 26 — T3CH Workshop: Grow With Google "Using Data to Drive Business Growth"

    In this T3CH workshop, you'll learn best practices on data-driven decision making; and get practical guidance on how to find and analyze trends regarding online customer engagement with your business, so you can turn those insights into well-informed, actionable decisions.

    Details: The event is from noon to 1 pm on Thursday, March 26, at Impact Hub Houston @ The Cannon Post Oak (675 Bering Drive, #200). Learn more.

    March 26-28 — Rice Business Plan Competition

    The event — dubbed the "world's richest and largest student startup competition" — begins later this month. The Rice Business Plan Competition will host 42 student teams from all over the world. The three-day contest consists of pitches, judging, and a closing banquet where the winners are revealed.

    Details: The event is from Thursday, March 26, to Saturday, March 28, at Rice University and the Hilton Americas. Learn more.

    Check out these panels, networking meetups, and more. Getty Images

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

    Where to be

    Despite the short month, Houston will play host to tons of innovation networking, panel, and meetup events throughout the month of February. And, it's a leap year, so take that as an opportunity to jump into the startup ecosystim in town.

    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.

    February 4 — How AI Can Boost Your Business with Ryan Shirzadi of Tekrevol

    How can artificial intelligence help grow your business? Specifically, Ryan Shirzadi of Tekrevol will be covering the social impacts, industries affected, why you need an AI strategy, and how AI can help small businesses grow. Networking will follow the discussion and pizza will be provided by Tekrevol.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 7:30 pm on Tuesday, February 4, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    February 5 — Meet and Greet with Pat Matthews, CEO & Founder of Active Capital

    Meet Active Capital's founder and CEO, Pat Matthews. Rakesh Agrawal, founder and CEO of Snapstream, will interview Matthews followed up by an open Q&A and conversation with the audience.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 6:45 pm on Wednesday, February 5, at WeWork (708 Main Street, 3rd Floor). Learn more.

    February 5 — Houston Social Entrepreneurship Meetup

    The meetup brings together like-minded individuals from the nonprofit, social enterprise, impact investing, technology and many other fields to understand the concept of social entrepreneurship and be inspired to find new ways to tackle local social issues. At each meetup, you'll get an intro to social entrepreneurship, hear from a social entrepreneur in Houston, and network with other changemakers from across the entrepreneur ecosystem.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday, February 5, at Impact Hub Houston @ The Cannon Downtown (1801 Main St., 13th Floor). Learn more.

    February 6 — Fail Forward presented by Frost Bank

    Join BakerRipley and Frost Bank for an evening of #FailForward fun and get real, behind-the-scenes stories straight from entrepreneurs on the challenges they faced trying to access and raise funding for their small business or startups.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 8 pm on Thursday, February 6, at BakerRipley Center (4450 Harrisburg Blvd.). Learn more.

    February 12 — The Impact of AI on Automation and the Future of the Workforce

    Technology and innovation are rapidly changing how we do and think about work. This panel event seeks to bring together respected leaders in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds to have meaningful conversations on AI, automation and the future of workforce.

    Details: The event is from 6:30 to 9 pm on Wednesday, February 12, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    February 13 — Female Founders Breakfast with Baker Botts and The Artemis Fund

    Baker Botts L.L.P. and The Artemis Fund have come together to bring you a breakfast panel discussion on how a good corporate governance system and a little corporate housekeeping can avoid larger messes down the road.

    Details: The event is from 8:30 to 10:30 am on Thursday, February 13, at Baker Botts (910 Louisiana St., 32nd Floor). Learn more.

    February 18 — How She Got There: Women Leaders in Tech

    Join General Assembly for an evening good conversation with a panel of females in tech. These inspirational women will share their stories on how they got to where they are today and share their insights into being a woman in business and tech.

    Details: The event is from 6:30 to 9 pm on Tuesday, February 18, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    February 19 — Houston Angel Summit

    Join the Houston Angel Network for its bi-annual summit. Attendees will learn the basics of angel investing as well as hear from experts on the topics of term sheets and tax implication of early stage investing. This event is open to accredited investors, HAN members and individuals from our partnership organizations. The price of attendance — $100 — will be applied to annual membership if attendees decide to join the Houston Angel Network.

    Details: The event is from 9 am to 3 pm on Wednesday, February 19, at Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Cambridge Building at Rice University). Learn more.

    February 20 — The Five W's of Holding Your First, First-in-Human Trial

    Who, what, when, where and why to hold your first, first-in-human clinical trial? JLABS has tapped into experts in the field from Johnson & Johnson, CROs and agencies to help you answer these questions and more.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Thursday, February 20, at JLABS @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    February 20 — Bunker Brews Houston: How to be Mentored in Your Business

    Lots of entrepreneurs fail to seek out mentors, and struggle in silence and isolation because of it. Some will find great mentors, but fail to recognize the unspoken rules of the road to acquire, activate, and maintain a mentor-mentee relationship. Hear from some great local mentors of business owners.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 8 pm on Thursday, February 20, at MassChallenge (1313 Main St., Suite 210). Learn more.

    February 20 — Rising Stars in Houston Health Tech

    Join General Assembly for an epic night with some of the Houston's most inspiring healthtech founders and leaders. In a candid discussion, they'll share their stories and insights.

    Details: The event is from 6:30 to 9 pm on Thursday, February 20, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    February 24 — Made in Houston: Celebrating Black History Month

    In honor of Black History Month, General Assembly has organized an evening with some of Houston's legendary innovators and creators. Each speaker will share their tips and tricks on how to create a unique product, service or brand that's pushing the boundaries while sharing their journey.

    Details: The event is from 6:30 to 9 pm on Monday, February 24, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    February 25 — The Cannon Lunch & Learn: Show me the Money

    As an early stage company, raising capital is or will be a significant part of your efforts and can present major challenges. Preparation and an understanding of what drives value is crucial to attracting investors. Join Cannon partner, Baker Tilly, as they provide an overview of the capital raise process and highlight key factors to consider when preparing to raise capital.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Tuesday, February 25, at The Cannon (1334 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

    Here's your one-stop shop for innovation events in Houston in January. Getty Images

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

    Where to be

    Start off the new year — and new decade — strong with tech and innovation events across Houston. From networking and panels to workshops and meetups, here's what Houston startup and tech events to attend in January.

    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.

    January 9 — TransMedia Marketing® A New Paradigm

    Phil and Karen Snyder are professors of Digital Media at University of Houston's College of Technology, and are the creators/developers of the University's unique Transmedia Marketing® Online Certificate Program. Reinventing the concepts of multi-platform storytelling, the Snyders apply them to marketing strategies. They share their experiences in their presentation: Transmedia Marketing® A New Paradigm.

    Details: The event is from 11 am to 12:30 pm on Thursday, January 9, at The Cannon (1334 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

    January 9 — SBIR 101: A Practical Approach to Engaging with the US Air Force

    At this event you will hear from Lt. Col. Eric Frahm, AFWERX chief product officer, and Ryan Erickson, AFWERX head of operations, who will present the details of engagement with the Air Force via the AFWERX SBIR process. Additionally, you will hear from Gustavo Sanchez (Pandata Tech) and Scott Schneider (HTX Labs), two Station Houston member companies that are on current AFWERX SBIR Phase II contracts, who will share their journeys through the SBIR process from customer discovery to securing customer MOUs to navigating bureaucratic hurdles such as non-US citizen employees.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, January 9, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    January 9 — How to be a side hustler

    So, how do you make your aspirations of becoming your own boss come to life? Enter the side hustle. Come join General Assembly's lineup of speakers as they delivers a highly tactical tips and tricks on the how (and why) behind starting a successful side hustle while keeping your day job.

    Details: The event is from 6:30 to 9 pm on Thursday, January 9, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    January 14 — Employable in 2020: Closing the skills gap

    What jobs will exist in 2030? Come along and hear from a panel of industry leaders on how to stay relevant in the rapidly changing space for 2030 and beyond.

    Details: The event is from 6:30 to 9 pm on Tuesday, January 14, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    January 16 — Practice Makes: Inclusion

    Inclusion means a better world for all. It's about correcting mismatched human interactions and opening up experiences/products for everyone to participate.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 8 pm on Thursday, January 16, at Accenture Houston (1301 Fannin Street). Learn more.

    January 22 — Bots and Brews

    "Bots & Brews," is the winter meetup of the Energy Drone & Robotics Coalition. It offers insights from energy unmanned experts, and rapid-fire use cases from cutting-edge drone, robotics solutions and startups for the energy, and industrial autonomous challenges of today and tomorrow.

    Details: The event is Wednesday, January 22, from 4 to 7pm at Saint Arnold Brewery (2000 Lyons Ave). Learn More

    January 23 — JLABS x IGNITE: Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

    Join JLABS and IGNITE for an evening of rotating round table discussions as we tackle these questions and aim to forge a path forward for two of the most prohibitive factors at play: a lack of a robust network of female mentors and lack of investment dollars in female-led startups.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, January 23, at JLABS @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    January 24 – 11th Annual WISE Luncheon

    By celebrating the achievements of women leaders in science, we want to inspire others to pursue research and applications that will spur economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for our region and our state as a whole. WISE is more than just a luncheon. It is a place where everyone can come together to share their ideas, tell their stories and fall in love with math and science all over again.

    Details: The event is from 11 am to 1 pm on Friday, January 24, at River Oaks Country Club (1600 River Oaks Blvd.). Learn more.

    January 28 — E-Commerce Meetup & Panel Discussion with Kim Roxie

    E-commerce is one of the industry's producing tech billionaires, and this panel will discuss the path to get there.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7 pm on Tuesday, January 28, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    January 29 — MassChallenge Texas in Houston 2020 Launch Event

    MassChallenge Texas is launching both its Austin and Houston programs simultaneously. It's a good networking opportunity and a chance to learn more about this year's cohort.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday, January 29, at the Four Seasons Hotel (1300 Lamar St.). Learn more.

    January 30 — Digital Storytelling for Your Startup: Deconstructing Digital and Social Media

    Savvy digital storytelling is a powerful tool in your entrepreneurial toolbox. JLABS has tapped into The Black Sheep Agency for this workshop, where we'll break down digital strategy, tools, tips and tricks that will set you up for success both online and offline.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, January 30, at JLABS @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    January 30 — Intro to the Houston Startup Community

    This free event is an orientation to help newcomers to the startup scene get acquainted with the exciting world of tech in Houston. A panel of professionals will give you the inside scoop on Houston's key events and meetups, people, companies, VCs, blogs, programs, and more.

    Details: The event is from 6:30 to 9 pm on Thursday, January 30, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    January 31 — Innovate Integrate Inspire

    The Society of Petroleum Engineers' Gulf Coast Section is hosting its WIN Congress 2020. Expect to come away with invaluable gems and insights as an eclectic mix of oil and gas professionals talk about their challenges, opportunities, and give their best advice on how to reach the success you want.

    Details: The event is from 7 am to 5 pm on Friday, January 31, at Hilton Garden Inn NW American Plaza (14919 Northwest Fwy). Learn more.

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    Chevron's Houston-based venture group taps two companies for its startup-focused program

    energy tech

    Chevron's corporate venture arm that invests into energy tech innovation and supports startups within the industry has tapped two companies for its Chevron Technology Ventures Catalyst Program.

    Entech Solutions and mIQroTech have both recently been named new partners in the program, which allows the startups support and guidance during growth and acceleration from Chevron and its network.

    Norway-based Entech Solutions AS has developed itsSuperstage Pinpoint Stimulation to address high intensity stimulation in increasingly long horizontal wells, according to a press release. The product aims to improve production performance and lower costs.

    "Collaboration with Chevron will allow us to demonstrate Superstage efficiencies in a variety of basins worldwide," says Anthony Kent, co-inventor of Superstage and Entech's General Manager for North America, in the release.

    "Working with a leading global operator gives us access to expertise needed to standardize this robust and versatile hardware technology," he continues.

    Meanwhile, Tampa, Florida-based mIQroTech is addressing pipeline leak concerns within the energy industry by using artificial intelligence and internet of things. The startup joined the Catalyst Program in July.

    "Our goal is to deliver a transformative change to the global oil and gas industry," says founder and chief executive officer, Meade Lewis, in a press release.

    "Better data, analytics, and intelligence will add efficiencies to pipeline operations and empower more informed and faster decision-making. We appreciate that Chevron recognizes our potential to deliver solutions to enable safer delivery of oil and gas," Lewis continues.

    The company, which has received investments from Plug and Play, Ocean Capital, Republic, and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels, and more, will focus on growing its team and customer base.

    Chevron also recently contributed to Houston-based ThoughtTrace's $10 million series B round in May and signed on as a partner for the Houston expansion of cleantech accelerator Greentown Labs.

    Houston entrepreneur creates a new digital platform to help connect freelancers to clients

    calling all creatives

    By 2027, freelancers will account for the majority of the American workforce — and Houston is already well represented by the freelance space.

    According to a recent study, Houston is home to 117,260 skilled freelancers who generated more than $4.1 billion in revenue in 2018. This burgeoning environment for freelancers presents many opportunities for innovations in the tech world, as one Houston entrepreneur has already discovered.

    Yared Akalou, founder-and-CEO of Alcove Group and self-described designer-focused entrepreneur, released his third innovation catering to freelancers of the Houston area. His digital solutions platform, IAmOther50, assists freelancers with securing new clients by sharing their personal stories rather than just submitting their professional experience, it uses videos and articles to promote the work of a freelancer and connect them to their next client.

    "I am really on a mission," Akalou tells InnovationMap. "I have been talking about the future of work for over a decade now. The paradigm will change to viewing work as a service, so it is important to tell a freelancer's story through a more engaging and novel way."

    At first glance, the digital platform seems like a departure for Akalou who in 2017 founded Alcove, a portable laptop case that serves as a private workspace for freelancers to use amid coffee shops or coworking spaces. However, IAmOther50 serves as a distinctly separate yet integral part of his innovation landscape.

    "These projects have been a combination of my focus and research," says Akalou. "My new platform works hand in hand with Alcove, supporting the mission to help people stay productive from anywhere."

    The digital platform serves to capture the brand of the freelancer along with their personality and experience. It lives at the intersection of popular social media platforms and professional platforms such as LinkedIn, except just for freelancers in the Houston area. Currently, any freelancing professional in the Houston area can join for free by filling out a survey that customizes their goals for their profile.

    "IAmOther50 provides information in a contextual way," says Akalou. "We have this guiding principle of delivering value even before the prospective client contacts the freelancer for an interview or potential position. It's about going beyond just a resume of what you've done and showcasing how you add value right now."

    Akalou, who is also one of the mentors in The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator, is focused on elevating the professional profiles of many freelancers, including those outside the Houston area. He is aiming to grow the platform to a self-service platform that can connect freelancers to clients all over the biggest metropolitan areas soon.


    AI-optimized teams are a game changer for energy companies, this Houston expert says

    guest column

    The speed and scale of change in the business world had been on a fast track, with technology enabling bigger and bolder advances within shorter time frames.

    Enter 2020: a global pandemic struck, and here in the Gulf Coast region, we were also hit by an energy industry downturn. The effects of both these crises have touched nearly every sector and revealed the factors that are essential to effectively managing through economic recovery. In a time of extreme challenges, two areas — human talent and technology — are now more important and intertwined than ever.

    Earlier this year, Deloitte released its 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report, "The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward," which addresses the intricacies of this issue. The survey was conducted before the pandemic took hold only to see its findings on the future of work play out in real time as companies respond to COVID-19 and the economic toll it's taking.

    The rise of the superteam

    Despite some dramatic predictions about machines replacing humans, many organizations, including oil and gas companies, are looking to integrate artificial intelligence into teams of people. These "superteams" of human talent and AI may enable organizations to reinvent themselves to create new value and meaning. For organizations that still view AI mainly as an automation tool to reduce costs, connecting AI initiatives with efforts to craft more effective teams is a first step toward enabling humans and machines to work together in new, more productive ways.

    In the report, 60 percent of respondents said their organizations are currently using AI to assist, rather than to replace, workers. An additional 58 percent explained that they are using it to improve consistency and quality because superteams can allow organizations to both transform the nature of their output and create worker capacity. Furthermore, 66 percent of respondents believed that the number of jobs would either stay the same or increase as a result of AI's use in the next three years.

    Drilling down on the energy sector

    As the oil and gas industry reels from the dual effects of a global health crisis and oil price shocks, most organizations are focused on recovery, but forward-looking companies are devising strategies for better integrating technology into their operations.

    The value of superteams is clear: they offer the promise of enabling organizations to reinvent themselves while giving employees the potential to further their careers by learning sought-after skills. It's no surprise, then, that many oil and gas companies are rethinking how the future of work may play out within their operations. For example, as outlined in Deloitte's Tech Trends 2020 report, a growing cohort of AI-powered solutions is increasing the need for technology that understands and responds to humans. This might take shape via a field worker being equipped with digital tools to provide real-time support for maintenance and upgrades. Augmented reality applications could offer the employee context-based instructions and the ability to connect with remote workers for live support.

    This is just one example of how superteams can transform the sector; there are many other ways that humans and technology can work together to drive organizational value.

    Working together to shape the new normal

    As the future of work rapidly evolves amidst the world's "new normal," business leaders are wrestling with an increasing range of challenges. These challenges are especially pronounced at the intersection between humans and technology, where new questions have risen about the impact of emerging technologies on workers and society. Organizations that tackle these issues head-on – changing their perspectives to consider not only "could we" but also "how should we" – will be well-positioned to make the bold choices that drive organizational value.


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    Amy Chronis is the Houston managing partner at Deloitte.