Originally based in Italy, Roboze plans to expand its American headquarters in Houston. Photo courtesy of Roboze

An innovative 3D printing manufacturer is moving in on the Bayou City — and is bringing with it a need for tens of new hires.

Roboze, based in southern Italy, is launching its American headquarters in Houston. The company plans to hire up to 25 people by the end of this year and more than 50 in the next year.

Originally based in Bari, Roboze's innovative 3D printing technology is set to land in Houston in September, with more than 20 industrial 3D printers, in order to form a stronger bond with local oil and gas companies who are their clients.

"Our 3D printers and supermaterials are used to produce end-use parts and small-medium series for production purposes, replacing obsolete production methods and replacing metals," says founder and CEO Alessio Lorusso in an email to InnovationMap.

The innovative technology is used to produce strong and super-resistant end-use parts that can be used in a variety of applications including oil and gas, aerospace, electric vehicles, and defense. The 3D printing technology is already being used by major industry leaders such as Sony, Bosch, Airbus, and the U.S. Army.

"The Houston along with the Texas market is especially interesting because of oil and gas," says Ilaria Guicciardini, marketing director for Roboze. "We are very involved in the oil and gas and aerospace sectors which are areas Houston excels in. The goal is to expand our brand and be closer to the customer which can only be done by expanding into the Houston area."

The 3D printing technology uses patented systems to provide precise and repeatable printing tech that optimizes production by supplying components, reducing the post-production process, and in turn warehousing and logistics costs.

Roboze has 300 printing machines around 24 countries around the world, with its Houston headquarters inauguration in September it will become the third largest printing facility in the local area. The facilities will be able to print benchmarks and parts for all of the 3D printing company's American customers, especially oil and gas clients in the Houston area.

"We want to invest in the U.S.," says Guicciardini. "We want to create our own team to invest in customer care for our American customers."Roboze's American headquarters will be located at 7934 Breen Drive Houston, Texas 77064, in Northwest Houston. The innovative 3D printing company's American operations will be led by Shirley Rivera, the U.S. Operations Manager at Roboze, a U.S. native with extensive experience in management roles in Italy.

"We are hoping to invest and reply to the demand for 3D printing for this kind of materials with the way we do at Roboze," says Guicciardini.

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Houston biopharma company launches equity crowdfunding campaign

money moves

A clinical-stage company headquartered in Houston has opened an online funding campaign.

FibroBiologics, which is developing fibroblast cell-based therapeutics for chronic diseases, launched a campaign with equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine. The platform lets anyone — regardless of their net worth or income level — to invest in securities issued by startups.

The funding, according to a press release, will be used to support ongoing operations of Fibrobiologics and advance its clinical programs in multiple sclerosis, degenerative disc disease, wound care, extension of life, and cancer.

"We're excited to partner with StartEngine on this campaign. StartEngine has over 600,000 investors as part of their community and has raised over half a billion dollars for its clients," says FibroBiologics' Founder and CEO Pete O'Heeron, in the release.

"This is an exciting time at FibroBiologics as we continue progressing our clinical pipeline and developing innovative therapies to treat chronic diseases," he continues. "This new funding will fuel our growth in the lab and bring us one step closer to commercialization."

The campaign, launched this week, already has over 100 investors, at the time of publication, and has raised nearly $2 million, according to the page. The minimum investment is set at around $500, and the company's indicated valuation is $252.57 million.

In 2021, FibroBiologics announced its intention of going public. Last year, O'Heeron told InnovationMap on the Houston Innovators Podcast of the company's growth plans as well as the specifics of the technology.

Only two types of cells — stem cells and fibroblasts — can be used in cell therapy for a regenerative treatment, which is when specialists take healthy cells from a patient and inject them into a part of the body that needs it the most. As O'Heeron explains in the podcast, fibroblasts can do it more effectively and cheaper than stem cells.

"(Fibroblasts) can essentially do everything a stem cell can do, only they can do it better," says O'Heeron. "We've done tests in the lab and we've seen them outperform stem cells by a low of 50 percent to a high of about 220 percent on different disease paths."


Texas ranks as a top state for female entrepreneurs

women in business

Texas dropped three spots in Merchant Maverick’s annual ranking of the top 10 states for women-led startups.

The Lone Star State landed at No. 5 thanks in part to its robust venture capital environment for women entrepreneurs. Last year, Texas ranked second, up from its No. 6 showing in 2021.

Merchant Maverick, a product comparison site for small businesses, says Texas “boasts the strongest venture capital scene” for women entrepreneurs outside California and the Northeast. The state ranked fourth in that category, with $6.5 billion invested in the past five years.

Other factors favoring Texas include:

  • Women solely lead 22 percent of all employees working for a business in Texas (No. 4).
  • Texas lacks a state income tax (tied for No. 1).

However, Texas didn’t fare well in terms of the unemployment rate (No. 36) and the rate of business ownership by women (No. 29). Other Texas data includes:

  • Average income for women business owners, $52,059 (No. 19).
  • Early startup survival rate, 81.9 percent (No. 18).

Appearing ahead of Texas in the 2023 ranking are No. 1 Colorado, No. 2 Washington, No. 3 California, and No. 4 Arizona.

Another recent ranking, this one from NorthOne, an online bank catering to small businesses, puts Texas at No. 7 among the 10 best states for women entrepreneurs.

NorthOne says Texas provides “a ton of opportunities” for woman entrepreneurs. For instance, it notches one of the highest numbers of women-owned businesses in the country at 1.4 million, 2.1 percent of which have at least 500 employees.

In this study, Texas is preceded by Colorado at No. 1, Nevada at No. 2, Virginia at No. 3, Maryland at No. 4, Florida at No. 5, and New Mexico at No. 6. The rankings are based on eight metrics, including the percentage of woman-owned businesses and the percentage of women-owned businesses with at least 500 employees.