Don't miss these July events — from meetups to hackathons. Photo via Getty Images

From networking meetups to expert speaker summits, July is filled with opportunities for Houston innovators.

Here's a roundup of events you won't want to miss out on so mark your calendars and register accordingly.

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

July 4 — Houston Blockchain Alliance Monthly Meetup

Check out the Houston Blockchain Alliance Monthly Meetup at The Cannon, in partnership with Lucrisma, Event Horizon Capital, and CryptoEQ. This in-person event is a great opportunity to connect with fellow blockchain enthusiasts in the Houston area. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, come and engage in lively discussions, share insights, and network with like-minded individuals.

This event is Thursday, July 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at The Cannon. Click here to register.

July 9 — Software Day at the Ion: An Intro to Central Texas Seed Stage VCs

Over the course of 2-hours, first-time entrepreneurs looking for guidance or seasoned founders needing help tackling tough challenges will have access to a group of curated mentors from the Mercury network and gain insights and guidance tailored to their needs. Speakers on the panel "An Intro to Central Texas Seed Stage VCs” include: Eric Engineer, S3 Ventures; Rajiv Bala, Clutch Ventures; Cat Dizon, Active Capital; Mike Marcantonio, LiveOak; and moderator Aziz Gilani, Mercury.

This event is Tuesday, July 9, from 3:30 to 7 pm at The Ion. Click here to register.

July 9 — Tech+Tequila Talk: The Future of Tokenization and Capital Raising

Guest speaker, Ed Nwokedi, the Founder and CEO of RedSwan CRE Marketplace will unpack the process of converting ownership rights in an asset into digital tokens on a blockchain, how tokenization allows for fractional ownership, and the impact these innovations can have on capital raising and asset management.

This event is Tuesday, July 9, from 8 to 8 pm at Esperson Building. Click here to register.

July 11 — Out in Tech Mixer

Out in Tech Houston provides an inclusive networking space for LGBTQ+ people and allies working in tech. Check out this relaxed, social-mixer event, hosted on the second Thursday of every month.

This event is Thursday, July 11, from 7 to 8:30 pm at Second Draught. Click here to register.

July 15 — 2024 Young Leaders Institute: Renewable Energy and Climate Solutions

Asia Society Texas' Young Leaders Institute (YLI) is a week-long summer program for high school students that promotes global competence, elevates leadership skills, and connects students from across diverse backgrounds and experiences. The Institute invites students to explore some of the most timely, relevant global issues for young leaders today.

This event starts Monday, July 15, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Asia Society Texas Center. Click here to register.

July 17 — Open Project Night at Impact Hub Houston

A chance to work on solutions for some of Houston’s most pressing issues, the theme of this month's meeting will be gender equality. Network and workshop pitching materials with likeminded entrepreneurs.

This event is Wednesday, July 17, from 5:30 to 8 pm at 808 Travis St. Click here to register.

July 18 — First of a Kind (FOAK) Networking Lunch

Inspired by the recent FOAK Roundtable hosted by Deanna Zhang, the Energy Underground team of professionals are diving deep into the world of innovative initiatives. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just dipping your toes into the realm of groundbreaking projects, this lunch is for you. The Energy Underground is a group of professionals in the Greater Houston area that are accelerating the Energy Transition.

This event is Thursday, July 18, from 12 to 1 pm at The Cannon West Houston. Click here to register.

July 20 — FIONA: 5th Annual HACKATHON

Get ready for a day filled with coding challenges, teamwork, and innovation. Whether you're a seasoned coder or just starting out, this event is great for anyone passionate about technology and creativity. Go in person a day of brainstorming, coding, and presenting your projects to a panel of judges. Collaborate with fellow hackers, learn new skills, and showcase your talents.

This event is Saturday, July 20, from 11 am to 2 pm at 15500 Voss Rd. Click here to register.

July 24 — Houston Methodist Clinician Speaker Series

Dr. Desai, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Medical Officer & Chief Quality Officer at Houston Methodist Cypress Hospital, will discuss the plans for Houston Methodist's ninth hospital which is scheduled to open in early 2025.

Agenda:

4:30pm - Arrival & Registration

5:00pm - Presentation by Dr. Desai

5:30pm - Audience discussion

6:00pm - Event concludes

This event is Wednesday, July 24, from 4:30 to 6 pm at The Ion. Click here to register.

July 25 — DivInc Demo Day: Sports Tech Spring 2024

The Spring 2024 Sports Tech Demo Day will be a celebration and showcase of the growth of founders using technology to enhance human performance, fan experience, fantasy sports & betting, future of media, NIL innovation (i.e. Name, Image, Likeness), and stadium & venue innovation.

This event is Thursday, July 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at The Ion. Click here to register.

July 30 — Texas Small Business Expo

Texas Small Business Expo is a trade show, educational business to business conference, exhibition & networking event for entrepreneurs, start-ups and anyone who owns a business. Network, build new business relationships, and learn from industry experts on how to enhance your business.

This event is Tuesday, July 30, from 4 to 9 pm at Wakefield Crowbar. Click here to register.


This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Rushi Patel of Homebase, Ashley Gooch of Babynetic, Grace Rodriguez of Impact Hub Houston, and Juliana Garaizar of Energy Tech Nexus. Photos courtesy

4 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 a podcast with a tech founder supporting small businesses, a mom designing next-generation bibs, and two energy tech collaborators.

Rushi Patel, co-founder and COO of Homebase

Rushi Patel, co-founder and COO of Homebase, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast in honor of National Small Business Week. Photo courtesy of Homebase

For decades, small businesses have operated in essentially the same manner — handwritten notes to request time off, manual punch cards to clock in, and verbal agreements to swap shifts. And 10 years ago, Houstonian Rushi Patel thought it was time to upgrade these local shops, eateries, and other businesses.

Homebase, which was founded in San Francisco in 2014 and has its largest office in Houston, provides a suite of software tools for employee scheduling, time tracking, communication, and task management for its users, most of which are small businesses.

After a decade of growing its technology and clientbase, Patel, co-founder and COO of the company, explains the unique challenges these small businesses face on the Houston Innovators Podcast — as well as how Homebase helps.

"It's a bit of an orchestra in terms of what entrepreneurs have to do. Your job is to compose a little, but conduct as well," Patel says on the show. "You've built the song of what you want to have happen, but you're conducting lots of different things to make it a reality as a small business owner." Read more.


Ashley Gooch, co-founder of Babynetic

Using a patented magnetic closure, Babynetic's bibs are designed to snap and stay secured while holding up to four pounds of food. Photo courtesy of Babynetic

Ashley Gooch has taken her entrepreneurial spirit from the fitness studio to the finger foods.

The Houston-based founder of high-end cycling studio RYDE and mom of three has launched a new baby gear brand, Babynetic. The company debuted its first product this month: the Babynetic bib.

Using a patented magnetic closure, the colorful platinum-grade silicone bibs are designed to snap and stay secured while holding up to four pounds of food. The snap is intended to be easy for parents to use, but more difficult for messy little hands to remove without assistance.

“As busy moms ourselves juggling careers and with five kids between us, we needed baby gear we could rely on,” Gooch said in a statement.Read more.

​Grace Rodriguez of Impact Hub Houston and Juliana Garaizar of Energy Tech Nexus

Grace Rodriguez (left) and Juliana Garaizar have partnered up — along with their teams — to collaborate on the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab.

A group of Houston's innovation and energy leaders teamed up to establish an initiative supporting equitability in the energy transition.

Impact Hub Houston, a nonprofit incubator and ecosystem builder, partnered with Energy Tech Nexus to establish the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab to accelerate startup pilots for underserved communities. The initiative announced that it's won the 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, or GAFC, Stage One award.

"We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the SBA alongside our esteemed partners at Energy Tech Nexus," Grace Rodriguez, co-founder and executive director of Impact Hub Houston, says in a news release. "This award validates our shared commitment to building a robust innovation ecosystem in Houston, especially for solutions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals at the critical intersections of industry, innovation, sustainability, and reducing inequality." Read more.

Impact Hub Houston partnered with Energy Tech Nexus to establish the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab to accelerate startup pilots for underserved communities. Photo via Getty Images

Houston innovation leaders secure SBA funding to start equitability-focused energy lab

collaboration station

A group of Houston's innovation and energy leaders teamed up to establish an initiative supporting equitability in the energy transition.

Impact Hub Houston, a nonprofit incubator and ecosystem builder, partnered with Energy Tech Nexus to establish the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab to accelerate startup pilots for underserved communities. The initiative announced that it's won the 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, or GAFC, Stage One award.

"We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the SBA alongside our esteemed partners at Energy Tech Nexus," Grace Rodriguez, co-founder and executive director of Impact Hub Houston, says in a news release. "This award validates our shared commitment to building a robust innovation ecosystem in Houston, especially for solutions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals at the critical intersections of industry, innovation, sustainability, and reducing inequality."

The GAFC award, which honors and supports small business research and development, provides $50,000 prize to its winners. The Houston collaboration aligns with the program's theme area of Sustainability and Biotechnology.

“This award offers us a great opportunity to amplify the innovations of Houston’s clean energy and decarbonization pioneers,” adds Juliana Garaizar, founding partner of the Energy Tech Nexus. “By combining Impact Hub Houston’s entrepreneurial resources with Energy Tech Nexus’ deep industry expertise, we can create a truly transformative force for positive change.”

Per the release, Impact Hub Houston and Energy Tech Nexus will use the funding to recruit new partners, strengthen existing alliances, and host impactful events and programs to help sustainable startups access pilots, contracts, and capital to grow.

"SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One winners join the SBA’s incredible network of entrepreneurial support organizations contributing to America’s innovative startup ecosystem, ensuring the next generation of science and technology-based innovations scale into thriving businesses," says U.S. SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman.

Grace Rodriguez (left) and Juliana Garaizar have partnered up — along with their teams — to collaborate on the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab. Photos courtesy

A panel of experts discussed decentralized web and Web3 technology — and its potential for impacting communities. Photo courtesy of DivInc

Web3 technology has the potential to bring communities together, say Houston innovators

discussing DWeb

Houston innovators dispelled some of the misconceptions about the decentralized web and Web3 technology at a recent Ion panel, highlighting the technology’s ability to bring communities together.

DivInc, a Texas-based accelerator focused on helping BIPOC and female founders on their entrepreneurial journeys, hosted a panel to discuss the benefits of transitioning to DWeb for entrepreneurs, personal success stories of using Web3 technology, and promoted its inaugural DWeb for Social Impact Accelerator.

The panelists included Giorgio Villani, founder of Spindletop Digital; Akeel Bernard, community development manager of Impact Hub Houston; and Ayoola John, co-founder and CEO of Astronaut. The discussion was moderated by Cherise Luter, marketing director of DivInc.

With the application for the DWeb 12-week accelerator program live, announced earlier this year, Luter says the panel was initiated to help explain the links between impact entrepreneurship and DWeb, two areas that people may think are very separate.

“This is our first time hosting a social impact accelerator here in Houston and we’re really excited about it. We added this extra piece of Web3, DWeb – how social entrepreneurs are utilizing this new technology to push forward their vision and bring about their startups,’” Luter says.

Villani, a founder of multiple companies that employ Web3 innovation, defined this technology as a tool of decentralization in which users are responsible for their own data and transactions are kept transparent by being publicly accessible. Villani contrasted this setup to the modern internet, known as Web2, in which users entrust third parties with encrypting their personal data, allowing them to mine and profit from this information.

“Web3 is a flipping of the script a little bit – it’s where we’re focusing primarily on the individual, where the individual is being empowered. Everybody manages their own keys and you don’t have to trust a third party to do anything within the system … you don’t have to cede your power to third party entities – it’s really an empowering thing to do,” Villani explains.

Villani addressed the misunderstanding that the decentralized web is too complicated for the average person to use by highlighting his partnership with multimedia Houston artist J. Omar Ochoa. Ochoa is incorporating Web3 technologies like AI and NFTs into an exhibit, allowing him to interact directly with buyers.

“The misconception is that (Web3) is difficult or too technical and it’s really not. There’s some stuff that takes a little bit of work but once you’ve done that the whole world of Web3 opens up in front of you,” Villani says.

For Villani, Web3 technologies are about the opportunity for connection.

“When you look around you, a lot of people these days are lonely and it’s funny because we have these platforms like Facebooks, Instagrams, WhatsApps, Snapchats and they’re all designed to bring us together but if you really look around you we’re not together,” Villani explains. “For me fundamentally, we have to reimagine how we build social networks, how we connect people.”

Web3 technologies are not all inherently about decentralization of the internet so much as rethinking how to rebuild the web to bring people together based on shared interests, adds John, co-founder of a social impact company that uses Web3 to help brands build online communities.

In contrast to much of the tech world, John also says that NFTs and cryptocurrencies, both of which are considered Web3 tools as they operate on blockchains, are not components of DWeb because they are tied up by monopolies. As the majority of NFTs are sold on one website and Bitcoin continues to dominate the cryptocurrency market, John explains they can not qualify as decentralized.

“I believe I can make an argument that crypto at its core is not about decentralization. What I believe crypto is and the Web3 movement is about reimagination,” John shares.

Bernard, who works directly with social impact entrepreneurs at Impact Hub Houston, says he anticipates founders looking to secure investors for their DWeb related companies will struggle, at first, because they must concisely explain the technology and business model at play. Bernard says he previously coached entrepreneurs on how to explain to investors that investing in social impact companies is not charity but a typical investment that will pay returns. Bernard expects DWeb focused companies will face similar uphill battles of getting investors to understand their concepts.

“I think with DWeb because it’s a newer network it’s going to require social impact entrepreneurs to educate investors and also users on the benefits of DWeb,” Bernard explains. “You’re going to have to be able to explain to them in a clear and consistent way especially to the investors, folks that have the means but don’t understand what DWeb is, how it can be utilized for success.”

Photo courtesy of DivInc

A panel of Houston innovators explained how impact investment isn't charity. It provides both financial and societal returns. Photo courtesy of SWAN

Houston experts shine spotlight on impact investing following angel network expansion

calling for impact

Houston innovators called for existing and potential investors to focus on impact investing — for the improvement of both society and your bottom line.

SWAN Impact Network, which announced its expansion into Houston earlier last month, is an investment organization that prioritizes funding mission driven startups and educating angels on how to analyze impact investment companies. The organization hosted a launch event and panel at the Ion last week to discuss the process and goals of impact investing and highlighted their own success stories as angel investors. The panelists included Bob Bridge, Kerri Smith, and Emily Reiser, who were moderated by Grace Rodriguez, executive director of Impact Hub Houston.

Emily Reiser, associate director of the Texas Medical Center’s innovation team, said impact investing, though focused on improving people’s lives through innovations, should still rely on typical business models and return profiles.

“It’s not charity investment, it’s investing with an eye towards how that investment is going to also return to the greater society as well as back to your pockets,” Reiser says.

As there was a mix of prospective angel investors and entrepreneurs in attendance at the event, Reiser encouraged the founders to have formal business plans in place before meeting with investors, from setting up customer feedback systems to budgeting estimates.

“In the impact space you’ll get some great enthusiasm from people who want to join your mission to save lives, or change the world, or save the planet but make sure you do all the rest of the work behind that to build out the rest of your business model, figure out how you’re going to sell, get it optioned, and on the market,” Reiser says.

Bob Bridge, the founder and executive director of SWAN, stressed the importance of examining long term consequences of impact-driven startups. Bridge illustrated the importance of doing research into how these startups could unintentionally harm communities before investing in them by discussing the well known shoe manufacturer TOMS, whose business model revolved around matching each pair of purchased shoes by donating a pair to people in developing countries, putting local manufacturers out of business.

“These companies are often just now entering the market place so they can’t measure their actual impact results yet because they’re not delivering services or products yet,” Bridge says. “We look for them to have some sort of data to give us a clue if what they’re doing is going to work … convince us there is efficacy to what you are doing and that your impact solution is competitive.”

Bridge also adds there is no concrete definition of impact investing because every society has different needs to be met through creative solutions, from developing more robust technology to encouraging the hiring of underrepresented minority groups. When making decisions over which companies to invest in, Bridge says he also prioritizes startup teams that are collaborative and transparent.

“We don’t invest in Steve Jobs' kind of personalities … We want people who are always learning from their customers, competitors, and employees,” he explains.

Kerri Smith, executive director of the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator program, says her team readies their emerging startups to tackle meetings with investors by asking them to quantify the impact of their technology on users.

“We’re seeing a lot of investors as well as boards of directors requiring companies to be more responsive to those kinds of things,” Smith says. “We try to prepare the startups in ways that will make them more ready to answer questions about the impact that they’re having societally as well as financially.”

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

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

where to be

It's time to look at what's on the agenda for May for Houston innovators — from pitch competitions to networking events.

Here's a roundup of events not to miss this month. Mark your calendars and register accordingly.

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

May 1-4 — Offshore Technology Conference

Since 1969, OTC has served as a central hub convening the best and brightest minds in the world to share ideas, and innovations and discuss, debate, and build consensus around the most pressing topics facing the offshore energy sector.

The event is Monday, May 1, to Thursday, May 4, at NRG Park. Click here to register.

May 2 — EDGE Technology Showcase 2023: Delivering the Future

Oceanit’s 2023 EDGE Technology Showcase will run alongside Houston's Offshore Technology Conference, the Oceanit EDGE Technology Showcase event will feature technologies that are delivering the future, from deep sea to deep space — from disruptive innovations to scalable turnkey solutions.

The event is Tuesday, May 2, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, at 1940 Air Terminal Museum. Click here to register.

May 3 — Women, Wine & Web Design - Houston

Create a web page, enjoy some wine, and network with like-minded Houston area women.

The event is Wednesday, May 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, at Improving (10111 Richmond Ave.). Click here to register.

May 10 — Energy 2.0 UN-Conference - NetZero: A Race We Can All Win

Energy 2.0 is the UNconference where we celebrate diverse perspectives, technologies, and people driving the energy transition forward.

The event is Wednesday, May 10, from 8 am to 5 pm, at Woodside Energy (1500 Post Oak Blvd.). Click here to register.

May 11 — Investor Studio Series Dream Big Ventures x Ion

Hear from experts Staci Latoison, founder of Dream Big Ventures; Ramona Ortega, founder and CEO of WealthBuild.ai; and Nan Almodovar, CEO & broker.

The event is Thursday, May 11, from 5 to 7 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

May 11-13 — Rice Business Plan Competition

With access to mentors, real-world experience and investment opportunities, the Rice Business Plan Competition helps student founders stay on target and realize their potential. Click here to see the 2023 teams.

The event is Thursday, May 11, to Saturday, May 13, at Rice University. Click here to register.

May 12 — Linkedin Profile Refresh Workshop

This event is not just about learning new tips and tricks; it's about putting them into practice right then and there.

During the workshop, you'll have the opportunity to work on your LinkedIn profile in real-time, making changes and optimizing it for more visibility and opportunities.

The event is Friday, May 12, from 8:30 to 10:30 am, at the Ion. Click here to register.

May 17 — Engage VC: Scale Venture Partners

Alex Niehenke, Partner at Scale Venture Partners is coming to Houston and will be featured in our fireside chat moderated by Emily Hak, Managing Director, Private Capital Markets at Insperity.

The event is Wednesday, May 17, from 8:30 to 10:30 am, at the Ion. Click here to register.

May 17-19: Ion Activation Festival

Ion District is celebrating its second annual festival of innovation in Houston, known as Activation Festival which will feature:

  • A multi-day showcase of Ion District + Ion and its innovation ecosystem partners
  • An array of futuristic activations and programs alongside a lineup of engaging keynote speakers and experiences
  • A community-wide block party Friday to celebrate the heart of Houston's new innovation district

The event is Wednesday, May 17, to Friday, May 19, at The Ion. Click here to register.

May 18 — Softeq Venture Studio Houston Investor Demo Day: H1 2023 Cohort

At the Houston Investor Demo Day, founders will give their 3-minute pitch, followed by a networking session where you may get a demo of their product and ask any questions. We need you there to evaluate them for investment and give them feedback! Afterward, happy hour and dinner.

The event is Thursday, May 18, from 3 to 7 pm, at Fleming's Steakhouse (CityCentre). Click here to register.

May 23 — Houston Veterans In Residence Showcase

Bunker Labs’ Veterans in Residence Showcase is a nationwide event, celebrating our program participants as they have completed Bunker Labs' six month Veterans in Residence Program.

The event is Tuesday, May 23, from 6 to 8 pm, at Impact Hub Houston. Click here to register.

May 25 — Greentown Houston + BCG X Pitch Day

Join Greentown Houston and BCG X for a pitch competition featuring Greentown startups that are raising their pre-seed and seed rounds to grow their networks and scale their cutting-edge climatetech solutions. The winners will walk away with a total of $10,000 in cash prizes and services support from BCG X. We will also have a Fan Favorite prize, sponsored by O'Melveny who will provide in-kind service in the form of 5 hours of virtual 1:1 office consult on general corporate matters.

The event is Thursday, May 25, from 3:30 to 7:30 pm, at Greentown Houston. Click here to register.

May 30-31 — Women in Tech Texas

Discover the technologies in today's quickly changing world and learn new forward-thinking concepts in business and the workforce that will radically change our future. Join over 1,000 leading women in technology and diversity champions driving the innovation revolution to pioneer the future of technology and business.

The event is Tuesday, May 30, to Wednesday, May 31, at the Hyatt Regency. Click here to register.

May 31 — Demystifying Startup Impact Investing: SWAN Impact Network

SWAN Impact Network is joining the startup ecosystem in Houston. Join the organization for a panel with local thought leaders on "Demystifying Startup Impact Investing” and a time for networking over light bites and drinks. SWAN is an angel network whose members put their money to work to make a difference by enabling creative entrepreneurs with solid plans for financial success to address the world’s most pressing problems.

The event is Wednesday, May 31, from 6 to 7:30 pm, at Ion Houston. Click here to register.

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Houston cardiac health startup raises $43 million series B to grow AI-backed platform

money moves

A Houston-based tech company that has a product line of software solutions for cardiac health has raised funding.

Octagos Health, the parent company of Atlas AI — a software platform for cardiac devices like pacemakers, defibrillators, ambulatory monitors and consumer wearables — has announced a $43 million series B raise that will bring their technology to many more hearts.

Morgan Stanley Investment Capital led the investment, which also included funds from Mucker Capital and other continuing strategic investors. The goal of the raise is to supply funds to accelerate Atlas AI’s growth across the United States and to expand into other areas of care, including ambulatory monitors, consumer wearables, and sleep.

"This investment will enable us to accelerate enhancements to our platform, in addition to scaling our commercial team and operations. We are currently the only company that helps cardiology practices migrate their historical data from legacy software providers and fully integrates with any EHR (exertion heart rate) system. We do this while enabling customized reporting supported by patient and practice decision-support analytics," says Eric Olsen, COO of Octagos Health, in a press release.

Octagos Health was founded by a team of healthcare pros including CEO Shanti Bansal, a cardiologist and founder of Houston Heart Rhythm, an atrial fibrillation center. The goal was to find a new way to deal with the massive amount of data that clinicians encounter each day in a way that combines software and the work of human doctors.

According to the Octagos Health website, “Our solution allows clinicians to focus on other ways of delivering meaningful healthcare and more efficiently manage their remotely monitored patients.”

It works thanks to customizable reporting features that allow patients’ healthcare teams to get help while monitoring them, but to do it precisely as they would if they were crunching numbers themselves.

"We are excited to partner with Octagos Health and support their vision of transforming cardiac care," says Melissa Daniels, managing director of Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. "Octagos Health has demonstrated exceptional growth and innovation in a critical area of healthcare. We believe their platform and vertically integrated software and services significantly improve patient care and streamline cardiac monitoring processes for healthcare providers."

Will Hsu, co-founder and partner of Mucker Capital, agrees. “Octagos Health is poised for scale – industry leading gross margins, a very sticky product that doctors and clinical staff love, and a market ready for disruption with artificial intelligence. This is the new wave for diagnostic care,” he says. And with this raise, it will be available to even more clinicians and patients across the country.

Houston biotech company expands leadership as it commercializes sustainable products

joining the team

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.

Parachin will lead the Cemvita team that’s developing technology for production of bio-manufactured oil.

“It’s a fantastic moment, as we’re poised to take our prototyping to the next level, and all under the innovative direction of our co-founder Tara Karimi,” Parachin says in a news release. “We will be bringing something truly remarkable to market and ensuring it’s cost-effective.”

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita, says the hiring of Parachin represents “the natural next step” toward commercializing the startup’s carbon-to-oil process.

“Her background prepared her to bring the best out of the scientists at the inflection point of commercialization — really bringing things to life,” says Moji Karimi, Tara’s brother.

Parachin joins Garcia on Cemvita’s executive team.

Before being promoted to vice president of commercialization, Garcia was the startup’s commercial director and business development manager. He has a background in engineering and business development.

Founded in 2017, Cemvita recently announced a breakthrough that enables production of large quantities of oil derived from carbon waste.

In 2023, United Airlines agreed to buy up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cemvita’s first full-scale plant over the course of 20 years.

Cemvita’s investors include the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, an investment arm of Chicago-based United; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum; and Japanese equipment and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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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 a logistics startup founder, a marketing expert, and a solar energy innovator.

Matthew Costello, CEO and co-founder of Voyager Portal

Houston logistics SaaS innovator is making waves with its expanded maritime shipping platform. Photo courtesy of Voyager

For several years now, Matthew Costello has been navigating the maritime shipping industry looking for problems to solve for customers with his company, Voyager Portal.

Initially, that meant designing a software platform to enhance communications and organization of the many massive and intricate global shipments happening every day. Founded in 2018 by Costello and COO Bret Smart, Voyager Portal became a integral tool for the industry that helps users manage the full lifecycle of their voyages — from planning to delivery.

"The software landscape has changed tremendously in the maritime space. Back in 2018, we were one of a small handful of technology startups in this space," Costello, who serves as CEO of Voyager, says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "Now that's changed. ... There's really a huge wave of innovation happening in maritime right now." Read more.

Arielle Rogg, principal and founder of Rogg Enterprises

Arielle Rogg writes in a guest column for InnovationMap about AI in the workforce. Photo via LinkedIn

Arielle Rogg isn't worried about artificial intelligence coming for her job. In fact, she has three reasons why, and she outlines them in a guest column for InnovationMap.

"The advent of AI pushes us humans to acquire new skills and hone our existing abilities so we can work alongside these evolving technologies in a collaborative fashion. AI augments human capabilities rather than replacing us. I believe it will help our society embrace lifelong learning, creating new industries and jobs that have never existed before," she writes in the piece. Read more.

Nathan Childress, founder of Solar Slice

Solar Slice Founder Nathan Childress says his new venture offers a fulfilling way to encourage and promote solar energy and a greener planet. Photo via LinkedIn

Nuclear engineer and entrepreneur Nathan Childress wants consumers to capture their own ray of sunlight to brighten the prospect of making clean energy a bigger part of the power grid. That's why he founded Solar Slice. The new venture offers a fulfilling way to encourage and promote solar energy and a greener planet.

Although trained in nuclear power plant design, solar power drew his interest as a cheaper and more accessible alternative, and Childress tells InnovationMap that he thinks that the transition to cleaner energy, in Texas especially, needs to step up.

Recent studies show that 80 to 90 percent of the money invested into fighting climate change “aren’t going to things that people actually consider helpful,” Childress says, adding that “they’re more just projects that sound good, that are not actually taking any action." Read more.