Here's your latest roundup of innovation news you may have missed. Photo via Getty Images

It's been a busy month so far with plenty of Houston startup news, new hires, and more — and there might be some headlines you may have missed.

In this roundup of short stories within Houston startups and tech, a startup snags investment from two sharks, two medical professionals take on new roles, and more.

Milkify lures in two sharks on TV debut

Berkley Luck and Pedro Silva, the wife and husband team behind Milkify, appeared on Shark Tank. Photo courtesy of Milkify

Milkify, a Houston startup that's created a breastmilk freeze-drying business, appeared on ABC's Shark Tank on April 7 and got two investors to bite. Gwyneth Paltrow and Lori Greiner agreed to a $400,000 convertible note for 20 percent equity in the company.

“It’s a dream team — Lori and Gwyneth — to help us grow this company and help us take it and make it more available to moms," says Berkley Luck, COO and co-founder, on the show.

Luck founded the company with her husband, Pedro Silva, and told InnovationMap the company has freeze-dried and powdered more than half a million ounces of breast milk since founding in 2019.

On the show, the duo explained that some of the customers' employers paid for the process.

“It gives such agency to working moms, it empowers them,” Paltrow says on the show. “I work at a company with so many women and nursing mothers. Breastfeeding really factors in for women. This makes working less of a guilty experience for mothers.”

Coya Therapeutics onboards new C-suite exec

Arun Swaminathan was named chief business officer at Coya Therapeutics. Photo courtesy of Coya

Coya Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company with multiple therapeutic platforms, announced Arun Swaminathan will be taking on the role of chief business officer. He will be responsible for new business development partnerships, including licensing opportunities, across the company. Swaminathan has over 20 years of hands-on health care business executive experience.

“Our team is excited to welcome Arun to Coya at such an exciting time in our evolution. We look forward to working with him as we leverage his extensive experience and successful track record in corporate strategy and business development,” says Howard H. Berman, CEO of Coya, in a news release. “This is an opportune time for Arun to join our team on the heels of recent positive data and as we accelerate the clinical development of our biologic and cell therapy Treg immunomodulatory assets. We are confident that Arun’s contributions will prove to be impactful for Coya and our shareholders.”

Prior to Coya, Swaminathan served in the same role for Actinium Pharmaceuticals.

“Coya has an innovative pipeline, and its multiple therapeutic platforms provide a strong base for potential value-creating partnerships,” says Swaminathan in the release. “I look forward to working with Howard and the Coya team to realize the promise of Coya’s portfolio and deliver new therapies for patients.”

INOVUES named to accelerator

Window-retrofitting climatetech company has joined a new startup accelerator. Photo via inovues.com

A Houston company that is retrofitting commercial buildings for energy efficiency has joined a brand new Maryland-based accelerator. INOVUES has been named to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp.'s inaugural cohort for its Hospitality Tech Accelerator.

The six selected companies are focusing on some of the hospitality industry’s top sustainability challenges, according to a news release, including energy, water, and waste reduction and management. The cohort will be supported by experts in the sustainability, travel, foodservice, and hospitality industries from Growth Advisors International Network and Bethesda Green’s Innovation Lab mentor network, per the release.

“We were particularly impressed by the caliber of applicants for this inaugural program,” says Bill Tompkins, president and CEO of MCEDC, in a statement. “The selected companies have developed innovative solutions that can be implemented today to reduce food and material waste, detect water loss, and provide fast and convenient energy savings through high-performance insulation, AI and machine learning, and smart glass retrofits."

In a recent interview with InnovationMap, founder Anas Al Kassas says commercial building energy efficiency is a major contributor to energy consumption.

“If you look at buildings today, they are the largest energy-consuming sector — more than industrial and more than transportation,” Kassas said in December. “They account for up to 40 percent of energy consumption and carbon emissions.”

3 female founders named to prestigious list

Sarah "Sassie" Duggleby, Ghazal Qureshi, and Robin Scott were named to Inc. magazine's list of female founders. Photos courtesy

Earlier this month, Inc. magazine revealed its list of the top 200 female founders, and three Houston-area women made the cut.

Sarah "Sassie" Duggleby, co-founder and CEO of Venus Aerospace, and Robin Scott, co-founder of CEO of Segment HR, were recognized as trailblazers in male-dominated industries. Ghazal Qureshi, CEO and founder of UpBrainery, was honored on the list of innovators using tech to impact the world.

"These 200 female founders have identified solutions to difficult problems and created valuable, industry-changing companies out of them. We congratulate this year's list on their achievements and look forward to their continued success," says Scott Omelianuk, Inc. editor in chief, in a news release.

The full list is available online and in the April edition of the magazine.

TMC Innovation names cancer program's entrepreneur in residence

TMC has welcomed Dr. Tinashe Chandauka to its innovation team. Photo via TMC.edu

The Texas Medical Center's Innovation Factory has again expanded its team with the addition of another entrepreneur in residence — this time to support the Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics, or ACT.

Dr. Tinashe Chandauka, according to TMC, is a "life science company builder. He has both a MD and PhD, and has a background in venture capital and business development. Prior to this role, he was director of early pipeline development at Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, an Irvine-based ophthalmology company.

Chandauka joins Zaffer Syed, entrepreneur in residence for medtech, who was announced earlier this year.

Sarah "Sassie" Duggleby of Venus Aerospace joins the Houston Innovators Podcast this week. Photo courtesy of Venus

Female Houston founder on her dream of making high-speed, international travel a reality

HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 181

Sarah "Sassie" Duggleby is on a mission to get people home in time for dinner — whether they are traveling around the world or working for her business. That's why she founded Venus Aerospace, which is developing hypersonic space planes. It's also why she relocated the company from the West Coast to Houston.

"We knew we had to find a location where we could test our engine and still be home for dinner," Duggleby says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "Our company vision is 'home for dinner.' We want to fly you across the globe and have you home for dinner. And, if you work for us, we want you home for dinner."

Venus's technology enables this revolutionary travel through its supersonic combustion engine — more akin to a rocket's engine than an airplane's — that allows for travel at a higher elevation, she explains on the show. Jet engines rely on air outside of the aircraft to combust, and rocket engines work with a system that supplies air internally. And, as Duggleby explains, the engine can go further with the same amount of fuel, so it's a more sustainable way of traveling too.

"Our ultimate goal is to go with completely carbon-free propellants. There are fuel choices we could make that would be carbon free, but the biggest challenge is continuous operability," she says, explaining that there would then need to be green fuels at whatever airport Venus aircrafts land in to refuel. "You've got to stand up an entirely green ecosystem across the globe. But I think the world would handle that."

The company's developed engine right now works with jet fuel and hydrogen peroxide, a source that can be made without any carbon emissions, she says.

Duggleby founded Venus Aerospace with her husband and CTO Andrew in 2020. The two worked for Virgin Orbit before leaving to start Venus, relocating to Houston in 2021 and setting up shop in a hangar at Ellington Field in the Houston Spaceport. Last year, Venus raised a $20 million series A round.

Once a scrappy team of three people, Venus Aerospace now has almost 100 employees. When thinking about the challenges she's facing, Duggleby says she knows how to navigate the engineering journey the technology faces and she knows they face regulatory obstacles ahead too. Something Duggleby, recently named to Inc. magazine's Female Founders list, is focused on these days — with the pace of growth at the company — is staying true to the company culture she founded since day one.

"There's a constant tension to grow, grow, grow, and build out bigger systems, versus take what you have now and get it really great," she says on the show, recognizing that aerospace work environments tend to have more toxic and competitive cultures. "As important as the technology that we're building is, it's also just as important who we are and how we treat our people."

Duggleby shares more of her story on the podcast, as well as her observations on the space tech industry, Houston's role in the ecosystem, and more. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


Here's what Houston company scored the No. 2 spot among the fastest-growing private companies in the Southwest. Photo via Getty Images

Houston companies snag spots on regional Inc. 5000 list

by the numbers

Revenue growth is on fire at Houston-based Simple Solar.

Revenue at Simple Solar, a provider of residential solar installations, soared 8,007 percent from 2019 to 2021, putting it at No. 2 among the fastest-growing private companies in the Southwest. It leads the list of 25 Houston-area companies appearing in the new Inc. 5000 Regional rankings for the Southwest.

Between 2019 and 2021, the 165 private companies on the Southwest list posted an average growth rate of 557 percent. In 2021 alone, they added 16,116 jobs and nearly $5.5 billion to the Southwest’s economy.

“This year’s Inc. 5000 Regional winners represent one of the most exceptional and exciting lists of America’s off-the-charts growth companies,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. magazine. “They’re disruptors and job creators, and all delivered an outsized impact on the economy. Remember their names and follow their lead. These are the companies you’ll be hearing about for years to come.”

Here are the 25 Houston-area companies that made the Inc. 5000 Regional list for the Southwest, including their regional rankings.

  • No. 2 Simple Solar, Houston-based provider of residential solar installations, 8,007 percent growth
  • No. 6 Medical Edge Recruitment, The Woodlands-based health care recruiting and staffing firm, 2,980 percent growth
  • No. 8 Specialty1 Partners, Houston-based provider of surgical support services for dental practices, 2,921 percent growth
  • No. 15 Magnolia-based online women’s clothing retailer Jess Lea, 1,471 percent growth
  • No. 36 Houston-based accounting and advisory firm EFS Group, 458 percent growth
  • No. 39 Blackbuck Resources, Houston-based designer, builder, and operator of water infrastructure for the oil and gas industry, 432 percent growth
  • No. 48 Leveled Concrete, Houston-based provider of concrete and foundation repair services, 298 percent growth
  • No. 52 iCRYO Brands, Houston-based franchisor of cryotherapy centers, 269 percent growth
  • No. 53 TAXA Outdoors, Houston-based retailer of camping trailers, 268 percent growth
  • No. 58 Proxima Clinical Research, Houston-based contract research organization, 243 percent growth
  • No. 64 Ledge, Katy-based seller of in-pool and backyard furniture and accessories, 234 percent growth
  • No. 66 TekRevol, Houston-based software developer, 226 percent growth
  • No. 79 Finish Line Tax Solutions, Houston-based tax relief firm, 194 percent growth
  • No. 82 Incfile, Houston-based provider of services for small businesses, 192 percent growth
  • No. 99 Flocknote, Magnolia-based provider of technology that helps churches boost attendance and foster connections, 152 percent growth
  • No. 125 Onit, Houston-based developer of workflow and AI software, 104 percent
  • No. 137 InterLinc Mortgage, Houston-based mortgage lender, 85 percent growth
  • No. 140 Classy Art, Houston-based supplier of wall décor, 83 percent growth
  • No. 145 Zulie Venture (Cellpay), Sugar Land-based provider of prepaid wireless services, 78 percent growth
  • No. 149 Total Pump Solutions, Houston-based distributor of fire suppression equipment, 75 percent growth
  • No. 155 Construction Concepts, Houston-based commercial construction firm, 67 percent growth
  • No. 157 Energy Ogre, Houston-based service that helps consumers find electricity plans, 63 percent growth
  • No. 164 Garrison Construction Group, Houston-based commercial construction firm, 60 percent growth
  • No. 165 Technocrats Domain, Houston-based provider of IT services, 60 percent growth
  • No. 166, G&A Partners, Houston-based professional employer organization, 60 percent growth
Inc. magazine's 2022 Best in Business list recognizes influential and impactful companies. Photo via Getty Images

3 Houston companies rank among best in biz list

better than all the rest

In the season’s spirit of giving, Inc. magazine has named three Houston companies to its 2022 Best in Business list, recognizing companies that put purpose before profit.

The Houston honorees are:

  • Enchanted Rock, a producer of energy microgrids powered by natural gas and renewable natural gas. In a news release, Thomas McAndrew, the company’s founder and CEO, says the Inc. recognition reflects “the dedication and hard work of our employees who work tirelessly to help our customers keep their power on.”
  • Proxima Clinical Research, a contract research organization for the biotech and medtech sectors. Earlier this year, Proxima appeared on the Inc. 5000 list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies.
  • Smith, a distributor of electronic components and semiconductors. The company has undertaken several humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine, including the donation of at least $750,000 worth of electronics to Ukrainian citizens.

Inc. says its Best in Business list recognizes “the most dynamic companies of all sizes and industries that have had an outstanding influence on their communities, their industries, the environment, or society as a whole.”

Rather than relying on criteria tied to sales or funding, Inc.’s editors reviewed companies’ achievements over the past year and focused on how they made a positive difference in the world. They then selected honorees in 55 overall categories, and in age-based, revenue-based, size-based, and impact-based categories.

In all, Inc. named 14 Texas companies to this year’s Best in Business list. Aside from the three Houston companies, they are:

  • Austin-based AlertMedia, which produces emergency communication software
  • Austin-based Halcyon, a provider of security technology
  • Austin-based Matterlab, a communications agency
  • Austin-based Pushnami, which offers an advertising and engagement platform
  • Austin-based ZenBusiness, a provider of business products and services
  • Dallas-based Upkeep Aesthetics, a franchiser of medical spas
  • Fort Worth-based TimelyMD, which delivers virtual health and well-being services for students
  • Frisco-based Lexipol, a provider of policy, training, and wellness services for the public safety sector
  • Irving-based Tricolor Holdings, which sells used cars and extends auto loans to underserved Hispanic consumers
  • Plano-based Improving, a provider of tech consulting and training
  • San Antonio-based AmeriVet Veterinary Partners, an operator of veterinary practices
GoExpedi, an e-commerce software company, represents Houston's tech and startup ecosystem on this year's Inc. 5000. Image courtesy of GoExpedi

Houston e-commerce startup cracks Inc. 5000 — here's who makes the 2022 list

by the numbers

In the latest edition of its roundup of fastest growing privately held companies, Inc. magazine has recognized dozens of Houston organizations.

Houston startup GoExpedi, an industrial supply chain and analytics company, is the highest ranking local tech company on the list. GoExpedi ranked No. 675 in the 2022 edition of Inc. 5000, with a 924 percent growth rate between 2018 and 2021.

"The team at GoExpedi is honored to rank number 675 among America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies on the Inc. 5000 Annual List," says Tim Neal, CEO of GoExpedi, in a news release. "GoExpedi has grown exponentially since launching in 2017 due to our forward-thinking and innovative supply chain solutions."

Real estate firm Disrupt Equity is the overall top Houston performer, and the sole Houston company to break the top 200 in the report. The company charted an impressive 2,975 percent growth rate between 2018 and 2021. The firm pushes complete multifamily real estate investment offerings that are earmarked as able to achieve and even exceed projections, clearly a safe haven in one of the biggest — and hottest — real estate markets in the entire nation.

Disrupt claims an impressive ROI for clients: The company boasts a "proven track record with over a dozen full cycle exits averaging over 36 percent annualized return to investors," director of investor relations, Tarek Moussa, tells CultureMap.

"We could not be more ecstatic to hear that Disrupt Equity has been announced as the fastest growing company in Houston by Inc 5000," says Feras Moussa, Disrupt's managing partner, in a statement. "We believe success in real estate, especially in today's economic environment, comes from being a great operator and having a strong team behind you. We believe this has been a large contributor to our success and helps us to continue to provide incredible passive real estate investment opportunities to our investors."

Speaking of real estate, another Houston firm performed well. Construction Concepts, which specializes in commercial design and build in Houston and Austin, ranked No. 497 overall, with 1,251 percent growth over three years. 5111 VENTURES, listed as a full-service real estate brokerage firm specializing in technology-driven residential and commercial sales and consulting services, was No. 558 with 1125 percent growth over three years.

In all, 468 Texas-based companies made this year’s Inc. 5000. Dallas-Fort Worth firms performed especially well:

  • No. 13 StaffDNA, Plano, 19,699 percent growth rate
  • No. 17 Blue Hammer Roofing, Dallas, 15,911 percent growth rate
  • No. 116 TimelyMD, Fort Worth, 3,852 percent growth rate
  • No. 142 Curis Functional Health, Farmers Branch, 3,380 percent growth rate
  • No. 148 SmartLight Analytics, Plano, 3,317 percent growth rate
  • No. 168 Digital Thrive, Dallas, 3,056 percent growth rate
  • No. 172 Forester Haynie, Dallas, 2,984 percent growth rate

Here are the other Texas companies appearing in the state’s top 20 and in the top 500 overall.

  • No. 60 AdOutreach, Austin, 6,052 percent growth rate
  • No. 62 Webforce, Austin, 6,009 percent growth rate
  • No. 117 Homestead Brands, Austin, 3,839 percent growth rate
  • No. 174 Disrupt Equity, Houston, 2,975 percent growth rate
  • No. 188 24HourNurse Staffing, Pittsburg, 2,801 percent growth rate
  • No. 201, Everly Health, Austin, 2,643 percent growth rate
  • No. 209, Texas Solar Integrated, San Antonio, 2,559 percent growth rate
  • No. 212, Apple Blvd Boutique, Frisco, 2,555 percent growth rate
  • No. 285 Element 26, Austin, 1,948 percent growth rate
  • No. 312 Boostlingo, Austin, 1,820 percent growth rate
  • No. 317 Cover Desk, Austin, 1,800 percent growth rate
  • No. 325 Canopy Management, Austin, 1,758 percent growth rate
  • No. 497 Construction Concepts, Houston, 1,251 percent growth rate

Companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 are ranked by percentage growth in revenue from 2018 to 2021. To qualify for the list, a company must have been founded and been generating revenue by March 31, 2018. The company also must have been U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent as of December 31, 2021. The minimum revenue required for 2018 was $100,000; the minimum for 2021 was $2 million.

"The accomplishment of building one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., in light of recent economic roadblocks, cannot be overstated," says Scott Omelianuk, editor in chief of Inc. "Inc. is thrilled to honor the companies that have established themselves through innovation, hard work, and rising to the challenges of today."

A total of 90 Houston-area companies made the list last year, including Homestead Brands, Onit, GoCo.io, Velentium, Softeq, Poetic, Techwave, and more.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap. Steven Devadanam and Natalie Harms also contributed to this story.

These three Houston businesses rank as great workplaces. Photo via Getty Images

3 Houston tech companies land on Inc.'s list of the best places to work

If you’re hunting for a new job, you might want to check out nine Austin-based companies that have been named among the best workplaces in the U.S.

On May 10, Inc. magazine released its 2022 list of the 475 best workplaces in the country, 22 of which are in Texas, including the nine in Austin.

After collecting data from thousands of submissions, Inc. chose honorees that best represented dedication to “redefining and enriching the workplace in the face of the pandemic,” says Scott Omelianuk, the magazine’s editor in chief.

“Not long ago, the term ‘best workplace’ would have conjured up images of open-office designs with stocked snack fridges,” says Omelianuk in a news release. “Yet given the widespread adoption of remote work, the concept of the workplace has shifted. This year, Inc. has recognized the organizations dedicated to redefining and enriching the workplace in the face of the pandemic.”

Each nominated company participated in an employee survey conducted by Quantum Workplace that touched on factors like management effectiveness, perks, employees’ professional growth, and company culture.

The three Houston-based winners are:

  • Liongard, a Houston-based provider of an IT automation platform
  • QTS, a Tomball-based provider of physical and electronic security services
  • WizeHire, a Houston-based provider of HR software

“We are honored to be recognized again as Best Place to Work by Inc. We have built an amazing team that has quickly accelerated our growth while continuing to rapidly improve our product and respond to our ever-improving understanding of our customers’ needs,” says Joe Alapat, Liongard founder and CEO, in a news release. “Our core values drive how we work and who we hire, and it’s the Liongard employees who guide our culture. We have an amazing team that shares the common goal of building something great – and that starts from the inside.”

Here are the other Texas companies that made the cut.

Dallas-Fort Worth

  • 5, an Irving-based energy advisory firm
  • Bestow, a Dallas-based life insurance company
  • Embark, a Dallas-based business advisory firm
  • Idea Grove, a Dallas-based marketing and PR firm
  • JB Warranties, an Argyle-based provider of HVAC and plumbing warranties
  • MB Group, a Plano-based accounting firm
  • The Power Group, a Dallas-based PR firm
  • The Vested Group, a Plano-based IT consulting company
  • TimelyMD, a Fort Worth-based telehealth company that focuses on students

Austin

  • Abilitie, a provider of virtual mini-MBAs and leadership simulations
  • Apty, a provider of web-based software for large companies
  • Cartograph, a consulting firm for brands in the organic and natural foods industry
  • Corvia, a provider of technology for the financial services industry
  • Homeward, a provider of financing for home purchases
  • INK Communications, a marketing and PR firm
  • Osano, a provider of data privacy software
  • Praetorian, a cybersecurity company
  • Scribe Media, a platform for self-published authors

Tyler

  • Education Advanced, a provider of education software
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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$1M donation to Rice establishes pioneering neuro-policy center in Houston

brainy support

A big donation to Rice University will soon help researchers better understand the workings of the human brain.

Harry Yan and Weiman Gao have bestowed $1 million on the Baker Institute of Public Policy to establish the interdisciplinary Neuro-Policy Program.

Neuro-policy is a newer field that explores how brain health and function can help to fuel economic growth.

“The Neuro-Policy Program is at the forefront of pioneering data analysis, empirical research and policy application,” says Harris Eyre, the lead for the program, as well as a senior fellow in brain health at the Baker Institute, in a news release. “Investing in evidence-based strategies for prevention, diagnosis and treatment can reduce brain and mental health disparities, optimize cognitive development and performance and foster innovation to build more resilient communities.”

Eyre describes the collective value of the human brain as “brain capital.” That’s because brains that are suffering from any number of neurodegenerative or mental health disorders (including depression, anxiety, brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease) have actually taken a toll on the U.S. economy, Eyre explains.

The Neuro-Policy Program seeks to improve brain performance, and consequently enhance economic growth, national security, and our overall standing as a nation of healthy brains. The program’s primary projects include establishing a task force to advise Texas “brain and mind” legislative efforts as well as a Texas Brain Capital Dashboard, collaborating on Texas Forward (Texas Brain Health Plan) with the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth, thereby working toward U.S. brain capital policy and investment advances. These projects are expected to yield deliverables as early as 2026.

“The Neuro-Policy Program aims to leverage the university’s proximity to the Texas Medical Center and the institute’s strong connections to state and federal policymakers. This is an important yet underrepresented area of research that Houston is poised to lead,” says David Satterfield, the director of the Baker Institute.

Yan and Gao said in a press release that they were inspired to gift the grant funds to Eyre and his research after attending a March 28 Baker Institute event on brain health that featured U.S. Rep. Morgan Luttrell, a co-chair of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus.

"We are honored to support Dr. Harris Eyre and the Neuro-Policy program he leads. Dr. Eyre’s work has greatly impressed us, highlighting the critical importance of brain health in our society today,” say Yan and Gao. “We hope our contribution can inspire further support and advocacy in the field, helping individuals lead healthier lives through a comprehensive approach to prevention.”

Houston HR software startup rolls out platform at local hospital system

tapping into tech

More than 14,000 nurses at one of the largest nonprofit health care providers in Texas have access to a new skills and competency management software.

Kahuna Workforce Solutions has officially deployed its platform at Memorial Hermann Health System, consisting of 17 hospitals and more than 250 care delivery sites. The platform will streamline onboarding processes and increase transparency and accessibility for staff.

“Kahuna will enhance our clinical competency experience and fully aligns with our nursing strategy to optimize our processes, prioritize innovation and safety, and excel as a top provider of care and clinical advancement for clinicians,” Bryan Sisk, senior vice president and chief nursing executive for Memorial Hermann, says in a news release.

“Memorial Hermann is committed to the Houston community and helping to develop the next generation of nurses,” Sisk continues. “The Kahuna platform will help improve the transparency, autonomy and efficiency of our competency management and development processes for our nurses to better support them in their roles, while also ensuring we provide high-quality care for our patients.”

The rollout comes six months after the software-as-a-service company raised a $21 million series B round of funding.

“We are thrilled to work with Memorial Hermann as they enrich all aspects of their clinical competency management practices with Kahuna’s skills management software,” adds Jai Shah, CEO of Kahuna Workforce Solutions. “This collaboration unites two Houston-based organizations and demonstrates a joint commitment to enhancing the standard of health care through digitized competency management in our Houston community and far beyond.”

Houston geothermal company grows Google partnership to provide power to Nevada

feeling lucky

Houston-based Fervo Energy’s geothermal energy soon will help power the world’s most popular website.

Through a first-of-its-kind proposal, Las Vegas-based public utility NV Energy would supply 115 megawatts of geothermal power generated by Fervo for Google’s two data centers in Nevada. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

In 2021, Google teamed up with Fervo to develop a pilot project for geothermal power in Nevada. Two years later, electricity from this project started flowing into the Nevada grid serving the two Google data centers. Google spent $600 million to build each of the centers, which are in Henderson, a Las Vegas suburb, and Storey County, which is east of Reno.

The proposed agreement with NV Energy would bring about 25 times more geothermal power capacity to the Nevada grid, Google says, and enable more around-the-clock clean power for the search engine company’s Nevada data centers.

A data center gobbles up 10 to 50 times the energy per square foot of floor space that a typical office building does, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“NV Energy and Google’s partnership to develop new solutions to bring clean … energy technology — like enhanced geothermal — onto Nevada’s grid at this scale is remarkable. This innovative proposal will not be paid for by NV Energy’s other customers but will help ensure all our customers benefit from cleaner, greener energy resources,” Doug Cannon, president and CEO of NV Energy, says in a Google blog post.

Utility regulators still must sign off on the proposal.

“If approved, it provides a blueprint for other utilities and large customers in Nevada to accelerate clean energy goals,” Cannon says.

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.