Houston-based energy tech investor Neal Dikeman writes his observations on Houston's venture capital and startup community's growth — in stark comparison of Silicon Valley's recent evolution. Photo courtesy of the Ion

There's stretch of sleek low rise office buildings in Palo Alto — referred to as Sandhill Road — that has long been the center of Silicon Valley (and the world’s) venture capital sector. An investor friend of mine told me recently that Sandhill Road is a ghost town these days, with the key partners at many of the Silicon Valley venture funds largely working from home or at their second homes.

That’s disappointing if true, but not surprising. Commuting sucks, and this business is a lot more far flung and global than it used to be. The venture capital business is always a wild and fun ride, focused on founders and the next big thing, with constant movement and alliances and partnerships.

I’ve been in these waves since I began investing during the dotcom boom in 2000, making the jump from private equity to venture capital in San Francisco at a fund behind Yellowpages.com and a few others, before co-leading a prior firm I founded in San Francisco doing seed investing and advising funds and investment arms of Macquarie Bank, ConocoPhillips, and Shell. We got in on the ground floor of cleantech and did well. This is my third major VC downcycle – there is always opportunity on both sides, and the more things change, the more they stay the same in venture capital. Hubs matter, because the business is heavily a critical mass of talent and capital business, with a power curve of outcomes. Cutthroat as venture capital and startups are, it is not private equity. You do need partners.

Houston has long lacked a center of gravity at all, let alone in tech. You might try rereading the 2001 Economist headline article “The Blob that Ate East Texas” for some humorous color on that score. But in tech, that’s changing.

Rice University’s Ion Houston innovation district project came out of some of the Greater Houston Partnership work a few years ago on how to get a serious tech hub going (I briefly served on the GHP affiliated Houston Technology Center board for Royal Dutch Shell during that revamp). After a slow start, Ion has begun to fill up with tech startups and bona fide check writing investors to go with the constant barrage of startup programming on its Ion Activation Floor and adjacent Greentown Labs incubation building.

Chevron Technology Ventures opened a guest office on day one on the third floor and Houston private equity and sometime crossover VC investor Ara Partners took early space with its headquarters in the building across the hall from them. Local fund of funds HX Venture Fund, which was created out of that GHP/HTC revamp and also puts on the Venture Houston Conference, moved in on the second floor.

Our fund, Energy Transition Ventures, was the first venture capital fund to move into the Ion when we launched in 2021, is located two doors down from HXVF. My partners and I made the call to make Houston our headquarters over Austin where my partner, Craig Lawrence, is located. He’s a former energy tech and solar executive who learned venture investing leading the successful cleantech effort at Accel Partners in Palo Alto. We are both Texas educated, Bay Area venture capital alums who are doing venture capital in Texas because it’s our home. Our third partner, Q Song, moved from Korea to the US, picking Houston over Austin and our Bay Area office to join us.

Houston was not the obvious choice – it still isn’t – I got nostalgia when driving through Austin and San Francisco in the last week seeing the sheer mass of tech and venture capital names to do business with, but doing things our own way is kind of our brand. We chose the Ion, because well, venture capital and startup life is a participation not a spectator sport, and if Houston was ever going to have a shot at being an investment hub, it needed an actual hub, and founders needed a place to go meet venture capitalists, and that won’t work if venture capitalists all work out of their homes or alone in some energy corridor or downtown high rise.

In our hallway of the Ion, you pass HX Venture Fund, Decarbonization Partners, Energy Transition Ventures, and WaterLens, a water testing startup which spun out of UT many years ago, all next door to each other at one end. And at the other end BP Ventures — with a newly added ExxonMobil venture capital team guest suite adjacent — next to water and energy pipeline corrosion detection software and hardware startup INGU, a Chevron Technology Ventures-backed startup, which is adjacent to one of Houston’s largest venture-backed SaaS companies, Liongard. That’s a half a dozen tech startup founders and a dozen investors across all stages in 125 feet.

I can count approximately 20 other startups in the building now, still heavily skewed to energy. Across the floor, Artemis Energy Partners and Veriten, run respectively by Houston energy fixtures Bobby Tudor and Maynard Holt two of the three Tudor Pickering Holt founders, have their offices, with Schlumberger and hydrogen software startup Velostics which just announced its seed round sandwiched in between. The co-founder of Tierra Climate, a Rice spinout that also just announced its seed round works out of the coworking, and Eigen Controls is building GHG detection equipment around the corner a few feet from an Edtech and medtech startup, and renewable energy services startup Clean Energy Services is headquartered a few feet from the entrance.

Since we moved in, GOOSE Capital, a Houston investment group launched out of Rice at the Rice Alliance Business Competition two decades ago, put its offices in the Ion Activation Floor, and you can quietly find their Managing Director Andrew Nicholson trooping up and down the stairs. BP Ventures then pulled the trigger in 2022 – and moved its US venture capital investing team HQ to the Ion — right down the hallway from us. Chad Bown who manages the US team is sitting in a phone booth 100 feet from me and Chris Spears is listening on pitches as I type this. And this month Decarbonization Partners, the climate growth fund of BlackRock and Temasek, opened its office next door to mine in between us and HX, with three investment professionals, led by David Hayes, formerly with BP Ventures. Aramco Ventures, now led by the former Energy Ventures US head Jim Sledzik, began weekly Friday morning office hours. Jim can often be grabbed for a casual chat on his way between meetings on a regular basis, as can Luis Alcoser or Kemal Anbarci who pop in and out of the Chevron Technology Ventures visiting offices on third floor, with Veriten, which just announced an investment fund, and now Artemis joining recently.

The Houston pool of high quality founders and startups has definitely improved as well – though we still don’t have the quantity or quality of teams needed for a healthy startup market. Blair Garrou from Mercury Fund was part of a recent panel for the Texas Venture Crawl at the Ion along with BP Ventures’ Ion based Grace Chan talking about why Houston, and he remarked that in their earlier funds, Mercury was 5 to 10 percent Houston startups, having to go far afield to fill up even one fund - but his recent fund is closer to 25 percent Houston based, as local team quality has improved.

Houston venture capital is two orders of magnitude smaller than the Bay Area – it’s about like writing an article asking whether Silicon Valley is the emerging Energy Corridor. But it’s nice to have coffee and beers with next door neighbors who are actually investing in, and founders who are actually running, venture backed businesses. Founders are learning that Houston’s venture investment and tech scene has an actual home these days, and is open for business.

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Neal Dikeman is a venture capitalist and seven-time startup co-founder investing out of Energy Transition Ventures.

Michelle Stansbury, vice president of innovation and IT applications at Houston Methodist, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast. Photo courtesy of Houston Methodist

Houston innovator powers health care innovation by collaboration — inside and outside of the hospital setting

HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 202

It might surprise most to know that Houston Methodist doesn't have an innovation department within their hospital system — at least not one set up as you'd imagine, with a team specifically dedicated to innovation. Instead, Houston Methodist's Digital Innovation Obsessed People, or DIOP, consists of leaders across departments.

Michelle Stansbury is one of those leaders. As vice president of innovation and IT applications at Houston Methodist, she oversees the system's IT department and serves as a leader within its innovation efforts. This includes the Center for Innovation Technology Hub — which opened in 2020 in the Texas Medical Center location and opened its Ion outpost last week.

Stansbury explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast how effective this distribution of innovation responsibilities has been for Houston Methodist. With everyone having a seat at the table — operations knows the biggest problems that need solutions, IT knows how to deploy technology, etc. — implementation of new innovations has been sped up.

"If we partner together, we should be able to succeed fast or fail fast," she says on the show. "We've been able to find a solution, pilot it, and, if it works well, roll it out at a speed that most other organizations have not been able to do. It's been highly successful for us."

The newest way Houston Methodist is mixing up how it brings in innovative solutions to its team and patients is by taking its team outside of the Texas Medical Center and its hospitals in general. Now, Houston Methodist has a permanent tech hub in the Ion, owned and operated by Rice Management Company, on the lower level of the building, completely open to any of the Ion's visitors.

"We've always had a great partnership with Rice. This almost felt like an extension with Houston Methodist and our Rice collaboration with the Ion," Stansbury says. "Our main goals have been how can we utilize the talent that's housed out of that facility."

She explains that the new hub is an extension of the original hub in the TMC hospital, and that innovators who are interested in collaborating with Houston Methodist — especially those with solutions applicable to health care — can visit the Ion hub as an entry point.

Both hub locations showcase pilot technology Houston Methodist is working on, and that technology will then get deployed out into its hospital locations — and especially its Cypress hospital, which is being billed as being the "smart hospital of the future." The construction is underway and expected to deliver in 2025.

Stansbury shares more about this ninth location for Houston Methodist as well as more details on the new tech hub on the podcast. Listen to the interview here — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.

Houston Methodist opened a new tech hub in the Ion this week. Photo by Shannon O’Hara/Ion

Photos: Houston hospital opens tech hub in the Ion

innovation outpost

A Houston hospital has opened an innovation outpost in the Ion this week in order to showcase health tech innovation and connect with Houston innovators.

The Houston Methodist Tech Hub at Ion hub has officially opened. The 1,200-square-foot space was created in addition to the Center for Innovation Technology Hub that's in Houston Methodist’s flagship location in the Texas Medical Center, which opened in February 2020.

The new space, located on the lower level of the Ion, exists to serve as a common ground for innovators across industries to promote collisions and innovation, as well as interaction with Houston Methodist team members

“Our new Tech Hub at Ion supports not only our commitment to the Houston innovation community but also to the rapidly shifting healthcare industry,” Michelle Stansbury, vice president of innovation and IT applications at Houston Methodist, says in a statement. “We know we can’t solve the healthcare challenges of the future if we confine ourselves within our hospital walls or even within our own industry.

"We look forward to the collaborative space our new Tech Hub will provide and the future programming opportunities we can create together to inspire, challenge, and foster a spirit of innovation in our city.”

The new hub, according to the news release, also will host educational events, reverse pitch sessions, and more. Visitors can schedule a time to view the space or connect with the Houston Methodist innovation team by filling out a form online.

The hub, which was originally announced last year, is the latest partner to open within the Ion's space. Earlier this year, the organization announced other new tenants.

“Houston Methodist’s space at the Ion opens up even more opportunities for our start-up and entrepreneur community to embed and gain exposure to the latest innovations in health care, health technology, and digital health,” Jan E. Odegard, executive director of Ion, says. “This partnership and opportunity provided by Houston Methodist, a leading healthcare organization in the country, is a testament to the ecosystem we’re building and the talent within our building. Furthermore, Houston Methodist’s approach and appetite for cross-industry innovation and collaboration meshes seamlessly with the Ion’s ongoing plans to support Houston’s growing innovation community in industries and fields that will change the world.”

Both of Houston Methodist's tech hubs will showcase its latest technologies its implementing in its hospital system, including the "hospital of the future" it's building out in Cypress.

Collaborative effort

Photo by Shannon O’Hara/Ion

Revealed at an event earlier this month, the Ion is now home to installations by Houston-based artists Christopher Blay and Kill Joy, which play on the traditional window displays the building hosted for years as the historic Sears Building. Photo courtesy of Marc Furi Creative/the Ion

Photos: Ion Houston's latest art installations tackle tech, social issues

eye on the ion

Two new art installations at the Ion speak to the building's past and its potential future.

Revealed at an event earlier this month, the innovation hub developed by Rice University is now home to installations by Houston-based artists Christopher Blay and Kill Joy, which play on the traditional window displays the building hosted for years as the historic Sears Building.

The pieces are part of the Ion's Eye on Art program, according to a release. Each was selected by the Ion and Ion District Art Advisory Council with support from Piper Faust.

"Innovation and art have a lot more in common than you might think. Many of our local artists learn how to use emerging technologies to create their pieces and hone their craft,” Jan E. Odegard, executive director of the Ion, says in a statement. “Creativity plays a vital role in fostering innovation and we’re honored to provide artists like Christopher and Kill Joy with a platform to serve as an inspiration for the entire innovation ecosystem here at the Ion.”

Blay, who's an artist, writer and currently serves as the chief curator of the Houston Museum of African American Culture, created his installation in collaboration with the Ion Prototyping Lab. Using canvases and wood frames, the installation depicts slaving vessels and spaceships to "symbolizes where the Black community has been and where they are going," according to the Ion.

The installation is part of Blay's latest body of work, “The SpLaVCe Program."

Joy's work focuses on environmental and social justice. Her installation at the Ion, “Creation, Current, Solution," uses animated puppets inspired by Filipino folklore to explore the intersection of technology and sustainable living.

Blay and Joy's installations will be on display for the next six months, and will rotate out to feature other Houston-based artists' work.

The Ion first launched the The Eye On Art Program in March 2022. The debut displays included Lina Dib’s over-the-top kitsch “Self-Portrait in the Garden” and Preston Gaines' multi-sensory “Fantasy Landscape.” The second rotation featured Lisa Morales and Stacey Gresell’s “The Collective Hive” and “Exploración Orgánica” by Maria Rodriguez, Miriam Mireles, Bryce Saucier, Timothy Hudson, and Victoria Armenta: “Exploración Orgánica”

Earlier this summer, the Ion also announced that it would launch its official workforce development partner’s 12- to 15- week technology skills training courses this fall.

Click through photos from the new installation below.

“The SpLaVCe Program" by Christopher Blay

Photo courtesy of Marc Furi Creative/the Ion

The newest tenant at the Ion is a West Texas-based oilfield equipment provider. Photo courtesy of the Ion

Another energy co. opens new office in the Ion Houston

moving in

The Ion's latest tenant is a Texas oilfield equipment provider that's recently seen an uptick in business amid the energy transition.

SCS Technologies, based in Big Spring, Texas, has opened a new office in the Ion, a 266,000-square-foot innovation hub in Midtown, to focus on strategy and innovation. SCS provides CO2 capture measurement and methane vapor recovery equipment for the energy, industrial, and environmental sectors.

“Embracing Houston's pivotal role in the energy transition, the Ion has swiftly become the epicenter of innovative collaborations. For SCS Technologies, this marks an exciting opportunity to align our capabilities and technology with a diverse consortium of organizations working toward ambitious carbon-neutral goals,” says Cody Johnson, CEO of SCS Technologies, in a news release. “Looking ahead, we are invigorated by the boundless possibilities at the Ion, envisioning groundbreaking solutions and technologies that will unfold there.”

The Ion has seen a flurry of activity when it comes to energy tenants. In March, United Kingdom-based Carbon Clean, opened its US headquarters in the Ion as it expands nationally. In April, the Ion named several other new tenants, which included industrial software company Cognite, robotics tech provider Nauticus, and more. These companies join Chevron, which officially opened its new outpost in 2022 after being announced as a founding partner in 2020. ExxonMobil is also a founding partner.

SCS also announced a new executive on its team. On July 20, SCS announced René Vandersalm as COO. Johnson says in a July 20 statement that the appointment comes at a time when "energy and industrial sectors are undergoing a considerable transformation of their processes and infrastructure to align with carbon-neutral goals."

Vandersalm previously worked for over 20 years at Thermon Manufacturing leading the company's heating solutions. In his new role, he says he will work within SCS "to design and produce the innovative compression and measurement systems our customers need to achieve emissions goals."

“It’s an exciting time as energy and industrial companies strive towards sustainable operations, all while delivering the energy and products that customers worldwide rely on,” Vandersalm continues in the release. “I am both excited and honored to collaborate with the talented and motivated SCS Technologies team as we make a significant impact in this industry-wide transition.”

SCS is partnered with New Orleans-based Black Bay Energy Capital, an energy-focused private equity fund.

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.

A New York-based nonprofit that provides tech training has announced its opening a location in the Ion. Photo courtesy of the Ion

Ion Houston expands tech workforce development partnership with nonprofit

tech training

Houstonians can now apply to a new, tuition-free program at the Ion to boost their tech skills and knowledge.

Earlier this year the Ion announced New York-based Per Scholas as its workforce development partner. And starting October, Per Scholas will launch its 12- to 15- week technology skills training courses at the innovation hub, the Ion announced this week.

The new operation, known as Per Scholas Houston, is backed by support from from BlackRock Inc. and Comcast NBCUniversal.

Per Scholas Houston will first introduce the nonprofit's IT Support course. The program will give students an opportunity to earn a Google IT Support Professional Certificate and the CompTIA A+ certification. Click here to apply.

“Per Scholas commends the vision and commitment of the City of Houston, Ion, Rice University, and so many others, to catalyze change, grow ideas and innovation, and drive impact. We are thrilled that Per Scholas Houston is now part of the effort,” Plinio Ayala, president and CEO of Per Scholas, says in a statement. “With tremendous investment from Ion, BlackRock, Comcast, our proven skills training will develop technologists to power Houston’s workforce today – and tomorrow–creating a more inclusive and equitable economy. We can’t wait to get started.”

According to the company, more than 80 percent of those who complete Per Scholas training programs find full-time employment within a year of graduating, and about 85 percent of Per Scholas graduates are people of color. Per Scholas has 20 locations in the U.S., including a location in downtown Dallas.

Applicants must be 18 or older to apply and have earned a high school diploma or equivalent and be a U.S. citizen or authorized to work in the U.S., according to Per Scholas's website. They must pass an assessments review before beginning coursework, meet the nonprofit's learner pre-training income criteria and be available to attend classes Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In early May, The Ion announced 10 new tenants that were either relocating or expanding their presence in Houston, bringing the total space leased to 86 percent. Later that month, it added corporate giants Occidental, United Airlines Ventures and Woodside Energy as partners.
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New Houston venture studio emerges to target early-stage hardtech, energy transition startups

funding the future

The way Doug Lee looks at it, there are two areas within the energy transition attracting capital. With his new venture studio, he hopes to target an often overlooked area that's critical for driving forward net-zero goals.

Lee describes investment activity taking place in the digital and software world — early stage technology that's looking to make the industry smarter. But, on the other end of the spectrum, investment activity can be found on massive infrastructure projects.

While both areas need funding, Lee has started his new venture studio, Flathead Forge, to target early-stage hardtech technologies.

“We are really getting at the early stage companies that are trying to develop technologies at the intersection of legacy industries that we believe can become more sustainable and the energy transition — where we are going. It’s not an ‘if’ or ‘or’ — we believe these things intersect,” he tells EnergyCapital.

Specifically, Lee's expertise is within the water and industrial gas space. For around 15 years, he's made investments in this area, which he describes as crucial to the energy transition.

“Almost every energy transition technology that you can point to has some critical dependency on water or gas,” he says. “We believe that if we don’t solve for those things, the other projects won’t survive.”

Lee, and his brother, Dave, are evolving their family office to adopt a venture studio model. They also sold off Azoto Energy, a Canadian oilfield nitrogen cryogenic services business, in December.

“We ourselves are going through a transition like our energy is going through a transition,” he says. “We are transitioning into a single family office into a venture studio. By doing so, we want to focus all of our access and resources into this focus.”

At this point, Flathead Forge has seven portfolio companies and around 15 corporations they are working with to identify their needs and potential opportunities. Lee says he's gearing up to secure a $100 million fund.

Flathead also has 40 advisers and mentors, which Lee calls sherpas — a nod to the Flathead Valley region in Montana, which inspired the firm's name.

“We’re going to help you carry up, we’re going to tie ourselves to the same rope as you, and if you fall off the mountain, we’re falling off with you,” Lee says of his hands-on approach, which he says sets Flathead apart from other studios.

Another thing that's differentiating Flathead Forge from its competition — it's dedication to giving back.

“We’ve set aside a quarter of our carried interest for scholarships and grants,” Lee says.

The funds will go to scholarships for future engineers interested in the energy transition, as well as grants for researchers studying high-potential technologies.

“We’re putting our own money where our mouth is,” Lee says of his thesis for Flathead Forge.

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.

Houston-based lunar mission's rocky landing and what it means for America's return to the moon

houston, we have a problem

A private U.S. lunar lander tipped over at touchdown and ended up on its side near the moon’s south pole, hampering communications, company officials said Friday.

Intuitive Machines initially believed its six-footed lander, Odysseus, was upright after Thursday's touchdown. But CEO Steve Altemus said Friday the craft “caught a foot in the surface," falling onto its side and, quite possibly, leaning against a rock. He said it was coming in too fast and may have snapped a leg.

“So far, we have quite a bit of operational capability even though we’re tipped over," he told reporters.

But some antennas were pointed toward the surface, limiting flight controllers' ability to get data down, Altemus said. The antennas were stationed high on the 14-foot (4.3-meter) lander to facilitate communications at the hilly, cratered and shadowed south polar region.

Odysseus — the first U.S. lander in more than 50 years — is thought to be within a few miles (kilometers) of its intended landing site near the Malapert A crater, less than 200 miles (300 kilometers) from the south pole. NASA, the main customer, wanted to get as close as possible to the pole to scout out the area before astronauts show up later this decade.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to pinpoint the lander's location, as it flies overhead this weekend.

With Thursday’s touchdown, Intuitive Machines became the first private business to pull off a moon landing, a feat previously achieved by only five countries. Japan was the latest country to score a landing, but its lander also ended up on its side last month.

Odysseus' mission was sponsored in large part by NASA, whose experiments were on board. NASA paid $118 million for the delivery under a program meant to jump-start the lunar economy.

One of the NASA experiments was pressed into service when the lander's navigation system did not kick in. Intuitive Machines caught the problem in advance when it tried to use its lasers to improve the lander's orbit. Otherwise, flight controllers would not have discovered the failure until it was too late, just five minutes before touchdown.

“Serendipity is absolutely the right word,” mission director Tim Crain said.

It turns out that a switch was not flipped before flight, preventing the system's activation in space.

Launched last week from Florida, Odysseus took an extra lap around the moon Thursday to allow time for the last-minute switch to NASA's laser system, which saved the day, officials noted.

Another experiment, a cube with four cameras, was supposed to pop off 30 seconds before touchdown to capture pictures of Odysseus’ landing. But Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s EagleCam was deliberately powered off during the final descent because of the navigation switch and stayed attached to the lander.

Embry-Riddle's Troy Henderson said his team will try to release EagleCam in the coming days, so it can photograph the lander from roughly 26 feet (8 meters) away.

"Getting that final picture of the lander on the surface is still an incredibly important task for us,” Henderson told The Associated Press.

Intuitive Machines anticipates just another week of operations on the moon for the solar-powered lander — nine or 10 days at most — before lunar nightfall hits.

The company was the second business to aim for the moon under NASA's commercial lunar services program. Last month, Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology gave it a shot, but a fuel leak on the lander cut the mission short and the craft ended up crashing back to Earth.

Until Thursday, the U.S. had not landed on the moon since Apollo 17's Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt closed out NASA's famed moon-landing program in December 1972. NASA's new effort to return astronauts to the moon is named Artemis after Apollo's mythological twin sister. The first Artemis crew landing is planned for 2026 at the earliest.

3 female Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Welcome to another Monday edition of Innovators to Know. Today I'm introducing you to three Houstonians to read up about — three individuals behind recent innovation and startup news stories in Houston as reported by InnovationMap. Learn more about them and their recent news below by clicking on each article.

Emma Konet, co-founder and CTO of Tierra Climate

Emma Konet, co-founder and CTO of Tierra Climate, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast. Photo via LinkedIn

If the energy transition is going to be successful, the energy storage space needs to be equipped to support both the increased volume of energy needed and new energies. And Emma Konet and her software company, Tierra Climate, are targeting one part of the equation: the market.

"To me, it's very clear that we need to build a lot of energy storage in order to transition the grid," Konet says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "The problems that I saw were really on the market side of things." Read more.

Cindy Taff, CEO of Sage Geosystems

Houston-based Sage Geosystems announced the first close of $17 million round led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. Photo courtesy of Sage

A Houston geothermal startup has announced the close of its series A round of funding.

Houston-based Sage Geosystems announced the first close of $17 million round led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. The proceeds aim to fund its first commercial geopressured geothermal system facility, which will be built in Texas in Q4 of 2024. According to the company, the facility will be the first of its kind.

“The first close of our Series A funding and our commercial facility are significant milestones in our mission to make geopressured geothermal system technologies a reality,” Cindy Taff, CEO of Sage Geosystems, says. Read more.

Clemmie Martin, chief of staff at The Cannon

With seven locations across the Houston area, The Cannon's digital technology allows its members a streamlined connection. Photo courtesy of The Cannon

After collaborating over the years, The Cannon has acquired a Houston startup's digital platform technology to become a "physical-digital hybrid" community.

Village Insights, a Houston startup, worked with The Cannon to create and launch its digital community platform Cannon Connect. Now, The Cannon has officially acquired the business. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The integration of a world-class onsite member experience and Cannon Connect’s superior virtual resource network creates a seamless, streamlined environment for member organizations,” Clemmie Martin, The Cannon’s newly appointed chief of staff, says in the release. “Cannon Connect and this acquisition have paved new pathways to access and success for all.” Read more.