Register for some of these informative online events happening throughout the month of December. Getty Images

It's the last monthly events roundup for 2020 — and this month, understandably, is a bit slow due to the holidays, but we have a roundup of the must-attend events for December.

From workshops and panels to summits and pitch parties, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Note: This post will be updated to add more events.

December 1 — National Resilience Town Hall: Year in Review, Year Ahead

The Insurance Information Institute and ResilientH2O Partners, in partnership with the Resilience Accelerator, will hold the final session for 2020 in an ongoing series of thought-leadership among insurance, non-insurance, public sector, and technology senior executives. December's National Townhall will bring five unique perspectives together to discuss lessons-learned from 2020 and predictions for 2021's resilience and risk mitigation "agenda" across residential, commercial, industrial, government operations, infrastructure, facilities, and communities.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, at 10 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 1 — Angel Investing 101

Learn about how to make effective angel investment decisions and find out more about the newly launched Chicago Booth Angels Network of Texas. The event's keynote speaker is Ashok Rao, serial entrepreneur and board member of Houston-based GOOSE Capital.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, from 5 to 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 1 — The Ion's Industry Day

The goal of the inaugural Industry Day is to introduce and connect minority and women owned businesses (MWBE) with The Ion's Transwestern team. The hour long event is designed to facilitate networking and connect interested businesses with Transwestern, who will run operations for The Ion and catalyze local economic growth. Following the event, interested businesses can set up a walk through of The Ion in mid-December to finalize their bid.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, from 6 to 7 pm. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 2 — NASA and Your Small Business: Understanding the NASA Procurement Process

Join The Ion to learn about NASA's commitment to providing access for all categories of small businesses to participate in the procurement process.

The event is on Wednesday, December 2, at noon. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 3 — Capital Factory's Venture Summit

Capital Factory is calling all investors, accelerator leaders, limited partners, and more to its annual venture summit, which is taking place virtually this year.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 9:45 to 2 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 3 — Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation

JLABS @ TMC and Southwest National Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium are teaming up for the sixth Annual Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation. The evening of innovation will host top experts from Houston and across the country will discuss their views on the latest in pediatric medical device innovation and updates on bringing a pediatric medical device to market.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 3:40 to 5 pm. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 3 — An Evening With Women in Corporate Innovation

Join General Assembly Houston to hear from inspiring female leaders in corporate innovation who have blazed the path to stand up and stand out. From learnings to failings and their secrets of success, this event is an opportunity to learn from the best — serious wisdom, from seriously cool women, all designed to supercharge you and your organization's success.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 5 to 6:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 7 — Pumps and Pipes 20/20 Vision

The annual Pumps & Pipes event is focused on convergence innovation in the fields of aerospace, energy and medicine: a truly uniquely Houston approach. The day-long summit features an expo and various panels and speakers.

The event is on Monday, December 7, from 8 am to 3 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 8 — The Cannon Q4 Pitch Party: Presented by Dell Technologies

Join The Cannon and Dell Technologies in hearing from new companies working in Digital Transformation Tech.

The event is on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed via Zoom. Click here to register.

December 8 — How to Start a Startup with Heath Butler of Mercury Fund

The Ion is hosting a startup 101 workshop with Heath Butler from Mercury Fund. You have an idea...now what? Before you start looking for funding, it's important to make sure that your idea is both viable and valuable — if it doesn't have a sound model and a market willing to pay for it, investors won't be interested anyway.

    The event is on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed via Zoom. Click here to register.

    December 10 — Greentown Lab's Energy Bar: Wrapping Up an Unprecedented Year

    Join Greentown Labs virtually for the final edition of the EnergyBar networking event for 2020. Greentown Labs is ready to put a wrap on 2020, an unprecedent year for us all. Between the opening of the new community in Houston and a renewed national policy focus on climate action, the organization is looking ahead to 2021. Entrepreneurs, investors, students, and friends of climatetech are invited to attend, meet colleagues, and engage in a community that is focused on climate action at work.

    The event is on Thursday, December 10, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. It's free and can be access through Remo. Click here to register.

    December 15 — The State of Space

    The Greater Houston Partnership is hosting its first State of Space event featuring NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as the keynote speaker. Since his appointment as Administrator in April of 2018, Bridenstine has led NASA in advancing American aeronautic, science, and space exploration objectives.

    The event is on Tuesday, December 15, at noon. It's $35 for GHP members and $60 for nonmembers. Click here to register.

    Fiona Mack has joined JLABS @ TMC as head of the incubator. She shares her vision for the lab on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. Photo courtesy of JLABS

    New Houston life science incubator leader is focusing on inclusion in health innovation

    houston innovators podcast episode 57

    By now, Fiona Mack has worked in a few sectors and stages of health innovation — mostly within oncology and biopharmaceuticals. However, since being named the head of JLABS @ TMC a few months ago, she's jumped headfirst into Houston life science startup incubation.

    "I've been kind of drinking from the fire hose. I've really tried to understand the J&J organization, which is quite global in its scope across multiple sector areas," Mack shares on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "On a regional level, I've been focusing on understanding my portfolio."

    On her plate right now is assessing the needs of the incubator's 49 member companies in the portfolio. Additionally, she's working on recognizing any gaps in leadership — the position has been vacant around a year and a half since the former head, Tom Luby, transitioned to leading the TMC Innovation Institute — and understanding the needs of the Texas innovation ecosystem.

    "As I learn more about the history of life science sector in Texas, over the past 20 years there has been an impetuous to build up this critical mass of companies here to really make it a strong hub that competes with the energy sector to make it a pillar of the economy here," Mack says.

    One of the things that's top of mind for Mack is a focus on diversity — both from an entrepreneurship and a representation standpoint.

    "From a research perspective, there's a strong effect of having a lack of diversity in a lot of the metrics we're looking at," she shares.

    Mack says innovation is driven by data, and data, especially when your using that information to treat a diverse group of people, needs to be representative. And Houston is a great place to make that happen.

    "What information are we putting into those datasets? If it only represents a homogenous population, it certainly can't be applied to the real world," Mack says. "There's a need to be much more inclusive into what we're analyzing. Houston, in terms of its population, is highly diverse — and we can speak about it ethnically and from an economic standpoint."

    Mack shares more of her big picture vision for JLABS @ TMC on the episode, as well as what her early impressions of Houston have been so far. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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

    Updated: 15+ can't-miss virtual business and innovation events in Houston for October

    where to be online

    Every year, October is jam packed with tons of business events across Houston. Even in light of the pandemic, the shows must go on — online, that is.

    From fireside chats and ask-me-anything meetings to summit and startup competitions, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Be sure to register in advance, as most will send an access link ahead of the events.

    Note: This post has been edited and republished to reflect new events.

    October 5 — Introduction to the Latinx Startup Alliance

    The Ion is hosting this fireside chat to allow attendees to learn what resources San Francisco-based Latinx Startup Alliance will bring to Houston and the importance of promoting opportunities and access for all Houstonians launching a tech startup and funding resources.

    The event will take place online on Monday, October 5, at 5:30 pm. Register here.

    October 6 — HXTV| VC Ask Me Anything Virtual Event ft Companyon Ventures

    Houston Exponential is hosting a virtual ask-me-anything event with Companyon Ventures, which funds B2B software startups into their expansion-stage by injecting decades of startup and VC experience through operational hands-on investing.

    The event will take place online on Tuesday, October 6, at noon. Register here.

    October 6, 13, 20, & 27 — ABC's of Accelerators Series

    Join The Ion for a series of virtual events throughout the month that tackle the ins and outs of startup accelerator programs.

    The events will take place online on every Tuesday of the month at noon. Register here.

    October 8 & 15 — Houston Low-Carbon Energy Innovation Summit

    The Center for Houston's Future has put together two full days of programming centered around low-carbon innovation. Registration options $50 one-day passes or $75 two-day passes.

    The event will take place online on Thursday, October 8, from 9 am to 1:30 pm, and Thursday, October 15, from 9 am to 3 pm. Register here.

    October 14 — HXTV| VC Ask Me Anything Virtual Event ft IronSpring Ventures

    Houston Exponential is hosting a virtual ask-me-anything event with IronSpring Ventures, a network-driven venture capital fund investing in digital industrial innovation.

    The event will take place online on Wednesday, October 14, at noon. Register here.

    October 14 — Pandemic Rising: The Threat to Female Ambition & Our Nation's Recovery

    Join Sesh Coworking for a virtual town hall to discuss the impacts of the global pandemic and economic downturn on female career trajectory, female unemployment rates, increased childcare burdens and how the pandemic has thrust female equality in the workspace backwards by decades.

    The event will take place online on Wednesday, October 14, at 1 pm. Register here.

    October 14 — Core Conversations: Transition with Purpose

    Join a Core Conversation with Brandy Guidry to learn how she leveraged her outreach and advocacy work to start consulting with startups.

    The event will take place online on Wednesday, October 14, at 4 pm. Register here.

    October 16 — Design Thinking for Tech and Innovation Workshop | Prototypes+User Testing

    At this Ion Online event, learn some of the ways to prototype and identify features that will make up your MVP and usability testing techniques.

    The event will take place online on Friday, October 16, at 11:30 am. Register here.

    October 19 — PR 101 for Startups and Small Businesses

    Want to generate press for your startup but have no budget? Join General Assembly for this PR 101 session to learn how to leverage PR strategies to grow your business. This session is ideal for startup founders and marketers and general enthusiasts who would like to learn PR strategies and tips. Our panelists will cover effective story telling, media relations, and content development.

    The event will take place online on Monday, October 19, at 5 pm. Register here.

    October 19-29 — Space Com Expo

    We are dedicated to accelerating the global business of space. SpaceCom 2020's online event will feature eight days of unprecedented innovation, superior thought-leadership, and forward-thinking strategies all for free.

    The event will take place online at various times from Monday, October 19, to Thursday, October 29. Register here.

    October 20 — Houston, We Have a Leader: Fireside Chat with Head of JLABS @ TMC

    Fiona Mack, the new regional head for JLABS @ TMC has landed in Space City, and she's sitting down with the one-any-only Melinda Richter, Global Head of JLABS, for a fireside chat on all things Lone Star State, JLABS and her Texas-sized plans for the future of JLABS @ TMC.

    The event will take place online on Tuesday, October 20, at 11 am. Register here.

    October 21 — Diversity Investor Academy's panel on cleantech

    The Diversity Investor Academy has announced a panel will be discussing the latest reports published, the trends in Cleantech, and how it could affect early-stage investment from different perspectives: startups, BA, and VC.

    The event will take place online on Wednesday, October 21, at 2 pm. Register here.

    October 22 — MassChallenge 2020 Virtual Awards

    MassChallenge Texas's Houston Cohort will reveal its top companies of 2020 at MCTX's first virtual awards. Cohorts from Austin, Boston, and Rhode Island will also be represented, and headliners for the event include Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, and Linda Pizzuti Henry, managing director of the Boston Globe, and Chris Denson of Innovation Crush will be the host.

    Click here to see the Houston finalists.

    The event will take place online on Thursday, October 22, at 4 pm. Register here.

    October 22 — How to Start a Startup: Heath Butler, Mercury Fund

    Learn how to identify problems, needs, and trends worth pursuing and then how to create and evaluate possible solutions to these problems.

    The event will take place online on Thursday, October 22, at 5:30 pm. Register here.

    October 26-28 — 2020 Ken Kennedy Institute Data Science Conference

    Now in its fourth year, the Ken Kennedy Institute Data Science Conference is a research, development, and innovation (RD&I) gathering, bringing together university and research labs (technology developers), key industry verticals (technology consumers), and IT industry (technology providers) that are looking at opportunities created by advances in AI, data analytics, machine learning and deep learning. It is structured to facilitate engagement and networking across all of these boundaries. The conference is specifically interested in highlighting use-cases that translate data to knowledge enabled by data and fueled by advances in data analytics, machine learning, deep learning, and AI.

    The event will take place online on Monday, October 26, to Wednesday, October 28. Register here.

    October 27-29 — ATCE Startup Village 

    In addition to the Energy Startup Competition, the event will include expert presentations and table discussions. Participants will have opportunities to ask questions and hear advice from investors, industry representatives and veteran entrepreneurs. ATCE Startup Village is a partnership between the Society of Professional Engineers and the Rice Alliance.

    The event will take place online on Tuesday, October 27, to Thursday, October 29. Register here.

    October 28 — Venture Development Series #3: No Coding Required

    In the last of its Venture Development Lilie workshop series, the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will build upon the themes covered in previous events and show participants how to create low fidelity prototypes without spending a dollar or knowing how to write a single line of code.

    The event will take place online on Wednesday, October 28, at 4 pm. Register here.

    October 29 — Ignite Madness finals

    Female-led health tech founders face off in a startup competition like none other. Catch the first round bracket on October 22 at 9:30 am, or just tune in to the finals to see who takes the win (and, more importantly, the investment prizes).

    The event will take place online on Thursday, October 29, at 6 pm. Register here.

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

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

    where to be online

    Despite much of the state returning to some state of normalcy, larger groups are still not encouraged to gather quite yet in order to avoid an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

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

    June 2 — How Fashion Brands Optimize E-Commerce and Sustainability During a Pandemic

    Kim Roxie, founder of LAMIK Beauty, moderates a panel of e-commerce startup founders for The Ion to discuss modern issues the female founders are facing.

    Details: The event is at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2. Learn more.

    June 4 — Startup Growth After COVID-19 with Sputnik ATX

    Curious about what business and startup growth may look like post-COVID-19? Join Sputnik ATX Partner Joe Merrill via General Assembly for a discussion on how to grow a business and raise a round during a pandemic.

    Details: The event is at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 4. Learn more.

    June 6 — Enventure Basecamp: Business Building Workshop

    Our community-driven business building basecamp series returns this June to support a local innovator construct their healthcare venture.

    Details: The event is at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 6. Learn more.

    June 9 — Pulse Check-Today's Funding Landscape

    Today's current crisis has changed the mindset of many industry strategic partners, investors and overall stakeholders. From pivoting investment priorities, to identifying new areas of innovation, the investor landscape is constantly shifting.

    For small to medium sized biotechs, it can be hard to keep up with promised milestones while also planning and anticipating the future of their companies. How could companies be preparing for not only the short-term but for years to come? What should be prioritized in the coming months? Who is still investing? How can they find the right partners for them as they move forward?

    Details: The event is at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9. Learn more.

    June 11 — Energy and Utilities: Drones, Connectivity, and Operations of the Future

    Preparing for the future can be confusing. How can you keep up with industry and regulatory advancements, or know when to invest in new technology? That's why we teamed up with Southern Company to share how they're preparing — and how you can, too. Join Skyward and Southern Company for a discussion about energy and utility operations of the future and practical steps you can take now to prepare your enterprise.

    Details: The event is at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 11. Learn more.

    June 11 — Venture vs The Virus: Texas Halo Fund IV

    The Houston Angel Network presents Episode 3 of Venture vs The Virus. During this virtual event you will hear from the managing directors of the Texas Halo Fund on the launch of their new fund and the investment opportunities they are seeing as a result of the health crisis.

    Details: The event is at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 11. Learn more.

    June 11 — Intro to Fundraising in FemTech & AMA with Juliana Garaizar and Dr. Barreto

    Are you raising capital for your FemTech startup? Join us VIRTUALLY for an overview from venture capitalists and investors at Intro to Fundraising in FemTech & Ask Me Anything!

    Details: The event is at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 11. Learn more.

    June 16 — Women in Tech Summit presented by Accenture

    Capital Factory will host a virtual Women In Tech Summit dedicated to increasing diversity in the entrepreneurial and tech community while making its coworking space an inclusive environment for all.

    Attendees can look forward to a special keynote guest, insightful fireside chats, discussion sessions, a startup showcase, Epic Office Hours, and panels on relevant topics facing the tech ecosystem.

    Details: The event is at noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16. Learn more.

    June 16 — VC Ask Me Anything Virtual Event featuring The Artemis Fund

    These livestreams, which will include audience Q&A, will tackle the big questions on everyone's mind, like how founders should adjust in the face of the pandemic and what fundraising will look like once the pandemic loosens its grip. Click here to stream.

    Details: The event is at 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16. Learn more.

    June 17-19 — Virtual Rice Business Plan Competition

    This year's Rice Business Plan Competition, which was planned for March 26 to 28, was canceled due to COVID-19, but the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship has decided to offer up an alternative: A virtual RBPC. Forty two student teams will compete over three virtual events.

    Details: The event is from June 17 to 19. Learn more.

    June 23 — Virtual Fireside Chat: Fredrik Tukk, Maersk Drilling

    Join The Ion for a chat with Fredrik Tukk-Head of Innovation Scouting at Maersk Drilling about how organizations can benefit from innovation

    Details: The event is at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23. Learn more.

    June 24 — The Ion Startup Demo Day

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

    Details: The event is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24. Learn more.

    June 30 — TMC Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics Info Session

    The TMC ACT team will answer questions including who should apply to TMC ACT, what are the timelines, and what value to expect.

    Details: The event is at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30. Learn more.

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

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

    Where to be online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    May 6 — Curious About Starting a Career in Tech?

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

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

    May 7 — Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Day

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

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

    May 8 — Lunch & Learn: Startup Funding Rounds

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

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

    May 12 — Lunch and Learn with Asian Pacific American Entrepreneurs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    May 29 — Mothers in Tech Breakfast

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

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

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

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

      where to be online

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

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

      April 1 — Social Entrepreneurship Meetup

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


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

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

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

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

      April 3 — UH's Red Labs Pitch Madness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      April 14 — Black in Tech Summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      April 22 — Ion Startup Demo Day (Virtual Edition)

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

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

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

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      CultureMap Emails are Awesome

      Mayor greenlights major solar farm project in south Houston

      shine on

      Mayor Sylvester Turner and the city council have given the green light on a project that will convert a 240-acre former landfill in Sunnyside into a brownfield solar installation.

      The public-private partnership with Sunnyside Energy LLC. received unanimous approval on a lease agreement that will move the project — which is a part of the City's Climate Action Plan and Complete Communities Initiative — forward.

      "The Sunnyside landfill has been one of Houston's biggest community challenges for decades, and I am proud we are one step closer to its transformation," says Mayor Turner in a news release. "I thank the Sunnyside community because this project would not have come together without its support. This project is an example of how cities can work with the community to address long-standing environmental justice concerns holistically, create green jobs and generate renewable energy in the process."

      The solar field, which is anticipated to be installed and working by the end of next year, will be able to power 5,000 homes and offset 120 million pounds of CO2 each year, according to the release.

      "We applaud the actions of Mayor Turner and the City Council in taking this significant step," says Dori Wolfe, managing director of Sunnyside Energy LLC, in the release. "It is a strong vote of confidence for this impactful project. All members of the project team realize that this Sunnyside Solar facility will be an iconic statement in the rejuvenation of the community. We are grateful that Mayor Turner has given us his support."

      The city's involvement with the company began in 2017 when Houston joined the C40 Reinventing Cities Competition – a global competition to promote sustainable energy projects. As a part of the competition and through the city's efforts on the initiative, powers at be selected the winning proposal from Wolfe Energy LLC, which formed Sunnyside Energy LLC to execute the urban solar farm project.

      Per the lease agreement, the city of Houston owns the land and Sunnyside Energy will be the tenant responsible for permitting, construction, operation, and more.

      Houston health company acquired by Seattle tech biz

      M&A Moves

      A West Coast health tech company has announced the acquisition of Houston-based 2nd.MD.

      Accolade Inc., which uses technology solutions to help users better understand their benefits and the health care system, announced last week that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Houston-based expert medical opinion company 2nd.MD.

      The goal of the acquisition is to further simplify the healthcare experience for employees and increase return on investment for employers, according to a press release from Accolade, and the company will continue to offer 2nd.MD's service on a stand-alone basis as well.

      "We share a common vision to help every person live their healthiest life by dramatically improving quality and accessibility of care through a people-focused, clinically-driven support model," says Rajeev Singh, CEO of Accolade, in the release. "Bringing 2nd.MD's world-class Care Team and digital approach with expert medical consultation into Accolade, and continuing to offer it on a stand-alone basis, will have an immediate and measurable impact for our customers, their employees, and the health plans we work with."

      "Both companies have built deep relationships with employers and health plans by helping employees navigate the increasingly complex and inconsistent healthcare system," Singh continues. "With the addition of 2nd.MD, we'll nearly double our total addressable market while providing the most comprehensive, integrated healthcare navigation experience available."

      2nd.MD supports over 300 employers — connecting more than 7 million people to over 900 nationally recognized, board-certified medical specialists. According to the release, the company reported unaudited revenues of approximately $35 million.

      "When it is you or a loved one facing a serious health decision, waiting for weeks to receive a second opinion from an expert isn't acceptable. We've built a scalable Expert Medical Opinion offering that treats every member like family," says Jason Melton, CEO of 2nd.MD. "Combining our Care Teams and technology with Accolade will enhance the reach and quality of support to members from the moment of crisis to the other side of treatment on the path to wellness. We share a common business vision, our cultures are highly aligned around employee purpose and we share a common mission to change healthcare for the benefit of all consumers."

      5 PR and marketing tips for Houston startups and small businesses in 2021

      guest column

      The past year has been a rollercoaster for small businesses. When the pandemic hit, every single person was affected. We've all had to pivot in some way either personally, professionally, or both.

      As public relations and marketing professionals who specialize in working with small businesses, we've spent the last 10 months in the trenches with our clients, advising and helping business owners and entrepreneurs navigate these uncertain times. While small business revenue is down since January 2020, it's not all doom and gloom out there – we've seen many other businesses experience unexpected success and growth, and according to economists, we are entering the greatest entrepreneurial economy of our time.

      And as we start this new year, there is no better time to invest in business growth and planning. Below are five tips to help you get started.

      1. Get smart on your PR

      Whether you know a little or a lot about public relations, marketing, and social media, take some time to get caught up on the current landscape. It is constantly changing, and having a better understanding of how traditional media, social media, paid marketing, owned content and all other components can benefit your business will inform decisions about where to allocate your time and resources.

      First, assess what stage of business you are in as well as your business goals to determine what PR and marketing tools could be most beneficial to your growth at this time. Not all small businesses are prepared, financially or otherwise, to invest in PR, and there are fundamental steps you can do on your own to get your business positioned to succeed.

      With online education booming, there are many free resources and tools at your disposal. We created All You Need Method to simplify PR and marketing for small business owners. You can download our Free PR Roadmap on our website to assess what level of PR support is right for your business. We also created The PR Starter Kit online course to give small business owners the fundamental tools they need to use PR, marketing, and social media to support business growth and build a lasting brand – and it only takes a few hours to complete.

      2. Revisit your target audience

      The world has changed significantly over the past year and so have the wants, needs, habits, and interests of consumers. As a small business, it's imperative to understand your target audience's current problems in order to relate to them, build trust, and deliver a product or service that is meeting their needs.

      Before investing time and financial resources creating and executing a 2021 business plan, take a step back and consider your ideal customer. Outline how the past year has created opportunities or challenges in their life, problems they are facing, new shopping habits, lifestyle shifts, communication preferences, concerns, etc. If you have more than one ideal customer, work through this exercise for each.

      With this new perspective, you will be equipped to make business decisions through the lens of how you can better serve your customers, rather than how to increase revenue.

      3. Stand for something

      Brands that are succeeding today are the brands that are authentic, vulnerable, and that stand for something. According to a global study by Zeno Group in July 2020, consumers are 4 to 6 times more likely to purchase and champion purpose-driven companies.

      Having a purpose doesn't require a brand to have a philanthropy component or an outspoken political stance – it's about identifying your specific values and making them apparent through your messaging and leadership within your industry. Values could include committing to sustainable production methods, outstanding customer service, commitment to diversity, or supporting a specific cause. What is most important is that your values are authentic and that you can stand behind them long-term.

      As the founder/owner of a small business, you have an opportunity to put a face and values behind the brand so that your company is about more than selling something.

      4. Clarify your message

      After revisiting your target audience and carefully considering your brand values, incorporate those findings into your messaging. Conduct an audit of your website, social media channels, and all external facing materials, and update your messaging to ensure that if your ideal customer had a 30 second encounter with your brand, they would walk away with your most important messaging points. Important points to consider as you craft new messaging include:

      • How your product or service solves a problem for or benefits your target audience
      • Brand values
      • Points of differentiation

      5. Be authentic and communicative

      Before the days of social media, a brand had to rely on third parties, including editorials and ads in magazines and newspapers, to spread the word about their brand. Social media and all "owned channels," including a brand's website, blog, and newsletter, have leveled the playing field and allow small business owners to have control over their communication with customers. Through your owned channels, a brand can decide what to post and when, which is incredibly valuable.

      While securing press and advertising opportunities is valuable to growth and brand awareness, it's largely outside of one's control. Focus your time and financial resources on communicating with your audience by creating content for your owned channels. Creating content and posting consistently can seem overwhelming to a solopreneur or small team, but there are ways to make it manageable:

      • Pick only a few owned channels to focus on, prioritizing platforms you are most familiar with using and where your audience is most active
      • Quality and consistency are more important than quantity. If you're only posting once a week due to bandwidth, commit to that frequency and increase frequency as you are able
      • To inspire and inform content creation, think about how you can serve your customers through your areas of expertise and what is relevant to both your brand and audience (events, holidays, partnerships, new product launches, etc.)
      • Create a content calendar so that you can plan out posts a month in advance to avoid last minute scrambling to decide what to post

      Once you've worked through these five tips, make a plan to support your business goals - and start thinking in two phases.

      • Phase 1: Pandemic Home Stretch - Although there is hope with a COVID-19 vaccine, we know we will likely be dealing with the effects indefinitely. Use this time of uncertainty to get your business in the best shape possible.
      • Phase 2: Post Pandemic - How do you want your business or brand to show up when the world opens back up? It feels far off, but it is closer than you think and there is a huge opportunity for those who are willing to put in the work now.

      Remember, these challenging times will pass. There is massive opportunity for the businesses and brands who are willing to reflect, pivot, and plan for a brighter future.

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      Kathryn Worsham Humphries and Carla M. Nikitaidis are the co-creators of Houston-based All You Need Method, a PR and marketing resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs.