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

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.

    It's a busy month in Houston. Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

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

    Where to be

    Editor's note: SXSW has been canceled due to the coronavirus since the publishing on this events roundup. The original version of this article is below.

    March is a busy month for Houston in general — but especially when it comes to innovation. The inaugural Houston Tech Rodeo starts out the month and the Rice Business Plan Competition closes out March in a few weeks — and the interactive weekend at SXSW falls right in the middle of the month for those planning the trip to Austin.

    But for the Houston innovators in the energy industry, March got a little less busy when CERAWeek by IHS Markit was canceled due to the growing threat of the coronavirus, or COVID19.

    Should any other events below have that same fate, this article will be updated.

    March 2-6 — Houston Tech Rodeo

    A week full of events, the Tech Rodeo is made up of over 30 innovation events across Houston. These are InnovationMap's picks for what to attend during the week. For a complete list of the events (most of which are free), head to the website.

    Details: The event is from Monday, March 2, to Friday, March 6 across Houston. Learn more.

    March 5 — Space Center Houston's Thought Leader Series: Designing for Human Performance

    Learn how human factors engineering relates to spacecraft and spacesuit design while celebrating Women's History Month and the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station. Speakers include Celena Dopart, human factors engineer for Starliner at Boeing, and Katie Spira, NASA flight controller.

    Details: The event is at 7 pm on Thursday, March 5, at Space Center Houston (1601 E NASA Pkwy). Learn more.

    March 6 — Premier Talks: Women in Innovation & Technology 

    Join this panel of accomplished women as they discuss the importance of being a woman in the current workforce and leading among your peers. Be empowered to self-evaluate, inspire those around you, and raise the bar on your professional goals. Discuss the challenges women face in a male dominated technology workforce and why it is important to take the limits off of your thinking.

    Details: The event is from 9:15 to 11 am on Friday, March 6, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    March 6 — The Greater Houston Partnership’s Rise to the Top

    Celebrating International Women's Day, the Greater Houston Partnership and the Partnership's Women's Business Alliance brings the Rise to the Top event. Expect a keynote address from Gretchen Watkins, president atShell Oil Company and executive vice president at Global Unconventionals, Shell Oil Company, and candid conversations from a panel of female executives discussing the challenges and triumphs of succeeding as a woman in today's business environment.

    Details: The event is from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm on Friday, March 6, at Hilton Americas (1600 Lamar St.). Learn more.

    March 10 — Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator Meet & Greet

    If you're an energy-focused startup, don't miss this info session with the Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator, which is visiting Houston and looking for the 10 best energy companies for its next cohort.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Monday, March 10, at The Ion (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    March 10-11 — Energy 2.0: Equality, Environment, and the New Economy

    Join over 100,000 people taking part in Energy 2.0 2020; an innovative experience that addresses new frontiers in the energy industry where business, workforce, environment, innovation, and policy intersect. Spread across multiple locations and continents, corporate watch sites around the globe, and simulcast online, Energy 2.0 brings energy professionals and a diverse mix of experts across various disciplines together for learning and networking opportunities.

    Details: The event is from Monday, March 10, to Tuesday, March 11, online and at The Westin Houston, Memorial City (945 Gessner Rd.). Learn more.

    March 12 — Lunch n' Learn: 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 percent of all patents that never recoup the cost of filing them.

    Details: The event is from noon to 1:30 pm on Wednesday, March 12, at The Ion (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    March 19 — Science First: How 3D Printing is Reshaping the Future of Healthcare

    Technology is evolving faster than ever – and advancements in 3D printing could revolutionize the delivery of healthcare products and solutions to change the trajectory of health for humanity.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Wednesday, March 19, at JLABS @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    March 24 — How to Form a Micro VC Fund Workshop at Mercury Fund

    Welcoming all angels, previous founders, MBA students, aspiring and current venture capitalists that are interested in learning more about the basic essentials for starting a small venture fund. Speakers are Blair Garrou of Mercury Fund and Justin LaPoten of BADR Investments.

    Details: The event is from 10 to 11 am on Tuesday, March 24, at Mercury Fund (3737 Buffalo Speedway, #Suite 1750). Learn more.

    March 25 — 2020 H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge - Startup Competition

    The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Startup Competition is Rice's newest entrepreneurship competition, awarding over $60,000 in prize money to Rice-affiliated teams. Students and alumni enter business ideas (high growth ventures or small business ideas) to compete.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Wednesday, March 25, at Liu Idea Lab For Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Rice University - Cambridge Office Building). Learn more.

    March 26 — T3CH Workshop: Grow With Google "Using Data to Drive Business Growth"

    In this T3CH workshop, you'll learn best practices on data-driven decision making; and get practical guidance on how to find and analyze trends regarding online customer engagement with your business, so you can turn those insights into well-informed, actionable decisions.

    Details: The event is from noon to 1 pm on Thursday, March 26, at Impact Hub Houston @ The Cannon Post Oak (675 Bering Drive, #200). Learn more.

    March 26-28 — Rice Business Plan Competition

    The event — dubbed the "world's richest and largest student startup competition" — begins later this month. The Rice Business Plan Competition will host 42 student teams from all over the world. The three-day contest consists of pitches, judging, and a closing banquet where the winners are revealed.

    Details: The event is from Thursday, March 26, to Saturday, March 28, at Rice University and the Hilton Americas. Learn more.

    Vivante Health, which uses technology and at-home testing to help users treat chronic digestive health issues, has raised $5.8 million. Getty Images

    Digital health startup based in Houston closes $5.8 million round

    Money moves

    A Houston health technology startup that uses digital solutions and on-demand support to help its users with digestive health has closed a Series A round of funding.

    Vivante Health raised $5.8 million in a series A1 round, according to a news release. The round was led by California-based Lifeforce Capital and Athens, Greece-based Big Pi Ventures. Additionally, NFP Ventures, FCA Venture Partners, and Longmont Capital contributed to the round.

    "We knew we were onto something when the market responded so positively," says Dr. Kimon Angelides, Vivante Health founder and CEO, in the release, "but support from esteemed, experienced and successful firms like Lifeforce and Big Pi, and the continued strong support from our initial investor partners, give us a very encouraging boost of confidence as we carry out our vision and further develop the GIThrive platform."

    With the fresh funds, Vivante will continue to develop its GI health platform, GIThrive. The digital tool has an at-home microbiome test kit for users, as well as a breath tester that monitors food sensitivities. GIThrive also connects users to on-demand support from nutritionists and experts on the GIThrive app.

    The startup's Houston headquarters is based out of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center, JLabs@TMC, but has offices in Nashville, Chicago, and Athens. Angelides, who honors his Greek heritage by spending a fair about of time in Greece, says in the release how important the Big Pi investment is for him.

    "This partnership with Big Pi, a tech-based investment firm who's driven by the desire to support Greek talent, makes perfect sense. What's more, we have partnered with a team who themselves have been very successful entrepreneurs," says Angelides in the release.

    Angelides, who has founded three other health tech companies, impressed Big Pi with his entrepreneurial track record and nationwide team

    "This is one of those rare investments where the financial upside goes hand in hand with the prospect of radically improving the lives of millions of people across the globe," says Marco Veremis, investment partner with Big Pi, in the release.

    Lifeforce Capital has a portfolio of software startups, including Aspire, Cricket Health, Notable Labs, One Medical, and Second Genome, per the news release, and the VC firm is excited for their new addition.

    "We were immediately struck by Kim's entrepreneurial passion and big vision," says Sander Duncan, general partner with Lifeforce Capital, in the release. "We are thrilled to work with the Vivante team to build the first platform tackling digestive disease for millions of suffering patients."

    LabReady ensures samples make it from the patient to the lab without compromising the quality of the sample. Photo via vaximmune.com

    Houston medical device startup enters clinical trials

    LabReady

    Houston-based Vax-Immune Diagnostics has commenced on a new multicenter clinical trial to roll out a specific lab test as a part of its LabReady product.

    The 12-week study will analyze results from Group B Streptococcus lab tests in expecting mothers. Currently, 16 to 20 percent of pregnant women are affected by GBS, according to a news release, which will then infect their newborn through the childbirth process.

    Vax-Immune's product, LabReady, enhances the transportation process of lab samples and aims to improve the quality of results in patients. The company is expected to report data from the trial this summer.

    "Currently samples are not regulated through transport from the patient to the lab often causing inaccurate test results. And inaccurate test results can cause significant problems since medical decisions are based on these results," Dr. Leonard E. Weisman, president and chief technology officer at Vax-Immune Diagnostics, says in the release.

    "Our device, LabReady collects, protects, processes, and prepares the sample from the patient through transport, so when it arrives at the laboratory, infection can easily and accurately be diagnosed."

    This study is planned to randomize approximately 300 patients from 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the release. GBS is the most common cause of infections such as sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia among newborns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other organizations, have launched efforts for screenings and tests to reduce cases of neonatal GBS disease.

    Vax-Immune was a member of the Texas Medical Center's 2018 TMCx Medical Device cohort and pitched at the 7th TMCx Demo Day. The company is a JLABS @ TMC resident.

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    CultureMap Emails are Awesome

    The Ion receives $1.5M economic development grant to go toward Houston accelerator programs

    accelerating accelerators

    The Ion — a rising hub for innovation being developed in Midtown by Rice Management Company — has received a $1.5 million grant to go toward supporting its startup accelerator programs.

    The grant from the Economic Development Administration is a part of the organization's Build to Scale (B2S) program and will also benefit three accelerators: the Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator, the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator, and DivInc Accelerator.

    "Receiving this grant is a big win for our city — furthering the Ion's opportunity to bring together leading minds to solve some of our toughest challenges," says Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance, in a news release from Rice. "We believe that it's a fully collaborative approach that will lead to accelerating energy innovation and sustainable solutions."

    All three of these accelerators will be represented in The Ion's Accelerator Hub and will work in collaboration, according to the release, in The Ion, which is expected to open in 2021 with cohorts set to open applications in early 2021.

    "We are really excited about working together with DivInc and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship to realize the full potential of the opportunities that these funds will help unleash," says Jan Odegard, interim executive director of the Ion, in the release.

    The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator has cycled through two rounds of cohorts — first focusing on resilience and mobility in Cohort 1 then air quality, water purification, and other cleantech in Cohort 2.

    The 12-week Clean Energy Accelerator was only recently announced by The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship at the annual Energy Tech Venture Forum earlier this month. The program is established to support Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Climate Action Plan.

    Meanwhile, DivInc's accelerator comes out of a partnership with the Austin-based nonprofit and The Ion, which was announced in spring of this year. The goal with this program is to increase access to minority entrepreneurs.

    "DivInc embodies the mindset that this generation and all the generations of innovators to follow must be inclusive of people of color and women entrepreneurs – who will build successful scalable growth companies to address tomorrow's challenges and opportunities," says Preston James, chief executive officer at DivInc, in the release.

    "By removing the barriers that currently exist, we unleash this untapped potential and lift Houston to new economic heights. To do this we must establish strong collaboration with partners like The Ion, Rice University, the EDA and many others."

    Houston Independent School District launches new COVID-19 tracker

    TRACKING COVID IN HISD

    Greater Houston parents have an important date circled and marked on their calendars: October 19. That's the day Houston Independent School District welcomes students back for in-person instruction at all schools.

    However, a major point of concern and contention with area parents is the possibility of fellow students contracting, carrying, and spreading COVID-19. To that end, the district has announced a new COVID-19 dashboard to keep the community informed about the impact of the pandemic. Parents can view the COVID-19 dashboard here.

    The online dashboard launched Monday, September 28, to track the number of confirmed COVID-19 students and staff cases on campuses, in an effort to display transparency, according to a press release. As of September 28, some 23 active cases are reflected on the dashboard, out of more than 222,000 students and staff.

    HISD's new dashboard was developed using Texas Education Agency guidelines for reporting COVID-19. It will be updated daily, allowing users to review student and staff data by location and districtwide, according to the district. The dashboard will also include a map to clearly illustrate and mark active cases throughout the district.

    All applicable privacy laws relating to the release of personal health information will be followed, according to a press release.

    "As we navigate this pandemic together, we want to ensure that we are transparent as we provide crucial updates," said HISD interim superintendent, Grenita Lathan, in a statement. "This new dashboard will give our staff members and families the information they need in an accessible and easy-to-use way to make informed decisions."

    For more information on HISD's reopening plan, visit the official site.

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    This article originally ran on CultureMap.

    Houston-based 3D printing company plans to change the world — one piece of trash at a time

    Houston Innovators Podcast Episode 51

    Aside from collecting their plastics throughout the week and dragging the bin to the curb, people aren't usually preoccupied with the recycling of materials. Houston-based Re:3D wants to change that.

    The company was founded in 2013 by NASA contractors Samantha Snabes and Matthew Fiedler to tackle to challenge of larger scale 3D printing and give people the power to create things larger than a breadbox. The bootstrapped company has received grants and crowdfunding and grown to a 20-person team with a lab in Clear Lake.

    Over the past seven years, Re:3D has evolved its technology, from enhancing its GigaBot 3D printers to print from recycled materials to creating larger devices, like a six-foot-tall 3D printer. A true testament to its growth, Re:3D was recognized as the Company of the Year for 2020 by the Consumer Technology Association.

    The company has completed accelerators and pitch competitions and even recently finished The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator this year, which has really set the team up for new opportunities in sustainability.

    "We're keen to start to explore strategic pilots and partnerships with groups thinking about close-loop economies and sustainable manufacturing," Snabes says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.

    Of course, like many startups, the emergence of COVID-19 affected Re:3D's sales cycle, but the pandemic did open a door to an opportunity to 3D print personal protection equipment. Through a partnership with Impact Hub Houston called PPE for the People, Charlotte Craff, who oversees community outreach, Re:3D started a months-long mission of printing PPE for at-risk workers who otherwise couldn't afford it.

    "As the pandemic continued, the data was emerging that people of color in Black and Brown communities and underserved communities were at greater risk of critical illness from COVID-19," Craff says on the podcast. "We wanted to specifically target people of color who were working as Texas opened back up its doors."

    PPE for the People is still hard at work — and even seeking donations and volunteers to help print and deliver the equipment — as the need to help keep these communities safe continues to be imperative.

    Craff and Snabes share more about Re:3D — from its success on TripAdvisor as a top educational tour attraction in Houston to the future of 3D printing — on the episode. The duo even discusses an upcoming virtual tour of the Re:3D lab that's open to anyone on the Re:3D website.

    You can listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.