Here's your one-stop shop for innovation events in Houston this month. Photo via Getty Images

It's fully summer here in Houston, and the city's business community is mixing in networking and conference events with family vacations and time off. Here's a rundown of what all to throw on your calendar for June when it comes to innovation-related events.

This article will be updated as more business and tech events are announced.

June 1 — Houston Veterans In Residence Showcase

Bunker Labs’ Veterans in Residence Showcase is a nationwide event spanning across 23 cities and 3 virtual cohorts, celebrating over 400 veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs launching their startups and businesses from our recent cohort. It gives you a chance to network with local participants. Become part of your local business community and learn how you can get involved by patronizing, investing in, or partnering up with our veterans and military spouse entrepreneurs.

The event is Wednesday, June 1, 6 to 8 pm, at WeWork Jones Hall. Click here to register.

June 1 — SportsTech Meetup + Happy Hour

Join us for a meetup and happy hour to socialize with fellow entrepreneurs and business owners in SportsTech. The event is hosted by Pokatok, a new sports tech startup focused on elevating sports innovation in Houston.

The event is Wednesday, June 1, 4 to 6 pm, at The Cannon Sports. Click here to register.

June 2 — Building a Talent Strong Texas, a Special UpSkill Works forum 

Dr. Harrison Keller, Commissioner of Higher Education, is fresh off the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's release of its Building a Talent Strong Texas plan, which elevates the critical importance of post-secondary education and continued skills development.

The event is Thursday, June 2, noon to 1 pm, online. Click here to register.

June 8 — Carbon to Value Initiative Year 2 Kickoff

Year 2 of the C2V Initiative builds on its successful first year in 2021 that led to partnerships, technology advancement, and industry growth. Join us, together with Fluor Corporation, a leading global engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, as we kick off year 2 of this exciting program, which will connect the selected startups with experts, resources, and programming to help them achieve their commercial and technical milestones!

The event is Wednesday, June 8, 6 to 8 pm, at Greentown Houston. Click here to register.

June 8 — Illuminate Houston: An Innovation Conversation

Illuminate Houston is an event series highlighting business leaders who challenge the way we think about the future. Illuminate Houston features dynamic formats where speakers and attendees discuss trends, technologies and issues that define how we do business. The Partnership welcomes Gaurab Chakrabarti, CEO and Co-founder of Solugen on Wednesday, June 8.

The event is Wednesday, June 8, noon to 1 pm, online. Click here to register.

June 8 — High Performance Institute Information Session

Join The Ion as we hear from High Performance Institute and how we are working to build a partnership for the community.

The event is Wednesday, June 8, 4 to 6 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 9 — Sip & Socialize, brought to you by partner of The Cannon, Dell for Startups

Enjoy some cocktails from partner of The Cannon, Dell for Startups, and learn more about the upcoming pitch competition on June 29th.

The event is Thursday, June 9, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, at The Powder Keg (1300 Brittmoore Rd). Click here to register.

June 16 — Transition On Tap: In Partnership with The Veterans Advanced Energy Project

Greentown Houston is hosting a special Transition On Tap in partnership with The Veterans Advanced Energy Project. Some of America's best talent joined the military to serve and deploy to combat in a time of national crisis. Now those same veterans are entering the energy transition for their next tour of duty. While the climate crisis is a call to serve, the energy transition is also a massive economic opportunity these young leaders are running towards. Learn from the panel of experienced professionals and meet other like-minded individuals passionate about the energy transition.

The event is Thursday, June 16, 5 to 8 pm, at Greentown Labs Houston (4200 San Jacinto St). Click here to register.

June 20-22 — 6th Annual Energy Drone & Robotics Summit

The Energy Drone & Robotics Summit is the largest event in the world for UAVs, Robotics & Data/AI/ML, exclusively focused on the business and technology of unmanned systems, automation and data/AI in energy & industrial operations. Over the last 5 years, it has grown to the most influential gathering of industrial, energy and engineering leaders from around the globe where the key challenges & solutions are addressed for operating drones, satellites, and robotics successfully and managing/making data actionable, from the stars to the sea floor.

The event is Monday-Wednesday, June 20-22, at the Woodlands Marriott. Click here to register.

June 22 — Houston Startup Showcase

The Houston Startup Showcase is a year-long series of monthly pitch competitions. Founders will pitch LIVE AT THE ION and compete for the grand prize package. Watch the startups pitch their company and see who the judges will name the champion of Houston Startup Showcase 2022.

The event is Wednesday, June 22, 2:45 to 5:30 pm, at the Ion. Click here to register.

June 28 — Future of Global Energy: Innovation District Reception and Tour

Day one of the Future of Global Energy Conference Presented by Chevron begins offers a special tour and reception in the heart of Houston's innovation district highlighting some of the key venues that are propelling energy transition forward here in Houston. Attendees will tour Greentown Labs and The Ion.

The event is Thursday, June 2, 2:45 to 5:30 pm, at the Houston Innovation District. Click here to register.

June 28-30 — The Future of Global Energy: Houston’s Role in Leading the Energy Transition Presented by Chevron

To highlight Houston's role in the global energy transition, the Greater Houston Partnership and Center for Houston's Future will host a dynamic three-day conference providing global and national context on the changing energy landscape and highlight Houston's leadership in the global energy transition.

The event is Tuesday-Thursday, June 28-30, and is a hybrid event. Click here to register.

June 29 — Alumni Napier Rice Launch Challenge 2022

Join Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and support Rice University alumni startups at the H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge (NRLC) virtual Championships on Wednesday, June 29. Six alumni finalists will pitch their ventures for the chance to win equity-free funding.

The event is Wednesday, June 29, 6 to 8 pm, online. Click here to register.

June 29 — Panel & Pitch Competition, Sponsored by Dell for Startups

As part of the tour, the Dell for Startups team will be stopping by Houston in partnership with The Cannon to host a Houston Founder Pitch Competition. Eight startups from all across the city will compete for $25,000 worth of prizes is taking place at The Cannon.

The event is Wednesday, June 29, 4 to 7:30 pm, at the Cannon West Houston. Click here to register.

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Houston health tech startup secures $27M in financing

money moves

A virtual health care and analytics provider startup has closed its latest round of funding for a total of $27 million in financing.

Medical Informatics Corp. closed a $17 million series B co-led by Maryland-based Catalio Capital Management and California-based Intel Capital. The financing also includes an additional $10 million in debt led by Catalio through Catalio’s structured equity strategy, according to a news release.

“We are excited to have had this round co-led by Catalio and Intel Capital," says Emma Fauss, CEO and co-founder of MIC, in the release. "Catalio brings significant financial and technical resources, while Intel Capital possesses strong operational and industry experience, and we look forward to continuing to leverage both firms’ expertise as we continue to scale.”

MIC created an FDA-cleared virtual care platform, called Sickbay, that gives health care providers and hospitals away to remotely monitor patients in any setting with vendor-neutral real-time medical device integration, workflow automation and standardization.

“We have seen an increased demand for our solution as our clients face significant staffing challenges and are looking for ways to amplify and empower their workforce," Fauss says in the release. "Some of the largest health care systems in the country are standardizing their infrastructure on our Sickbay platform while consolidating IT spend."

Other participants in the round included new investors TGH Innoventures, Tampa General Hospital’s innovation center and venture fund, and Austin-based Notley — as well as existing investors San Francisco-based DCVC, the Texas Medical Center, and nCourage, a Houston-based investment group.

As a part of the round, two individuals from Catalio will join the board at MIC. Jonathan Blankfein, principal at Catalio will join the board of directors, Diamantis Xylas, head of research at Catalio, will join as board observer.

“Health care systems’ need for high-caliber, cost-saving, data-driven technology is only going to increase, and MIC’s proprietary platform is perfectly positioned to address some of the most critical clinical challenges that health care organizations face,” says Blankfein in the release. “We look forward to continuing to support MIC’s strong team as it continues to deliver better outcomes for health care organizations and patients alike.”

Amid the pandemic and the rising need for remote care technology, MIC scaled rapidly in the past two years. The company will use the funding to continue fueling its growth, including hiring specialized talent — deep product specialists and client engagement teams — to support long-term strategic partnerships.

“One of the main barriers to advanced analytics in health care is the siloing of data and today there is a significant need for a platform to enable flexible, centralized and remote monitoring at scale and on demand,” says Mark Rostick, vice president and senior managing director at Intel Capital, in the release. “Medical Informatics is setting a new standard of health care by removing these data silos for health care providers of all sizes and transforming the way patients are monitored from hospital to home with real-time AI.”

Innovation pioneers on why Pumps & Pipes is so uniquely Houston

A Day of Discussion

Pumps & Pipes 2022, Houston’s premier innovation event, is rapidly approaching on December 5 from 8 am-3 pm at the Ion.

Leading up to this exciting event, InnovationMap spoke with several of the speakers representing various industries to ask them, "What makes Pumps & Pipes uniquely Houston?"

Here are their responses:

Dr. Alan Lumsden, chair of cardiovascular surgery at Houston Methodist and Pumps & Pipes founder:

“…What can we learn from one another? What is inside the other person’s toolkit? A lot of solutions are already out there but sometimes we don’t have the ability to see into their toolkit. This has become the driving force behind Pumps & Pipes throughout the last 15 years…”

Dr. Lucie Low, chief scientist for microgravity research at Axiom Space:

“‘Houston, we have a problem’ — everyone knows Houston as a major player in the aerospace industry as highlighted by this famous quote from Apollo 13. What people may not know and what is exciting to me about Houston are the opportunities for collaboration with other industries that can help drive our mission to build communities of healthy humans in space. With the largest medical center in the world right next to Johnson Space Center, Houston is a prime city for innovation at the intersection of medicine and space.”

David Horsup, managing director of technology at OGCI Climate Investments:

“The remarkable diversity of thought, culture, and expertise that exists in Houston creates an incredible cauldron for innovation. The city has been the leading light in pushing frontiers in energy, aerospace, and medicine for many years, and Pumps & Pipes is a powerful ‘node’ for some of the brightest minds across these industries to connect, collaborate, and innovate. I am extremely excited to see how Houston is pivoting to embrace the challenge that climate change is presenting, and the city will play a defining role going forward.”

Purchase tickets for Pumps & Pipes here and follow Pumps & Pipes on social media at LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Houston startup founders report on clean energy tech efficacy

seeing results

A team from Rice University has uncovered an inexpensive, scalable way to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

In research published this month in the journal Science, researchers from Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics, in partnership with Syzygy Plasmonics Inc. and Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, detail how they converted ammonia into carbon-free fuel using a light-activated catalyst.

The new catalyst separates the liquid ammonia into hydrogen gas and nitrogen gas. Traditional catalysts require heat for chemical transformations, but the new catalyst can spur reactions with just the use of sunlight or LED light.

Additionally, the team showed that copper-iron antenna-reactors could be used in these light-driven chemical reactions, known as plasmonic photocatalysis. In heat-based reactions, or thermocatalysis, platinum, and related precious (and expensive) metals like palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium are required.

“Transition metals like iron are typically poor thermocatalysts,” Naomi Halas, a co-author of the report from Rice, said in a statement. “This work shows they can be efficient plasmonic photocatalysts. It also demonstrates that photocatalysis can be efficiently performed with inexpensive LED photon sources.”

Halas, Rice's Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was joined on the project by Peter Nordlander, Rice’s Wiess Chair and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Rice alumni and adjunct professor of chemistry Hossein Robatjazi. Emily Carter, the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and Environment, represented Princeton University.

“These results are a great motivator," Carter added. "They suggest it is likely that other combinations of abundant metals could be used as cost-effective catalysts for a wide range of chemical reactions.”

Houston-based Syzygy, which Halas and Nordlander founded in 2018, has licensed the technology used in the research and has begun scaled-up tests of the catalyst in the company’s commercially available, LED-powered reactors. According to Rice, the test at Syzygy showed the catalysts retained their efficiency under LED illumination and at a scale 500 times larger than in tests in the lab setup at Rice.

“This discovery paves the way for sustainable, low-cost hydrogen that could be produced locally rather than in massive centralized plants,” Nordlander said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Syzygy closed its $76 million series C round to continue its technology development ahead of future deployment/

Houston is home to many other organizations and researchers leading the charge in growing the hydrogen economy.

Earlier this year, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced he's determined to position the city as hub for hydrogen innovation as one of the EPA's Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs. Organizations in Texas, Southwest Louisiana and the surrounding Gulf Coast region, known and HyVelocity Hub, also announced this month that it would be applying for the regional funding.

And according to a recent report from The Center for Houston's Future, the Bayou City is poised to "lead a transformational clean hydrogen hub with global impact."