CardioOne, which built a physician enablement platform for independent cardiologists, has been acquired by WindRose Health Investors. Photo via cardioone.com

A Houston health tech startup founded only last year has exited to a New York private equity firm.

CardioOne, which built a physician enablement platform for independent cardiologists, has been acquired by WindRose Health Investors. The complete terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to a WindRose news release, the firm will provide up to $100 million of additional capital to go toward supporting CardioOne's growth.

The fresh influx of capital will go toward expanding and enhancing existing service options. The CardioOne leadership team will continue to be at the helm of the startup.

"We are excited for the opportunity to partner with WindRose as CardioOne embarks on its next chapter of growth," Dr. Jasen Gundersen, CardioOne's CEO and co-founder, says in the release. "We believe that working with WindRose, which has a history of successfully partnering with companies to help navigate the transition to value-based care, will empower us to continue supporting independent cardiologists while developing additional solutions that maximize each practice's potential in the shift to VBC arrangements."

Last year, CardioOne raised an $8 million seed round and announced key partnerships at clinics in New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania, in addition to existing relationships in Texas and Maryland. CardioOne also partnered with MedAxiom, an organizational performance solutions provider in the industry.

"CardioOne's unique, physician-aligned model meets the market where it is and positions the Company to take advantage of the growing desire among cardiologists to maintain their independence," Oliver Moses, managing partner with WindRose, adds. "We believe CardioOne delivers a compelling tech-enabled offering to the independent cardiology market and has significant growth potential as the Company builds upon its momentum in 2023. We are excited to join forces with Jasen and his team as they continue to build upon the differentiated platform they have created."

CardioOne has fresh funding and new partners, resulting in a five-state expansion. Photo via Getty Images

Houston heart health startup secures $8M in funding, announces new partnerships

cardiatric care

With fresh funding, a Houston-based health tech platform that's less than a year old has grown its United States footprint.

CardioOne, which has created a cardiology care delivery enablement platform that serves independent cardiologists, has closed an $8 million seed round of funding and secured three new partnerships. Axios and Crunchbase report that the round has closed, and CardioOne confirms the funding and new partnerships in a press release.

The company has three new partnerships with independent cardiology clinics in New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania, Cardiac Associates of New Jersey, Twin Hearts LLC, and Corrieius Cardiology. The trio joins existing partner practices in Texas and Maryland.

In addition to joining forces with these practices, CardioOne has entered into a partnership with MedAxiom, which is described as being "the cardiovascular community’s premier source for organizational performance solutions," in the release.

“CardioOne is optimizing cardiology practice management and providing new options for independent cardiologists,” Joe Sasson, MedAxiom’s executive vice president of ventures and chief commercial officer, says in the news release. “With CardioOne, independent cardiology practices can access the scale and leverage typically reserved for large hospital groups and are empowered to grow through additional service lines, strong network relationships, and payor contracts, including value-based care arrangements.”

Dr. Jasen Gunderson, who's based in Denver, is the CEO and co-founder of CardioOne, which was founded last year. He explains the challenges of independent cardiologists, which includes inefficient revenue cycle tools, incomplete vendor management systems, and other tech-based and administrative obstacles — most of which CardioOne addresses.

“Inadequate and fragmented technology is at the root of many of the problems that independent cardiologists are facing today,” Gunderson says in the release. “CardioOne’s solution removes the heavy administrative burdens, empowering cardiologists to focus on their expertise and true passion – the practice of medicine without feeling forced into acquisition.”

CardioOne's mission is to continue to help cardiology practices maintain their independence while keeping up with demand, patient care, and business growth.

"Our independence and clinical autonomy has allowed our practice to provide more personalized care to our patients, but in a consolidating market... the resources and technology investments required to run a practice group today make staying independent more difficult than ever before,” Dr. John H. Lee of Cardiac Associates of North Jersey, says in the release. “CardioOne is a true collaborator, serving as an extension of our operations and allowing us to focus on doing what we love — caring for patients.”

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Houston engineers develop breakthrough device to advance spinal cord treatment

future of health

A team of Rice University engineers has developed an implantable probe over a hundred times smaller than the width of a hair that aims to help develop better treatments for spinal cord disease and injury.

Detailed in a recent study published in Cell Reports, the probe or sensor, known as spinalNET, is used to explore how neurons in the spinal cord process sensation and control movement, according to a statement from Rice. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, Rice, the California-based Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the philanthropic Mary K. Chapman Foundation based in Oklahoma.

The soft and flexible sensor was used to record neuronal activity in freely moving mice with high resolution for multiple days. Historically, tracking this level of activity has been difficult for researchers because the spinal cord and its neurons move so much during normal activity, according to the team.

“We developed a tiny sensor, spinalNET, that records the electrical activity of spinal neurons as the subject performs normal activity without any restraint,” Yu Wu, a research scientist at Rice and lead author of the study said in a statement. “Being able to extract such knowledge is a first but important step to develop cures for millions of people suffering from spinal cord diseases.”

The team says that before now the spinal cord has been considered a "black box." But the device has already helped the team uncover new findings about the body's rhythmic motor patterns, which drive walking, breathing and chewing.

Lan Luan (from left), Yu Wu, and Chong Xie are working on the breakthrough device. Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

"Some (spinal neurons) are strongly correlated with leg movement, but surprisingly, a lot of neurons have no obvious correlation with movement,” Wu said in the statement. “This indicates that the spinal circuit controlling rhythmic movement is more complicated than we thought.”

The team said they hope to explore these findings further and aim to use the technology for additional medical purposes.

“In addition to scientific insight, we believe that as the technology evolves, it has great potential as a medical device for people with spinal cord neurological disorders and injury,” Lan Luan, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice and a corresponding author on the study, added in the statement.

Rice researchers have developed several implantable, minimally invasive devices to address health and mental health issues.

In the spring, the university announced that the United States Department of Defense had awarded a four-year, $7.8 million grant to the Texas Heart Institute and a Rice team led by co-investigator Yaxin Wang to continue to break ground on a novel left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that could be an alternative to current devices that prevent heart transplantation.

That same month, the university shared news that Professor Jacob Robinson had published findings on minimally invasive bioelectronics for treating psychiatric conditions. The 9-millimeter device can deliver precise and programmable stimulation to the brain to help treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Houston clean hydrogen startup to pilot tech with O&G co.

stay gold

Gold H2, a Houston-based producer of clean hydrogen, is teaming up with a major U.S.-based oil and gas company as the first step in launching a 12-month series of pilot projects.

The tentative agreement with the unnamed oil and gas company kicks off the availability of the startup’s Black 2 Gold microbial technology. The technology underpins the startup’s biotech process for converting crude oil into proprietary Gold Hydrogen.

The cleantech startup plans to sign up several oil and gas companies for the pilot program. Gold H2 says it’s been in discussions with companies in North America, Latin America, India, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The pilot program is aimed at demonstrating how Gold H2’s technology can transform old oil wells into hydrogen-generating assets. Gold H2, a spinout of Houston-based biotech company Cemvita, says the technology is capable of producing hydrogen that’s cheaper and cleaner than ever before.

“This business model will reshape the traditional oil and gas industry landscape by further accelerating the clean energy transition and creating new economic opportunities in areas that were previously dismissed as unviable,” Gold H2 says in a news release.

The start of the Black 2 Gold demonstrations follows the recent hiring of oil and gas industry veteran Prabhdeep Singh Sekhon as CEO.

“With the proliferation of AI, growth of data centers, and a national boom in industrial manufacturing underway, affordable … carbon-free energy is more paramount than ever,” says Rayyan Islam, co-founder and general partner at venture capital firm 8090 Industries, an investor in Gold H2. “We’re investing in Gold H2, as we know they’ll play a pivotal role in unleashing a new dawn for energy abundance in partnership with the oil industry.”

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.

3 Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to a handful of Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes an e-commerce startup founder, an industrial biologist, and a cellular scientist.

Omair Tariq, co-founder and CEO of Cart.com

Omair Tariq of Cart.com joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to share his confidence in Houston as the right place to scale his unicorn. Photo via Cart.com

Houston-based Cart.com, which operates a multichannel commerce platform, has secured $105 million in debt refinancing from investment manager BlackRock.

The debt refinancing follows a recent $25 million series C extension round, bringing Cart.com’s series C total to $85 million. The scaleup’s valuation now stands at $1.2 billion, making it one of the few $1 billion-plus “unicorns” in the Houston area.

Cart.com was co-founded by CEO Omair Tariq in October 2020. Read more.

Nádia Skorupa Parachin, vice president of industrial biotechnology at Cemvita

Nádia Skorupa Parachin joined Cemvita as vice president of industrial biotechnology. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Houston-based biotech company Cemvita recently tapped two executives to help commercialize its sustainable fuel made from carbon waste.

Nádia Skorupa Parachin came aboard as vice president of industrial biotechnology, and Phil Garcia was promoted to vice president of commercialization.

Parachin most recently oversaw several projects at Boston-based biotech company Ginkjo Bioworks. She previously co-founded Brazilian biotech startup Integra Bioprocessos. Read more.

Han Xiao, associate professor of chemistry at Rice University

The funds were awarded to Han Xiao, a chemist at Rice University.

A Rice University chemist has landed a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Health for his work that aims to reprogram the genetic code and explore the role certain cells play in causing diseases like cancer and neurological disorders.

The funds were awarded to Han Xiao, the Norman Hackerman-Welch Young Investigator, associate professor of chemistry, from the NIH's Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) program, which supports medically focused laboratories. Xiao will use the five-year grant to advance his work on noncanonical amino acids.

“This innovative approach could revolutionize how we understand and control cellular functions,” Xiao said in the statement. Read more.