These could all be Californians for all we know. Photo via Local.AllState.com

Does it seem that Californians really are everywhere here in Houston? Here's why: A report by online storage finding platform StorageCafe has revealed just how much money the average Californian saves by taking on the title of transplant and relocating to the Lone Star State.

And more people from Los Angeles and Contra Costa counties are choosing Houston over any other area in Texas.

The migration report, which was released this summer by StorageCafe, states about 111,000 people moved to Texas from the Golden State in 2021, while only 33,000 Texans made the opposite move to California that same year.

The reasons why so many are flocking to Texas seem obvious: the lack of income tax, a lower cost of living, and the rise of remote work flexibility. These factors proved to be vastly important for millennials, who made up a majority of the transplants (46 percent).

Californians looking for a permanent Texas home can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by turning to Houston's booming housing market, where median home prices cost about $403,490.

With homes in San Diego ringing up for nearly $870,000, transplants can save $466,278 by buying a house in Houston. The Californians that save the most money on a new house hail from Orange County, where median prices cost over a million dollars. They can save $646,510 by purchasing a Houston home.

Renting an apartment in Houston is another financially advantageous move for California transplants, and will get them a larger space than what they can find in their home state. Rent prices in major California cities like San Diego and Los Angeles easily cost more than $2,600 a month, which is a far cry from Houston's median rent price of $1,336 per month.

Even for that amount of money, renters relocating to Houston from Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties can easily find apartments that are over 500 square feet bigger.

StorageCafe's sister site Yardi Matrix's business intelligence manager Doug Ressler gave his thoughts in the report about the major factors that keep motivating Californians to make that move to Texas.

"Inflation continues to be a major concern, putting a financial strain on many people as they spend more of their income on typical expenses," he said. "As a result, moving to places that are easier on the wallet seems like the obvious solution, with many people crossing city and state lines to find a more suitable place to live."

The trend is not likely to slow down anytime soon, either.

"Over the first two decades of the 21st century, the movement of people leaving California for Texas has been well established," Ressler said. "No other state has sent more migrants to Texas than California during this time. The continual soaring housing prices and cost of living in California and much greater affordability in Texas is likely to sustain the significant flows of Californians toward Texas in the coming decades."

The study's findings were determined using census data between 2017 and 2021 from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA) tool. Home pricing information was found using data from real estate platform Point2.

The full study can be found on storagecafe.com.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Many Americans relocated to Texas’ Sunbelt region in 2022. Photo by GeoJango Maps on Unsplash

Most movers in 2022 set Houston as their destination, says new report

moving on in

Where did the most Americans relocate to in 2022? The answer, according to a new report from Penske Truck Rental, is Houston.

Many Americans relocated to Texas’ Sunbelt region in 2022, according to Penske's latest annual “Top Moving Destinations” report. This is Houston’s second consecutive year as the No. 1 moving destination, while Dallas (No. 7), San Antonio (No. 9), and Austin (No. 10) also appeared within the top 10. Based on the 2021 report, Dallas’ destination ranking remained the same, while San Antonio dropped further down from last year to No. 6, and Austin only fell one place.

Penske has been reporting on the migration patterns of Americans for 13 years, using data from the U.S. cities with the most inbound one-way consumer rentals throughout the year. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 23.7 million Americans moved in 2022, which is about four percent more than in 2021.

In the report, Penske Senior Vice President Kevin Malloy said it’s “always exciting” to find out where the company’s customers are moving with each new release.

“We understand just how hectic the moving experience can be and pride ourselves on putting the consumer first throughout the rental experience,” he said.

Penske’s top 10 moving destinations in 2022 are:

  • No. 1 – Houston
  • No. 2 – Las Vegas
  • No. 3 – Orlando, Florida
  • No. 4 – Phoenix
  • No. 5 – Atlanta
  • No. 6 – Charlotte, North Carolina
  • No. 7 – Dallas
  • No. 8 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 9 – San Antonio
  • No. 10 – Austin

With the arrival of National Moving Month in May, Penske decided to commemorate the month by releasing four specially-curated playlists on Spotify. Each playlist is under an hour and a half long, and has its own unique “vibe” to describe what it feels like to move. They also come with apt names: “Pack It Up,” “Moving on Mix,” “Forwarding Address,” and “Make This House, Home.”

The song choices are intended to “help people look forward to the journey ahead,” according to Malloy.

More information about Penske's report can be found on pensketruckrental.com.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Houston cardiac health startup raises $43 million series B to grow AI-backed platform

money moves

A Houston-based tech company that has a product line of software solutions for cardiac health has raised funding.

Octagos Health, the parent company of Atlas AI — a software platform for cardiac devices like pacemakers, defibrillators, ambulatory monitors and consumer wearables — has announced a $43 million series B raise that will bring their technology to many more hearts.

Morgan Stanley Investment Capital led the investment, which also included funds from Mucker Capital and other continuing strategic investors. The goal of the raise is to supply funds to accelerate Atlas AI’s growth across the United States and to expand into other areas of care, including ambulatory monitors, consumer wearables, and sleep.

"This investment will enable us to accelerate enhancements to our platform, in addition to scaling our commercial team and operations. We are currently the only company that helps cardiology practices migrate their historical data from legacy software providers and fully integrates with any EHR (exertion heart rate) system. We do this while enabling customized reporting supported by patient and practice decision-support analytics," says Eric Olsen, COO of Octagos Health, in a press release.

Octagos Health was founded by a team of healthcare pros including CEO Shanti Bansal, a cardiologist and founder of Houston Heart Rhythm, an atrial fibrillation center. The goal was to find a new way to deal with the massive amount of data that clinicians encounter each day in a way that combines software and the work of human doctors.

According to the Octagos Health website, “Our solution allows clinicians to focus on other ways of delivering meaningful healthcare and more efficiently manage their remotely monitored patients.”

It works thanks to customizable reporting features that allow patients’ healthcare teams to get help while monitoring them, but to do it precisely as they would if they were crunching numbers themselves.

"We are excited to partner with Octagos Health and support their vision of transforming cardiac care," says Melissa Daniels, managing director of Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. "Octagos Health has demonstrated exceptional growth and innovation in a critical area of healthcare. We believe their platform and vertically integrated software and services significantly improve patient care and streamline cardiac monitoring processes for healthcare providers."

Will Hsu, co-founder and partner of Mucker Capital, agrees. “Octagos Health is poised for scale – industry leading gross margins, a very sticky product that doctors and clinical staff love, and a market ready for disruption with artificial intelligence. This is the new wave for diagnostic care,” he says. And with this raise, it will be available to even more clinicians and patients across the country.

Houston biotech company expands leadership as it commercializes sustainable products

joining the team

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.

Parachin will lead the Cemvita team that’s developing technology for production of bio-manufactured oil.

“It’s a fantastic moment, as we’re poised to take our prototyping to the next level, and all under the innovative direction of our co-founder Tara Karimi,” Parachin says in a news release. “We will be bringing something truly remarkable to market and ensuring it’s cost-effective.”

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita, says the hiring of Parachin represents “the natural next step” toward commercializing the startup’s carbon-to-oil process.

“Her background prepared her to bring the best out of the scientists at the inflection point of commercialization — really bringing things to life,” says Moji Karimi, Tara’s brother.

Parachin joins Garcia on Cemvita’s executive team.

Before being promoted to vice president of commercialization, Garcia was the startup’s commercial director and business development manager. He has a background in engineering and business development.

Founded in 2017, Cemvita recently announced a breakthrough that enables production of large quantities of oil derived from carbon waste.

In 2023, United Airlines agreed to buy up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cemvita’s first full-scale plant over the course of 20 years.

Cemvita’s investors include the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, an investment arm of Chicago-based United; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum; and Japanese equipment and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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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 a logistics startup founder, a marketing expert, and a solar energy innovator.

Matthew Costello, CEO and co-founder of Voyager Portal

Houston logistics SaaS innovator is making waves with its expanded maritime shipping platform. Photo courtesy of Voyager

For several years now, Matthew Costello has been navigating the maritime shipping industry looking for problems to solve for customers with his company, Voyager Portal.

Initially, that meant designing a software platform to enhance communications and organization of the many massive and intricate global shipments happening every day. Founded in 2018 by Costello and COO Bret Smart, Voyager Portal became a integral tool for the industry that helps users manage the full lifecycle of their voyages — from planning to delivery.

"The software landscape has changed tremendously in the maritime space. Back in 2018, we were one of a small handful of technology startups in this space," Costello, who serves as CEO of Voyager, says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "Now that's changed. ... There's really a huge wave of innovation happening in maritime right now." Read more.

Arielle Rogg, principal and founder of Rogg Enterprises

Arielle Rogg writes in a guest column for InnovationMap about AI in the workforce. Photo via LinkedIn

Arielle Rogg isn't worried about artificial intelligence coming for her job. In fact, she has three reasons why, and she outlines them in a guest column for InnovationMap.

"The advent of AI pushes us humans to acquire new skills and hone our existing abilities so we can work alongside these evolving technologies in a collaborative fashion. AI augments human capabilities rather than replacing us. I believe it will help our society embrace lifelong learning, creating new industries and jobs that have never existed before," she writes in the piece. Read more.

Nathan Childress, founder of Solar Slice

Solar Slice Founder Nathan Childress says his new venture offers a fulfilling way to encourage and promote solar energy and a greener planet. Photo via LinkedIn

Nuclear engineer and entrepreneur Nathan Childress wants consumers to capture their own ray of sunlight to brighten the prospect of making clean energy a bigger part of the power grid. That's why he founded Solar Slice. The new venture offers a fulfilling way to encourage and promote solar energy and a greener planet.

Although trained in nuclear power plant design, solar power drew his interest as a cheaper and more accessible alternative, and Childress tells InnovationMap that he thinks that the transition to cleaner energy, in Texas especially, needs to step up.

Recent studies show that 80 to 90 percent of the money invested into fighting climate change “aren’t going to things that people actually consider helpful,” Childress says, adding that “they’re more just projects that sound good, that are not actually taking any action." Read more.