Get ready for a fascinating panel. Photo by WebPhotographeer/Getty

The technology and innovation portion of Chile Connected begins next week, and if you haven't already reserved your free spot for the virtual event, you'd be wise to go do it now.

From October 27-29, you can hear from high-level experts and keynote speakers from both Chile and the U.S, as well as network and make new connections that will hopefully lead to a successful partnership.

Josh Sol, the administrative director of Houston Methodist Innovation and Ambulatory Clinical Systems, will be moderating the panel on October 29. The topic is "The Present Future of HealthTech," and will address what COVID-19 means for the future of healthcare technology.

Panelists include Daniela Mendoza, commercial manager for GenoSUR; Alberto Rodríguez-Navarro, founder of Levita Magnetics; and John Dvor, managing director of Miraki Innovation.

InnovationMap recently spoke with Sol about the upcoming event.

InnovationMap: What can U.S. companies gain from participating in this session?

Josh Sol: U.S. companies have the opportunity to gain additional perspectives from other like-minded individuals who are passionate about technology. I've been impressed from the groups and ProChile representatives I have spoken with to date, and I look forward to hearing more about innovation efforts coming from a leading Latin American technology epicenter.

IM: How important are international partnerships in the health tech sector?

JS: Innovation in healthcare technology is coming from all over the globe. Cultural experiences tend to drive creation and innovation. When we collaborate with partners outside of the U.S., we have the opportunity to broaden opportunities and learn from other cultures, and, in turn, we have the potential to apply those insights to what our standard processes are within the U.S. healthcare system.

IM: Personally, why did you feel it important to be involved with Chile Connected?

JS: I have been so impressed by the passion coming from Chile Connected. Discovering new companies doing amazing things in the healthcare technology space continues to fuel my passion for what I do on a day-to-day basis.

IM: What are the key ways businesses can adapt in the pandemic environment?

JS: Businesses should be as nimble as they can — that's a pretty universal lesson most have experienced and we've certainly had first-hand experience in this area as well. At Houston Methodist, our focus is always keeping the patient at the center of everything we do, and we appreciate the collaborative business partners who help us maintain our commitment to our patients, the community, and our clinicians during the pandemic.

Some partners have even pivoted their technology offerings to align with the challenges spurred by COVID. Some areas where we have had to adapt during COVID include ramping up our telemedicine efforts, quickly turning on our virtual ICU, and diversifying the way we communicate with our patients through digital technology.

IM: What do you think is important for start-ups to focus on when trying to grow in this field?

JS: Healthcare technology organizations have many opportunities available to them and must be open to change and the innovations coming from younger start-up companies. As a start-up, it's important to know the problem you are attempting to solve, and to also understand the bigger picture of either the process, patient experience, or clinician experience you are impacting.

Too often, a company will say, "What do you want it to do? It can do anything…" Always come with a solution mindset. Drill down into your offering and what value you have to the organization you're pitching to.

Reserve your free spot for Chile Connected now.

Form international partnerships without ever leaving home. Photo by Luis Alvarez/Getty

5 reasons to get connected with Chile via this virtual event

Listen to the List

It's almost time for the tech and innovation portion of Chile Connected, a nearly month-long virtual event designed to serve as a "matchmaker" for technology firms as well as creative industries, healthy food providers, and women-led businesses.

Sponsored by ProChile, the online convention is an easy — and free — way to meet your next possible collaborator, all from the comfort of home.

To make sure you don't miss your shot at building the next big partnership, here's everything you need to know.

1. The when and where
Chile Connected runs online October 19-November 20, with the tech and innovation panels taking place October 27-29. It's free to attend and you can register here.

2. What to expect
In addition to B2B matchmaking sessions, you can hear Chilean entrepreneurs about about their global innovations in the areas of HealthTech, FinTech, EdTech, and RetailTech. Experts will explore the future of e-commerce, how to empower women in tech, and how healthcare technology is changing in the face of COVID-19.

3. Who'll be there

  • HealthTech: Alberto Rodriguez, president of Levita Magnetic, a company that develops technology through magnets to reduce the need for incisions, invasive surgeries, and scars.
  • RetailTech: Ariel Schilkrut, cofounder of Zippedi Inc. Zippedi is a robot that uses AI to provide services to the retail industry. It includes image recognition and deep learning to create inventories, which improves the efficiency of replenishment processes and the level of service that these companies provide to their customers.
  • EdTech: Komal Dadlani, CEO and cofounder of Lab4U, a company that transforms mobile devices into scientific instruments to democratize access to science, giving the possibility of having a laboratory in your pockets.
  • EdTech: Marisol Alarcón from social de Laboratoria, a company that trains women without higher education as web developers. This undertaking was highlighted by Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama for its contribution to gender equality.
  • Fintech: Cristóbal Forno, founding partner of Global 66, a platform for international money transfers.

But that's just the start — besides the big names from even bigger companies, there will be dozens of people from all over the world looking to network and form partnerships.

4. Why you should consider Chile
Chile is recognized as the most advanced IT market in Latin America, with the IT sector there representing 3.4 percent of its national GDP. Chile is also the 29th largest trading partner of the United States, while America is the No. 1 destination for non-copper goods and service exports from Chile.

5. How Chile benefits you
Most Chilean companies — 53 percent, in fact — are looking for a joint venture or capital to grow into other markets. Chile has been regularly investing not only money but also resources and programs to support new startups and companies. Start-up Chile is one such accelerator; it has vowed to invest $80,000 in an American start-up that will create and develop its idea in Chile.

Reserve your free spot for Chile Connected now.

Your next game-changing parter might be in Chile. Photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty

Why your tech company should partner with forward-thinking Chile

Find Your Match

What's one of the most important ways a tech company can ensure success? Collaboration. Finding that perfect fit with a like-minded partner just might change the world — but first you have to find each other.

For many U.S.-based companies, their next great collab could be Chile. The South American country has recently been attracting the attention of big-name players such as Jeff Bezos, all based off its growing IT presence and expansion in the HealthTech, FinTech, EdTech, and RetailTech sectors.

But you don't have to actually travel to Chile to meet possible partners.

Chile Connected, sponsored by ProChile, is a nearly month-long virtual event designed to serve as a "matchmaker" for technology firms as well as creative industries, healthy food providers, and women-led businesses. And it's completely free to attend.

On October 27-29, the tech and innovation panel will welcome high-level experts and keynote speakers from both Chile and the U.S.

You'll hear from top-level execs at rapidly growing companies like biotech start-up GenoSUR and magnetics surgery pioneer Levita, both Chilean-based with American partnerships. Levita founder Alberto Rodriguez-Navarro will share the stage with GenoSUR's commercial manager Daniela Mendoza, along with a representative from CIC Health, which is innovating in COVID-19 rapid testing.

You also get to network and make new connections, hopefully leading to a successful partnership.

Most Chilean companies — 53 percent, in fact — are looking for a joint venture or capital to grow into other markets. U.S. companies then get the opportunity to select those which best suit their needs or have the most potential, as well as purchase up-and-coming software and other tech products at a very competitive price.

Chile has been regularly investing not only money but also resources and programs to support new startups and companies. Start-up Chile is one such accelerator that has vowed to invest $80,000 in an American start-up that will create and develop its idea in Chile.

So the money, know-how, and support are just waiting in Chile for the American businesses to come find it, and Chile Connected is where you can get started. Reserve your free spot for the event here.

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Houston researchers create AI model to tap into how brain activity relates to illness

brainiac

Houston researchers are part of a team that has created an AI model intended to understand how brain activity relates to behavior and illness.

Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine worked with peers from Yale University, University of Southern California and Idaho State University to make Brain Language Model, or BrainLM. Their research was published as a conference paper at ICLR 2024, a meeting of some of deep learning’s greatest minds.

“For a long time we’ve known that brain activity is related to a person’s behavior and to a lot of illnesses like seizures or Parkinson’s,” Dr. Chadi Abdallah, associate professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor and co-corresponding author of the paper, says in a press release. “Functional brain imaging or functional MRIs allow us to look at brain activity throughout the brain, but we previously couldn’t fully capture the dynamic of these activities in time and space using traditional data analytical tools.

"More recently, people started using machine learning to capture the brain complexity and how it relates it to specific illnesses, but that turned out to require enrolling and fully examining thousands of patients with a particular behavior or illness, a very expensive process,” Abdallah continues.

Using 80,000 brain scans, the team was able to train their model to figure out how brain activities related to one another. Over time, this created the BrainLM brain activity foundational model. BrainLM is now well-trained enough to use to fine-tune a specific task and to ask questions in other studies.

Abdallah said that using BrainLM will cut costs significantly for scientists developing treatments for brain disorders. In clinical trials, it can cost “hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said, to enroll numerous patients and treat them over a significant time period. By using BrainLM, researchers can enroll half the subjects because the AI can select the individuals most likely to benefit.

The team found that BrainLM performed successfully in many different samples. That included predicting depression, anxiety and PTSD severity better than other machine learning tools that do not use generative AI.

“We found that BrainLM is performing very well. It is predicting brain activity in a new sample that was hidden from it during the training as well as doing well with data from new scanners and new population,” Abdallah says. “These impressive results were achieved with scans from 40,000 subjects. We are now working on considerably increasing the training dataset. The stronger the model we can build, the more we can do to assist with patient care, such as developing new treatment for mental illnesses or guiding neurosurgery for seizures or DBS.”

For those suffering from neurological and mental health disorders, BrainLM could be a key to unlocking treatments that will make a life-changing difference.

Houston-based cleantech unicorn named among annual top disruptors

on the rise

Houston-based biotech startup Solugen is making waves among innovative companies.

Solugen appears at No. 36 on CNBC’s annual Disruptor 50 list, which highlights private companies that are “upending the classic definition of disruption.” Privately owned startups founded after January 1, 2009, were eligible for the Disruptor 50 list.

Founded in 2016, Solugen replaces petroleum-based products with plant-derived substitutes through its Bioforge manufacturing platform. For example, it uses engineered enzymes and metal catalysts to convert feedstocks like sugar into chemicals that have traditionally been made from fossil fuels, such as petroleum and natural gas.

Solugen has raised $643 million in funding and now boasts a valuation of $2.2 billion.

“Sparked by a chance medical school poker game conversation in 2016, Solugen evolved from prototype to physical asset in five years, and production hit commercial scale shortly thereafter,” says CNBC.

Solugen co-founders Gaurab Chakrabarti and Sean Hunt received the Entrepreneur of The Year 2023 National Award, presented by professional services giant EY.

“Solugen is a textbook startup launched by two partners with $10,000 in seed money that is revolutionizing the chemical refining industry. The innovation-driven company is tackling impactful, life-changing issues important to the planet,” Entrepreneur of The Year judges wrote.

In April 2024, Solugen broke ground on a Bioforge biomanufacturing plant in Marshall, Minnesota. The 500,000-square-foot, 34-acre facility arose through a Solugen partnership with ADM. Chicago-based ADM produces agricultural products, commodities, and ingredients. The plant is expected to open in the fall of 2025.

“Solugen’s … technology is a transformative force in sustainable chemical manufacturing,” says Hunt. “The new facility will significantly increase our existing capabilities, enabling us to expand the market share of low-carbon chemistries.”

Houston cleantech company tests ​all-electric CO2-to-fuel production technology

RESULTS ARE IN

Houston-based clean energy company Syzygy Plasmonics has successfully tested all-electric CO2-to-fuel production technology at RTI International’s facility at North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.

Syzygy says the technology can significantly decarbonize transportation by converting two potent greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, into low-carbon jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline.

Equinor Ventures and Sumitomo Corp. of Americas sponsored the pilot project.

“This project showcases our ability to fight climate change by converting harmful greenhouse gases into fuel,” Trevor Best, CEO of Syzygy, says in a news release.

“At scale,” he adds, “we’re talking about significantly reducing and potentially eliminating the carbon intensity of shipping, trucking, and aviation. This is a major step toward quickly and cost effectively cutting emissions from the heavy-duty transport sector.”

At commercial scale, a typical Syzygy plant will consume nearly 200,000 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 45,000 cars off the road.

“The results of this demonstration are encouraging and represent an important milestone in our collaboration with Syzygy,” says Sameer Parvathikar, director of renewable energy and energy storage at RTI.

In addition to the CO2-to-fuel demonstration, Syzygy's Ammonia e-Cracking™ technology has completed over 2,000 hours of performance and optimization testing at its plant in Houston. Syzygy is finalizing a site and partners for a commercial CO2-to-fuel plant.

Syzygy is working to decarbonize the chemical industry, responsible for almost 20 percent of industrial CO2 emissions, by using light instead of combustion to drive chemical reactions.

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.