Houston's innovation ecosystem has been busy, and the ongoing 50th anniversary of the Offshore Technology Conference has claimed a lot of attention in town lately. While I'm sure you've seen the big news pieces, like the Texas Medical Center's new details about TMC3 or WeWork's third Houston location, you may have missed some of these short stories.
Need more news rounded up for you? Subscribe to our daily newsletter that sends fresh stories straight to your inboxes every morning.
Data Gumbo closes a $6 million Series A round
Data Gumbo's executive team will use the round of funding to grow its operations. Courtesy of Data Gumbo
Data Gumbo Corp., a Houston-based blockchain-as-a-service company, completed a $6M Series A equity funding round. Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures — the venture subsidiary of Saudi Aramco — and Equinor Technology Ventures —the venture subsidiary of Equinor — co-led the round.
The new capital will be used to grow the company's commercial blockchain network, as well as Data Gumbo's technical, sales and marketing teams at their Houston headquarters and office in Stavanger, Norway. This Series A round brings Data Gumbo's total funding to $9.3 million.
"We enabled the first application of blockchain technology in the offshore drilling industry and will continue to break new ground with applications of BaaS to improve the bottom line of companies of all sizes. Blockchain will have a major impact on the oil and gas industry - and all global industries - and we will lead the charge in its broad adoption for sweeping operational improvements," says Andrew Bruce, CEO of Data Gumbo, in a release. "The partnership with Equinor and Saudi Aramco, and their associated supply chains and partnerships, will provide the momentum for the Data Gumbo BaaS network to gain critical mass." Learn more about Bruce and Data Gumbo here.
Alice and Founder Institute team up
Houston's new Founder Institute chapter has teamed up with Alice. Image courtesy Founder Institute
Pre-seed accelerator, the Founder Institute and Houston-based AI startup resource platform, Alice, announced a partnership to present the "Alice Fellowship" within the Founder Institute Program to help aspiring female founders build impactful and enduring startup companies.
The fellowship allows for female entrepreneurs in the Alice community to apply to the Houston FI program for free, waiving the $50 fee. The best applicants will then be selected to receive the fellowship for free as well. Interested female founders can apply https://fi.co/join/Alice before the application deadline of May 19.
Report shows how Houston fares as a startup city
Houston didn't rank among the best cities for startups — but it didn't make the worst either. Photo by Tim Leviston/Getty Images
Houston performed averagely on a new study from SimpleTexting. The report ranked cities based on their startups' performance — valuation of startups, startup jobs available, number of investors in the region, etc. Here's how Houston ranked. (Note: only the top and bottom 10 cities were ranked, and Houston doesn't appear on any of the top or bottom 10 lists.)
- Average startup valuation: $4 million (This seems to be about the middle of the pack compared to other cities.)
- Investor to startup ratio: 2.9 (Houston outranks Austin, which has a 1.5 ratio, in this category but seems to be closer to the bottom than the top.)
- Startups per 100,000 people: 27.1 (Houston ranks pretty low on the spectrum for this. The 10th worst city is Rochester, New York, which has 17.8.)
- Startup jobs per 100,000 people: 1.8 (Houston again falls closer to the bottom than the top with this number. The 10th worst city is Tuscon, Arizona, which has 0.88.)
While using different metrics, WalletHub found that Houston is a strong city to start a business. Read that story here.
Clean energy company awarded at EarthX
Trevor Best, CEO of Syzygy Plasmonics, walked away from EarthX $100,000 richer. Photo via LinkedIn
Houston-based Syzygy Plasmonics won $100,000 as one Texas' top CleanTech startup companies at the 2019 EarthX CleanTech Investment Challenge in Dallas. Syzygy is a chemicals startup out of Rice University, and one of their technologies focuses on hydrogen as a fuel option and alternative to gasoline.
TMCx company raises $5.14 million Series A
Philadelphia-based RoundTrip, which is in TMCx's current cohort, closed a hefty Series A round. Photo via roundtriphealth.com
An estimated 3.6 million patients miss or postpone their medical appointments annually, which leads to bigger medical issues that could have been prevented or treated earlier. Philadelphia-based RoundTrip created a platform where patients can book transportation to and from appointments. The startup, which is currently completing TMCx's digital health accelerator program, recently closed its Series A round of $5.14 million led by Motley Fool Ventures.
Houston energy professional publishes female-focused book
The new novel tells the stories of the women within the offshore oil and gas industries. Courtesy of Rebecca Ponton
Rebecca Ponton has published her series of 23 short biographies of women in the offshore oil and gas industry called, Breaking the GAS Ceiling: Women in the Offshore Oil & Gas Industry. Ponton timed the publication ahead of the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference. The book is available on Amazon.
The book features a number of Texas women, including:
- Marni Zabarsky (MADCON Corp.)
- Mieko Mahi (freelance petroleum photographer)
- Alyssa Michalke (previously of TAMKO)
- Jerry Tardivo Alcoser (works in Chevron's Bakersfield office, but has a home in Houston)
- Melody Meyer, Katie Mehnert, and Ally Cedeno, who wrote endorsements for the book, live and work in Houston.
Houston O&G consulting company named Great Place to Work
EAG Services received a national recognition for its work environment and employee happiness. Getty Images
Great Place to Work and FORTUNE selected Houston-based EAG Services as one of the 2019 Best Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services in the small to mid-sized company category. The rankings were based on employees' feedback. EAG Services took the Number 17 spot on the list.
"EAG Services is proud to be recognized by our people for creating one of the best workplaces in the consulting and professional services industry. Our ongoing commitment to keeping culture our priority as well as playing an ever-critical role in hiring has proven to be successful in attracting and building an empowering place to work," says Elizabeth Gerbal, CEO and Founder of EAG Services, in a release.