Editor's note: The new year is officially in full swing, with Houston innovation news coming in hot — from a Houston business reaching unicorn status, or $1 billion in valuation, to news coming out of innovation hubs. Here's what this week's top stories were.
This week's innovators to know are focused on using artificial intelligence in data management, banking for startups, and 5G awareness in Houston. Courtesy photos
This year, Houston's innovation ecosystem is set to change tenfold — from the rise of 5G to burgeoning startup and entrepreneurial hubs emerging across town.
Today's featured innovators know a bit about these movements — from an entrepreneur using artificial intelligence in data management for his clients to a banking exec who went all-in on startups. Continue reading.Continue reading.
2 Houston startups land multimillion-dollar venture capital investments
Riversand and Gecko Robotics are starting of 2020 with fresh funds for scaling business. Pexels
Two Houston tech companies are starting off 2020 with fresh funds in their pockets — to the tune of millions and millions of dollars.
As a part of a national trend, a Houston bank has moved into a space in Houston's largest coworking hub. Texas Citizens Bank/Facebook
Pasadena-based Texas Citizens Bank is getting cozy with current and potential customers at its new branch within The Cannon coworking campus.
Jimmy Allen, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Texas Citizens Bank, says the bank's new 3,900-square-foot location — its seventh branch in the Houston area — fits perfectly within The Cannon's 120,000-square-foot building, which Texas Citizens helped build. The branch opened in December 2019; the grand opening is planned for February 2020.
"Owner-operated businesses are both the genesis of our business model and [a] key customer segment served," says Allen, who was named to his position in September. "A subset of that group certainly includes young, relatively new companies, which favor the current trend in coworking or live-work-play communities." Continue reading.
The Ion names inaugural academics partner, course programming for Houston hub
Rice University's Glasscock school of Continuing Studies is the Ion's first academic partnership to be announced. Courtesy of Rice University
A burgeoning entrepreneurship hub has taken a major step forward in its development with the announcement of its first academic partner and coursework for the partnership.
The Ion has teamed up with Rice University's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies to bring programming to the to-be hub, which is expected to open in early 2021.
"We are thrilled to extend our programming to the Ion constituents and Houston's innovation ecosystem," says Robert Bruce Jr., dean of Rice's Continuing Studies school, in a news release. "Continuing education, whether that takes the form of an advanced certificate or a single course, is an important part of the innovation lifecycle, and we are excited to provide this to Houston's entrepreneurs." Continue reading.
Houston SaaS company achieves unicorn status following $125 million fundraising round
Houston-based HighRadius has reported reaching unicorn status following a $125 million raise. Photo via highradius.com
Following the closing of a $125 million series B investment round, a Houston software-as-a-service company is boosting a new title: Unicorn.
HighRadius, an artificial intelligence-powered fintech software company, has announced its unicorn status, which is defined as being valued at over $1 billion. The series B round, which achieved this status for HighRadius, was led by ICONIQ Capital, with participation from existing investors Susquehanna Growth Equity and Citi Ventures, according to a news release from the company.
"Today marks an important milestone for HighRadius and we're thrilled to have ICONIQ join us in our vision to modernize the Order to Cash space," says Sashi Narahari, founder and CEO of HighRadius, in a news release. "ICONIQ combines patient capital with a long-term vision of investing in category-defining businesses, and the firm has worked with some of the world's most successful tech entrepreneurs. We are building HighRadius into a self-sustaining, long-term category leader, and ICONIQ is a great partner for us in this journey." Continue reading.