Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from investment to biodesign — recently making headlines in Houston innovation.
Erik Ibarra, founder of Magnolia Fund
Erik Ibarra's latest venture is to give agency to residents in the neighborhood he grew up in. Photo courtesy
For years, Erik Ibarra has watched Houston's East End — La Segunda Barrio — evolve. Now, with tons of construction in the works, he's got a plan for a business that will tap into existing residents to give them ownership of their community.
Ibarra started Magnolia Fund, a mission-driven investment fund dedicated to enriching the East End community and preserving the neighborhood's culture and history. Ibarra, who has lived in the area the majority of his life, says on the Houston Innovators Podcast, that he's looking to turn residents into investors.
"Over the years, I've felt like there's so much development going on. But, the people from the neighborhood are very often just passive — they don't get a chance to benefit from or think about how they could participate in these new developments," Ibarra says. "The neighborhood is very close to my heart, and, about a year ago, I realized I wanted to do something about this." Read more.
Matthew Kuhn, co-founder of Taurus Vascular
A new innovation out of the Texas Medical Center's Biodesign Program is enhancing efficacy of a life-saving aortic aneurysm rupture procedure. Photo courtesy
As part of the current class of the TMC Innovation Biodesign Program, fellows Matthew Kuhn and his co-founder Melanie Lowther were tasked with creating a biomedical company in a year. The founders came up with Taurus Vascular, a medical device company that improves efficacy of abdominal aortic aneurysms treatment.
“It used to be if you had a AAA, you had a gnarly procedure,” Kuhn tells InnovationMap, which included a large incision across the abdomen. The standard treatment, endovascular aneurysm repair, or EVAR, eliminated that, but its problem is that it often results in endoleaks. As many as 20 percent of patients need another EVAR within five years.
Taurus Vascular’s technology improves on EVAR by placing a self-deploying stent to create a drainage pathway between the high-pressure aneurysm sac and a low-pressure nearby vein — mitigating the adverse impact of endoleaks that would otherwise cause the aneurysm to continue to grow. The simple solution will allow patients to live longer, healthier lives after their procedure. Read more.
Libby Covington, partner at The Craig Group
Houston expert shares how to use your data to improve your marketing efforts. Photo courtesy
Data can be hard to tap into when you're working within B2B sales, writes Libby Covington in a guest column for InnovationMap.
"When focusing on revenue growth in business to business companies, analyzing data to develop and optimize strategies is one of the biggest factors in sales and marketing success," she writes. "However, the process of evaluating B2B data differs significantly from that of B2C, or business to consumer. B2C analysis is often straightforward, focusing on consumer behavior and e-commerce transactions."
In her column, Covington shares her advice on navigating this process. Read more.