year in review
Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, InnovationMap is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston innovation. In the lifestyle category on InnovationMap, top stories included features on Houston startups with consumer-facing apps and reports related to life in Houston. Be sure to click through to read the full story.
Mallard Bay, which won big at the Rice Business Plan Competition, is expanding in Houston. Photo via Getty Images
A Louisiana-founded hunting and fishing startup is growing its operations and expanding into Houston.
Mallard Bay, a marketplace for booking guided fishing and hunting trips, will move half of its employees to Houston and will join the Greater Houston Partnership, according to a release from the GHP. The company hopes the move will help it tap into the large corporate and convention entertainment market in Texas.
The company was founded in 2021 by a group of Louisiana State University students after noticing a gap in the outdoor travel space. Last year, founders Logan Meaux, Joel Moreau, Wyatt Mallett and Tam Nguyen entered in the Rice Business Plan Competition and won the fourth-most in investments and prizes, totaling $218,000.
“Entering the Rice Business Plan Competition helped close out our $1.8 million seed round last September,” Meaux, co-founder and CEO of Mallard Bay, says in a statement. “Not only did it help us raise money, but the recognition and the contacts we made were instrumental in growing the business and sparked the idea to expand to Houston. Prior to the competition, we were unaware of all that the Houston startup ecosystem had to offer, but quickly realized the value of having a network here in Houston.” Read the full story.
Everyone wants to live here. Photo by Kevin Hernandez on Unsplash
Start spreading the news: Houston will eclipse New York City as the 2nd biggest metro area by the year 2100, a new report predicts.
An analysis by moving services site moveBuddha published June 22 says Houston's population could swell to 31.38 million people in the next 77 years.
Based on current population and migration trends, in fact, America’s three biggest metropolitan areas by 2100 will be Dallas-Fort Worth (No. 1), Houston (No. 2), and Austin (No. 3), replacing New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago as the country’s most populous metros, the report predicts. Read the full story.
A Houston-founded company is targeting mothers and daughters with their teletherapy app. Photo courtesy of Passport Journeys
When Lacey Tezino’s mother died of cancer she vowed to help other mothers and daughters find their own ways to bond in beautiful, nurturing ways.
Tezino turned that vow into a mission that is now available for others to embark on with an online therapy app tailored specifically for the mother-daughter dynamic Passport Journeys.
The Houston-based company is billed as the first mother-daughter teletherapy application that stands out in a crowded market place on online therapy like Better Help. Tezino, the founder and CEO, partnered with seven Houston-based licensed behavioral health clinics to make the dream a reality.
The app, which launched aptly on Mother's Day, can be downloaded via Apple or Google Play, and includes video therapy sessions, journal opportunities, interactive worksheets, and help those who need access to this form of mental health help with ease. Read the full story.
Houston didn't even crack the top 100 in the new list. Photo by Alisa Matthews on Unsplash
In a surprise turn of events, Houston has fallen from grace in U.S. News and World Report's "Best Places to Live" ranking for 2023-2024.
Last year, Houston ranked No. 59 on the annual report — not surprising, considering all the Newstonians. However, the Bayou City plummeted to a shocking No. 140. Two years ago, the city ranked as No. 39, so this year's report represents a series of slips for Houston.
But why? According to the report: "A paycheck goes further in Houston than it does in other major metro areas, with affordable housing and free or cheap attractions like biking along Buffalo Bayou and exploring the 7,800-acre George Bush Park. The affordability of this region, which is located in southeastern Texas and home to more than 7 million residents in the metro area, is attracting new people from across the country and around the world." Read the full story.
This new restaurant technology allows for eateries to upgrade to mobile ordering for no cost. Photo courtesy of Cloche
A new Houston company has designed a platform that enables mobile ordering at no cost to restaurants.
Cloche, a mobile software platform named after the bell-shape dish cover that's known to come with room service orders, has launched in Houston and is currently looking for restaurants interested in utilizing their technology to upgrade their eatery with mobile ordering at no cost to the restaurant.
Alfredo Arvide, co-founder and managing director, tells InnovationMap that the idea for the platform came after the pandemic forced restaurateurs to quickly pivot to touch-free menus. Now that the consumer has adapted to scanning QR codes to view menus, the next step is to optimize ordering — something that will also help with the labor shortages that restaurants are now facing.
"Now is the time transform this industry by creating a better meal experience for the consumers, an easier job for the restaurant staff and a more efficient, more profitable business for restaurant owners," Arvide says. Read the full story.