5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week
Editor's note:Another week has come and gone, and it's time to round up the top headlines from the past few days. Trending Houston tech and startup news on InnovationMap included innovators to know, big moves for Houston startups, and more.
Exclusive: Houston startup rebrands to provide AI chat tool focused on women’s health
A Houston founder is introducing you to ema — a GPT-based chat platform and your new best friend in women's health. Photo via Canva
Amanda Ducach set out to create a platform where mothers could connect with each other socially, but when she launched SocialMama just ahead of a global pandemic, she soon learned there was a bigger market need for access to information surrounding women's health — from fertility to menopause.
After pivoting her femtech platform to include women's health experts, she realized her technology wasn't able to completely support growing user base. The platform, which was called SocialMama, saw users engaging with experts in similar ways — and as Ducach looked into growing the platforms users, she realized that 24/7 access to experts was going to be hard to scale.
"We noticed that most of these conversations were repetitive," Ducach tells InnovationMap. "You had women asking an expert about tracking ovulation a hundred times a day. Having an OBGYN answer that question a hundred times a day was crazy and just not scalable." Read more.
3 Houston innovators to know this week
This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Mark Walker of Direct Digital Holdings, Will Womble of Umbrage, and Steve Altemus of Intuitive Machines. Photos courtesy
Editor's note: In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from adtech to aerospace — recently making headlines in Houston innovation. Read more.
Rice University kicks off new program for student startup founders
Applications are now open for the Summer Venture Studio. Photo via rice.edu
Students at Rice University will have a new opportunity to have a taste of entrepreneurship this summer.
The Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or Lilie, has established a new startup accelerator program called the Summer Venture Studio. The program, which will run May 15 through August 7, is open to students of any major or year, including recent graduates.
“The Summer Venture Studio will empower student teams to accelerate their ventures and hit escape velocity,” says Kyle Judah, executive director of Lilie, in a news release. “We believe that with the right personalized program and resources, and led by our team of experienced founders, we can unlock students’ limitless potential to create the next generation of pillar companies for Houston, Texas and the world.” Read more.
Report: Texas is the best place to lead hydrogen economy
According to a new report, the existing energy infrastructure of Texas makes it a great spot to lead the development of the hydrogen economy. Photo via Getty Images
All signs point to Texas leading the development of a hydrogen market, says one new report out of Rice University.
The Baker Institute for Public Policy released a new report this week about the hydrogen economy and the role Texas will play in it. According to the experts, Texas’ legacy energy industry — as well as its geology — makes it an ideal hub for hydrogen as an energy source. Ken Medlock, senior director of the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies, and Shih Yu (Elsie) Hung, research manager at the center, wrote the report.
“Texas is in a very advantageous position to play a leading role in driving hydrogen market growth, but the evolution of policy and market structure will dictate whether or not this comes to pass,” write the co-authors. Read more.
Houston material science company strategically rolls out flagship product nationwide
NanoTech's Chief Commercial Officer Carrie Horazeck and Co-Founder and CEO Mike Francis join the Houston Innovators Podcast to celebrate the nationwide launch of their roof coating product. Photo via LinkedIn
A Houston startup is celebrating its nationwide launch of its flagship product that coats roofs to reduce energy waste.
NanoTech's Nano Shield Cool Roof Coat is a unique product that can be added onto roofs to reduce energy waste on buildings. Co-founder and CEO Mike Francis and Chief Commercial Officer Carrie Horazeck joined the Houston Innovators Podcast to share more details about the product.
"It's just a coating that can go on top of existing structure — any type of commercial roof," Horazeck says on the show. "We have a pretty good amount of data from 2022 showcasing that we can reduce HVAC consumption within the building by about 30 to 40 percent.
"Our clients really see a immediate benefit in their energy bill, and, of course, if you reduce the HVAC consumption, that automatically translates to a decrease in your scope one emissions," she continues. Read more.