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 overheard advice from corporates to startups, a rising hub for innovation at UH, and more.
University of Houston plans to build new central campus innovation hub
The University of Houston will construct a new hub for innovation on its main campus. The building is planned to be adjacent to the M.D. Anderson Library. Photo via uh.edu
Over a year ago, the University of Houston got the greenlight from the state of Texas to create a central hub for innovation on campus, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president of energy and innovation at the University of Houston, tells InnovationMap.
“We asked the state two years ago for appropriations to create an innovation hub at the University of Houston,” Krishnamoorti says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. “We are now in the process of creating an innovation hub central to the campus at the University of Houston."
While the project is still in its early stages, the university has revealed some details on the building, which is slated to open in 2025 next to the M.D. Anderson Library on UH's main campus. It will be around 70,000 square feet and will house a makerspace, the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, the Energy Transition Institute, innovation programs, and Presidential Frontier Faculty labs and offices. Read more.
Overheard: What Houston corporates are looking for from startups
At its annual Activation Festival, the Ion hosted a conversation about the relationship between corporates and startups. Photo courtesy of Shannon O'Hara/the Ion
Hundreds of innovators from Houston and beyond flocked to the Ion's annual Activation Festival, and one of the topics discussed at the series of programming was the relationship between corporates and startups.
One of Houston's points of pride is having the third most Fortune 500 companies headquartered here, but how can the city's innovation ecosystem take advantage of that market? And, on the other side of it, how can corporates make the most of Houston innovators?
At a panel on May 17 entitled "Corporate-Startup Partnerships: How to Build Them, Sustain Them, and How They’re Key to Fast-Tracking Innovation and Growth," three corporate leaders explained how they navigate relationships with startups and how cultivating these opportunities is key to the future of business. Read more.
Houston bank opens new innovation hub within its location in The Woodlands
The new space allows for Amegy Bank employees as well as North Houston innovators to work collaboratively. Photo via Amegy Bank
Amegy Bank renovated it banking center in The Woodlands to add a hub for innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.
The office, located at 4576 Research Forest Dr., now houses a refurbished space from The Cannon, a co-working and entrepreneurship hub with locations across Houston. The Cannon creates and manages spaces where startup founders, business owners, investors, and more can meet on common ground to collaborate on their entrepreneurial endeavors.
“Amegy Bank has served the needs of business owners and families across Houston for over 30 years,” Amegy Bank-Houston President Dave Stevenson says in a news release. “The banking center’s refreshed design, with The Cannon onsite, will revolutionize North Houston’s access to localized financial resources tailored for entrepreneurs and small-to-mid-size businesses."Read more.
How this Houston-based studio is tackling billion-dollar problems with internal innovation
Anu Puvvada, KPMG Studio leader, shares how her team is advancing software solutions while navigating hype cycles and solving billion-dollar-problems. Photo courtesy of KPMG
In 2021, KPMG, a New York-based global audit, accounting, and advisory service provider, formed a new entity to play in the innovation space. The Houston-based team finds innovative software that benefit KPMG's clients across industries.
"We're really focused on transformative businesses that we can offer our clients in the next three to five years to solve fairly large problems," Anu Puvvada, KPMG Studio leader, tells InnovationMap.
Now, almost two years later, KPMG Studio has spun out its first company, AI-based security startup Cranium, which has raised $7 million in a seed round led by SYN Ventures with support from KPMG.
Established to advance internal innovation, KPMG Studio's technologies don't always get spun out into startups like Cranium, but with support of the team, the early-stage ideas receive guidance from the company's resources with the potential to be rolled into KPMG's suite of services for its clients. Read more.
Houston startup with revolutionary battery technology opens new labs
TexPower's founders — Board Chairman Arumugam Manthiram, CTO Wangda Li, and CEO Evan Erickson, respectively — celebrated the opening of the company's new lab space. Photo courtesy of TexPower
A Houston startup founded off research out of a Texas university has cut the ribbon on its new lab space.
TexPower EV Technologies Inc. celebrated the opening of its 6,000-square-foot laboratory and three-ton-per-year pilot production line at a ribbon-cutting event last week. The Northwest Houston site is located at 6935 Brittmoore Rd.
The new space will help the company further commercialize its cobalt-free lithium-ion cathode, lithium nickel manganese aluminum oxide (NMA). The technology is game changing for the electrification of the United States, including the rapid adoption of electric vehicles.
Currently, the country is experiencing a supply chain crisis, says Evan Erickson, co-founder and CEO of the company, at the event. Most of the world's cobalt, a material traditionally used in lithium-ion cathodes, is sourced primarily from the Congo and refinement is mostly controlled by China, he explains.
For these reasons, Cathodes are the most expensive component of lithium-ion batteries. But TexPower has a unique technology to solve this supply chain issue, and now with its new labs, is one step closer to commercialization of its materials. Read more.