5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week
Editor's note: It's been a busy week for Houston innovation, from a major statewide merger between Station Houston and Capital Factory to a homecoming of sorts for a Houston-born entrepreneur. Also trending were news stories of major expansions, innovators to know, and startup growth.
This week's innovators to know includes John Berger, Mary Beth Snodgrass, and Gene Austin. Courtesy photos
Houston is still — but most accounts — emerging as a tech and innovation hub, which could seem to mean that the startups that make up the innovation ecosystem reside in early stages of business scale.
However, this week's sampling of Houston innovators to know demonstrate the scope in scale of Houston's companies — from a CEO to a newly public company and recently hired CEO of a rapidly scaling software company to a health tech leader fresh out of the gates. Read more.
Real estate tech company founded by Houstonian launches locally, looks for office space
SquareFoot — a real estate tech company with Houston roots — is entering the Houston market. Getty Images
A New York-based company that uses technology to optimize the commercial real estate leasing process is expanding into Houston — and it's a bit of a homecoming for the company's CEO.
SquareFoot, which was founded by Houston native Jonathan Wasserstrum in 2011, has launched in Houston following the closing of a $16 million series B funding round led by Chicago-based DRW VC. The company uses tech tools — like a space calculator and online listings to help users find the right office space quicker and easier than traditional methods.
The Bayou City's growth in small businesses and startups makes for a great market for SquareFoot. Read more.
Houston-based The Now Network's last-mile logistics platform is growing its development team. Getty Images
Many startups turn to offshore outsourcing to fuel their growth. The Now Network, a Houston-based energy tech startup, is doing just the opposite — relying on stateside in-sourcing.
The SaaS company is in the midst of building out its in-house development team, including full stack developers and UX/UI designers. This year, The Now Network plans to add another four to six developers, on top of the six who already are on board. Stacey McCroskey, the company's director of product since September 2019, leads the team.
Previously, the development team consisted of more than a dozen contract workers in Ukraine and India, says Mush Khan, president of The Now Network. Khan assumed the president's role in May 2019. Read more.
Station Houston merges with statewide startup investor and accelerator
Station Houston and Capital Factory have merged, and the conglomerate will move into The Ion when it opens next year. Courtesy of Rice University
Station Houston and Austin-based Capital Factory announced that they will be combining forces through a merger effective immediately.
Capital Factory will power all of Station Houston's membership and mentorship, including startup-focused services, as well as add its own statewide resources, which include investors, mentors, and more.
"The more high quality startups we have across a diverse range of industries, the more investors, big companies, and big government want to get involved," Gordon Daugherty, co-founder and president, says in a news release, relating the collaboration to Metcalfe's Law. "Uniting with Station Houston will see benefits run both ways." Read more.
Houston-based Corva, an AI-optimized analytics company, is in the process of hiring — a lot. Photo via corva.ai
While the oil and gas industry may be in store for sluggish growth in 2020, that's hardly the case for Houston-based energy tech startup Corva AI LLC.
Corva — which offers a real-time data analytics platform for drilling and completion (the stage when a well is prepared for production) — added 85 employees last year, mostly in Houston. And it's on track to make 150 new hires in 2020, including software developers, researchers, drilling engineers, and data analysts, says Courtney Diezi, the company's general manager. Two-thirds of this year's new hires will work in Houston, she says.
Diezi says the company's headcount currently stands at 120, with 100 employees in Houston and 20 in Ukraine. Read more.