5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week
Editor's note: April is zooming past us in a way we wished March would have, and this face-paced month has yielded Houston innovation stories across industries. From Houston innovators leading the way with health tech solutions to COVID-19-related challenges to an insightful guest column on how perhaps how we work and learn has changed now for good thanks to the virus.
This week's innovators to know are Sean Guerre of Innovate Energy, Carolyn Rodz of Hello Alice, and Aziz Gilani of Mercury Fund. Courtesy photos
From quickly making face masks to preparing meals for hospital workers, Houstonians everywhere are finding the best way for them to give back. For these three innovators to know this week, their way of giving back is helping startups navigate this unprecedented time. Continue reading.
These Houston startups have created health care-related solutions amid the coronavirus outbreak. Getty Images
It's all hands on deck in Houston in the battle against coronavirus — and local biotech startups have risen to the occasion.
From mental health solutions and online portals to virtual medicine and new treatments, these Houston companies have recently launched or pivoted to new options in health care. Continue reading.
Launched in Houston, Umanity's new tool aims to better connect nonprofits with supplies and volunteers amid the COVID-19 crisis. Photos via umanity.io
A Houston startup that has been working in a pilot program capacity with the city of Houston has accelerated the rollout of its platform to help connect and coordinate people's needs to resources in real-time during the coronavirus outbreak.
Umanity, which is a part of the Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator's first cohort, has created a philanthropic supply chain tool that's now available as an app or through desktop. The software can match and map local individual or nonprofit needs to organizations or volunteers, plus provide real-time analytics. During the coronavirus outbreak, they have mobilized its resources connecting supplies with nonprofits and volunteers with safe ways to help organizations that need it most during this crisis. Continue reading.
Josh Feinberg's fintech startup might be a solution to your lack of capital amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Photo courtesy of Tenavox
Josh Feinberg hates security deposits. It's a sum of money sitting in an account, not earning interest and not doing either the landlord or the tenant any good.
That's why Feinberg and his co-founder, Marissa Limsiaco, created Otso. The duo previously founded Tenavox, an online portal for commercial real estate listings for brokers to generate leads, and have now launched this fintech platform that provides landlords with an alternative to cash security deposits.
Feinberg teamed up with Euler Hermes, a 135-year-old credit insurance company, to create Otso, and the credit company backs the lease performance of each tenant that is approved by Otso. The transaction calls for a fee added to the rent, but no large cash deposit would be required. Continue reading and listen to the podcast.
In a guest column, Jan E. Odegard of The Ion Houston, discusses the ways COVID-19 has affected the workforce permanently. Getty Images
\When the Houston-area was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and instituting a shelter-in-place to keep residents safe, The Ion's mission to build a world-leading innovation hub didn't change, but the way we advocate and engage with learners has.
At a programmatic level, we're bringing our networking events to a virtual platform, convening our high school STEAM Innovation Challenge program via online meetings, and moving the Ion Smart and Resilient City Accelerator, which incubates technology to support the City, coursework, counseling, and mentoring online.
At a philosophical level, we're exploring and evaluating how current sociological and economic conditions will change and drive the way we'll provide programming and resources. We're not entirely sure what changes we'll institute, what programming we'll need to tweak, since this is a global "experiment" that has not yet played out, but ideas, technology, and offerings are being explored and developed. It's in the Ion's name to keep the ever-forward motion of discovery. Continue reading.