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 Houston startups moving into the Ion, a Houston space tech joint venture gets financial support, student-founded businesses win big, and more.
The Ion announces new tenants that have recently moved in, expanded within the hub
The Ion has announced the latest companies to move into the hub. Photo courtesy of The Ion
Several organizations — from tech startups to a nonprofit — have moved into the Ion recently to either relocate or expand their presence in Houston.
The Ion District announced new tenants today, bringing the total space leased to 86 percent, according to a news release. Read more.
Houston space tech joint venture snags contract with NASA valued up to $719M
NASA’s Joint Polar Satellite System is the nation’s advanced network of polar-orbiting environmental satellites, and a Houston joint venture is now officially working on the project. Image via nesdis.noaa.gov
A joint venture led by Houston-based space exploration company Intuitive Machines has landed a contract worth up to $719 million to work on NASA’s Joint Polar Satellite System.
Space & Technology Solutions, Intuitive Machines’ joint venture with Houston-based engineering and construction company KBR, secured the contract. Intuitive Machines supplies products and services to support robotic and human space exploration.
“Humanity’s advancement into the solar system is built upon more than a decade of innovation … , and Intuitive Machines intends to continue that legacy,” Steve Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, says in a news release.
“This win is of strategic importance,” he adds, “allowing Intuitive Machines to support NASA in designing, developing, and demonstrating critical technology required to support the emerging orbital servicing market, and a validation of the company’s experience in spacecraft development, autonomous systems, and near-space communications." Read more.
Annual Rice student startup competition names winners, awards over $100,000 in prizes
Here's what student-founded companies won big at this annual competition. Photo courtesy of Rice University
Five startups founded by Rice University students pitched their companies this week — and walked away with more than $100,000 in prizes.
The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge, or NRLC, is an annual competition that selects a small group of student-founded startups from Rice University. The program, which is open to undergraduate, graduate, and MBA students, concluded on April 19 and doled out several investment prizes to the finalists, which were named earlier this month. Read more.
Houston innovator shares investment opportunities outside traditional VC model
Angel investors, corporate venture, and more options for Houston startups outside of the traditional venture capital model.
In my last column about tapping into Houston's venture capital ecosystem, I identified the 31 venture capitalists in Houston. By most measures Houston is around 0.5 to 1 percent of US venture capital activity, and that low volume is reflected in the limited number of venture capitalists locally.
But outside of venture capital funds, founders often pull money from other places including angel investors, seed funds and corporate venture capital arms as well as crossover investors. I got asked this morning by a founder at the Ion, where’s the rest of the list?
Houston has five active corporate venture capital funds, or CVCs, with at least one senior investment professional in Houston with and one with headquarters here (Chevron).Read more.
Houston health tech startup acquired by medical device company
A TMC-founded medical device startup has made a grand exit. Image via TMC.edu
A Houston health tech business that has created a medical device to enhance and improve surgery has been acquired.
Illinois-based Northgate Technologies Inc. announced the acquisition of Allotrope Medical earlier this month. The Houston startup has designed an electrosurgical ureter identification system for optimizing surgery for both robotic and non-robotic laparoscopic surgical procedures. The StimSite technology is a hand-held device used by general and OBGYN surgeons and has received a Safer Technologies Program designation from the FDA.
“By bringing the StimSite product platform into NTI’s existing portfolio of innovative insufflation and smoke removal products, we have taken a significant step in fulfilling our vision to optimize the surgical environment for minimally invasive surgery,” says Dave McDonough, vice president and general manager at NTI. Read more.