WHAT'S TRENDING

5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week

The Ion announced its latest tenants — plus more trending Houston innovation news. Photo courtesy of the Ion

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.

Trending News

Building Houston

 
 

Houston didn't even crack the top 100 in the new list. Photo by Alisa Matthews on Unsplash

In a surprise turn of events, Houston has fallen from grace in U.S. News and World Report's "Best Places to Live" ranking for 2023-2024.

Last year, Houston ranked No. 59 on the annual report — not surprising, considering all the Newstonians. However, the Bayou City plummeted to a shocking No. 140.

But why? According to the report: "A paycheck goes further in Houston than it does in other major metro areas, with affordable housing and free or cheap attractions like biking along Buffalo Bayou and exploring the 7,800-acre George Bush Park. The affordability of this region, which is located in southeastern Texas and home to more than 7 million residents in the metro area, is attracting new people from across the country and around the world."

The report takes a look at several different metrics to determine their rankings, including quality of life, housing affordability, desirability, and job market strength.

Somehow, Houston scored a mere 5.6 out of 10 in the livability score. By the numbers (and out of a perfect 10), Houston scored a 6 for desirability, 6.3 for value, 5.5. for job market, a surprising 5 for quality of life, and 5.9 for net migration.

It gets worse: Houston ranks as only No. 10 on the report's Best Place to Live in Texas list for 2023.

Texas overall saw a major drop. Austin, previously the No. 1 place to live in America for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019, lands at No. 40 overall this year. Austin managed to hang on to its title of the Best Place to Live in Texas for 2023, with San Antonio at No. 2, and Dallas-Fort Worth taking No. 3. Rounding out the top five is Killeen in No. 4, and El Paso at No. 5.

Here's how other Texas cities faired in 2023's Best Places to Live report:

  • No. 103 – San Antonio, down from No. 83 last year
  • No. 113 – Dallas-Fort Worth, down from No. 32 last year
  • No. 122 – Killeen, down from No. 108 last year
  • No. 128 – El Paso, down from No. 124 last year
  • No. 131 – Beaumont, down from No. 109 last year
  • No. 132 – Corpus Christi, up from No. 133 last year
  • No. 134 – Brownsville, unchanged from last year
  • No. 137 – McAllen, up from No. 138 last year
  • No. 140 – Houston, down from No. 59 last year

The full report can be found on U.S. News and World Report's website.

------

This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Trending News