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 a Q&A with a local businessman, innovators to know, a scoop on an acquisition, and more.
This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Kerri Smith of the Rice Alliance, Trevor Best of Syzygy Plasmonics, and Muriel Foster of gBETA Houston. Courtesy photos
In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from cleantech to startup acceleration — recently making headlines in Houston innovation. Click here to read more.
Following $50M gift,Tilman Fertitta reveals goals for eponymous medical school at University of Houston
Fertitta and his family have gifted $50 million to UH's medical school. Photo courtesy
As Houston’s most high-profile billionaire and owner of the posh 5-star Post Oak Hotel and Houston Rockets, Tilman J. Fertitta has become synonymous with over-the-top opulence and big-time entertainment.
But the CEO of the massive Feritta Entertainment empire’s latest move has nothing to do with penthouses or point guards, but rather a legacy, game-changing appropriation meant to aid his home state’s health.
The longtime UH board member and former chairman and his family have just pledged $50 million to the University of Houston College of Medicine. In turn, the new medical school has been christened the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine. Click here to continue reading.
HX has been acquired by InnovationMap's parent company. Photo via Getty Images
The nonprofit organization established in 2017 to advance awareness and opportunities for the Houston Innovation Ecosystem has been acquired by a local business.
Gow Companies has acquired of the assets of Houston Exponential. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Gow Companies' portfolio includes InnovationMap, as well as CultureMap, SportsMap, sports festival provider Pokatok, sports tech accelerator Pokatok Labs, ESPN radio, a sports tech-focused SPAC, and other strategic entities.)
The company plans to build upon the organization's mission and increase programming and access while leveraging new revenue streams, according to a news release.
“To say that HX was the ‘shot-in-the-arm’ Houston needed to accelerate our tech and innovation growth would be an understatement,” says Blair Garrou, HX board chair and managing director of early-stage venture capital firm Mercury. “HX has helped unlock the collaborative potential of founders and investors in the startup scene, local government, academic institutions, and the corporate sector to connect, promote and to attract talent, companies, and capital to Houston. This transaction celebrates that success and acknowledges the next stage of Houston’s evolution.” Click here to continue reading.
Pete O'Heeron leads FibroBiologics as CEO and chairman. Photo via Fibrobiologics.com
Stem cells have had their time in the spotlight for a while, and now it's time for fibroblasts to have their moment, according to Pete O’Heeron, CEO, founder, and chairman of FiberBiologics, a Houston-based company that’s using fibroblast cell technology to treat a variety of chronic diseases.
The two types of cells are the only ones that can be used in cell therapy for a regenerative treatment, meaning that specialists can take healthy stem cells and fibroblasts from a patient and inject them into a part of the body that needs it the most. And, according to O'Heeron and his team, fibroblasts can do it more effectively and cheaper than stem cells.
"(Fibroblasts) can essentially do everything a stem cell can do, only they can do it better," says O'Heeron on this week's Houston Innovators Podcast. "We've done tests in the lab and we've seen them outperform stem cells by a low of 50 percent to a high of about 220 percent on different disease paths." Click here to continue reading.
There's a lot of clean tech potential in hydrogen — and Houston might be the place to lead the way. Image via Getty Images
Houston, known for being the energy capital of the world, has potential to lead innovation within the hydrogen space, and a new report lays out how.
The report, which was released today by the Center for Houston’s Future, is titled "Houston as the epicenter of a global clean hydrogen hub." The information explains how Houston-based assets can be leveraged to lead a global clean hydrogen innovation.
“The Houston region has the talent, expertise and infrastructure needed to lead the global energy transition to a low-carbon world. Clean hydrogen, alongside carbon capture, use, and storage are among the key technology areas where Houston is set up to succeed and can be an example to other leading energy economies around the world,” says Bobby Tudor, chair of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Houston Energy Transition Initiative, in a news release. Click here to continue reading.