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5 most popular innovation stories in Houston this week

A Texas fund has eyes for Houston startups following a recent raise, tips for managing employees amid "The Great Resignation," and innovators to know are among this week's top stories. Photo via Getty Images

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 innovators to know, a Texas fund with fresh investment to support Houston startups, and more.

3 Houston innovators to know this week

This week's roundup of Houston innovators includes Allie Danziger of Ampersand Professionals, Jane Stricker of the Greater Houston Partnership, and Summer Reeves of Accenture's Houston Fjord Studio. Courtesy photos

In this week's roundup of Houston innovators to know, I'm introducing you to three local innovators across industries — from energy to design innovation — recently making headlines in Houston innovation. Click here to continue reading.

Austin VC has its eyes on Houston with new $210M fund

Krishna Srinivasan and Venu Shamapant have been investing in Texas startups for 20 years. Now, with the latest LiveOak Venture Partners fund, the duo has more money to focus on Houston. Photos via liveoakvp.com

A venture capital firm that's focused on funding startups across the Lone Star State has closed its latest fund and is set on doubling down on Houston.

LiveOak Venture Partners has been around for almost a decade, and its third fund closed last week at $210 million. It's the firm's largest fund yet — twice its last two funds, which each closed at $105 million. Krishna Srinivasan tells InnovationMap that the original plan was to raise a similarly sized fund but interested limited partners brought even more to the table.

"There was tremendous interest from LPs for this fund," Srinivasan says, adding that the firm could have raised even more based on interest. "People love the white-hot, broad Texas market. ... It's been an exciting journey to take the firm to the next stage." Click here to continue reading.

Houston expert: 4 tips on managing employees amid 'The Great Resignation'

The ongoing trend of businesses struggling to onboard new employees is likely going to continue through the new year. Here's what you need to know. Photo via Getty Images

As 2021 comes to an end, businesses continue to struggle to fill open positions caused by "The Great Resignation," and this trend is likely to continue well into the New Year.

It has been particularly difficult to hire and retain Gen Z employees, the newest generation in the workforce, as we navigate the expectations of these employees, as compared to past generations.

Fortunately, businesses can bounce back from "The Great Resignation" or protect themselves before they experience a similar mass exodus by taking the time to understand employees' preferences and motivations, and make a few small changes accordingly. Click here to continue reading.

4 energy transition companies join Houston accelerator

Halliburton Labs has named its newest cohort — and applications are open for the spring. Photo courtesy of Halliburton

Halliburton Labs has named for clean energy companies to its accelerator program.

Halliburton Labs, which originally launched in 2020, has 12 member companies now. The startups will have access to the Halliburton facilities, the company's experts, and its network, and will be located in the company's North Houston headquarters.

"This strong group of companies further establishes Halliburton Labs as the place where innovative companies come together with technical and operational scaling resources to advance commercial success," says Dale Winger, managing director of Halliburton Labs, in a news release. "We are excited to collaborate with the founders and their respective teams to support their clean energy solutions." Click here to continue reading.

Houston health care company raises $100M and plans to IPO

This innovative health care company has announced some big moves. Photo via Fibrobiologics.com

A clinical stage therapeutic company has made some big moves — with an even bigger one on the horizon.

FibroBiologics, which is developing fibroblast-based therapeutic cures for chronic diseases, announced $100 million in fresh funding resulting from an agreement with GEM Global Yield LLC SCS, a private investment group, with offices in New York and Paris. The funds will be distributed over a 36-month term following a public listing of FibroBiologics common stock.

According to a news release, "FibroBiologics will control the timing and maximum amount of the drawdown under this facility and has no minimum drawdown obligation." The IPO could include acquisition via SPAC. Click here to continue reading.

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Building Houston

 
 

Catch up on two big pieces of news landing at the Houston Spaceport. Image via fly2houston.com

The Space City is starting 2022 off strong with news launching out of the Houston Spaceport — a TK-acre space in TK Houston.

The two big headlines include a unicorn company releasing the latest details of its earthbound project and fresh funds from the state to support the space ecosystem in Texas.

Governor Abbott doles out $10M in spaceport grants

Texas has launched fresh funding into two spaceport projects. Image via fly2houston.com

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced $10 million in funding to two Texas spaceports as a part of the state's Spaceport Trust Fund. The Houston Spaceport Development Corp. received $5 million and the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp. received $5 million.

The fund is administered by the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism and was created to support the development of spaceport infrastructure, create quality jobs, and attract continuing investments that will strengthen the economic future of the state, according to a news release.

"For decades, Texas has been a trailblazer in space technology and we are proud to help cultivate more innovation and development in this growing industry in Cameron and Harris County," says Abbott in the release. "This investment in the Cameron County and Houston Spaceport Development Corporations will create even more economic opportunities for Texans across the state and continue our legacy as a leader in space technology."

Axiom Space hires Dallas-based architecture and engineering firm

Axiom Space has made progress on developing its 14-acre headquarters. Image via axiomspace.com

Houston-based unicorn Axiom Space has announced that it awarded Dallas-based Jacobs the architecture and engineering phase one design contract. The firm will be working on the 100,000-square-foot facility planned for the 400-acre Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport.

Axiom Space's plans are ro build the first commercial space station that will provide a central hub for research, to support microgravity experiments, manufacturing, and commerce in low Earth orbit missions, according to a news release.

"This is an exciting and historic moment for Axiom and the greater Houston area," says Axiom CTO Matt Ondler in the release. "For the first time, spacecraft will be built and outfitted right here in Houston, Texas. This facility will provide us with the infrastructure necessary to scale up operations and bring more aerospace jobs to the area. With this new facility, we are not only building next generation spacecraft, but also solidifying Houston as the U.S. commercial industry's gateway to space."

Axiom Space, which raised $130M in venture capital last year, is building out its 14-acre headquarters to accommodate the creation of more than 1,000 high-paying jobs, from engineers to scientists, mathematicians, and machinists.

"Houston is a city built on innovation and is becoming a next-generation tech hub in the United States," says Ron Williams, senior vice president at Jacobs. "Privately funded infrastructure will drive U.S. leadership in space. Jacobs is committed to providing integrated solutions to accelerate the future of commercial space operations."

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