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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

 
 

Business and government leaders in the Houston area hope the region can become a hub for CCS activity. Photo via Getty Images

Three big businesses — Air Liquide, BASF, and Shell — have added their firepower to the effort to promote large-scale carbon capture and storage for the Houston area’s industrial ecosystem.

These companies join 11 others that in 2021 threw their support behind the initiative. Participants are evaluating how to use safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at Houston-area facilities that provide energy, power generation, and advanced manufacturing for plastics, motor fuels, and packaging.

Other companies backing the CCS project are Calpine, Chevron, Dow, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Linde, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, NRG Energy, Phillips 66, and Valero.

Business and government leaders in the Houston area hope the region can become a hub for CCS activity.

“Large-scale carbon capture and storage in the Houston region will be a cornerstone for the world’s energy transition, and these companies’ efforts are crucial toward advancing CCS development to achieve broad scale commercial impact,” Charles McConnell, director of University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy, says in a news release.

McConnell and others say CCS could help Houston and the rest of the U.S. net-zero goals while generating new jobs and protecting current jobs.

CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide from industrial activities that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and then injecting it into deep underground geologic formations for secure and permanent storage. Carbon dioxide from industrial users in the Houston area could be stored in nearby onshore and offshore storage sites.

An analysis of U.S Department of Energy estimates shows the storage capacity along the Gulf Coast is large enough to store about 500 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to more than 130 years’ worth of industrial and power generation emissions in the United States, based on 2018 data.

“Carbon capture and storage is not a single technology, but rather a series of technologies and scientific breakthroughs that work in concert to achieve a profound outcome, one that will play a significant role in the future of energy and our planet,” says Gretchen Watkins, U.S. president of Shell. “In that spirit, it’s fitting this consortium combines CCS blueprints and ambitions to crystalize Houston’s reputation as the energy capital of the world while contributing to local and U.S. plans to help achieve net-zero emissions.”

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