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Startup secures $2.5M, SPAC deal close, and more trending Houston innovation news

Here's what news trended on InnovationMap this week. 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 articles on InnovationMap included a recently closed funding round for an energy tech startup, four Houstonians receiving a prestigious recognition, and more.

Houston nonprofit accelerator receives grant funding to advance bioindustrial startups

First Bight Venture's BioWell has received a $741,925 grant to continue supporting bioindustrial startups. Photo via Getty Images

A Houston-based nonprofit accelerator that works with early-stage synthetic biology startups has secured nearly $750,000 to support its mission.

First Bight Ventures' accelerator, BioWell, secured $741,925 of the $53 million doled out as a part of the "Build to Scale" Grant program that the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has established. First Bight was one of 60 organizations to receive funding.

The funding will support the BioWell's mission to establish a "vibrant bioeconomy" by helping startups scale and commercialize "through access to a unique combination of pilot bioproduction infrastructure," according to a news release from First Bight. Continue reading.

Houston SPAC deal closes, high-tech monitoring device co. IPOs

A deal that's been a year in the making has officially closed. Photo via Getty Images

A sports tech-focused special purpose acquisition company has sealed the deal on its acquisition of a company with thermal imaging and sensing platform technology.

SportsMap Tech Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: SMAP) announced the close of its acquisition of Beaumont-based Infrared Cameras Holdings Inc. (ICI), which will be the name of the combined company. The new ticker symbol for the combined company’s common stock and public warrants will be ticker symbols “MSAI” and “MSAIW,” respectively.

“The close of the business combination represents a monumental milestone for our company, as we view the business to be well-suited for the public market," Infrared Cameras’ CEO Gary Strahan says in a news release. Strahan and his executive team will continue to lead the company. Continue reading.

Houston startup focused on cultivating the future workforce of the energy industry raises $2.5M seed funding

Digital Wildcatters just raised $2.5 million in funding. Image courtesy

With $2.5 million in fresh funding, Digital Wildcatters is on its way to keep empowering the evolving energy workforce.

Digital Wildcatters, a Houston company that's providing a community for the next generation of energy professionals, has closed its seed plus funding round at $2.5 million. The round by energy industry veteran Chuck Yates, who also hosts his podcast "Chuck Yates Needs a Job" on the Digital Wildcatters' podcast network.

"Our industry's survival depends on recruiting the next generation of energy workers. We must adapt to their digital, content-rich world, as we currently lag behind, like a VHS tape in a Netflix world. Digital Wildcatters is our path to modernization," Yates, based in Richmond, Texas, says in the news release. Continue reading.

4 Houston academic inventors receive prestigious national honor

The National Academy of Inventors has honored four academic inventors in Houston with their annual professional distinction. Photos courtesy

Four professors from the University of Houston and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have been admitted as fellows to the National Academy of Inventors.

From UH, Vincent Donnelly, Moores professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Christine Ehlig-Economides, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished university chair of Petroleum Engineering, received the Fellows honor, which is the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors.

UH now has 39 professors who are either Fellows or Senior Members of the NAI. Donnelly and Ehlig-Economides will be inducted as NAI fellows at the NAI 13th annual meeting on June 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Continue reading.

New GHP leader takes helm, creates ‘shared leadership model’

Steve Kean has made his first moves as the new president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. Photo courtesy of the GHP

The Greater Houston Partnership announced organizational changes under the tenure of its new president and CEO, Steve Kean.

Kean officially took on his new role earlier this month, after being named the next CEO this summer. The GHP's former president and CEO, Bob Harvey, announced his retirement in January.

In his first acts as CEO, Kean reshuffled his executive suite with a series of promotions. Continue reading.

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