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Houston startup winners named at CERAWeek, space tech co. reaches new milestone, and more trending news

Three Houston startups win at a CERAWeek pitch competition — and more trending news from the week. Photo by Natalie Harms/InnovationMap

Editor's note:Let's roundup the top Houston innovation news from the week. Trending Houston tech and startup articles on InnovationMap included startup winners from CERAWeek, tech facility gets upgraded, and more.

Houston data center plugs in sustainable upgrades

The hardware upgrades more than “double the effective horsepower of DUG’s Houston data center.” Photo via

An Australia-based company has launched a major upgrade of its Houston data center with sustainability in mind.

DUG Technology announced it's increased the company’s high performance computing (HPC) capabilities and also reinforced its commitment to sustainable innovative technology. The company announced its latest investment in 1500 new AMD EPYCTM Genoa servers, which has 192 cores and 1.5 terabytes of DDR5 memory each. Quebec-based IT solution company Hypertec provided the immersion-born hardware.

“DUG’s decision highlights the unmatched technological advancements and superior performance of Hypertec immersion-born products, which are setting a new benchmark in the industry,” Hypertec’s Patrick Scateni, vice president of global sales says in a news release. Continue reading.

Houston clean tech startup pitch competition names winners at annual CERAWeek event

Here's what student-founded startups are leaving CERAWeek with fresh funding. Photo courtesy of HETI

For the third year, the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Institute hosted its startup pitch competition at CERAWeek by S&P Global. A dozen startups walked away with recognition — and three some with cash prizes.

HETI joined partners Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and TEX-E for the 2024 Energy Venture Day and Pitch Competition at CERAWeek on Wednesday, March 20. Forty-two companies, which have collectively raised over $265 million in investment funding already, pitched to judges. Nine startups won awards across three tracks. Continue reading.

Houston space tech startup reports milestone achievement in partnership with federal agency

Venus Aerospace announced that it's successfully ran the first long-duration engine test of their Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine in partnership with DARPA. Screenshot via Venus Aerospace

A Houston tech company working on an engine to enable hypersonic flights has reported its latest milestone.

Venus Aerospace announced that it's successfully ran the first long-duration engine test of their Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine in partnership with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

The RDRE engine Venus is working on is uniquely designed and a first in the field. It has an additional 15 percent efficiency over traditional rocket engines. Continue reading.

Houston VC leaders to empower female founders in fintech, commerce, and care with new $36M fund

Diana Murakhovskaya and Stephanie Campbell are co-founders of The Artemis Fund, a Houston-based, female founder-focused venture capital firm that just announced its $36 million fund II. Photo courtesy of Artemis

In 2019, Stephanie Campbell saw an opportunity in the market — investing in women-led startups, something that wasn't happening at the volume it should have been.

"When we looked around, we really wanted to solve the problem of why women only receive 2 percent of venture capital," Campbell says on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

As angel investors, Campbell and Diana Murakhovskaya, co-founders and general partners of The Artemis Fund, saw tons of promising women-led businesses.

"We were finding these incredible female founders who we felt deserved capital to bring their innovations to the market because they're solving big markets and big problems But there was a disconnect in terms of their access and network," she continues.

The other issue, as Campbell explains, was that firms that did have a female-focused angle weren't leading these early-stage rounds. That's where Artemis comes in. Continue reading.

Texas again improves on annual ranking of most innovative states

Texas continued its year-over-year improvement on an annual report of most innovative states. Photo via Getty Images

It's another year of slow but steady progress for the Lone Star State on an annual report on the top states for innovation.

Texas ranked No. 14 with a score of 48.43 points on personal finance site WalletHub's Most and Least Innovative States in 2024 ranking. Last year, Texas ranked No. 15. The state has steadily inched up the list — Texas was No.16 on the list in 2022 and No. 17 in 2021. Continue reading.

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