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Houston startup ecosystem ranked, new platform launches for entrepreneurs, and more trending innovation news

Houston was named a top startup city — and more trending innovation news in Houston. Photo via Pexels

Editor's note:Let's roundup the most-read Houston innovation news from the week. Trending Houston tech and startup articles from InnovationMap and its daily newsletter included a few reports ranking Houston's innovative qualities, a new cohort of student startups, and more.

Report: Houston snags spot on worldwide ranking of top startup ecosystems in 2024

The Bayou City has made progress on an international ranking of startup ecosystems. Photo via Getty Images

Houston is moving up in the startup world.

The city rises to No. 48 on StartupBlink’s list of the world’s top startup ecosystems for 2024. That’s four spots higher than Houston’s No. 52 ranking on the 2023 list. StartupBlink is an economic research platform.

The Greater Houston Partnership recently noted the ascent of Houston’s ecosystem for startups.

“Houston’s tech scene has made many strides in recent years to set a foundation for startups to thrive, from founding to late stage, across industries,” the partnership says. “With a wealth of incubators coming online and a sharp uptick in venture capital funding, startups now have more landing spots and opportunity for growth in Houston than ever before.” Continue reading.

Rice accelerator names innovative second summer cohort

The 12-week program received a record number of applications, that spanned the campus' degree offerings. Photo via

Rice University's Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, or Lilie, has named eight teams to the second cohort of the Lilie Summer Venture Studio.

The teams are focused on a range of innovative concepts, from health care solutions to running shoe design to automating recruiting from the NCAA Transfer Portal.

According to Rice, the 12-week program received a record number of applications, that spanned the campus' degree offerings.

“We are thrilled to see such a high level of interest and excitement from Rice students for a high-growth venture accelerator,” Kyle Judah, executive director of Lilie, said in a statement. “The diversity and creativity in this year's applications were truly inspiring, and we’re excited to support these promising ventures with the resources and mentorship they need to hit escape velocity and create the next generation of pillar companies for Houston, Texas and the world.” Continue reading.

Houston entrepreneurial community builder teams up with startup to provide AI-powered founder tools

The Cannon, a coworking community with locations across Houston, and nstAI, a newly launched suite of services for founders, announced a new partnership. Photo courtesy of The Cannon

A new Houston company has launched to provide a new platform of resources for entrepreneurs powered by artificial intelligence, and the new business already has its first partner.

The Cannon, a coworking community with locations across Houston, and nstAI, a newly launched suite of services for founders, announced a new partnership.

“The opportunity for The Cannon to partner with nstAI to bring a value-driven service offering to growth stage startup organizations is huge for our community. We are constantly looking for areas where we can support every startup, no matter where they are in their journey,” Jon Lambert, The Cannon’s CEO, says in a statement. Continue reading.

Houston-area schools score spots on of annual list of top universities for patents issued

The University of Houston — along with a couple of other Houston-area schools — made the cut of the top 100 schools for U.S. patents granted. Photo courtesy of

The University of Houston System reigns as the patent king among colleges and universities in the Houston area.

A new list from the National Academy of Inventors puts UH in a 63rd-place tie — with 27 utility patents issued in 2023 — among 100 recognized schools. As the university explains, utility patents are among the world’s most valuable assets because they give inventors exclusive commercial rights to produce and use their technology.

Other schools in the Houston area that show up on the list are the Texas A&M University System, tied for 30th place with 66 patents, and Rice University, tied for 93rd place with 14 patents. Continue reading.

Texas organization grants over $40M to chemistry research in Houston and beyond

In all, the Welch Foundation on June 4 announced more than $40.5 million in academic research grants, equipment grants, and fellowships. Photo via Getty Images

Two local professors are among the newly announced recipients of funding from the Houston-based Welch Foundation, which finances chemical research projects.

The two professors are:

  • Jacinta Conrad, the Frank M. Tiller Professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of Houston. Conrad will use her grant to investigate glass transition, a temperature change that affects polymers. She describes glass transition as one of the “most intriguing open problems in physical chemistry.”
  • James Shee, assistant professor in the Chemistry Department at Rice University. Shee will put his grant toward advancing theoretical chemistry.

Every year, the foundation provides annual grants totaling at least $100,000 to support chemistry research being carried out by full-time faculty members at colleges, universities, and other educational institutions in Texas. Continue reading.

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