Best in class
These are the 16 Houston startups coming out of UH's RED Labs and Rice's OwlSpark
For the sixth year, the University of Houston and Rice University have joined forces to give their student entrepreneurs a program to thrive in. RED Labs and OwlSpark, the two universities' accelerator programs, just concluded their seventh class with a presentation from the companies.
Over the past 12 weeks, these 16 startups and their teams of entrepreneurs have worked on their company, developing it, learning how to fundraise for it, and engaging with all sorts of other valuable resources and mentors through the program.
"With an emphasis on experimentation and rapid iteration, we teach disciplined startup strategies that help (students) have an eye for reducing risks and increasing odds," says Kerri Smith, managing director of OwlSpark.
This summer's cohort was hosted out of Station Houston this year, but the two universities have worked together since year two of each of their programs.
"We're very proud of our partnership, because in most other cities, two universities like this would probably be rivals, but we're interested in camaraderie and collaboration in this cohort because they are the future generation of entrepreneurs of Houston," says Kelly McCormick, director of RED Labs. "We really think that this sets an example of how working together produces better results than working against each other."
While the invention of the EpiPen and other compact anaphylaxis solutions have saved lives, the products are still too large to be constantly available to those who need it. Adren's co-founders created a collapsible autoinjector that can be work as a wristband.
"A functioning drug is only one piece of the puzzle," says Jacob, co-founder of Adren. (He didn't state his last name.) "Medication is only effective if it is accessible to the patient."
The company plans to continue on and patent their product with hopes to enter the marketplace by the next few years.
Anyone can find a recipe for anything with the tap of a few keys and the click of of few buttons, but once you add in dietary restrictions, things get tricky. Not to mention the fact that so many healthy recipes aren't even that good for you.
The team at CookLab wants to eliminate this unregulated and confusing corner of the internet. CookLab's first product is a web tool that can determine whether or not a recipe is healthy by the user dropping in the URL. This product is in beta right now.
Down the road, CookLab wants to create a tool for users to be able to submit a recipe they want to make, then have CookLab generate a modified version that follows any dietary needs.
In a state of emergency where electricity is out, the diabetic population is forced to gamble with their lives when it comes to keeping their insulin insulated and cool.
INSU has a solution. The startup has created a battery operated cooler that can keep insulin from spoiling for 30 days. The battery can be charged by wall outlet or even solar panel.
The company plans to market directly to consumers as well as make strategic partnerships with emergency and health organizations.
Merchandise lines at concerts are quite possibly the single-most buzzkill of any show. In the age of UberEats and order-ahead apps, auggie sees a solution.
While you're at a show, you can easily order your favorite merch items on the app and choose to have it set aside for pickup that day or even get it mailed to you. The app is live on some downloading stores.
The speculum OB/GYNs use on their patients hasn't changed in 150 years, and, while effective, can be uncomfortable to patients during use. But this doesn't have to be the case.
LilySpec is a speculum designed with the patient in mind. The device is silently deployed, silicon coated for comfort, and adjustable for all women.
The LilySpec team will finish its clinical product this year, and the company's medical partners here in Texas will be able to use it on patients.
How do you staff a team for an unpredictable job? Emergency rooms face this challenge every single shift. Too many staffers makes the establishment bleed money, while too few causes burnout and even sacrifices quality of care.
Myze is developing a software platform that can use artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to help ERs better staff their teams.
Those suffering from Vertigo feel like the whole world has turned upside down. CALI is a device that helps those people turn it right back around.
The wearable device allows for users to do balance exercises and claim back control of their own situation.
For those relying on a catheter, changing it out requires 150 monthly procedures on average. Each one is another opportunity for infection.
DASH Innovations has created UrinControl, a urethral valve for pediatric patients that can be installed once a month and operated with a remote to control the bladder.
Holding onto a cup is something most everyone takes for granted. For arthritis or muscle damage patients, it's a daunting daily task.
Get-A-Grip is designed to distribute the weight of the cup along the grip and make it easier and more comfortable to hold. While originally designed with these patients in mind, the grip comes in four sizes, with the smallest being perfect for babies grabbing at bottles or small children holding cups.
Preparing for and preventing phishing email-originated data breaches is the new normal for companies, but it's impossible to prevent employees from accidentally opening suspicious emails without thinking.
While there are plenty software protection companies out there, Everest Security couples their software solution with education, a core component for the company.
There are 2 million homes supposedly dedicated for off-campus housing for students, but no one-stop shop to find them. KickedOC is attempting to be that one-stop shop and make it easier for students to find their semester homes.
With listings already up in Houston, the startup hopes to expand its platform to College Station and other Texas college towns next.
Creating a creative team can be difficult if you don't have the connections already. Mismo Minds is a platform for artists, videographers, directors, etc. to join forces with others who share their creative vision. It's a social networking tool, project management platform, and job board all rolled into one.
Typically for sports betting, you have two options: Impersonal bets with large pools or friendly wagers that might not ever pay off. Sports Betz is a platform where the competitive gamblers can casually bet with friends and family — but the money is pulled up front.
Chivalry is not dead, argues CIND, a new dating app. The app allows for potential matches to introduce themselves with a gift — which range from $2 to $100. Though, the recipient doesn't just walk away with the cash. The money actually goes to the recipient's nonprofit of choice. Only after the donation is made can matches start chatting.
CIND (pronounced like "Cindy") is basically digital donation dating, and everyone wins.
The Pharmacy College Admission Test isn't easy — and preparation isn't cheap.
PCATCopycat puts the power back into the hands of students. The online course is only $200 — way cheaper and easier for future pharmacists to navigate.
Second Act is the startup that isn't. The non-company started the program with the idea of matching retirees with short-term work at various startups with the thought being that they have a lot of experience and a lot of time on their hands. While a great idea in theory, Second Act hit some walls and the company and idea are no more. The team, however, has a bright future in Houston innovation at other startups and companies.