Roundup: Dell Cloud Buy, Obama in Austin, Houston Hackathon, TechRanch Partner

Notable Texas technology news in recent days includes Dell’s acquisition of Enstratius, a tech-centric visit to Austin by President Obama, a Houston government initiative to spur “civic hackers,” and an international partnership for Austin’s TechRanch. Details follow:

—Dell aims to bolster its cloud management software offering with the acquisition of Minnesota-based Enstratius. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Round Rock, TX-based Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) will retain Enstratius’ employees and continue investing in the business, which helps enterprises manage applications across multiple cloud computing platforms—both private and public—including those of Rackspace, Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, and Dell. Dell is placing greater emphasis on software and services to offset declining margins in its hardware business.

—President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Austin this week, highlighting the city’s technology industry with stops at semiconductor maker Applied Materials, which has 2,500 employees in the city, according to the Austin American-Statesman, and Manor New Tech High School. The Washington Post reports that the visit to Austin—“a magnet for new tech jobs”—is part of an outside the beltway tour for Obama in support of his legislative agenda.

—Houston city government is backing two initiatives this month aimed at helping people become “civic hackers” who use technology to address problems in the community. On May 17 and 18, the city is hosting an Open Innovation Hackathon, providing upwards of 25 projects that small teams of software developers, designers, and data analysts could tackle in a weekend. These include an app for bicycling in the city and a “dashboard” to monitor city performance in various areas. Much of the data for the hackathon projects will come from the city’s new Open Data Initiative, described as “a program that puts non-sensitive and public city data in the hands of citizen data scientists, software developers, and general do-gooders.”

TechRanch Austin, the Austin technology startup incubator, is building its international network through a partnership with Singapore-based Get2Volume. Funded by the island city-state’s National Research Foundation, Get2Volume focuses on microelectronics companies, providing investment and mentorship. Through the partnership, TechRanch and Get2Volume (G2V) will offer incubation, connections, and other support—including capital for TechRanch companies that meet G2V’s criteria—to each other’s portfolio companies.

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