Texas Roundup: EIV Capital, Appconomy, and UTMB

Temperatures are rising in Texas, but it’s not tamping down startup activity across the state. Our latest Texas Roundup includes new funds for energy investment, a new partnership that brings a Boston startup to China (with its Austin partner), and how reality TV can influence a top medical institution.

EIV Capital Management Company in Houston has raised $65 million for its second energy investment fund, according to a filing at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. An executive at the firm declined to comment, but the regulatory filing says the fund, called the EIV Capital Fund II LP, will remain open to investments for more than one year. So far, the firm has 24 investors in the fund. EIV invests in companies involved in the production, processing, transportation, storage, or conversion of oil, natural gas, or renewable fluids. The target equity investment size ranges from $5 million to $20 million.

Appconomy announced Wednesday a partnership with Boston startup ByteLight. The Austin-based firm provides mobile marketing and e-commerce platforms for Chinese retailers, including its “smart shopping app,” which is used by shoppers to upload shopping lists and create store maps to make finding items easier. ByteLight’s LED-based location technology, which transmits signals via a short-range light, allows customers to skip unlocking phones or launching specific apps during the check-in and check-out process, the companies said in a press release.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston turned to a TV reality show for tactics to encourage innovation among its staff. Modeled after “Shark Tank,” during which budding entrepreneurs make pitches to investors such as Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran, UTMB employees Thursday pitched ways to improve the institution through a program called “Innovation Challenge Tank.”

Among the ideas put forth by employees to UTMB executive vice presidents included ways to encourage UTMB staff to lead healthy lifestyles, and ways to improve patient and primary care physician relationships. “It’s our way of trying to get staff ideas before people that they would never get in front of usually,” says Raul Reyes, a UTMB spokesman.

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