Cold arctic air blasted its way from Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico, but innovation news in Texas has not slowed down. New funding was announced for startups, food-tech finalists competing for $30,000 in prize money were unveiled, and a veteran entrepreneur gave back to others who may follow in his path. Here is the Xconomy Texas news roundup:
—Austin, TX-based LiveOak Venture Partners announced it made two separate investments in cyber security and surveillance startups. Some $3.5 million went to Razberi Technologies, a Dallas area company that makes a plug-and-play surveillance system. Meanwhile, $500,000 was invested in San Antonio, TX-based Infocyte, whose founders were inspired by their experience hunting malware in the U.S. Air Force.
—Joseph Kopser, founder and CEO of Austin’s Ridescout and an U.S. Army veteran, created a $70,000 entrepreneurship endowment for student veterans. The seed fund’s first investment will go toward the James D. Pippin Veteran Entrepreneurship Award, a prize in the Texas Venture Labs investment competition.
—The national crowdfunding platform SeedInvest opened a Houston-based branch to bring in Texas startups, the Houston Business Journal reported.
—The Food Lab at the University of Texas at Austin this week announced 21 finalists for its Food Lab Challenge Prize, which has a top award of $30,000. The startups, which largely hail from Texas, feature projects that seek to use technology to improve the distribution, safety, and cooking of food.
—YourCause, which makes Web-based tools to support corporate social responsibility programs, raised $4 million, The Dallas Morning News reported. Vocap Investment Partners of Vero Beach, FL, and Atlanta led the funding, which will be used to expand marketing efforts as well as new product development.
—Former IBM Watson chief, Manoj Saxena sees the Texas capital as the home to a cognitive computing innovation center. And at his new perch at The Entrepreneurs Fund, Saxena spoke last week about two investments in promising startups in that niche.
—Ambiq Micro, an Austin-based company that makes ultra-low power integrated circuits, said it raised $15 million in a Series C round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The funds will be used to boost development of its “SPOT” platform, which it says reduces the energy consumption of semiconductors.
—The Houston Area Translational Research Consortium, or HATRC, is winding down operations, a little over two years after its founding. But advocates say, even in its short life, the initiative helped spark biotech entrepreneurship in Houston.