Roundup: Station Houston, Launch Health, Pryor Medical, DEC, Fannin
The first blast of wintry air has come to Texas this week of Thanksgiving. Before we get to the turkey, let’s catch up with the latest innovation news.
—Houston will be home to a new startup hub. Station Houston is looking to launch in early 2016 and is the brainchild of Emily Keeton, a Houston native who earlier this year sold the New York dining app Flavour to Tasting Table (The app is now called Dine). Plans are that Station Houston will house Houston’s Mercury Fund as well as Surge Ventures in addition to having co-working space for technology startups.
—A new initiative called Launch Health Challenge was announced Thursday to help life sciences entrepreneurs interested in using the zero-gravity environment of space in their experiments. Brian Lang, founder of Energizing Health, is leading the challenge along with the DreamIt accelerator.
—In search of programming talent, a Washington, D.C.-area cybersecurity firm has shifted its headquarters to Austin, TX. Assured Enterprises is especially keen to tap into the cadre of gaming talent in the Texas state capital, says CEO Stephen Soble.
—Fort Worth, TX startup Eosera won the top prize at the North Texas Business Pitch Contest Friday. The competition, which was hosted by the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and Dallas-based Comerica Bank, is focused on women- and minority-owned startups. Eosera, which was selected from a group of 150 contenders, is developing a topical drug to disintegrate earwax.
—Umbel, an Austin-based customer data software maker, has raised $20 million in a round led by investor Cielo Private Equity. The money will be used to expand marketing efforts, fund product development, and potential acquisitions.
—A University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s scientist has helped to form a Cambridge, MA-based biotech. Raghu Kalluri, chairman of the hospital’s department of cancer biology, has been looking at how exosomes can act as delivery vehicles for a variety of drugs. Codiak BioSciences was formed with an $80 million venture round to better pursue exosomes’ potential.
—Austin’s Neone wants to make social networking more private. The startup makes a device called the Neobase, which functions as a personal server, allowing a user to store conversations, photos, documents, and other material securely and inaccessible to other people. Neone has raised $7 million from private investors, including founder Dave Glassco.
—San Antonio’s Pryor Medical Devices has won a $15.3 million grant from the U.S. military to further develop its ER-Reboa Catheter, a minimally invasive device designed to stop people from bleeding to death internally. The device is inserted through the femoral artery in order to place a balloon just below the heart to block blood flow. Pryor licensed the technology from the San Antonio Military Medical Center.
—Rugved Damle, a Houston entrepreneur and cricket enthusiast, has developed an online community for fans of the sport. Cricket Huddle was founded earlier this year and currently looks like a sort of a Reddit-type site with news clips of cricket articles from media across the globe. Damle and his three co-founders invested about $100,000 to get the site up, and are now working on developing a mobile app to broaden the services offered to users.
—Houston’s Fannin Innovation Studio has launched Exotect, a biotech company aimed at reducing mucus production, one of the symptoms of asthma.