Tour of Texas: Ride-Hailing, CPRIT, Deep Space, Dean Kamen, START

Let’s get caught up with the latest innovation news in Texas.

BeSomebody, an Austin, TX-based, app that connects people seeking experiences with experts in those experiences, is moving to Boston. Founder Kash Shaikh, a former social media marketing executive at Procter & Gamble and GoPro, has created essentially an online self-improvement network that encourages people to follow their dreams—and make money in the process—by buying, selling, or trading skills related to their passions.

—In the wake of Uber and Lyft’s departure from Austin, Boston-based Fasten will start providing service in the Texas capital. The leading ride-hailing companies left Austin following an electoral defeat in which the companies hoped to nullify the city’s fingerprinting rules for drivers. Fasten has said it will comply with local law.

—Halfway through its 10-year mandate, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas reports that the agency has awarded about 1,000 grants worth more than $1.5 million to scientists, young companies, and universities researching and developing cures to cancer. The agency has invested in 13 biotech, life sciences, and medical device companies.

—A new venture firm in Dallas has big investment plans for Texas startups. Deep Space Ventures co-founder Stephen Hays says the firm plays to invest as much as $30 million over five years. The startups Deep Space has already put money into include connected car company Vinli.

—Inventor Dean Kamen stopped by the Medical World Americas conference to discuss innovation. Kamen has invented a number of notable items including the Segway and the first portable insulin delivery system, among others. During his talk, he plugged his robotics “Super Bowl” for students which is coming to Houston next year. “It’s got to be the equivalent of the Super Bowl with superstars,” Kamen told the audience. “Otherwise, it’s just a science fair.”

San Antonio
South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics, or START, has found itself a special niche in the world of clinical trials. It says it’s not a contract research organization, but instead a site management organization—a distinction that brings less regulation from the FDA. START is growing: Its sixth clinical site recently opened in Taiwan and the company enrolls more than 700 patients a year in its trials.

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