Roundup: S3 Ventures, TMCx, George Peoples, Disruptors in Houston

Let’s catch up with the latest innovation news from Xconomy Texas.

S3 Ventures has closed on a new $75 million fund—its sixth, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday. The Austin, TX-based venture firm’s fifth fund, closed in 2013, also totaled $75 million and was S3’s largest fund at the time. S3 has made investments in a number of startups in enterprise software and medical devices, including Datical, OrthoAccel, and Pivot3.

—Xconomy’s Disruptors series of events is coming to Texas in October. Among the speakers are Scott Parazynski, an ex-NASA astronaut; Jan Goetgeluk, founder of Austin virtual reality startup Virtuix; and Ronald DePinho, president of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The daylong seminar will be held October 27 at the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx.

The Health Cell, a San Antonio, TX-based biotech and healthcare-focused group, is hosting a series of workshops aimed at teaching life sciences professionals about different aspects of bringing a medical device to market. The series is called “Bedside to Bench to Bedside: Developing and Clinically Introducing Medical Technologies.”

Two Texas coding schools were among the eight groups the U.S. Department of Education selected for its new EQUIP program. The effort is aimed at making federal student aid available for a small number of degree or certificate programs through partnerships with established higher education institutions. MakerSquare is partnering with the University of Texas at Austin, while StraighterLine is working with the Dallas Community College System. The Equip program consists of six other partnerships in Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.

—Medical device entrepreneurs must remember that innovation does not start and end with technology. Todd Dunn, director of innovation at Salt Lake City, UT-based Intermountain Healthcare, told the latest crop of startup founders at the TMCx accelerator that empathy and curiosity also play fundamental roles. “That’s the foundation,” he said.

San Antonio physician and biotech entrepreneur George Peoples brings his experience as a battlefield surgeon to cancer care. Now retired from the military, Peoples is working fulltime with two biotech companies, Galena Biopharma (NASDAQ: GALE) and Elios Therapeutics, which are developing experimental vaccines based on Peoples’ research.

—San Antonio’s biotech and technology ecosystems got a boost from government grants recently announced. The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is giving $4.6 million to the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery, a joint venture between the University of Texas at San Antonio and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. Also, a $100,000 grant was awarded to Dialpad, a San Francisco-based provider of cloud-based messaging services, as part of the California company’s expansion to Texas.

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