Roundup: Aceable, Richards-Kortum Wins MacArthur, DivInc & More

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

–Austin edtech startup Aceable has raised $4 million in a Series A round of funding to help it further expand its line of online testing products beyond driver’s education. The round was co-led by earlier investors Silverton Partners in Austin and Floodgate in Palo Alto, CA. In total, the startup has raised $8.7 million, including a $3 million round announced in October last year.

—Rice University’s Rebecca Richards-Kortum is among the latest recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant.” A bioengineering professor at Rice, Richards-Kortum also leads the university’s Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering and the Rice 360 Institute of Global Health. She is also the founder of Beyond Traditional Borders. Working with her students, she has developed low cost medical devices that have brought needed healthcare to communities in Africa, including a low-cost continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) system that allows newborns with respiratory problems to breathe easier.

Edward Jung, co-founder and CTO of Intellectual Ventures, is the latest in our roster of exceptional innovators speaking at Xconomy’s Disruptors conference October 27. The daylong seminar will be held at the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx accelerator.

—A San Antonio company called Progenerative Medical has licensed technology from Acelity (formerly known as Kinetic Concepts) that could help bones re-grow. Acelity will receive royalty milestone payments if Progenerative is able to commercialize the device, which is called a negative-pressure pump.

Everfest, the Austin-based producer of a festival-focused app, acquired a digital magazine called Fest300, which produces an annual award of the world’s best 300 festivals. Fest300 was created by Chip Conley, who heads up Airbnb’s global hospitality and strategy division and was the founder and former CEO of the Joie de Vivre boutique hotel chain. With the acquisition, Conley becomes Everfest’s chief strategy officer. Everfest was founded in 2015 by Paul Cross and Jay Manickam, and has raised $2.5 million in seed funding, according to a news release.

Peter Stone, a University of Texas at Austin professor who works at an artificial intelligence laboratory, talked about issues around promoting autonomous cars on our roads, including consumer trust, how quickly government can come up with a regulatory system to guide the industry, and whether insurers can properly assess the risk.

—Too many startup entrepreneurs fit one profile, says Preston James, a former Dell executive who now mentors and invests in entrepreneurs. To help change that, he founded DivInc, an Austin-based accelerator program aimed at women-owned and minority-owned startups.

National correspondent David Holley contributed to this story.


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