Texas Roundup: Brainspace, Disruptors, Phunware, Chiron, Fountainhead

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

—Dallas’s Brainspace, a machine-learning software startup, has been acquired by private equity firms Medina Capital and BC Partners to become part of a larger cybersecurity and data services company. The new joint venture will be composed of 57 data centers and four software companies, including Brainspace.

—Xconomy’s Disruptors conference was held at the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx accelerator in Houston, featuring innovators in healthcare, space, virtual reality, cognitive computing, and other sectors. Here are some photos from that event.

—LifeNet Health, a Virginia nonprofit, has acquired the assets of a biotech company that has a top executive located in San Antonio. Vivo Biosciences, based in Birmingham, AL, is led by chief operating officer Steven Schmid. LifeNet now owns Vivo’s cell-based technology to test and analyze the safety and effectiveness of experimental drugs. LifeNet provides bio-implants and organs for transplants. It plans to incorporate Vivo into its life sciences division, which prepares products such as human cells for medical research.

Fountainhead Investment Partners, which created biotech and medical device incubator Watershed Idea Foundry, is raising additional capital to make new investments. Fountainhead would make those investments from its $3 million FIP Venture Fund.

—Austin’s Phunware, which makes mobile apps for multinational corporations, has raised $22 million—$10 million shy of its goal of $50 million in its Series F round. The investment was led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the government of Malaysia; Wavemaker Partners; and PLDT Capital, the investment arm of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.

—Telemedicine company Chiron Health has added $1 million in equity funding to its seed round of $4.7 million. Chiron has a system that lets doctors speak with patients via online video, with the idea to limit the need to visit a doctor’s office for simple tasks like checkups or lab results. The three-year-old startup’s customers are small- to medium-sized practices.

Fereshteh Forough, founder of a coding school for young women, understands the difficulty in closing the gender gap in tech. What makes it even harder for her is that her Code to Inspire school is in Herat, Afghanistan. “There are general challenges, and there are Afghanistan challenges,” she told me. I first met Forough four years ago in Herat and we caught up recently when she appeared at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference held in Houston.

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