Texas Roundup: Joshua Baer, UTD, Prytime, Next Coast, Spanning
Let’s get caught up with the latest innovation news from Xconomy Texas.
—Renaissance Venture Capital, a fund-of-funds based in Ann Arbor, MI, announced it invested in Next Coast Ventures, a venture firm based in Austin. Renaissance puts money in out-of-state venture firms in order to help entice them to consider investing in Michigan-based startups.
—For Joshua Baer, a high-profile evangelist for Austin’s tech community, respite comes in the form of an organized office and a zero inbox. Baer, the founder of Capital Factory, talks about being an introvert, his entrepreneurial influences, and the best time to plant a tree in our latest “Five Questions For” feature.
—Part of the difficulty in successfully commercializing biotech innovations is that the inventor, usually a scientist or physician, is not motivated by the same criteria as an executive would be. A researcher wants to discover a unique finding, but if that discovery isn’t a solution to a problem in the market, the business won’t succeed. Finding ways to bridge that gap was the focus of a recent panel discussion in San Antonio.
—Blackstone LaunchPad formally opened its doors on the University of Texas at Dallas campus. The program, which is one of three cross-disciplinary entrepreneurial centers to open at Texas universities this month, was funded by a $1 million grant from the private equity fund’s charitable arm. Also, in related news at UTD, we have “Five Questions For” Steve Guengerich, who this month became the CEO of the university’s Innovation Institute.
—San Antonio-area’s Prytime Medical Devices signed a deal that would have Harrisburg, NC-based Combat Medical Systems distribute and sell the company’s medical device, a catheter that can be used to control hemorrhaging, to the U.S. military and federal government. The catheter can be used in emergency and critical care situations to prevent patients from bleeding to death after a traumatic injury, and received FDA clearance in 2015.
—Big data has invaded many sectors of the economy: biotech, artificial intelligence, e-retail. Damian Mogavero, who founded restaurant software company Avero, says right-brained restaurateurs should embrace analytics. For our latest Xconomy Bookclub report, we write about Mogavero’s book, The Underground Culinary Tour: How the New Metrics of Today’s Top Restaurants Are Transforming How America Eats, which details how many high-end restaurants—largely his clients—are using software to run leaner operations and provide better customer service.
—Spanning, an Austin, TX software data backup service owned by Dell EMC, has been sold to Insight Venture Partners, a New York private equity firm. Terms were not disclosed. The new company becomes Spanning Cloud Apps and will remain based in Austin.
—Phoenix Biotechnology, which has been developing a plant-based drug to treat Alzheimer’s for more than a decade, is looking for help in promoting its therapy because it is running out of time and money. The San Antonio biotech company published findings in 2016 that showed that its drug may be able to produce an antioxidant response in the brain and may stimulate a protein related to memory and learning.