Roundup: LiveOak, Memorial Hermann, AT&T, March Capital, & DigniCap

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

LiveOak Venture Partners announced today it has led a $4.7 million funding round for Telestax, which makes a technology that combines traditional telecommunications with new business apps in order to provide real-time communications tools that can scale. Telestax supports 900 million calls and 200 million messages per day, respectively, onsite, and 500 million calls and 5.5 million messages per week, respectively, on the cloud, the company said. Telestax has more than 170 commercial customers, including companies such as T-Mobile and NTT-AT, it added.

—Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston announced Thursday that Charles “Chuck” Stokes has been appointed president and CEO to replace Benjamin Chu, who departed last month. Stokes is a longtime executive at the hospital, and most recently served as interim president and CEO and chief operating officer. As the COO, Stokes was responsible for overseeing the hospital system’s 17 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient clinics, and 25,000 employees and 5,500 affiliated physicians.

—AT&T announced it plans to invest up to $200 million in a venture capital fund to invest in startups developing “connected” technologies. The telecom giant, which is based in Dallas, is pairing up with Coral Group, a Minnesota venture group, which will help AT&T source the investments, AT&T said in a press release. The fund will invest in technologies that run on the Open Network Automation Platform or ONAP, which is the combination of two open-source platforms. “We look forward to collaborating with Coral and other [Communications Industry Platform] members to find—and even create—startup companies to build disruptive technologies,” Andre Fuetsch, chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs, said in the press release.

—California venture capital firm March Capital Partners is opening an Austin office, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Jim Armstrong, a partner in the Santa Monica, CA-based firm, will spend a week a month in Austin looking for startups in need of expansion-stage capital. And it turns out that Armstrong is somewhat familiar with Austin’s tech scene: he was with Austin Ventures for three years in the late-1990s.

—The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the use of cooling cap DigniCap for use in chemotherapy. The device is used to reduce hair loss during cancer treatments. DigniCap is the first such cap cleared by the agency for use in cancer patients with solid tumors, according to an FDA press release. The FDA granted marketing authorization for the cap to be used by patients with breast cancer in 2015. DigniCap is made by Dignitana, a Swedish medtech firm with US headquarters in Dallas.

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