Pulmotect & SpyCloud Fundraise, Rice’s Big Contest, & More TX Tech

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

Pulmotect, a Houston biotech, said Wednesday that it has raised $4 million of a planned $12 million round of Series B funding. The investment was co-led led by Aquinas Companies, the parent company of Fannin Innovation Studio in Houston. (Pulmotect is one of Fannin’s portfolio companies.) New York-based Jefferson River Capital was Fannin’s partner in leading the round. Pulmotect is developing an inhaled therapeutic to prevent and treat respiratory infections in cancer patients with compromised immune systems.

—The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday accused Michael Liberty, the former founder of Mozido, a fintech startup in Austin, of defrauding investors in violation of federal securities laws. The SEC stated in a press release that Liberty and accomplices allegedly stole “most of the more than $48 million raised to fund a lavish lifestyle that included private jet flights, multi-million dollar residences, expensive cars, and movie production ventures.” The SEC complaint seeks a jury trial, the surrender of any “ill-gotten gains,” civil penalties, and court orders to prevent further violations.

In an e-mailed statement, Liberty’s attorney Jay Dubow said Liberty denies the allegations and “will vigorously defend himself through the court system.”

“The SEC has unfairly targeted him with regard to this investigation for over six years,” Dubow said. “It has contacted investors, customers, financial institutions and others, resulting in the loss by Mr. Liberty and Mozido, a corporation of which he is a substantial shareholder, of a number of business opportunities.”

Liberty founded Mozido in 2007 in Dallas and moved the company to Austin in 2012; the company had raised more than $400 million from investors such as MasterCard and Sheikh Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, the Austin Business Journal reported. The full SEC complaint can be found here.

—Forty-two teams are in Houston through Saturday for this year’s Rice Business Plan Competition. The university-based startups will compete for at least $1.5 million in prize money, … Next Page »

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