Futures Command, HeatGenie, Techstars Impact, UH & More TX Tech

Let’s get caught up with the latest innovation news from Xconomy Texas.

Techstars Impact, an Austin-based accelerator focused on startups using technology to solve social and environmental problems, has announced its first class of startups.  The companies come from around the United States, South Asia, Nigeria, and Mexico. Among the problems the startups are working on: environmental monitoring for poorer communities, a consumer lending platform to finance childcare, and software to streamline the application process for affordable housing. The startups will participate in a demo day Aug. 23.

Dallas is among five finalists for the U.S. Army’s Futures Command, an organization that will “consolidate the brainpower” that analyzes the future threats the Army faces, the technology needed to counter those threats, and which programs should receive priority funding, according to a Bloomberg article. Other cities in the running include Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Raleigh, NC. A decision is expected by June 30, Bloomberg reported.

Phunware, an Austin-based maker of software to manage digital ad campaigns, has begun advanced sales for its digital currency, Phuncoin. “Our ability to reach 1 in 10 mobile devices globally through our enterprise cloud platform for mobile will allow us to introduce PhunCoin first to thousands, and subsequently to millions, of people who likely have never owned a digital asset of any type in the past,” Alan Knitowski, Phunware CEO and co-founder, said in a press release. The company announced it would sell the cryptocurrency in March at the same time it announced plans to go public through a reverse merger with Athens, Greece-based Stellar Acquisition III. Phunware is expecting to trade on the NASDAQ with the ticker symbol PHUN.

HeatGenie, which makes self-heating beverage packaging to warm contents to 150 degrees in minutes, announced it has closed a $6 million funding round led by San Francisco-based ARTIS Labs. Almanac Investments in New York and other private investors also participated in the round. Austin-based HeatGenie’s technology allows consumers to heat drinks in a can by twisting the lid, which causes a solid-state thermal reaction to make the beverage hot in a few minutes.

Women in Their Prime has raised $250,000 of a $1 million equity financing round, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The organization, which publishes a website with business, lifestyle, and other content, is aimed at entrepreneurial women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

—The University of Houston announced it has launched what it says will be a five-year strategic plan to realign its Energy Research Park with the city’s “growing innovation ecosystem”—starting with renaming the research park the UH Technology Bridge. The plan includes attracting large industry partners to connect with UH faculty and provide internships and startups that need access to faculty and lab space, and identifying areas of applied research of interest to industry, according to a press release.

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