Animal Rescue Groups, PGA, Stryve Biltong, Novo Labs & More TX Tech

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

Dallas Animal Services won $200,000 in the Innovation Showdown, a pet tech competition, for a customer service system that uses a mobile app and two-way video in order to streamline the adoption process. Day of the Dogs in Houston won $175,000 for its donation platform that uses crowdfunding to reduce the number of animals euthanized at shelters. Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, CA, won $75,000 for automated scheduling software that enables users to check out a shelter dog for a day.

—A Texas Medical Center accelerator startup has raised $4.2 million in seed funding from Freestyle Capital, Bonit Capital, Y Combinator, Lifeline Ventures and IT-Farm, the TMC announced. Meru Health, a digital IT startup focused on mental health, says it has developed a mobile-based “digital therapeutic program” to help users deal with depression and anxiety. The Palo Alto, CA-based startup is part of the current class of TMCx startups and previously was part of the Y Combinator accelerator.

Atmosphere, an Austin-based TV entertainment platform, has raised $10 million in funding, according to a press release. The startup says it plans to use the funding to broaden distribution of its TV platform and technology developments. Austin-based S3 Ventures led the round, with participation from Capstar Capital. Atmosphere is a Netflix-like platform with different channels of programming for bars, restaurants, and other establishments, Charlie Plauche, partner with S3 Ventures, said in an article in Silicon Hills News. The startup compiles, licenses, and produces videos from content creators.

—Badoo, the parent company of Austin dating app Bumble, has unveiled its “Private Detector” technology into its service, according to an article in Inc. The technology uses artificial intelligence to review images in real-time to determine whether they contain nudity or other explicit content, the magazine reported. The tech is designed to stop those images from being uploaded to users’ profiles, and if one is sent in a private message, the image is blurred until the recipient opts into viewing it.

—The Professional Golf Association of America (PGA) is establishing what its CEO calls the “Silicon Valley of Golf” in North Texas, according to Dallas Innovates. Seth Waugh unveiled plans for the associations new headquarters this week in Frisco, a suburb of Dallas. The facility is expected to have an innovation lab, education facilities, and two championship golf courses, the publication reported.

—Dallas-based artificial intelligence startup Novo Labs has received $2 million in funding in a round led by Silverton Partners in Austin, according to a press release. The two-year-old startup uses natural language processing to develop its automated service for taking restaurant orders, including orders customers place by phone. The service currently handles thousands of phone orders each week, and Novo Labs says it is working on making it available for drive-throughs and digital assistants, the press release stated.

Stryve Biltong, a maker of dried, cured meat snacks, has raised $16.5 million in a Series B funding round led by Meaningful Partners, Pendyne Capital, and Murano Group, according to a press release. The two-year-old Plano, TX-based company says the investment will be used for marketing and hiring.

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