MassChallenge, Funds for Innowatts, Liveoak, Data Gumbo & More TX Tech

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

Innowatts, an AI-focused energy tech company in Houston, has closed an $18.2 million Series B funding round, according to a press release. The investment was led by Energy Impact Partners and included existing investors Shell Ventures, Iberdola, and Energy and Environment Fund (EEI Japan), as well as new investor Evergy Ventures. Innowatts’ technology is designed to help utilities provide a more personalized experience for their customers.

—Austin fintech company Liveoak Technologies has raised just under $7 million in funding, according to a filing with securities regulators. Founded in 2015, the company is backed by previous strategic investments from John Hancock (Manulife), Northwestern Mutual, and Prudential’s Gibraltar Ventures, the company said.

Jon Nordby, the former director of strategy at Houston Exponential, is now managing director of MassChallenge Texas’ new Houston program, according to a press release. The Boston-based MassChallenge, which does not take equity in its accelerators’ startups, announced the start of a Houston program in January. Nordby will lead the Houston initiative, which could accept as many as 25 early-stage startups in the inaugural cohort.

Richard’s Rainwater, an Austin-area company that is filtering and bottling rainwater, has closed on an additional $1 million in funding, according to a filing with securities regulators. The company captures rain before it hits the ground, and filters it through a reverse osmosis process. The company raised the first $1 million in the round earlier this year.

Data Gumbo, a blockchain startup, has raised $6 million in a Series A round of funding, according to a press release. The round was co-led by Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and Equinor Technology Ventures. The Houston startup says it will use the funding for software development as well as hires in engineering, sales, and marketing for its offices in Houston and Stavanger, Norway. Data Gumbo has now raised a total of $9.3 million, the company said.

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