NASA, Liongard, Springdale, TFF, HX, Women@Austin & More TX Tech
[Updated 6/07/19, 1:00 pm ET. See below.] Let’s catch up with the latest innovation news in Texas.
—NASA has selected a Houston space tech company as one of three firms with a contract to design, build, and send spacecraft to the moon with experiments and other packages, according to a press release. Intuitive Machines makes the Nova-C Lunar Lander and it would be one of the first privately made spacecraft to land on the moon, the company said. The contracts are part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. The two other companies participating are Astrobotic Technology in Pittsburgh, PA; and Orbit Beyond in Edison, NJ.
—Liongard, a Houston software company whose products are used by IT departments, has raised $4.5 million in a Series A round led by TDF Ventures, according to a press release. Integr8d Capital; Gestalt Theory Venture Partners; Richard Yoo, the founder of Rackspace Managed Hosting; and others participated in the round, the company said. The company raised a seed round of $1.3 million in funding last year from Yoo and a variety of institutions like Station Houston and the University of Houston Cougar Venture Fund, among others.
—[The funding amount raised is updated.] Austin-based Springdale Ventures has raised $14 million of an investment fund that could hit $35 million, according Genevieve Gilbreath, Sprindale’s co-founder and general partner. The fund, which was founded by Dan Graham, the CEO of Notley, and Gilbreath, the former managing director of the SKU accelerator, initially said the fund was expected to be in the $20 million-range and would back about 25 early stage consumer-oriented startups, the publication reported.
—TFF Pharmaceuticals, an early-stage biotech, has raised $8.17 million through offerings of Series A preferred stock, the company said in a press release. Austin-based TFF is developing inhalation drug candidates to treat chronic respiratory diseases. The biotech, which has licensed its technology from the University of Texas at Austin, says its initial focus is on “dry powder” drugs for inhalation of both biologic and small molecule drugs that currently can’t be formulated for dry powder delivery, according to the prepared statement.
—Houston Exponential has a new leader at the helm. Harvin Moore, a Houston aerospace executive and investor, is succeeding Russ Capper, the group’s first leader who took the position just over a year ago. Moore is a principal at Frontera Technology Ventures, an advisory and seed stage investment firm, and was the CEO of Space Services Holdings, according to a press release. HX was founded about 18 months ago as an innovation hub organization designed to boost efforts to build Houston’s startup ecosystem.
—Jessica Gaffney has been named as the new CEO and executive director of Women@Austin, an organization founded by tech entrepreneur Jan Ryan in 2014 to make Austin a better place for women-led businesses. Gaffney is the co-founder of Pro Mana, which aims to connect working mothers and employers. Gaffney worked at the Sustainable Food Center prior that. Women@Austin is Austin is located at Notley Ventures, which works to aid organizations that try to make positive social change.
Xconomy National Correspondent David Holley contributed to this report.