Despite 2016’s oil industry downturn, new Houston businesses continued to thrive last year; in fact, the city was ranked number 7 among the top 25 cities by Fortune for startup activity. Many of these ventures—tapping into regional expertise—have close ties to the energy and healthcare fields.
From biometric solutions to mobile customer communications management platforms, here’s a look at some of the leading upstarts from H-town you need to know about in 2017.
Founded in 2014 as a client of The Houston Technology Center, UNews Digital is a customizable video distribution mobile app that helps broadcasters reach news consumers in the digital/mobile era. Using its solution, customers can send individually-tailored newscasts to users’ phones and increase revenue and views.
Founded in 2013 by Dr. Alan Abrams and Katherine Chambers, The Right Place aims to simplify the process of moving patients between hospitals and engaging patients in decisions for post-acute care. The solution helps minimize complications arising from the relocation of patients from hospitals into skilled nursing facilities.
Zenus offers facial recognition technologies that are easy, affordable, and secure. Its team consists of veteran professionals in the fields of software development and computer vision.
In the past, chronic heart failure patients had limited options when medications failed—usually involving risky open-heart procedures. Texas Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Reynolds Delgado founded Procyrion to provide a better solution: a tiny pump that pulls fluid from the heart and is inserted via a minimally-invasive procedure. The company recently demonstrated its proof of concept in collaboration with the Texas Heart Institute and is now working toward their initial human studies.
Molecular’s founders Randy Baker, Sameer Soleja and Adam Strickland were energy consultants in the energy trading and software business before founding the company; together, the team is simplifying energy trading with its easy-to-use hedging software tool for answering fundamental questions about energy risk. After graduating from Surge Accelerator’s first class of energy-focused startups, the team raised $450,000 in funding from angel investors and venture capital firms, including Mercury Fund and DFJ’s Houston affiliate.
Robo focuses on autonomous equipment operations and intelligent machine control in heavy equipment industries—its solutions enabling clients to prevent injuries, increase productivity/accuracy, and reduce environmental impact. The company’s non-cab, fully autonomous bulldozer is capable of 1 inch self-operation accuracy and 4 inch self-driving accuracy.
IntuiTaps eliminates the guesswork, frustration, and pain of spinal punctures—the company’s handheld device is the world’s first tactile imaging platform that provides physicians with a real-time map of the underlying vertebrae.
Grammaropolis’ founder Coert Voorhees discovered from his own experiences as an educator that teaching grammar to kids is best accomplished through characterization and storytelling. With $500,000 from private investors, Voorhees launched the Grammaropolis app for iOS: a children’s grammar learning app where parts of speech show up as animated characters in books, songs, videos, and interactive games. The app was featured by the Apple Store and reached the Top 10 list in multiple countries.
The cleantech market is estimated to be around $120 billion USD by 2022—Ebio is tapping into the opportunity with its solution that uses microbial and photosynthetic systems to convert biomass wastes and sunlight into biofuels. The company’s unique, patented technology increases ethanol production by using production waste as feedstock.
DimDrop’s app enables teams to create and track all mobile communications with customers. Its robust suite of web-based collaboration and location-based tools links to each customer’s mobile device for instant, two-way interactions in a variety of formats: SMS, push messaging, geofencing, geocoded content, multimedia, video, in-app notifications, legacy files, social media, and more. The solution is used by customers to improve operations, spending, community well-being, safety, and overall communications in a variety of use cases—transportation/construction, emergency response, health awareness, school/workplace campuses, and more.
Aprenda’s flagship product Signature allows healthcare providers/users to create a master directory of profiles shared between payers, health systems, individuals, and more. The solution helps organizations save time, reduce fines, rein in overhead expenses, and avoid errors by eliminating the need to transcript data manually.
Applicantz is the world’s only automated recruiter—the platform combines industry best practices and artificial intelligence to make recruitment efforts more efficient and robust. The company’s proprietary algorithms enable it to match job candidates with hiring firms more accurately, with a greater likelihood of long-term success.
2nd.MD is an online service that provides second opinions from top medical specialists for patients, from anywhere in the country. Users can use the platform to gather medical records, finds the best experts, and arrange for phone/video consultation services. The startup recently took the “Most Promising Company” category at the Texas Life Science Venture Forum.
In short, Houston’s tech startup community is one to watch for the latest digital innovations, especially in the healthcare and energy fields. CEO/President of the Houston Technology Center Walter Ulrich recently put it best in saying that “Houston is still one of the very best places to be a startup, and have a vigorous and robust ecosystem to support startups.” Be sure to keep these 13 Lone Star innovators in your sights in 2017 and beyond.
- A Look Inside 12 Houston Startups