On Tuesday, November 12th, UH’s Technology Bridge held an Investor Open House to encourage business relationships between investors and UH-based startups.
“Our goal was to foster ongoing investor-UH spin outs and UH technology bridge company conversations. We also wanted additional visibility for our UH spin outs and Technology Bridge companies with Houston area investors and organizations like the Houston Angel Network and Houston Exponential,” said Tanu Chatterji, assistant director of licensing for UH’s Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation when asked about the goals for the event.
“We want to accomplish getting UH Technology Bridge exposure in the Houston innovation ecosystem. Seeding the Technology Bridge facilities and capabilities with the investor community so they can help direct startups in their portfolios to the Technology Bridge,” continued Chatterji, who worked closely and diligently with other equally hardworking members the Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation to make the event a huge success.
The Investor Open House at UH was in partnership with Houston Exponential and Houston Angel Network.
When asked what the goal was for the open house, Houston Exponential’s Director of Corporate Engagement Joey Sanchez answered, “Houston Exponential is here to accelerate Houston’s tech economy. In order to do that, we convene all aspects of the tech ecosystem in Houston. In September we held the Capital Summit and now we are looking to create reoccurring programs for the investment community of our region. The Investor Open House at UH Technology Bridge was the first event to do just that.”
The evening commenced with an introduction by Chatterji, who outlined Technology Bridge highlights for the investors. Such highlights include:
-Over $74 million invested in the Technology Bridge infrastructure
-74 acres and 15 buildings including industrial partners, wet lab space, and office space
-UH spinouts have raised over $60 million since 2016
-Strategic partnership with Station Houston and Innovation Map
“Our vision is to promote university, industry, and government collaborations leading to the commercialization of early-stage technology within the Houston innovation ecosystem,“ said Chatterji to an engaged audience of investors and entrepreneurs.
There were 12 startups set up at the event. Seven of these startups were UH-based spinouts or tenant companies:
Sensytec uses Smart Cement technology to allow for the monitoring of the real-time status of construction structures. Users can monitor properties like cracking, contamination, corrosion, temperature fluctuations, and more. By doing so, this collected data will help engineers and construction companies avoid potential failures.
DexMat manufactures high-performance carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers and coatings using their proprietary solution processing technology. Dexmat aims to engineer superior conductors by replacing stiff, bulky metal electrical components with lighter, stronger, and more flexible, soft conductors made from carbon nanotubes.
Dexmat has developed prototype wires and cables that not only meet specifications, but result in up to 70% weight reduction over commercially available wires and cables.
Alchemy is an early stage energy technology company that develops applied chemical formulations tailored specifically to increase oil and gas production and enhance E & P companies’ economics.
Drylet’s patented micro bioreactor accelerates any biological process. Each dry-to-the-touch bioreactor is loaded with billions of carefully selected microbes to consume organic waste, remediate oil spills, or overcome undesirable bacteria. Drylet provides proven biotechnology solutions for wastewater treatment, agriculture, and oil remediation as well as products to handle the kitchen drain, septic system, and aquaculture waste challenges.
RevoChem analyzes geochemical fingerprints in oil and rock formations. The company data-mines the unique geochemical fingerprints to provide fast, accurate, and cost-effective reservoir diagnostics and monitoring services.
RevoChem’s innovative geochemical fingerprinting technology reveals unprecedented information and enables operators to maximize unconventional reservoir economics. The valuable information can be used to optimize field development plans, validate EOR/IOR strategies, and facilitate reservoir performance prediction.
REEcycle reclaims rare earth elements (REEs) locked inside of neodymium-iron-boron magnets from disposed of HDDs, creating a secondary, sustainable supply of REEs. REEcycle provides security for North American, European and Japanese manufacturers who are all entirely dependent on China for these critical materials. A domestic supply of REEs creates the foundation needed for the production of new and existing innovations in clean energy technologies, personal electronics, and national defense systems.
REEcycle aims to create a secondary, sustainable supply of rare earth elements, allowing security in clean energy, electronics, and national defense manufacturing.
Critical X is a research and development service laboratory and consumables supplier providing rapid and reliable tissue-based tools to the biomedical research community. Critical X aims to raise the quality and efficiency of tissue-based biomarker testing by providing a platform that, unlike traditional slide approaches, controls key assay variables and increases throughput.
Other startups showcased for investors were:
Addresses the issues of water usage in fracking unconventional or shale wells for recycling, sourcing, transport, and access.
Resthetics converts waste anesthetic gas into a safe renewable resource.
SurfEllent creates customized solutions to prevent ice buildup on various surfaces, increasing overall safety and system integrity and improving people's lives.
SP’s probiotic bacteria is unique in that it does not require refrigeration. With consistent use, their products help the skin's microbiome become healthy and resilient and thus free of acne, eczema, premature aging and inflammation.
As investors made their way around the open house to speak with startup representatives about their companies, their questions seemed to fit a past, present, future model. The majority of the things investors wanted to know were:
Past: What positive early traction has the company achieved?
Present: What makes your product unique?
Future: What are some key features you plan to add?
Startup representatives were enthusiastic about showing off their products and technology, answering questions with rich expertise and unbridled optimism. There a few instances in which investors’ discussions with startup founders reached a next level, and asked to borrow a Technology Bridge conference room for privacy on advanced discussions.
All in all, the event seemed to unfold successfully, with eager investors prodding and inquiring while sharp, privy representatives and enthused founders gladly answered their questions.
“I think it was a very successful event and was a great opportunity for the UH Start-ups to engage with the Houston Innovation ecosystem. We received very positive feedback from all the attendees and they also mentioned that they would love to participate in more events like these,” said Chatterji.
Sanchez echoed these sentiments, “The Investor Open House at UH Technology Bridge was a great success. 75-plus attendees and numerous connections were made across multiple investor organizations. Houston Angel Network, Cannon Ventures and Mercury Fund all helped promote and put on this great event.”