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Houston Startup Raises $25M, Business Plan Competition Opens Apps and More on Local Innovation

We’re on the other side of the hill from summer in Houston, but the city of Bayou is always hot in terms of innovation news, and you might have missed a few headlines.

In this roundup of short stories within Houston startups and tech, a Houston venture fund made its latest investment, a hydrogen startup raised new funding, accelerators raised open apps, etc.

Houston hydrogen startup closes $25M Series B

This hydrogen company has new financing. Photo via

Global Utilitya Houston-based sustainable hydrogen company, closed its $25 million Series B funding round, Axios reports.

Houston-based private equity firm Ara Partners led the round. Other participating investors included: Samsung Ventures, NOVA and Aramco.

Utility Global, founded in 2018, has developed a clean hydrogen solution. The proprietary technology – called the eXERO Technology Platform – includes an electricity-free process that converts sustainable waste streams into high-purity hydrogen. Additionally, the company has developed its H2Gen product line that provides customers with reliable, low-carbon, high-purity hydrogen that offers unparalleled feedstock flexibility and highly competitive economics.

“Leveraging our industry-first eXERO™ process, Utility Global is expanding into many industry sectors,” reads the company’s website. “Whether it’s next-generation fuel, green chemicals, or sustainable steel, Utility Global’s products can meet your needs. Our ultra-pure hydrogen is also ideal for the electronics industries. , food and glass.In the steel industry, our waste-to-hydrogen converts waste gases into pure hydrogen, enabling the decarbonisation of the steelmaking process.

Houston Women-Focused Venture Fund Leads Fintech Firm’s Round

The Artemis Fund – led by Diana Murakhovskaya, Leslie Goldman and Stephanie Campbell – has announced its latest investment. Courtesy pictures

Houston-based Artemis Fund, a female-led, women-focused venture capital fund, has released information about its latest investment. The company announced that it led the seed funding round for Los Angeles-based Payverse, a payment processor focused on global commerce through emerging technologies.

The round also saw participation from Alpha Ascent Ventures, Frank Mastrangelo, Mary Wieler and Jonathan Palmer. Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP represented Artemis in connection with the agreement.

“The Artemis Fund invests in phenomenal female talent to modernize and diversify wealth. Payverse is poised to transform the payments industry by making global transactions easier and more profitable for businesses and consumers,” said Stephanie Campbell, General Partner of The Artemis Fund, in a Press release. “We are proud to lead the company’s seed cycle, which includes other top FinTech experts and industry leaders.”

Houston Public Service Career Accelerator Opens Applications for Its Second Cohort

HTXelerator is gearing up for its second cohort. Photo via

With its mission to identify and prepare forward-looking leaders for public service, particularly boards, commissions, and city council, HTXelerator, a nonprofit launched last fall, has opened applications for the second cohort. The three-month program trains class members on the workings of city government and culminates in a competition called The Pitch, which allows each participant to propose a political platform for a hypothetical race.

“The Houston area continues to grow and, therefore, the need for public leadership to reflect the dynamic diversity of the city,” said Renee Cross, senior director of the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs. , in a press release. “HTXelerator will allow those interested in public service to learn from experts in government, nonprofits, academia and the private sector. Whether they are pursuing a leadership position or running for office, HTXelerator graduates will have a head start.

Applications must be submitted by August 22 and cohort members will be announced by August 29. There is no fee to apply, but the program costs $250 per participant. Bursaries are available for those who need help. The program begins with a retreat weekend on September 10 and 11 and ends with The Pitch competition on December 7.

Houston startup partners with pet tech giant

Wag, Robinhood and DonateStock have teamed up for a new initiative. picture by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Houston-based DonateStock, a fintech platform that easily enables stock-based donations, has been adopted by Wag, a mobile-first marketplace for pet services. The company, which has also entered into an agreement with Robinhood. Through these partnerships, the company launched its Wag! Community Shares Program, a new method of charitable giving for the pet care community and nonprofit pet organizations, according to a press release.

Through its SPAC, CHW Acquisition Corp., Wag! will reserve up to 300,000 common shares for the program, which will be organized and administered by Robinhood. The company goes into more detail – including information on how to participate – in the Release.

“We are thrilled to play a key role in this groundbreaking initiative to use common stock to support pet nonprofits at scale,” said Steve Latham, CEO and co-founder of DonateStock, in the communicated. “Our mission is to democratize charitable donations. By allocating inventory to over 500 pet charities, Wag! broadens the definition of what it means.

Launch of the annual business competition

Houston Business Competition Opens for Applications

Houston small businesses can apply for the annual Liftoff Houston competition. Photo via

The City of Houston’s annual business plan competition has begun. Liftoff Houston is an entrepreneurial initiative to strengthen mentorship, business support, and education for Houston entrepreneurs. The sponsor of the program, Capital One Bankoffers cash prizes totaling $30,000.

To be eligible for the startup program, the candidate:

  • Must be in the start-up phase of your business, which means you must have a business idea or have a business that has been in operation for less than a year
  • Must have an income of less than $10,000
  • Must live within Houston city limits. Also, if you have a business location, it must be within the Houston city limits.

Participants can also apply for the 2022 Liftoff Houston Educational Pathway. There are no eligibility requirements for this program, which will support small businesses and provide access to workshops and the final competition event.

There will be three award categories: product, service and innovation.

  • $10,000 – Awarded for the best business plan based on “product” (retail, resale, merchandise, etc.)
  • $10,000 – Awarded for the best business plan based on “service” (food, labor, advice, etc.)
  • $10,000 – Awarded for the best business plan based on “Innovation” (software, hardware, inventions, new market ventures, etc.)

The competition will open applications on line July 27 and closes August 19. The full schedule is on line.