5 Most Popular Innovation Stories in Houston This Week


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

In this roundup of short stories within Houston startups and tech, a Houston venture capital fund made its latest investment, Houston startups share big updates, and more.

Rivalry Technology deploys mobile control in hot summer location

You can now order poolside at this Houston-area resort. Image courtesy of Rivalry Tech

bask at Margaritaville Lake Resort at Lake Conroe was facilitated by Rivalry Technology, a Houston-based mobile ordering platform company. Rivalry Tech has improved poolside ordering with its myEATz. According to a press release, customers can now order food and drinks at 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar and Lone Palm Bar via a personalized QR code system for each lounge chair and table to increase operational efficiency. from the staff at Margaritaville Lake Resort.

“We wanted to make sure that deploying the myEATz mobile ordering platform was helpful to Margaritaville staff, and not a hindrance to their existing process. We created custom QR codes and a color-coded map to easily identify where customers are going. mobile controls,” said Charles Willis, COO of Rivalry Tech, in the release.

Rivalry, which offers mobile controls at many stadiums and sports venues with sEATz, has expanded into hospitality this year.

“The Rivalry Tech team helped us seamlessly implement mobile ordering at Margaritaville Lake Resort. They created the marketing materials, established custom QR codes, brought online mentors, and trained our on-site staff. “The entire process was simple and collaborative,” Amit Sen, catering manager for Margaritaville Lake Resort, said in the statement.

Mercury Fund Invests in ReturnLogic’s Latest Round

Mercury led a SaaS company’s latest fundraising round. Image via Getty Images

Houston-based venture capital firm Mercury led Philadelphia-based SaaS company ReturnLogic’s $8.5 million Series A funding round, also attended by Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund, White Rose Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners. The new funding will help the company double its workforce, accelerate product development and expand application programming interface capabilities, according to a press release.

Founded by CEO Peter Sobotta, Return Logic’s SaaS platform, which can be connected to existing e-commerce platforms, helps improve returns management and prevent difficult financial impacts of returns.

“While retailers have largely mastered the downstream logistics of getting products into the hands of customers, the returns process remains an outsourced and resource-draining problem eating away at brands’ profits,” says Blair Garrou, chief executive. of Mercury, in a Press release. “ReturnLogic is something entirely new to this market and is uniquely based on Peter Sobotta’s deep operational experience in reverse logistics and supply chain management.

“While serving in the US Navy, Peter specialized in reverse logistics and gained extensive expertise in e-commerce operations,” Garrou continues. “With Peter at the helm, ReturnLogic’s innovative API feedback solution is well positioned to tackle the ever-growing operational feedback problem facing retailers. We are delighted to partner with Peter and his team as they ‘they continue to solve this massive problem for online retailers.

Fluence Analytics named one of the top advanced manufacturing startups

Fluence Analytics was selected among the 50 recognized startups. Graphic Courtesy

Fluidity analysisa platform of process analysis and control solutions for the polymer and biopharmaceutical industries, has been named Top 50 Global Advanced Manufacturing Startups by CB Insights. The inaugural list is broken down into 16 different cohorts, whittled down to more than 6,000 companies that have either submitted an application or been nominated. Fluence Analytics was one of three companies featured in the R&D Optimization category.

“Our team is thrilled to have our real-time process analytics, optimization and control products for the polymer and biopharma industries included among these elite startups,” said Jay Manouchehri, CEO of Fluence. Analytics, in a statement to InnovationMap. “We would like to thank CB Insights for including Fluence Analytics in its inaugural list of the Top 50 Global Advanced Manufacturing Startups, and our customers and investors for supporting the development and deployment of our transformative technology solutions.”

Fluence Analytics moved to the Houston area from New Orleans last year. The company’s technology platform enables product optimization and control for polymer and biopharmaceutical customers worldwide.

HTX Labs secures $1.7 million contract to expand within US Air Force

HTX Labs’ EMPACT product will be further developed to support the Air Force. Image courtesy of HTX Labs

HTX Labs, a Houston-based company that designs extended reality training for military and commercial purposes, that it received a $1.7 Small Business Innovation Research Phase II Tactical Funding Increase million dollars with the US Air Force to improve and operationalize its product, EMPACT Immersive Learning Platformin support of the modernization of training.

“We are very grateful to AFWERX and AFDT for this tremendous opportunity to play an increasingly important role in helping the USAF accelerate training modernization,” said Chris Verret, president of HTX Labs. , in a Press release. “This TACFI award shows continued confidence in HTX Labs, with a strong commitment to accelerating the use and adoption of EMPACT.”

HTX Labs will leverage this contract to expand EMPACT’s ability to rapidly create and deliver interactive and immersive training, working closely with Advanced Force Development Technologies as released.

OpenStax will release a free edition of an updated science textbook

OpenStax expands its access to free online manuals. Image via opentax.org

OpenStaxa Rice University technology initiative that uploads free learning resources, announced that it will publish the 10th edition of an organic chemistry textbook by Cornell University professor emeritus John McMurry.

“This is a defining moment for OpenStax and the open educational resources (OER) movement,” said Richard Baraniuk, founder and director of OpenStax, in a Press release. “This publication will quickly provide a free, open-licensed, high-quality resource to hundreds of thousands of American organic chemistry students, removing what can be a significant cost and barrier to access.”

Usually a big expense for organic chemistry students, McMurry, with the support of publisher Cengage, has made the decision to bring the latest edition online as a tribute to his son, Peter McMurry, who died in 2019 after a long battle with Cystic fibrosis.

“If Peter were still alive, I have no doubt he would want me to work on this 10th edition with a publisher who has made the book free for students,” McMurry said in the statement. “To make this possible, I receive no payment for this book, and generous donors not only covered production costs, but also donated $500,000 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to help find a cure for this terrible disease. »


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