OwlSpark, RED Labs end summer accelerators with final pitches

OwlSpark, RED Labs end summer accelerators with final pitches

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Fifteen startups from Rice University’s OwlSpark and the University of Houston’s RED Labs accelerators wrapped up their summer program this week with the Bayou Startup Showcase at the TMC Innovation Institute, their home base since early June.

The coordinators joked that the participants were fueled by more than 3,000 cookies, but anyone who paid attention to their Twitter feed all summer also knows that included nacho parties and hot dog-eating contests.

The accelerators’ startups covered a broad spectrum, including health, entertainment, safety, oilfield leasing, education and mobile payments.

Beko Jang, CEO of BlueCura, said his team got a lot out of being in the Texas Medical Center.

“Having the ability to spoke to people across the street helped us learn first-hand their challenges,” Jang said. “We enjoyed the experience of getting together as a team to becoming a full company. It has been rewarding, especially interacting with all of the mentors who were phenomenal.”

Technology startup expert Marc Nathan has mentored companies in the accelerators for the past two years. He thought the turnout for the showcase was better than last year, and said the crowd included some of Houston’s top executives and investors.

While hearing the companies pitch, he noted that all of them upped their game by presenting slide presentations and ideas that were sustainable and viable.

“This is a shining example of the progress Houston is making in the area of entrepreneurship, not only in the Texas Medical Center, but in all aspects of technology,” said Rob Tucci, head of the Houston Angel Network’s life sciences group, and a founding member of Houston Health Ventures.

The following companies pitched at the showcase:


  • Atmo – a tool that finds the ideal bar for special occasions.
  • BlueCura – a web-based lab management solution.
  • Compa – an online tool that recruits qualified participants for community-based research studies.
  • Induo – provides bite-sized, job-specific courses that help increase performance and close rates for sales professionals.
  • LeaseALLY – provides market information for people offered an oil and gas lease.
  • Müvve – an online community that help people find running partners.
  • Topl – a mobile payment platform cheaper than credit card fees.
  • WAVEIoT – connects sensor devices using a low-power wide-area network.

RED Labs

  • Behaviorics – provides software that detects failures in security systems.
  • Ceraffect – developing a headpiece that provides non-pharmalogical symptom relief for migraine sufferers.
  • Examtron – provides textbook publishers software that allows them to keep the integrity of their databanks.
  • Fitr – a food delivery service for people with special dietary needs.
  • Grind – portable, affordable basketball return machine.
  • Metabocentric Biotechnologies Inc. – developing a drug to cure cancer in the brain.
  • OcuRhythm – developing eyewear to optimize light exposure to maintain and control the body’s sleep cycle.
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