Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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January 08, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Houston catching-up with Silicon Valley in clean tech

The long-awaited ARK Innovation Center will officially open this month in St. Petersburg, creating a first-of-its-kind entrepreneurial hub in Pinellas County. 

From Tampa Bay, FL:

The annual Tampa Bay Innovation Week returns February 24 to March 1 with a number of events highlighted by the Synapse Summit on February 28 at the Amalie Arena. “Whether you want to meet the talent driving the headlines, find partners who can solve innovation challenges, learn from top industry experts, or navigate Florida’s thriving start-up and tech community in one central place, Synapse Summit is where you can find what you need, and share what you’ve created,” the organizers say of the spotlight event.

From St. Petersburg, FL:

The long-awaited ARK Innovation Center will officially open this month – creating a first-of-its-kind entrepreneurial hub in Pinellas County. ARK Invest Founder Cathie Wood, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, and Pinellas County Economic Development Director Cynthia Johnson, joined by leaders from the Tampa Bay Innovation Center (TBIC), cut a ribbon in December celebrating the completion of the 45,000-square-foot facility. In the coming months, engineers, data scientists and entrepreneurs will fill the center’s empty suites, conference rooms, 3D-printing labs, and prototyping studios. The new facility is operated by TBIC, a non-profit organization serving start-ups.

From Huntsville, AL:

CFD Research Corporation (CFD) has announced the formation of Kalm Therapeutics (Kalm Tx) to bring a much-needed non-steroidal eczema treatment to patients with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. The condition affects more than 16 million people in the U.S.

“After several years of research and development, it is rewarding to see our innovations reach the market and make a difference in the lives of eczema patients through the formation of Kalm Therapeutics,” said Sameer Singhal, CFD’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Kalm Tx was launched as an independent entity, stemming from the innovative research and development efforts of CFD Research. Kalm’s new product, a controlled-release eczema wrap, utilizes a proprietary continuous dose technology to deliver an easier-to-use and natural eczema treatment to patients. CREW delivers its eczema-relieving compound over 24 hours, an improvement on topical steroids requiring three to five daily applications.

From Wilmington, NC:

The city is now ranked as the #1 start-up ecosystem in the world among small cities under 300,000. In 2023, Wilmington ranked #7 nationally for job growth and salary growth. The city also ranked #51 in the Tech Index, moving up a few spots but more than 100 spots above its population ranking. Wilmington is #158 in population size.

According to Jim Roberts as described in this recent article in WRAL TechWire, these new, better-paying, tech jobs are from entrepreneurial growth, not through recruitments. He should know as the Founder of the Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington (NEW) and WALE Angel Network.

From Houston, TX:

Online newsfeed reports that Houston is quickly catching up with Silicon Valley when it comes to clean tech. The major Texan energy hub is rapidly branching out into the world of renewables, supported by a broad array of start-ups investing in innovative green technologies. The city is diversifying from oil and gas and growing its reputation as an all-round energy hub, with many leaving California to work in Houston’s bourgeoning market.

Houston has long been known for its successful oil and gas operations, with several energy majors operating out of the Texan city. Around 34 percent of all U.S. publicly traded oil and gas companies have headquarters in Houston and others are setting up energy transition headquarters there. The city is home to over 230,800 tech workers and is leading the U.S. in tech job growth, ranking as one of the top five cities for investment in companies focused on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives in 2022. Companies in Houston contributed over $1.25 billion to ESG last year.

It is also an important city for academia and research and development for the energy sector, with 21 business research centers focusing on the energy transition. Several universities, such as Rice University and the University of Houston, have developed entrepreneurship programs and other degrees that encourage youths to develop their own innovative business ideas. The University of Houston aims to launch its Innovation Hub in 2025 to drive greater student innovation. This has spurred the development of a plethora of clean tech and green energy start-ups, viewing Houston as the U.S. energy transition hub.

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