SiNode Systems, a Chicago-based developer of advanced materials out of Northwestern, and JNC Corporation, a Tokyo-based speciality chemical manufacturer, announced the formation of NanoGraf Corporation, a joint venture focused on commercializing materials for the Lithium-ion battery industry. NanoGraf Corporation launches with $4.5 million and plans to expand commercial production and continue the development of additional materials platforms.
NanoGraf’s technology enhances the performance of battery materials via a proprietary graphene-wrapped silicon anode and can improve battery energy density by 50%.
Ashok Rao, Board Member of both SiNode and the GOOSE Society, was an integral part of the negotiations. GOOSE invested in SiNode Systems after the company won the grand prize at the 2013 Rice Business Plan Competition in Houston, TX.
See NanoGraf’s media page for the full press release.
GOOSE Portfolio Company and Houston based start-up, Fluidity, officially launched last week right in time for the Holiday season!
Fluidity is revolutionizing drone control and their first product is the FT Aviator: a game-changing drone controller designed by former NASA astronaut, Scott Parazynski and a team of Rice MBA’s. The controller is an intuitive, single-handed design that eliminates the complexity of dual thumb controllers, has advanced camera controls for high-quality photo and video capture, and is compatible with most DJI drones.
In the previous week, The Energy Department held its Cleantech UP, at a national business competition on June 27-28, 2018 at Rice University within the Jones Graduate School of Business. Twenty-Three teams came together to compete for the 1st place, grand prize of $50,000.
The competition was divided into two separate days, the 1st was a pre-judging practice round. This round is designed to give the teams a chance to test their presentation skills and business models in front of real judges without points deducted for mistakes. During this round, judges are allowed to give feedback meant to help the teams better preform for day two. On the 2nd day the competition is real, and the teams are expected to hit the ground running. This rigorous round took the entirety of the day, stressed teams, but ultimately provided a winner.
There were five GOOSE Society of Texas members there representing GOOSE as judges, mentors, and observers.
ETC Solar LLC, a Los Angeles, California based is a spin off from the California Institute of Technology, developing manufacturing equipment for solar cell manufacturers. Thereby the efficiency of its solar cells are increased by 5%.
Thomas Russell (CEO & Co-founder) and Michael Kelzenberg (Head R&D Team) were there to represent the company. Prior to the 1st place announcement, Thomas and Michael where interviewed. Thomas, when asked about his concerns coming into the competition said, “Basically the biggest fear is there being one judge experienced in ETC Solar’s field asking the tough question(s) that potentially make the business model look weak, but as a start-up we don’t know all the answers.” Furthermore, Thomas was asked what the team expected out of this competition, he replied, “There are so many judges, it is a great test from outsiders to be able to see if they understand and get the story ETC Solar is telling.” Thomas added “This is an opportunity to meet friendly investors to go home on and this gives a boost of confidence. Exposure to all judges is great!”
GOOSE would like to congratulate ETC Solar and their team on the successful win and all other regional competitors in this year’s competition!
Special thanks to GOOSE Analyst, Blake George, for writing this post.
Out of the eight companies presenting GOOSE heard from many different verticals located in 4 different geographies, including Silicon Valley,China, and of course, Houston. The industries presented were consumer electronics, artificial intelligence, robotics, medical devices, and lastly manufacturing in specialty chemicals. The GOOSE Society was pleased to have hosted Forest Devices, the 2017 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC) winner that is working towards the better treatment of stroke patients with their device, AlphaStroke. The group also heard from the two GOOSE Society Prize winners of the Texas A&M New Ventures Competition, Arovia and M&S Biotics.
The special attendees were Gina Luna & Russ Capper who represented Houston Exponential (HX), an independent 501C-3 organization that supports the growth of the Houston innovation economy. HX leads on the opportunities that require collaboration across the ecosystem, champions the ecosystem by telling the innovation story of the region and its firms, and it builds and attracts the resources the innovation economy needs to thrive. Along with strong momentum powered by fourteen working groups operated with over two-hundred active volunteers from over fifty major corporations, HX has achieved a major milestone with its new innovation district. This 9.4 acre, $100 million redevelopment by Rice University of the Sears building in Midtown is expected to be complete in two years and will bring a district of dense, mixed used space that attracts talent and creates collisions among entrepreneurs, investors, academics and other ecosystem players.
“Success is not measured by your position in life, but by what you have overcome and made out of it.” – Lawson
Each year 10 to 12 individuals receive a lifetime membership in the Horatio Alger Association with the presentation of the Horatio Alger Award. The Award symbolizes the Association’s values, including personal initiative and perseverance, leadership and commitment to to excellence, belief in the free-enterprise system and importance of higher education, community service, and the vision and determination to achieve a better future.
The Horatio Alger Association honors the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and who are committed to supporting young people in pursuit of increased opportunities through higher education. Since 1984, the association has awarded more than $143 million in need-based scholarships. In 2017 alone, $18 million was awarded to 2,379 scholars, each who received $25,000 for college.
Larry Lawson Founder/CEO of HeartcoR Solutions & Proxima Clinical Research, was born in 1945 in Port Arthur, Texas, where jobs were limited to the local Texaco refinery. “Was about the only job in town, unless you went into business for yourself,” Lawson says, “a few years after I was born, my father did just that. He left his refinery job to become part owner of a gas station, and we lived in a little house across the street.”
The family lived on a strict budget, and by 1950, when Lawson was five, his father had purchased a garage on four acres. The fa
mily lived in a house on the property next door to the garage. Lawson’s father continued to work hard through the years and eventually built an auto parts store next to the garage. While Lawson’s mother sometimes helped with he store her main concern was for her children, a brother to Lawson who was 12 years older, and a sister who was 10 years old but who suffered from spina bifida.
This situation with the family left Lawson on his own for majority of his time along with his own obstacles to overcome. Lawson, at the age of six, began to suffer from the incorrect development of his hip socket and as a result, he had to be fitted for a leg brace, which he was required to wear for the following six years of his childhood.
“As an active young man this was a difficult situation for Lawson to accept,” says Lawson. The kids in school shunned and bullied Lawson for years. Finally Lawson went to his father to ask how to deal with the bullying, as Lawson’s biggest encourager he told Lawson something he would never forget.
‘Son, life is like a car battery. You have to have a positive and negative force for it to work. So for every negative thing that comes into your life, you are going to have to find a positive thing that can come out of it.’
Since Lawson’s outdoor play was limited he was encouraged by his parents to get into music. He developed a passion for rock and roll and by the age of 10 began writing his own music. By age 12 he had began copywriting several of his songs and contemplated his own business. Lawson later recorded his first record which he deemed as his first accomplishment that gave him the confidence to be anything he wanted.
Lawson’s social life had greatly improved, by the age of 16, he formed a band with Johnny and Edgar Winter, who went on to become rock/jazz icons in the 1970s and 80s. He played with them off and on for the next three years, including his first year at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he
received a music scholarship. Two years later however, Lawson decided music would not be a longterm career and changed his major to accounting. Lawson after participating in another band known as the Clique in 1969, at age 24, decided it was time to leave and pursue a business career.
In 1981, Lawson felt it was time for a new direction and left his job at Deseret Medical to found MESCO, a medical import/export company. Later in 1992, he founded Lawson Medical Association after he was out of a job with Sysco in Houston, Texas. In 2000, he founded Diagnostics Monitoring Associations. In 2004, he founded and headed eCardio, which became INC 500, one of the fastest growing private companies in America. His company developed a better way to detect atrial fibrillation and was acquired in 2014 by Merck and Boston Scientific. He remained as the CEO and chairman, and has remained on the board as the company’s largest share holder. In 2015, he founded HeartcoR Solutions, LLC, and ECG core laboratory composed of successful healthcare executives and experienced professionals grounding in diagnostic monitoring services, cardiac rhythm management, health information technology, and medical device development.
Larry Lawson is actively involved with the Texas Medical Center’s Accelerator program, providing leadership to start-up companies at TMC. Lawson is also an advisory board member of the Texas Medical Center Venture Fund. “I know the industry, and I know how to make things happen,” he says. “I’m advising 30-plus companies and serve on the boards and as an investor in many of them. I’m 72 now, and I should be retired, but I’m working more now than ever. I wake up excited and full of energy because I’m doing something I love,” Lawson says.
“…I believe in the saying that for those to whom much has been given, much is expected. I’ve been given so many opportunities and success, and so I believe a lot is expected of me. I am honored to receive the Horatio Alger Award and vow to do all I can to support the Association’s mission,” Lawson says.
Along with Lawson, 11 other individuals were conferred in the Horatio Alger Association in the class of 2018 such as Gregory E. Abel, Ronald M. Bergeron, Sr., Don R. Daseke, Alphonso R. Jackson, David Johnson, James J. Liautaud, Rob Lowe, Reba McEntire, James H. Pugh, Jr., Ernest S. Rady, and H. Lee Scott, Jr.. Other honorable mentions that have been inducted are Tom Selleck, Buzz Aldrin, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Billy Graham, Leonardo DiCaprio, Benjamin S. Carson, President Dwight Eisenhower, President Gerald Ford, President Herbert Hoover and President Ronald Reagan.
As a GOOSE Society member, Larry Lawson was well supported at the Horatio Alger Award Ceremony. GOOSE members sponsored four tables at the Horatio Alger Awards. Lamar University constituents made up one of the four tables. In Lawson’s honor, Lamar University hosted a dinner while in Washington DC. Back in Houston, The GOOSE Society also hosted a speciality dinner for Mr. Lawson at the crowd favorite BYOB restaurant, Corelli’s.