MEST Conference Sponsored by Webranx Internet Marketing Strategies
Something very big is happening in Houston, Texas. As the fourth-largest city in the country, Houston is known for having the world’s largest medical center, NASA, and a consistently booming oil and gas industry. What Houston isn’t known for, is being a startup hub like San Francisco or Austin. It seems like most of Houston’s booming companies have already started up decades before the birth of the internet and other major technological advances. But things are changing.
The first annual 2013 MEST conference took place September 18th at the BioScience Research Consortium with the aim of “accelerating innovation”. As described by their website, the MEST Conference “brings together people engaged in cutting edge research, discovery and strategy from across the fields of medicine, energy, space and technology to focus on accelerating innovations.” The conference aimed to create cross-industry connections and help foster the growth of Houston as an emerging technology hub.
The conference brought around 300 people from these various industries together along with fourteen startups to compete in a 5K Pitch competition. In between the three rounds of pitches, speakers presented on a variety of different topics from digital media and healthcare to tech commercialization. Speakers included Connie Chen, medical director at the Stanford startup accelerator, Seeta Resources L.L.C. founder Pradeep Ananad, and Texas Medical Center president and CEO Robert Robbins.
Saranas, Adient Medical, and MedicaSafe made the finals for the best 5k pitches. MedicaSafe took home the win, followed by Adient Medical in second and Saranas in third place. These finalists received a cash prize, services, and desk accommodations by Platform Houston. MEST was sponsored by Norwegian Consulate General, BP, Webranx Internet Marketing Strategies, and Shell.
Without a doubt, the conference showed the willingness for companies from different industries to come together for the sake of greater innovation. Giants like Shell and NASA are even backing these efforts and have developed their own programs for fostering innovation. Shell’s GameChanger sponsors innovative ideas in the energy industry. Planet Labs was founded by former NASA scientists and focuses on providing open data about the planet. The future of Houston is panning out to be full of tech incubators, all types of innovation, and a thriving community of entrepreneurs.