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Common Desk’s expansion at the Ion is now open for business

DALLAS (November 13, 2023) – Common Desk, a flex office and coworking provider based in Dallas, has increased its footprint at the Ion, Houston’s innovation hub, by nearly 50% this year.

Originally opened in August 2021, Common Desk – The Ion was the coworking company’s third location in the Houston market, occupying the entire second floor of the Ion building at 58,400 square feet. The expansion agreement, which brings Common Desk’s total footprint at the Ion to 86,400 square feet, commits Common Desk to ten years of additional space on the fourth floor. Tenants of the added space will have full access to the features and amenities that have made Common Desk – The Ion a success, including bottomless drip coffee and an espresso bar powered by Fiction Coffee (a workday brand of Common Desk), bookable conference rooms, expansive workspace, flexible terms, and eye-catching design. To learn more about the coworking and flex office operator, visit thecommondesk.com.

“The Ion team and Rice University have made Common Desk’s first two years at the Ion a dream, and we’re excited for ten more. This expansion of Common Desk at The Ion was designed specifically to complement the existing amenities and serve remote and hybrid work styles. There’s a variety of video conferencing room types—from multiple individual private rooms, to a large group presentation-style room—all equipped with state-of-the-art technology that is also user-friendly. We doubled down on outfitting our space with more art from local artists and creative works that reflect the community. Altogether, we’ve built a range of workspace solutions to fuel creativity and productivity. We’re confident that this addition to Common Desk – The Ion will effectively help us serve the innovative community of Houston.” – Austin Gauley, Head of Design at Common Desk

“Common Desk’s expansion at the Ion is a testament to the community and experience we’ve created here,” says Jan Odegard, Executive Director, Ion. “Accessibility to connections and an array of amenities and resources continues to drive traffic for us, and we are thrilled to welcome the anticipated growth of new like-minded individuals coming to the Ion daily.”

Common Desk has additional locations in the works in DFW, San Antonio, and Phoenix as they continue their expansion efforts across the country in selective assets.

ABOUT COMMON DESK

Common Desk operates a growing portfolio of experiential coworking locations across the United States, with additional offerings found through its landlord services. Through their unique operating approach, Common Desk has cultivated a thriving community of freelancers, small businesses, fast-growing tech companies and enterprise businesses since 2012. Common Desk’s portfolio also includes an award-winning coffee brand, Fiction Coffee. For more information, visit thecommondesk.com.

ABOUT ION

Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward. From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way.

Houston Methodist Opens Healthcare Innovation Tech Hub at the Ion

Ion, Houston’s innovation hub, today welcomes its first healthcare-centric partner, Houston Methodist, as it opens the doors to the Houston Methodist Tech Hub at Ion, a collaboration space for innovators and a living laboratory for digital health technology.

The 1,200-square-foot space includes simulated environments for an inpatient hospital room, an outpatient doctor’s clinic and patient home experience. The Tech Hub at Ion is modeled after the Center for Innovation Technology Hub located at Houston Methodist’s flagship location within the Texas Medical Center, which provides a complete laboratory environment for clinical staff to evaluate innovations and pilot technology such as remote monitoring, ambient intelligence, and autonomous technology to improve human performance and the patient experience.

“Houston Methodist’s space at the Ion opens up even more opportunities for our start-up and entrepreneur community to embed and gain exposure to the latest innovations in health care, health technology, and digital health,” said Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of Ion. “This partnership and opportunity provided by Houston Methodist, a leading healthcare organization in the country, is a testament to the ecosystem we’re building and the talent within our building. Furthermore, Houston Methodist’s approach and appetite for cross-industry innovation and collaboration meshes seamlessly with the Ion’s ongoing plans to support Houston’s growing innovation community in industries and fields that will change the world.”

The Houston Methodist Tech Hub at Ion is part of the hospital’s Center for Innovation, a network embedded into every aspect of the hospital that focuses on promoting transformational growth through the adoption of leading-edge digital technology. Innovation has been a hallmark of Houston Methodist for over 100 years, and the Center of Innovation has allowed the healthcare organization to take a more coordinated and focused approach with its innovation efforts and hyperdrive many projects within the organization, including the development of the smart hospital of the future, the ninth location in the Greater Houston area and most technologically advanced location currently under construction. Some of the technology on display at the newly launched Houston Methodist Tech Hub at Ion is part of the smart hospital of the future that’s set to open in 2025.

“Our new Tech Hub at Ion supports not only our commitment to the Houston innovation community but also to the rapidly shifting healthcare industry,” Michelle Stansbury, Vice President of Innovation and IT Applications at Houston Methodist. “We know we can’t solve the healthcare challenges of the future if we confine ourselves within our hospital walls or even within our own industry. We look forward to the collaborative space our new Tech Hub will provide and the future programming opportunities we can create together to inspire, challenge, and foster a spirit of innovation in our city.”

In addition to showcasing current technology being piloted at Houston Methodist, the space will also serve as an extension for community collaboration and a networking hub for entrepreneurs and ideators to break into the healthcare industry. The tech hub also will host educational events such as reverse pitch sessions to share problems and crowd-source solutions. If you’re interested in scheduling a time to view the space or connecting with the Houston Methodist innovation team, reach out here.

About Ion

Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward.

From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now? — welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way.

About Houston Methodist

Houston Methodist is one of the nation’s leading health systems and academic medical centers. The health system consists of eight hospitals: Houston Methodist Hospital, its flagship academic hospital in the Texas Medical Center, six community hospitals, and one long-term acute care hospital throughout the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Houston Methodist also includes a research institute; a comprehensive residency program; international patient services; freestanding comprehensive care, emergency care and imaging centers; and outpatient facilities. Houston Methodist employs nearly 30,000 people and had more than 1.9 million outpatient visits and more than 138,000 admissions in 2022. For more information on Houston Methodist, see houstonmethodist.org.

Ion District Unveils New Art Displays Showcasing Local Artists

Creativity collides with innovation as Houston artists reveal new public art displays at the Ion

HOUSTON, AUGUST 9, 2023 – Ion District, Houston’s 16-acre innovation district developed by Rice University, today announced its next round of site-specific window art installations at the Ion, Houston’s innovation hub. Created by Houston-based artists Christopher Blay and Kill Joy, the new installations will be unveiled by the artists on August 16, 2023, during a public event hosted by Ion and Piper Faust Public Art at Second Draught located in the Ion from 5:30 – 7:30 pm CT.

Following the event, the installations will be available for the public to view for free for the next six months as part of Ion District’s “Eye on Art” program. The rotating art installations create opportunities for Houston-based artists and demonstrate the importance of cross-disciplinary connections when fostering innovation.

Chosen by the Ion and Ion District Art Advisory Council, with support from public art consultant Piper Faust, the installations are a nod to the original window displays of the historic Sears building on which Ion was built. Displayed in windows that serve as focal points to the building’s entry, Eye on Art provides access to art to community members and visitors, and reaffirms Ion District’s commitment to all innovators, including artists and creatives.

“Innovation and art have a lot more in common than you might think. Many of our local artists learn how to use emerging technologies to create their pieces and hone their craft,” said Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion. “Creativity plays a vital role in fostering innovation and we’re honored to provide artists like Christopher and Kill Joy with a platform to serve as an inspiration for the entire innovation ecosystem here at the Ion.”

Christopher Blay: “The SpLaVCe Program”

Christopher Blay is an artist, writer, and curator whose current studio practice delves into speculative futures of Black people. His work reflects on all conditions that have been a part of Black life in America, from triumphs of culture to socio-political situations. Blay’s artistic practice consists of paintings, cyanotypes, and drawings that think about the blues and indigos of cyanotypes conceptually as “the Blues” or the “Black and Blues” of terrorism against Black bodies.

Blay’s ongoing series and latest body of work, “The SpLaVCe Program,” will expand into the Ion through the Eye on Art program. In collaboration with the Ion Prototyping Lab, Blay utilized canvases and wood frames to create an innovative, cohesive piece that combines elements of slaving vessels and spaceships into one object that symbolizes where the Black community has been and where they are going.

In addition to his art, Blay is a contributing writer for Art in America Magazine and a former art critic for Glasstire Magazine, and Chief Curator of the Houston Museum of African American Culture.

Kill Joy: “Creation, Current, Solution”

Kill Joy’s work is grounded in honoring the earth and seeking environmental and social justice. Her practice centers around relief printmaking, mural painting, and puppet making. Throughout her work, there is a belief that the deliberation of all human beings corresponds to the freedom of the land, water, and air, where greed and contamination are replaced with love and compassion.

Her window display at the Ion, “Creation, Current, Solution,” is an animated puppet installation exploring how we can advance as a global community, seen through the lens of Pilipino folklore. The piece centers indigenous experience by exploring regional mythology and how it speaks to current living situations. It is an exploration of destiny for people and planet, and how we can construct technological advancements for sustainable living conditions.

Kill Joy’s additional work involves printing posters for people-led campaigns, leading youth workshops, providing affordable art, painting community murals, and constructing fantastical puppet theater. Mediums with a bold, graphic quality speak to the sort of narratives she enjoys exploring.

“Innovation comes in many forms, and the Eye on Art program is a testament to artists, creatives, and Houston residents being an integral part of Ion’s innovation community,” said Faust. “As we unveil the third round of art installations, we celebrate the extraordinary work of our local artists, and also the inclusive, welcoming, and collaborative space that Ion offers to all innovators in Houston.”

To learn more about the Eye on Art program and its application process, please visit the Artist Residency page on Ion District’s website or contact Piper Faust at piper@piperfaustpublicart.com.

About Ion

Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward.

From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way.

Per Scholas Expands Tech Training to Houston

Ion Welcomes Per Scholas As Part of Community Investment  to Build Inclusive Technology Workforce; Now Accepting Applications

HOUSTON (July 17, 2023) – National tech training nonprofit Per Scholas today announced its expansion to Houston, joining Ion District, Houston’s 16-acre innovation district developed by Rice University. Through an innovation relationship with Ion, Per Scholas Houston will offer its tuition-free technology skills training from its newest campus located at 4201 Main Street. In addition to Ion selecting and investing in Per Scholas as the District’s workforce development partner, Per Scholas Houston has received generous support from BlackRock and Comcast NBCUniversal. 

“We are excited for Per Scholas to join the Ion as a workforce development partner, as well as recognize a CBA milestone by investing in developing a tech workforce of Houstonians,” said Jan Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion. “This investment will expand non-traditional learning opportunities for local Houstonians looking to develop new skills in our dynamic economy.”

Training by Per Scholas Houston will get underway in October, beginning with its best-in-class IT Support course. Applications are now open, and interested individuals can learn more and apply here. Learners will have the opportunity to earn the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and the CompTIA A+ certification, equipping aspiring technologists with the knowledge and skills to fill a wide range of entry-level tech careers. 

Per Scholas unlocks potential for individuals, communities, and companies by offering rigorous, 12- to 15-week tech skills training and connecting Per Scholas graduates to high growth careers in technology. Per Scholas Houston marks the nonprofit’s second campus in Texas, joining Per Scholas Dallas, which has been training technologists in a variety of tech skills since 2014. 

“The BlackRock Foundation’s longstanding partnership with Per Scholas is a natural extension of our mission to create more paths to financial security for more people,” said Claire Chamberlain, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director, Corporate Sustainability and Social Impact at BlackRock. “Through skill-building and mastery, the program expands access to careers in technology and is critical for unlocking the potential of a new generation of technical leaders. We are so proud to be a part of bringing Per Scholas to Houston.”

“A future of unlimited possibilities starts by providing ambitious, driven, and talented individuals with opportunities. That’s precisely why our partnership with Per Scholas is a perfect fit,” said Misha McClure, Comcast Texas’ Director of External Affairs. “Our investment will help build a diverse and thriving workforce here in Greater Houston by providing skills training for highly sought tech careers. We’re grateful to Per Scholars for its ongoing work to educate and connect our future business leaders with leading businesses. We look forward to what we can achieve together.”

Aligned with its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, 85 percent of Per Scholas learners are people of color, more than 40 percent identify as women, and more than half have a high school diploma as their highest education credential. Per Scholas graduates are hired into tech roles by more than 850 employer partners nationwide, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups. The Per Scholas model is proven and evidence-based. Per Scholas trained technologists go on to earn three times their pre-training wage in their first job following graduation. Plus, every dollar invested in Per Scholas results in an $8 net economic return. 

“Per Scholas commends the vision and commitment of the City of Houston, Ion, Rice University, and so many others, to catalyze change, grow ideas and innovation, and drive impact. We are thrilled that Per Scholas Houston is now part of the effort,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO, Per Scholas. “With tremendous investment from Ion, BlackRock, Comcast, our proven skills training will develop technologists to power Houston’s workforce today – and tomorrow – creating a more inclusive and equitable economy. We can’t wait to get started.”

To learn more about the Ion, please visit iondistrict.com. To learn more about Per Scholas Houston, click here, and follow Per Scholas Houston on LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

About Ion

Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward.

From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way. 

About Per Scholas

For more than 25 years, Per Scholas has been advancing equity and increasing opportunity across America. Per Scholas unlocks potential for individuals, communities, and employers through rigorous training for careers in tech. Partnering with dynamic employer partners, from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups, we are building sustainable and diverse talent pipelines, together changing the face of tech. With national remote training and campuses in 20+ cities and growing, Per Scholas offers tuition-free training in the most in-demand tech skills, including Cloud, Cybersecurity, Data Engineering, IT Support, Software Engineering, and more. To date, more than 20,000 individuals have gained the skills to launch high-growth tech careers, earning three times their pre-training wage. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is our DNA: 85 percent of learners are people of color, two in five are women, and more than half have a high school diploma as their highest education credential. Learn more by visiting PerScholas.org and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

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Ion Welcomes Occidental, United Airlines, and Woodside Energy as Corporate Partners

Ion, Houston’s innovation hub, today announced the addition of its newest corporate partners: Occidental (Oxy), an international energy company providing reliable energy solutions and products for a lower-carbon world, United Airlines Ventures (UAV), the venture fund of United Airlines focused on sustainability, and Woodside Energy (Woodside), a global energy company providing affordable, reliable, and lower-carbon energy to support a successful energy transition. 

UAV, Oxy, and Woodside will share expertise and industry leadership in support of Ion’s mission to transform Houston into a global innovation ecosystem and further empower the city’s workforce. The partners will participate in Ion programming and engage with its network of corporations, academics, and entrepreneurs to help develop and commercialize solutions to emerging issues in their respective industries. Additionally, industry leaders from UAV, Oxy, and Woodside will serve on the Ion Leadership Advisory Roundtable. 

“Welcoming our newest partners into Ion’s ecosystem is a further testament to our momentum in the aerospace and energy transition,” said Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion. “Each organization brings their own culture of innovation that aligns with what we are doing at the Ion. We’re excited for the relationships and advancements they will bring to our community.” 

For more than 100 years, Houston-based Oxy has developed assets, infrastructure, and technology in the energy industry. It now leverages its resources, innovative technologies and 50+ year legacy of carbon management to accelerate its pathway to net zero and help others do the same. With Ion, Oxy has a unique opportunity to cultivate ideas, foster relationships, inspire employee engagement, and uncover a breadth of innovation and thought leadership.

“A partnership with Ion is a natural fit for Oxy in many ways,” says Jeff Simmons, Senior Vice President, Chief Petrotechnical Officer for Oxy. “As Oxy innovates for a lower-carbon future, we look to partner with communities and organizations that are similarly focused on technology and climate-related goals.” 

Founded in 2021, UAV is committed to improving the travel experience for customers by investing in companies and technologies that can decarbonize air travel. The team is excited to meet and collaborate with corporations across industries to accelerate research and production, and prioritize new technologies, particularly those associated with sustainable aviation fuel. 

“As a company deeply committed to both innovation and the city of Houston, United shares the Ion’s vision to inspire collaboration and creativity and is proud to join the Ion’s network of entrepreneurs,” said United Airlines Ventures President Michael Leskinen. “We believe the Ion will be the epicenter for Houston’s rapidly growing innovation community – a one-stop-shop to share ideas, foster startups, and to develop relationships with Houston’s brightest companies and academia.”

With over 65 years of experience, Woodside provides energy the world needs to heat and cool homes, keep lights on, and support industry. By partnering with the Ion, Woodside is opening doors to new innovations that will drive a successful energy transition in Houston and beyond.

“Woodside was founded with a spirit of innovation and determination,” said Woodside Executive Vice President Technical Services and Chief Technology Officer Daniel Kalms. “The same ideals drive the Ion, and we’re excited to exchange ideas, find creative solutions, and explore new ways to forge a better future as part of a like-minded community.”

As partners, UAV, Oxy, and Woodside will not only have access to Ion’s dynamic spaces, cutting-edge amenities, and educational resources, they will also have immediate opportunities to meet and collaborate with leaders and innovators from all industries and backgrounds to advance their own corporate goals. 

UAV, Oxy, and Woodside join Ion’s current roster of corporate partners, which includes Chevron, Microsoft, Baker Botts, Aramco Americas, ExxonMobil, BP, Intel, Transocean, and Global Custom Commerce (GCC). The close proximity to these industry players across aerospace, energy and energy transition, technology, and innovation, and up-and-coming startups and founders within the Ion is what distinguishes the Ion from other buildings in the region.

About the Ion:

Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward.

From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way. 

About Occidental:

Occidental is an international energy company with assets primarily in the United States, the Middle East and North Africa. We are one of the largest oil producers in the U.S., including a leading producer in the Permian and DJ basins, and offshore Gulf of Mexico. Our midstream and marketing segment provides flow assurance and maximizes the value of our oil and gas. Our chemical subsidiary OxyChem manufactures the building blocks for life-enhancing products. Our Oxy Low Carbon Ventures subsidiary is advancing leading-edge technologies and business solutions that economically grow our business while reducing emissions. We are committed to using our global leadership in carbon management to advance a lower-carbon world. Visit oxy.com for more information.

About United:

United’s shared purpose is “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” From our U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers. United is bringing back our customers’ favorite destinations and adding new ones on its way to becoming the world’s best airline. For more about how to join the United team, please visit www.united.com/careers and more information about the company is at www.united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol “UAL”. For further information about our environmental impact, review United’s Corporate Responsibility Report and Annual Report on Form 10-K, available at crreport.united.com and ir.united.com.

About Woodside Energy: Woodside is a global energy company, with oil and gas assets and interests in Australia, the US, Mexico, the Caribbean, Senegal and Timor-Leste. Woodside aims to thrive through the global energy transition with a low-cost, lower-carbon, profitable, resilient and diversified portfolio. In addition to its LNG, natural gas and oil assets, Woodside has a growing portfolio of carbon services (offsets, carbon capture and storage, carbon capture and utilisation), hydrogen, ammonia and renewable power opportunities in Australia and internationally. Our new energy opportunities include the proposed H2OK hydrogen project in Oklahoma and the H2Perth and H2TAS opportunities in Australia. For more information, visit www.woodside.com

Ion District Announces Second Annual Activation Festival

Events designed to engage the community, showcase entrepreneurial talent, and celebrate the District’s expanding technology ecosystem

HOUSTON, MAY 8, 2023 – Ion District, Houston’s 16-acre innovation district, alongside its developer Rice Management Company, announced today its second annual Activation Festival is taking place May 17-19, 2023. Similar to last year’s inaugural event, which had more than 2,500 attendees, Houstonians and visitors of all backgrounds are invited to attend engaging and interactive programming, explore the Ion’s dynamic spaces and cutting-edge amenities, and learn about the myriad of available educational and upskilling opportunities. 

Admission is free but registration is required here

“Activation Festival continues to be a perfect showcase for the innovation, technology, entrepreneurial spirit, and collaboration that exists in Houston,” said Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion. “We’re thrilled to be celebrating how Ion District sparks ideas and drives growth across Houston’s industry and communities. I hope to see both familiar and new faces throughout the three days.”

Activation Festival’s thoughtfully curated events drive the Ion and Ion District’s purpose for transforming and strengthening Houston’s economic resilience, and creating opportunities for  easy access to economic opportunities in the innovation and tech-enabled industries. The events will provide attendees the opportunity to experience businesses, networking, and programming that highlights and celebrates Houston’s vibrant entrepreneurial, academic, startup and corporate innovator communities. 

“Activation Festival gives an up close and personal look at how Ion District is harnessing Houston’s sprawling talent and innovation to endure as a tech hub, an industry thought leader, and a global economic force,” said Bryson Grover, Investment Manager, Direct Real Estate, Rice Management Company. “This flagship event will inspire people to experience Ion and Ion District, where we’re already working together to build solutions and solve real problems every single day.” 

Events are open to the public and will primarily take place at the Ion, located at 4201 Main St, with a few events occuring in the nearby surrounding District area, including Greentown Labs Houston, located at 4200 San Jacinto St. 

The line-up of key events can be found below. To register, please visit Ion’s event page here. We encourage you to register for all the programs but registering for one event will get you a pass for the full three days. Some venue space will be limited, and access will be first come first seated.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

  • Engage VC (9:00 am – 10:00 am CDT) – Led by HX Venture Fund, in partnership with Ion and Scale Ventures, this event focuses on how to utilize intelligent business software to move from founder-led growth to a repeatable go-to-market machine. 
  • Ion Prototyping Lab + Nexus: Robotics Day (9:00 am – 5:00 pm CDT) – Join the Ion Prototyping Lab and Rice’s Nexus Lab for a day of robotic displays, discussions, and lab tours.
  • Corporate-Startup Partnerships: How to Build Them, Sustain Them, and How They’re Key to Fast-Tracking Innovation and Growth (11:00 am – 12:00 pm CDT) – A panel discussion with Halliburton Labs, ExxonMobil and TMCx, moderated by law firm Baker Botts, on the importance of disruption to develop new technologies, and the role that corporate-startup collaborations play in innovation. 
  • ChatGPT Panel: Love It or Hate It: Exploring the Transformative Power of ChatGPT (2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CDT) This panel deep dives into ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot, including how it can be used and its pitfalls. 
  • Common Desk Happy Hour (3:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT) – An event to connect with like-minded professionals, expand your network, and discover the many benefits of working at Common Desk – Ion.
  • What’s Next, Now: Ion District Showcase (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT) – Featuring startups and corporations from Houston’s key industries, including healthcare, energy, finance and technology, that will showcase their innovative solutions and products that are transforming the way we live and work.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

  • Workforce Development with Per Scholas (9:00 am – 10:45 am CDT) – Led by Per Scholas, this panel and workshop brings together industry leaders, experts, and innovators to explore the critical role of workforce development and training in building a robust tech industry – from the latest trends in upskilling and reskilling to best practices for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.  
  • Ion Prototyping Lab + Nexus: Open Innovation Day (9:00 am – 5:00 pm CDT) – Join the Ion Prototyping Lab and Rice’s Nexus Lab for a day of innovative displays, discussions, and lab tours.
  • Entrepreneurship as a Business Style by Hap Klopp, Founder of The North Face (11:00 am – 12:00 pm CDT) – This keynote speech features Founder and former CEO of The North Face, Hap Klopp. Klopp will speak to why he believes entrepreneurship is a mindset that must be employed by all businesses to ensure their vitality. 
  • Back to the Future of Innovation (2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CDT) – This discussion focuses on how the Office of Innovation at Rice University is creating game-changing tech startups at speed and scale through public-private partnerships between industry, government, and the broader academic community. 
  • Innovation on Tap: EntrepreNeuro (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT) – In partnership with Ion, and part of the InterfaceRice 2023 conference, EntrepreNeuro features three presenters who will discuss their personal experiences particularly during periods of transition. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

  • Cup of Joey – Ion District (8:30 am – 10:30 am CDT) – This coffee shop networking event is taking place both at the Ion and Greentown Labs, serving up coffee from Common Bond; the event is an opportunity to meet new connections, expand current networks, talk tech, inspire innovation, and create community. All are welcome! 
  • Greentown Labs + Ion Activation Festival 2023 (8:30 am – 3:30 pm CDT) – Hop over to Greentown Labs for Cup of Joey from 8:30 am – 10:30 am, food trucks from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, as well as a panel of thought-provoking speakers and a showcase of GTL’s members at 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm. 
  • Ion Prototyping Lab + Nexus: Space Day (9:00 am – 5:00 pm CDT) – Join the Ion Prototyping Lab and Rice’s Nexus Lab for a day of innovative displays, discussions, and lab tours.
  • The Future of Space Tech by Douglas Terrier (11:30 am – 12:30 pm CDT) – Featuring Douglas Terrier, Associate Director for Vision and Strategy at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, this fireside chat, hosted by Alicia Llewellyn, Lead, Strategy and Formulation, Business Development & Technology Integration Office, NASA JSC, focuses on the future of space tech and what opportunities are ahead for startups and students.
  • SME Office Hours + Mingle Lounges (1:30 pm – 2:30 pm CDT) – This networking event is an opportunity to meet SCORE Houston representatives and SMEs in marketing, storytelling, and pitch deck preparation, and network with other entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers, corporates, and investors.
  • Ion Block Party: Innovation on DisPLAY (5:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT) – This community-wide party features a number of entrepreneurial local businesses showing off their dynamic technology on the Ion Plaza. Also includes food trucks and a special “battle of the bands” competition.

To learn more about Ion’s offerings and how it can benefit you by signing up for the newsletter here

About Ion District: Houston’s new innovation district takes our city’s talent and sprawl and connects it all, harnessing Houston’s potential to emerge and endure as a tech hub, a thought leader, a cultural core, and a global economic force. Twelve blocks built to encourage serendipitous collisions across all sectors and skill levels, and promote equitable businesses, products, and jobs in our image: ones that reflect our city’s diversity of ethnicities and enduring individualism, our big-hearted tenacity and wildcatting audacity, our gumption and resilience come hell or high water. An invitation to build the world we want to see.

About the Ion: Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward.

From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way. 

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Ion District and Ion Share Update on Efforts to Expand Economic Opportunity in Houston

Ion District, Houston’s 16-acre innovation district, alongside its developer Rice University, recently released an update detailing the first year of implementing its Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). 

The legally binding Ion District CBA was approved by Houston’s City Council in late 2021 and committed $15.3 million in direct investments and millions more in project-based opportunities over several years. It was designed to ensure Ion District development, including its innovation hub, Ion, benefits all Houstonians. This transformative agreement focuses on expanding tech sector job training and upskilling, preserving affordable housing, and creating more pathways for minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) to be involved in Ion District. 

In tandem with the release of the report, Ion District also announced another achievement of the CBA with Ion’s selection of Per Scholas as its workforce development partner. Per Scholas is a nationally recognized nonprofit that advances economic equity through technology skills training. Its proven, evidence-based training unlocks potential for individuals, companies, and communities. 

“Per Scholas is thrilled to join the Ion District and offer our tuition-free tech skills training in Houston,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas. “There is such synergy in our approach to innovation and equity. I’m confident that together, we’ll increase opportunity and unlock potential for both individuals and companies that call Houston home. We’re grateful for the warm welcome.” 

In addition to Per Scholas, Ion District has facilitated contracting opportunities for Ion District Garage worth $16.9 million to 19 MWBE, among other milestones highlighted below.

 “The Ion District offers technology and connections that are unmatched to anywhere else in Houston,” added Milton Thibodeaux, President – Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum, a community organization dedicated to convening small and minority businesses seeking opportunities. “It’s generating more excitement and enthusiasm from new agencies, especially prime contractors and MWBEs. It’s also connecting us to the right people, which leads to contracts, financing, and ultimately success stories.”

Other accomplishments of the Ion District CBA detailed in the report include: 

  • Escrowing $5 million at Unity National Bank, the only certified Minority Depository Institution (MDI) in Texas which has allowed an increase in small business lending to help MWBE firms gain access to capital. 
  • Investing in women and minority tech accelerator and innovation programs, which included three DivInc accelerator cohorts, startups, and founders.
  • Commencing first year of funding for selected housing counseling providers which were: Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, Houston Area Urban League and Tejano Center for Community Concerns, to serve the Third Ward, Kashmere Gardens, and Magnolia Park neighborhoods.
  • Opening multiple local restaurants at the Ion and in the Ion District, owned and operated by MWBE chefs and operators. 
  • Selecting a consulting firm to recommend strategic pathways to achieve MWBE objectives; conducting 10 public outreach events with over 500 MWBE firms attending. 
  • Hosting over 130 community-focused events, including Activation Festival, BlackStreet, and additional monthly programming and events accessible to the community. 

“I am enthusiastic about the benefits this unique agreement is creating in Houston, especially in areas of inclusive hiring, contracting and upskilling for those who have been historically overlooked and marginalized,” said Mike Pittman II, Chairman of the Ion District CBA Advisory Committee. “The matching of art and science, as it relates to community benefits, in a rapidly changing built environment is a difficult and important undertaking. The thoughtful engagement that drove the CBA’s development is helping strengthen Houston’s position as a place where ideas can grow no matter who you are or where you are from.”

More Community Investment Ahead

While the development is still in progress, Ion District is already a thriving innovation district helping to move Houston’s economy forward. Today, Ion District is home to more than 300 businesses, including corporations, small businesses, and startups. 

In the coming year, Rice University will continue to implement the commitments set by the Ion District CBA including inclusive hiring, community capacity building, housing affordability and MWBE opportunities. This includes launching Per Scholas training, partnering with additional accelerators to support underrepresented founders and promoting contracting opportunities for the next phase of development. 

“We’re committed to making Ion District and Ion a catalyst for opportunity, not just for the tech community but city-wide,” said Sam Dike, who oversees the CBA’s implementation. “We are proud of the progress thus far. It’s a testament to the community stakeholders who came together to recommend the greatest areas of impact and need. However, this is just the beginning.”

The full version of the community investment report can be accessed here via Ion District’s community-focused website where the community can track the continued implementation of the CBA and stay engaged with upcoming opportunities.

About the Ion District

Houston’s new innovation district takes our city’s talent and sprawl and connects it all, harnessing Houston’s potential to emerge and endure as a tech hub, a thought leader, a cultural core, and a global economic force. Twelve blocks built to encourage serendipitous collisions across all sectors and skill levels, and promote equitable businesses, products, and jobs in our image: ones that reflect our city’s diversity of ethnicities and enduring individualism, our big-hearted tenacity and wildcatting audacity, our gumption and resilience come hell or high water. An invitation to build the world we want to see.

About the Ion

Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward.

From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way. 

Ion District Welcomes New Tenants

Ion District today announces ten new tenants plus construction on a new lab at the Ion, Houston’s innovation hub. Combined, the tenants are leasing 35,000 square feet and will drive more cross collaboration across industries, from energy, to education, to healthcare technology, and venture capital. The 266,000 square foot building is now 86% leased. 

The companies joining the Ion include: 

  • Carbon Clean, a leading carbon capture company that opened its new Houston headquarters in response to a 64% leap in inquiries following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Cognite, a Norwegian software company for asset-heavy industries that turns industrial data into customer value. 
  • OpenStax, a nonprofit tech company improving educational access and learning through publishing openly licensed college textbooks that are free online and low cost in print.
  • Synopic, a startup building the next generation of depth-enabled cameras to improve visualization and decision making during medical procedures.
  • Motif Neurotech, a medical equipment manufacturing startup working to develop minimally invasive electronic solutions for mental health. 
  • RedSwan CRE, a crowdfunding-style investment platform and marketplace of tokenized commercial real estate.
  • Nauticus Robotics, which has created a highly sophisticated, ultra sustainable fleet of marine robotics — along with the intelligent software to power it.
  • Rice University’s Office of Innovation, designed to commercialize more Rice-developed research and technology in part by being close to tech-forward organizations that can utilize it, in addition to Rice’s Nexus Lab, which is under construction and designed for prototyping and scaling-up technologies. 

 

The new tenants join Ara Partners, a Houston-based, global private equity firm focused on investing in carbon decentralization technology, on the Ion’s third floor. The firm moved into the building last year and is already expanding its space to meet the demands of its growing organization. 

 

Additionally, this leasing and construction news comes on the heels of flexible workspace provider Common Desk announcing it would expand its space by nearly 50 percent at the Ion to accommodate a waitlist of entrepreneurs, startups, and corporates that are looking for flexible office solutions to connect and accelerate innovation. 

“Welcoming this amazing lineup of new tenants, across the breadth of sectors they represent, demonstrates that the Ion is the place to be and do business in Houston,” said Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion. “By continuing to fill our space with new innovators across all these different offerings from all around the globe, we’ve become the home for collisions that will create solutions to the biggest problems facing our world today. We pride ourselves on advancing the diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that will propel our world forward. Our inspiring new tenants will do just that.” 

The Ion celebrated its grand opening in May of 2022. Its roster of tenants already includes Chevron, Microsoft, (Schlumberger) SLB Innovation Factori, and Houston Methodist. The Ion is the namesake centerpiece of the up-and-coming Ion District, home to more than 300 businesses, including corporates, small businesses, startups and restaurants, such as Greentown Labs and Stuff’d Wings

“Carbon Clean is experiencing a big uptick in demand for our innovative carbon capture solutions in North America, and we’re excited to be expanding in the U.S. from our new home in the Ion, located in Houston. It’s a great space for networking and collaboration, and we’re delighted to have already made the most of this by hosting a reception in the Ion that brought leaders in decarbonization technology and innovation together to celebrate our new base in Houston,” said Aniruddha Sharma, CEO of Carbon Clean.

In addition to the growing list of esteemed innovators, the Ion is home to best-in-class, innovative culinary talent, including Second Draught, The Lymbar, Common Bond On-The-Go, and soon-to-open Late August with Chef Dawn Burrell. 

“The Ion continues to see leasing demand from companies that understand the value of a creative and active work environment,” said Bryson Grover, Investment Manager of Real Estate Development, Rice Management Co. “Companies are choosing Ion District because it offers more than just a solution for space needs. Workers are given the opportunity to experience a sense of community that brings together like-minded individuals and those with different perspectives.” 

For more information on leasing opportunities, please email: leasing@iondistrict.com. Those interested in getting involved in the Ion ecosystem can learn more here

The Ion Expands Its Public Art Program As It Unveils Interactive New Plaza Installation, Efflorescence

The Ion, Houston’s innovation hub, has announced the expansion of its burgeoning public art program vis-à-vis the addition of Efflorescence, an interactive installation fabricated by the talented Austin-based artist team of Ilya Pieper and Whiptail Designs (Nathan Kandus) that is designed to instill the Ion Plaza with an immediate dose of vitality as visitors enter and exit the building. Now on display as Houston enters one of its most pleasant stretches of the year, Efflorescence will remain a fixture at the Ion for a three-month duration.

“I view the Ion’s art as a living organism that is constantly evolving and changing,” said Piper Faust, who oversees the Ion and Ion District’s public art projects through her art consultancy, Piper Faust Public Art. She added, “With several pieces already in place that have greatly enhanced the Ion community from a visual perspective, I am now ecstatic to see Efflorescence come to life and serve as a natural outgrowth of the building’s creative identity as it evolves into the anchor of the 16-acre Ion District over the course of the next several years.”

Affixed to the Ion Plaza’s trellis, Efflorescence consists of a snaking vine structure that is comprised of 3/16” twisted rod; negative space between the rod’s different elements creates diamond patterns that are filled with metallic-green mica-painted plastic. Efflorescence’s leaves are painted with a differently pigmented mica paint and are suspended from the weaving vine configuration. The installation also incorporates a number of flowers that are made from dichroic film, a type of film that transforms clear materials into those that possess color effects, thereby reflecting certain colors and allowing others to pass through freely. The dichroic film thus allows Efflorescence to continuously change color as each viewer changes position – in combination with the angle of the sun as it passes over the trellis.

Efflorescence’s flowers are also subtly lit at night, emitting a phosphorescent glow; mounted spotlights along the edges of the trellis enhance nighttime viewing opportunities by bouncing light off of the reflective mica paint and dichroic film. Lastly, ten of the flowers attached to Efflorescence are larger in size and have a kinetic component; as visitors to the Ion pass underneath Efflorescence, proximity triggers signal flowers to bloom in an opening-and-closing pattern.

“Nature is the ultimate inspiration and reference point for the conceptualization and execution of Efflorescence,” emphasized Ilya Pieper, one-half of the artist duo behind the installation. She added, “As avid plant lovers, Nathan and I are constantly in awe of the beauty and form that nature holds. In our backyard, we have a passionflower vine that grows each year. Watching the vine make its ever-persistent climb upward, forming beautiful flowers along the way which a multitude of creatures utilize, we saw a parallel to the ultimate vision of the Ion District – that being the establishment of a similar structure for people, their ideas, and their innovations.”

The artist team behind Effloresence is the two-person duo of Ilya Pieper – a local Austinite and strong female figure in the Austin art scene – and Nathan Kandus, principal of Whiptail Designs, is a designer and fabricator who has focused on a number of community-based projects. Collectively, Pieper and Kandus have been working in the professional art world for over a decade, where their focus has been on cultivating engagement, interactivity, and community placemaking.

To date, the majority of the tandem’s work in public art has focused on site-specific interactive experiences that inspire curiosity and tell compelling stories. Effloresence represents the pair’s first project of significance in Houston.

About the Ion

Ion: Where ideas go to grow. Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward. From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way.

About Ion District

Ion District is an intentionally accessible, walkable and integrated urban community. It spans 12 city blocks (16 acres) in Houston’s Midtown, where people, ideas, and businesses thrive. Initiated by Rice University, Ion District energizes a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future. At actively programmed events and spontaneous everyday moments, Ion District invites residents, startups, corporate, academic, and civic leaders to unite, explore, and create opportunity together. For more information, visit https://iondistrict.com.

About Rice Management Company

Rice Management Company (RMC) is responsible for the stewardship of Rice University’s endowment. The endowment plays a vital role for Rice. The distributions generated provide approximately 40% of the University’s operating revenues, which makes it the single largest revenue source to the operating budget. The RMC team brings decades of investment management expertise across diversified industries and financial specialties. Through disciplined research and due diligence, we assess and pursue investment strategies that are aligned with the long-term risk/reward profile of the endowment. For more information, please visit investments.rice.edu.

Chef David Cordúa’s The Lymbar now open at the Ion

The Lymbar, Chef David Cordúa’s all-day restaurant, bar, and lounge at the Ion (4201 Main St.), is now open. The highly anticipated Latin-Mediterranean concept will offer a rotating daily menu through the end of the year, with an evolving selection of dishes and cocktails. Named after Lymbar Drive, the Meyerland street where Cordúa’s grandparents settled in Houston from Nicaragua, The Lymbar celebrates the Cordúa family history in Houston – which began with the diverse neighborhood where he grew up.

“The Lymbar is my grandmother’s house,” Cordúa said. “It’s a tribute to all grandmothers. Mine liked well-worn paperbacks, crossword puzzles, rich food, and whiskey. Copies of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ were always around. The house stayed in our family, and it’s where we perfected our family’s hospitality. The Lymbar is the distillation of our heritage.”

Cordúa was raised on Lymbar Drive as his father, chef Michael Cordúa, introduced Houston to a new world of Latin flavors with the nationally acclaimed Churrascos and Americas restaurants. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, David returned to Houston after culinary school and worked alongside his father for more than a decade. The Lymbar is his debut solo restaurant. Michael is working as part of the management team, with executive chef Adolfo Lopez, Jr. (Brenner’s on the Bayou, Uchi, Churrascos) helming the kitchen.

Menu standouts include corn-smoked lamb chops on a fluffy bed of tangy couscous tabbouleh; pan-seared snapper with saffron arroz a la tumbada with chorizo emulsion; build-your-own beef tenderloin tacos arabes with tahini and chili bomba; and a ground beef Kofta Burger with tzatziki. Starters include Truffle ‘Twinkies’, popcorn-style Chicken Chicharrones and Sweet Potato + Beet with labneh. Salads are highlighted by a Kale + Peanut with mint and cilantro and Cucumber + Chickpea with feta. A playful selection of empanadas includes the Monte Cristo with smoked turkey, ham, gruyere and raspberry sesame vinaigrette. Desserts include Sweet Corn Flan and Foie Gras Donut Holes.

Longtime Cordúa fans will recognize the Churrasco – an 8-oz. center-cut beef tenderloin with chimichurri, pickled onion, and bernaise – and signature vanilla-laced Tres Leches. Another dish, the Stuffed Chicken Ballotine, is a nod to a chicken with sherry cream sauce that Michael used to make for David after school at the original Churrascos.

The Lymbar’s sturdy cocktail list – led by bar manager Sean Stapleton – features impressive renditions of the staple Singapore Sling and Old Fashioned, rubbing shoulders with the delicate Kermit’s Lilly and gin-laced Wild Rhubarb. A wine bar-style wine list with approachable offerings from France, Italy, Spain, and South America rounds out the menu.

A crucial part of bringing The Lymbar to life was Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group, who was David’s childhood babysitter on Lymbar Drive. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant’s design fuses futurism with familiarity, drawing inspiration from Cordua’s upbringing. An innate sense of warmth is felt upon entering the dimly-lit, jewel-toned space.

“We wanted to capture the bustle of a hotel lobby, the polish of a private club and the hospitality of the Cordúa family in the design,” Braverman said. “Mixed with a confluence of Latin American, Lebanese, and Mediterranean textures and art layered over a backdrop of classic mid-century materials such as warm woods, earthy colors, and lush greenery.”

The Lymbar is open at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on Saturdays, closed on Sundays during its initial opening phase. It has seating for 120 guests – including 10 at the bar, 10 at the chef’s counter, and a 12-seat private dining room – and will feature live music on select nights.

“The Ion is a forward-thinking multi-industry tech hub, and we found a way to recreate a distinct, analog time in our lives in the middle of it all,” Cordúa said. “It’s the hearth and living room of the Ion. A few floors up, there may be a groundbreaking app being developed, while downstairs, we are reminding guests of a pre-digital world full of physical connection. We want The Lymbar to be like the best house party you’ve ever been to.”

About The Lymbar

The Lymbar is an all-day restaurant, bar, and lounge with Latin and Mediterranean flavors from chef David Cordúa, located at 4201 Main St. inside the Ion in Midtown Houston. Serving up culinary delights and exquisite libations, The Lymbar crystalizes the Cordúa family’s legacy as ambassadors of flavor and hospitality for a whole new generation of discerning Houstonians. For reservations, visit OpenTable or call (713) 485-6230. www.lymbar.com .

About the Ion

Ion: Where ideas go to grow. Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward. From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way.

Second Draught to Bring Robust Selection of Local Craft Beer on Tap to the Ion

The Ion today announced that Second Draught – a 2,000- square-foot taproom from the creators of neighborhood brewpub Baileson Brewing Company – will begin serving a selection of pints from Houston’s 70+ craft breweries on Monday, September 12.

When it opens, Second Draught will boast a rotating array of Houston’s vibrant craft brewers across its 18 beer taps; additionally, it will offer two wines on tap. Local breweries on Second Draught’s taps will include Saint Arnold, Great Heights, True Anomaly, Eureka Heights, Frost Town, and a host of others.

“We are overjoyed to open Second Draught to Houston’s innovation ecosystem – as well as to those stopping into the Ion for innovation-focused and community-centric events – next week,” emphasized Sarah Pope, Co-Founder of Second Draught. “Second Draught is designed to be a communal destination for anyone and everyone who visits the Ion, whether they are here on a daily basis, are coming for a specific program, or are taking advantage of the Ion’s expansive open working areas.”

In step with the Ion’s ethos of empowering entrepreneurs by arming them with access to broader networks, mentorship opportunities, and pathways to funding, Second Draught will provide a platform for Houston’s hyper-local beer scene, including smaller operators whose craft beer will now be readily accessible to the diverse cross-section of individuals populating the Ion’s offices, meeting rooms, and workspaces every day.

Ryan LeVasseur, Managing Director of Direct Real Estate for Rice Management Co., the developer of Ion District, said Second Draught’s opening is exciting – not only because its owners have built a loyal following of local craft beer lovers – but also because it represents RMC’s commitment to diversifying business ownership in Houston. “Women owners have been underrepresented in the industry, and the Ion District seeks partners who bring their unique, local, and entrepreneurial concepts to make this place unlike any other. We also love Second Draught’s commitment to celebrating a broad range of homegrown Houston brewers.”

Cozily offering 66 indoor seats and an additional 20 on the outdoor patio facing the Ion Plaza, Second Draught will be counter service style in its operations with guests ordering drinks at the bar; five HD TVs animate the interior space for sports and other events. Opening just in time for fall football season, the taproom will initially open Monday through Friday from 2 PM to 9 PM, Saturday from 12 PM to 9 PM, and Sunday from 12 PM to 6 PM. Hours will be expanded as Second Draught is able to add staff and in conjunction with the openings of Ion restaurants Late August and The Lymbar.

“As the Ion has continued to grow its community of tenants, partners, and collaborators, the need has never been greater for a watering hole for this dynamic group of Houston’s current and future leaders,” said Jan Odegard, the Ion’s Executive Director. “Gathering outside of the office and exchanging ideas in a relaxed environment could spark the next innovation that solves a complex problem. Second Draught brings added vibrancy to the building as programming has expanded and the Ion’s ecosystem continues to evolve,” he added.

About the Ion

Ion: Where ideas go to grow. Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward. From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way.

About Rice Management Company Rice Management Company (RMC) is responsible for the stewardship of Rice University’s endowment. The endowment plays a vital role for Rice. The distributions generated provide approximately 40% of the University’s operating revenues, which makes it the single largest revenue source to the operating budget. The RMC team brings decades of investment management expertise across diversified industries and financial specialties. Through disciplined research and due diligence, we assess and pursue investment strategies that are aligned with the long-term risk/reward profile of the endowment. For more information, please visit investments.rice.edu.

Ion and Houston Methodist to Open Health Care Innovation Tech Hub

Houston Methodist joins the Ion as its first healthcare-centric partner in its growing innovation hub. The hospital will build out a space at the Ion modeled after Houston Methodist’s Center for Innovation Technology Hub located at its flagship hospital in the Texas Medical Center to showcase the latest in healthcare innovation.

“Partnering with Houston Methodist’s Center for Innovation is exciting. This also will advance the Ion’s ability to support entrepreneurs and innovators that are already at the Ion as we embark on a new focus in health care innovation,” said Jan Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion.

Expected to open later this year, the Tech Hub at the Ion will occupy an approximately 1,200-square-foot space which will first be used for informational and educational programming, networking with fellow tenants and entrepreneurs, participating in on-site mentoring and pitch competitions, and hosting open houses for the community to see how Houston Methodist is shaping patient-centered health care of the future.

Houston Methodist’s presence at the Ion advances its vision to foster more collaboration across industries, joining aerospace, energy, and oil and gas companies already embedded in the innovation hub. Through this partnership, Houston Methodist expands the work of its Center for Innovation and its Technology Hub, which opened in early 2020 to provide a living laboratory environment to experience the latest innovations in patient-centered health care technology, including remote monitoring, ambient intelligence, and virtual reality. The space at the Ion will be a smaller replica, a twin of the original space within the hospital, and will demonstrate how current and future technology work together in the hospital setting.

“We are advancing the evolution of the hospital’s role in health care through digital transformation,” said Michelle Stansbury, VP of Innovation and IT Applications at Houston Methodist. “Having a footprint at the Ion will not only provide the Ion’s network and Houston community with a window into what we are doing for patients, consumers, and providers but also gives the Ion community and rising innovators an opportunity to bring its own ingenuity and ideas to life with ours.”

Partnering with Houston Methodist and welcoming them to the Ion, developed by Rice Management Company on behalf of Rice University, builds on the legacies of two of the state’s leading institutions, said Rice University President Reggie DesRoches.

“Building new relationships and resources can expand digital innovation in health care,” DesRoches said. “Rice is thrilled to play its part, and we celebrate our shared commitment to meaningful community engagement.”

Houston Methodist and Rice University have a history of collaborations, including the Houston Methodist – Rice University Center for Human Performance, a premier center under construction on Rice’s main campus. The space is intended to bring physicians, academic researchers, and university students together to work side by side with student-athletes, trainers, and coaches to advance research and education in human performance. Houston Methodist and Rice University also are collaborating on the Center for Translational Neural Prosthetics and Interfaces to bring together scientists, clinicians, engineers, and surgeons to solve clinical problems with neurorobotics.

Bryson Grover, Investment Manager of Real Estate Development, Rice Management Company, said, “By enhancing opportunities for our network of academics, businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators to collaborate across the Ion District and globally, we’re creating a more resilient future economy for our region.”

About the Ion

Ion: Where ideas go to grow. Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward. From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way. For more information, visit https://ionhouston.com/.

About Houston Methodist: Houston Methodist is one of the nation’s leading health systems and academic medical centers. The health system consists of eight hospitals: Houston Methodist Hospital, its flagship academic hospital in the Texas Medical Center, six community hospitals, and one long-term acute care hospital throughout the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Houston Methodist also includes a research institute; a comprehensive residency program; international patient services; freestanding comprehensive care, emergency care and imaging centers; and outpatient facilities. Houston Methodist employs more than 27,000 people and had more than 1.6 million outpatient visits and more than 132,000 admissions in 2021. For more information on Houston Methodist, see houstonmethodist.org.

NASA and Houston’s Ion Partner to Create Opportunities for Startup Community

The Ion, Houston’s innovation hub, has announced its collaboration with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. NASA and the Ion are establishing a technology transfer center at the Ion to empower the Houston-Galveston region’s aerospace innovation ecosystem by extending opportunities to local entrepreneurs and startups to share their ideas and intellectual property with NASA and vice versa.

NASA and the Ion’s partnership is an example of private-public partnerships aimed at creating events, programming, and initiatives to promote and diversify the new commercial space economy and the use of NASA technologies in the broader economy. Alongside Rice University, the Ion’s owner, the organizations are pioneering a platform to accelerate the formation of space entrepreneurs to grow commercial space supply chains, seek solutions to address space technology challenges, and license NASA technology for commercial applications.

“We’re eager and excited to work with Rice University and the Ion to help NASA solve challenges, develop spinoff technologies, grow minority entrepreneurs, and accelerate innovative and tech-forward solutions in Houston,” said Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “This partnership will allow us to increase startups through our aerospace accelerator targeting minority businesses and help achieve NASA’s goals to enhance scientific and technological knowledge to benefit all of humankind as we propel commercialization of space and work to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis.”

The organizations will also focus part of their efforts on minority businesses and entrepreneurs in the aerospace and technology fields, including the Ion’s Aerospace Innovation Accelerator for Minority Business Enterprises (AIA for MBEs), which develops businesses tackling aerospace-related challenges. NASA has supported the AIA for MBEs since its inception and initial grant process. NASA will continue to support the accelerator and its participants through its provision of mentors and subject matter experts and ongoing input and advice at the Ion’s monthly startup competitions and showcases in addition to the below.

As part of the new collaboration, NASA and the Ion will open an application process for interested startups and entrepreneurs to become connected with NASA in Fall 2022. Programming will run through mid-2023. Together, NASA, the Ion and the startup community will work to:

● Develop spin-off technologies in support of commercial space and for potential use in future NASA and private space missions;

● Provide access to intellectual property (IP). The Ion community will have once-in-a-lifetime access to NASA’s IP portfolio, for potential use in commercial applications;

● Create more onramps for Houston’s small business communities through NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs;

● Build a private sector skilled local workforce to support the development of space technologies

“NASA’s Johnson Space Center has led the US and the world on an ongoing journey of human exploration, and the Ion is here to accelerate tomorrow’s space endeavors,” said Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of the Ion. “Together, our Ion community of startups, entrepreneurs, and academic institutions, across industries and disciplines – from health care to sports to e-commerce to resiliency – is the perfect place for human performance and for NASA to derive talent. Just as NASA is the perfect team to inspire our Ion community to reach for the stars. Together we will safeguard Houston’s title as ‘Space City’ and advance the global space industry for future missions.”

About the Ion

Ion: Where ideas go to grow. Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward. From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way. For more information, visit https://ionhouston.com/.