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Houston organization calls for startup submissions to pitch at inaugural climatetech week

The event "will showcase energy tech innovations to shift towards a more sustainable, reliable and lower carbon future across interactive panels, inspiring keynotes and over 50 dynamic venture pitches." Photo via Rice.edu

Calling all energy tech startups — you don't want to miss the opportunity to pitch at the inaugural Energy and Climate Startup Week in Houston.

Applications are open now for Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship's Energy Tech Venture Forum, which will take place on September 12 as a part of the first Energy and Climate Startup Week in Houston that is taking place September 9 to 13. While ETVF has been hosted by Rice every year for over 20 years, this will be the first time startups will be pitching as a part of the bigger, citywide event.

The event "will showcase energy tech innovations to shift towards a more sustainable, reliable and lower carbon future across interactive panels, inspiring keynotes and over 50 dynamic venture pitches," according to Rice Alliance.

Ninety selected startups will get one-on-one time with the 75 investors who attend the event — each company will have around four to 10 meetings set up for them — and then 40 companies will continue on to pitch to the attendees of the event. Additionally, the Class 4 of the Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator, which was recently announced on EnergyCapital, will also be featured for 10 Demo Day pitches.

Startup founders have until July 12 to apply online.

In addition to the pitches, the September 12 event will feature keynote addresses, panels, and investor-only office hours.

Learn more about the event from last year:

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A View From HETI

Nádia Skorupa Parachin joined Cemvita as vice president of industrial biotechnology. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Houston-based biotech company Cemvita recently tapped two executives to help commercialize its sustainable fuel made from carbon waste.

Nádia Skorupa Parachin came aboard as vice president of industrial biotechnology, and Phil Garcia was promoted to vice president of commercialization.

Parachin most recently oversaw several projects at Boston-based biotech company Ginkjo Bioworks. She previously co-founded Brazilian biotech startup Integra Bioprocessos.

Parachin will lead the Cemvita team that’s developing technology for production of bio-manufactured oil.

“It’s a fantastic moment, as we’re poised to take our prototyping to the next level, and all under the innovative direction of our co-founder Tara Karimi,” Parachin says in a news release. “We will be bringing something truly remarkable to market and ensuring it’s cost-effective.”

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita, says the hiring of Parachin represents “the natural next step” toward commercializing the startup’s carbon-to-oil process.

“Her background prepared her to bring the best out of the scientists at the inflection point of commercialization — really bringing things to life,” says Moji Karimi, Tara’s brother.

Parachin joins Garcia on Cemvita’s executive team.

Before being promoted to vice president of commercialization, Garcia was the startup’s commercial director and business development manager. He has a background in engineering and business development.

Founded in 2017, Cemvita recently announced a breakthrough that enables production of large quantities of oil derived from carbon waste.

In 2023, United Airlines agreed to buy up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cemvita’s first full-scale plant over the course of 20 years.

Cemvita’s investors include the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, an investment arm of Chicago-based United; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum; and Japanese equipment and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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