Valerie Tompson to lead SWAN’s Houston Chapter

SWAN Impact Network is pleased to announce that Valerie Tompson has been named to serve as the Chapter Lead of the Houston branch and has also joined SWAN’s Board of Directors.

Valerie has worked as a physician assistant and currently serves as the Executive Director at City Church in Houston. With a blend of medical experience, public accounting, a recent MBA from Duke University, and non-profit management experience, Valerie gathers and analyzes data and makes executable plans for innovative, efficient processes that directly impact the bottom line. She brings an intensity and stamina of effort to her work with attention to detail as well as an ability to simplify complicated ideas and build trusting relationships. Valerie enjoys getting up-to-speed quickly and continually learning new things to stay on the cutting edge. Much of her professional and personal time has been spent in roles helping organizations make an impact.

Outside of work, Valerie enjoys spending time with her family. Her husband Matt is a Physician who practices in the Houston Medical Center, and they have three children who range from middle to graduate school. Traveling (and eating), reading, and running fill up her additional time. Valerie has served in many roles in her children’s schools in Houston, including the chair of the Parent Guild at St. John’s School and PTO president at Roberts Elementary.

Portfolio company Harmonic Bionics has closed additional funding

Harmonic Bionics aims to empower patients and their care providers by designing intelligent technology that facilitates data-driven treatment for neurological and musculoskeletal movement impairments. Their flagship product, Harmony SHR™, is a bilateral upper extremity exoskeleton dynamically designed to provide unique value in three areas of practice: neuroscience and movement science research, movement disorder assessment, and rehabilitation.

Harmonic Bionics has announced that they have raised $3 million of venture funding from South Korea-based medical robot manufacturer Curexo, Inc.   Harmonic Bionics will now assist with US promotion and business development for Curexo’s Morning Walk S200, a robotic gait rehabilitation system, and CUVIS-spine, a surgical spine robot.

Last year, the company raised a $7.42 million Series A from H Robotics, Bass Investment, and DSC Investment.

Announcing Changes in SWAN’s Leadership

After three years of dedicated service on the SWAN Board of Directors, Laura Hill is rotating off the board. She has brought to the board keen insights about angel investing, was instrumental in improving our deal flow process, has been the lead on planning and organizing SWAN social events, and most recently ably led the working group that nominated her replacement on the board.

Thank you, Laura!

 

 

 

 

SWAN is pleased to have Gwen Echols join our Board of Directors. Gwen brings a wealth of experience to the board and strengthens the Dallas representation on the board. Gwen is an experienced professional with a record of driving progress in the business and nonprofit community. Presently a nonprofit advisor and board member, she has supported Dallas agencies in leadership roles for over 20 years. Concurrently Gwen has provided mentorship and coaching to social impact leaders and entrepreneurs since 2018. Gwen is a frequent investor at SWAN, and has been active at  the Rockies Venture Club, one of the country’s oldest angel groups. Gwen was formerly a Senior Vice President with Bank of America, including career roles on the Bank’s merger team, in technology development, and through 2003, as Senior Vice President and relationship team leader in corporate treasury services.

 

 

SWAN is delighted to have Meagan Packard join our leadership as Director of Impact Reporting. She is tackling one of the most-challenging aspects of being an effective impact investing network, namely .quantifying the actual impact resulting from our investment dollars. We expect her efforts will make SWAN a recognized leader in reporting on the impact, and will position SWAN as a role model for other impact angel networks.

Quoting Meagan, “Our world needs novel solutions to critical conservation & sustainability issues now. My aim is to get cutting edge research into the marketplace quickly to start solving our global climate and biodiversity problems today”.

SWAN announces follow-on investment in Sonnest

SWAN is pleased to announce a follow-on investment in Sonnest.

Sonnest is transforming cardiac ultrasound. Their Electrast™ is the first electrically sensitive imaging agent for assessing and monitoring the perfusion, structure, and function of the heart, allowing low cost ultrasound procedures to provide information only previously available from much higher cost scans. Electrast™ is a contrast agent that activates with ultrasound and the heart’s local electric field if the heart tissue is perfused and viable.

SWAN previously invested in Sonnest in February and May 2021.

SWAN announces investment in Young Mountain Tea

SWAN is pleased to announce an initial investment in Young Mountain Tea.

Young Mountain Tea works directly with tea farmers in India and Nepal to create organic tea, allowing the company to meet consumer demand for transparency and authentic impact. Right now, American consumers can’t access sustainable tea because existing tea companies buy corporate-grown tea through long chains of intermediaries. Tea has the potential to transform life for Himalayan tea farmers by creating sustainable livelihoods and repairing damaged ecosystems. Young Mountain Tea also partners with farmers to also help build factories to help process the tea, which the otherwise cash-strapped farmers would not be able to build.

SWAN now has a Houston Chapter

The SWAN Impact Network’s new Houston chapter joins our Austin and Dallas chapters in investing and supporting impact companies focused on delivering social or environmental impact. SWAN is the fastest growing impact-focused angel network in the US.

The SWAN Impact Network has deep expertise in life sciences and clean energy, plus a history of strongly supporting founding teams that have been historically underrepresented in term of investments. This skill and focus provides great synergy with Houston’s strong life science and energy sectors, and with Houston’s status of a leading multi-cultural metropolis.

Additionally, SWAN’s senior leadership has close connections with Rice University.

To learn more SWAN’s Houston chapter, please contact Bob Bridge, Founder and Executive Director of the SWAN Impact Network, bob.bridge@swanmpact.org.

and

We are actively looking for an Executive Director for our Houston Chapter! Please share candidate names with Bob. The ideal candidate has strong connections with the Houston start-up and early-stage investing community, enjoys meeting people and does not require a full-time salary. Compensation is tied to the number of Houston members. APPLY

Binary Bridge technology is aiding Ukrainian refugees

Binary Bridge is honored to be a small part in helping the Ukrainian refugees. The company’s  new customer, Operation Blessing’s Disaster Relief medical team, is using the BackpackEMR medical record system in Poland. The simplicity of deploying and using BackbackEMR made it possible for Operation Blessing to start using the system in mere days after  requesting it.

SWAN announces investment in Bodhi

The SWAN Impact Network is pleased to announce an investment in Bodhi.

Bodhi empowers residential solar companies to deliver amazing customer experiences while improving their operations 25%.

Bodhi’s software platform automates communication and personalizes the solar experience, improving operational efficiency & increasing sales volumes.

Diesel-powered trucks can run on renewables

SWAN portfolio company Clear Flame Engine  Technology is in the news.

Diesel-powered trucks can run on renewables, thanks to this new Gates-backed tech. The fuel isn’t emissions free, but startup ClearFlame Engine’s retrofits could drastically cut the footprint of trucking right away.

The diesel big rig is starting to move into the carbon-free future: Electric semi trucks are already beginning to make deliveries around the country. But although they can work well for short trips—and Volvo’s newest electric semi will be able to travel up to 275 miles before charging—they still aren’t yet a viable alternative for the trucks that have to cross the country, which is how so much freight is moved. That’s why one startup is working on technology that can be put in use now: It tweaks diesel engines so they can use 100% renewable fuel, with no change in how the trucks run.

“Rather than trying to design an entirely new engine from the ground up, we said, okay, what is the minimum subset of parts and components we could swap inside this engine to make it fundamentally fuel agnostic, and to switch to something cleaner?” says BJ Johnson, CEO of the startup, called ClearFlame Engine Technologies, which recently raised $17 million from investors including Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

In a new pilot test, the company converted the engine in a Class 8 truck—the largest class of trucks, weighing a minimum of 33,000 pounds—and tried driving it on 100% plant-based ethanol on a test track. There was “no loss of efficiency, no loss of power,” says cofounder Julie Blumreiter, who began developing the technology with Johnson when both were studying at Stanford University. “It sounds the same. It is a diesel engine in every sense of the word besides the fuel you use.” The key difference is the lack of pollution: Instead of black diesel smoke belching out of the tailpipe, the exhaust looks clear, and air pollution and climate emissions dramatically shrink.

Ethanol, which is typically made from corn, still has a carbon footprint, including the climate impact of fertilizer used to grow the crop. But current lifecycle data suggests that pure ethanol emits around 45-50% less greenhouse gases than diesel. And because the electric grid is still shifting to renewable electricity, the startup claims that a truck running on 100% ethanol is actually cleaner, at the moment, than an electric truck.

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