TX Roundup: Uber Election, OutboundEngine, Joah Spearman, “Windfall”

Let’s end the week with a recap of the latest innovation news from Xconomy Texas.

—Voters in Austin will go to the polls on Saturday to decide whether they want to keep fingerprinting regulations in place that govern drivers for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. The companies say—and some leaders in the tech community agree—that such rules stifle innovation. City leaders have maintained that such rules are needed to ensure public safety.

Houston hackers and coders will gather on Saturday to create an app to help provide healthcare services to underserved children. The app, which will link to the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a clinic on wheels, is staffed by pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and nurses from Texas Children’s Hospital. The services include immunizations, well-child and urgent care visits, vision and hearing screenings, free medicine, and others.

—Austin’s OutboundEngine has raised $16 million from investors such as S3 Ventures, Silverton Partners, Noro-Moseley, Harmony Partners, Altos Ventures, and Capital Factory. The company, which has now raised a total of $33.8 million, makes marketing and business development software aimed at small businesses and sole proprietorships.

Joah Spearman, the founder of travel app Localeur, is an outspoken member of the Austin tech community. The latest “Five Questions For” sits down with him to talk about what motivates him, childhood ambitions, and what he would bring to a deserted island.

—Medtech companies in San Antonio are gearing up for a “rapid-fire” pitch contest next week at the Emerging Technology Symposium in San Antonio. Five companies are expected to participate in the event for a $1,000 prize being given by the Texas Research & Technology Foundation.

—Regardless of whether you believe climate change exists, innovators are making money off of rising temperatures. Journalist McKenzie Funk details these efforts in an engaging trip around the world in his book “Windfall: the Booming Business of Global Warming” that details the products and services being developed and sold to either fight or take advantage of climate change. “An ecological catastrophe was not necessarily a financial catastrophe for everyone,” Funk writes.

—Ericsson, the Swedish telecom, announced that North Texas will be one of three new sites for the company’s IoT Accelerator. The other two sites are Melbourne, Australia, and Athlone in Ireland, the Dallas Business Journal reported. The accelerator will initially focus on public safety, utilities, transportation, and other “smart cities” issues.

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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