Oleon, which converts natural fats and oils into a wide range of oleochemical products, is part of Avril, a financial and industrial company based in France. The company’s only previous U.S. presence was a sales operation in South Carolina. Saratech is a California-based engineering, software, services and 3D printer sales company with offices across the country, including Austin. The new Houston office focuses on additive manufacturing, as 3D printing moves beyond prototyping to producing functional products in low to medium volumes.
Tom Campbell, executive director of the UH Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation, said the University is a natural landing spot for companies new to town, offering not just lab and office facilities at its research park on the Gulf Freeway but also potential partnerships with faculty and students research and internships.
“It’s about economic development,” Campbell said. “A strong innovation economy is a rising tide that floats all boats.”
Executives at both companies said they were drawn to the Technology Bridge in part for the chance to work with faculty and students. That sort of connectivity is part of Campbell’s goal for the Technology Bridge, which offers 30,000 square feet of incubator space and over 700,000 square feet of space suited for laboratories, pilot-scale facilities and light manufacturing.