Tag: Houston

Michael and Susan Dell Pledge $36 Million to Help Rebuild Texas Following Hurricane Harvey

Michael and Susan Dell, courtesy photo.

Michael Dell, chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies announced in a post on Facebook Friday plans to donate $36 million to a fund to Rebuild Texas.

“We must rebuild the Texas communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey together,” Dell wrote.

On Friday, Michael and Susan Dell launched the Rebuild Texas Fund with Gov. Greg Abbott and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. He has pledged to match $1 for every $2 in donations until midnight on Sept. 4th.

“We are in it for the long-haul: our goal is to raise over $100 million for the recovery and rebuilding of our communities in the years to come,” Dell wrote. “Please join us by donating at www.rebuildtx.org or by texting “RebuildTX” to 91999. And please spread the word – every dollar matters!”

Dell grew up on Grape Street in the Meyerland neighborhood in Houston, which suffered extensive damage from more than 50 inches of rain hitting the city during Hurricane Harvey. On Facebook, Dell posted a picture of the flood waters that have submerged houses in his old neighborhood.

In addition to the Facebook post, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Michael and Susan Dell announced the RebuildTX fund on Good Morning America on Friday.

“This is our home. And we know that it will take all of us working together, over the long term, to rebuild our Texas communities,” Dell said in a statement. “The Rebuild Texas Fund will be a partnership among rally companies, community leaders and individuals to work alongside state and federal officials to provide an additional source of funding and ideas for recovery and rebuilding.”

The New York Times in an article reports the Dell Foundation donation is the largest single donation to the recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is working with the OneStar Foundation, was created to support the State of Texas by strengthening the nonprofit sector, on the Rebuild Texas Fund.

Since its founding in 1999, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has committed more than $1.32 billion to global children’s issues and community initiatives to date. The Dell family also donated $50 million to the University of Texas at Austin to create the Dell Medical School. (Read more about the Foundation and its work in this story from Silicon Hills News from the 2014 Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference in Austin.)

CyrusOne Buys 22 Acres in Austin for Data Center Expansion

imgres-5CyrusOne, a Houston-based data center operator, looks like it’s set to expand further in Austin.
The company has announced the purchase of 22 acres in the MetCenter business park in Austin. The company currently has a 54,000 square foot data center there.
Last year, CyrusOne bought 54 acres in San Antonio and Houston and it owns 24 acres in the Dallas area.
Overall, CyrusOne has 920,000 gross square feet of space in Texas with 560,000 square feet of data center capacity, according to Gary Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer.
“We estimate that the property we now own in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin is capable of yielding an additional 2.5 million gross square feet and 1.6 million square feet of data center capacity, effectively tripling what we currently offer at our Texas facilities,” Wojtaszek said in a news release. “Securing the ownership of 100 acres in Texas markets where we already have a strong presence allows for construction of what we believe is the largest multi-facility interconnected data center platform in the country.”
The company connects its data centers through its CyrusOne National Internet Exchange, which lets its customers host data at more than one location for backup data.
CyrusOne reports its customers include more than 125 members of the Fortune 1000.

Burpy Expands to San Antonio and Houston

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Last Longhorn Startup class, Aseem Ali and a team of undergraduate students pitched Burpy, a grocery delivery service.
Now he’s running a quickly growing startup and finishing up his degree as a senior studying mechanical engineering at the University of Texas.
Burpy, which expanded into the San Antonio market on Nov. 25th, plans to launch in Houston on Monday.
That means Burpy will provide grocery service to all major markets in Texas with plans to expand to Dallas-Fort Worth and Bryan-College Station early next year.
Burpy, which used to charge a delivery fee ranging from $15 to $20, no longer charges for delivery. Since it made that move, Burpy has taken off, Ali said.
“We’ve seen amazing adoption,” he said during a recent interview.
In San Antonio, in the last few weeks, Burpy has fulfilled more than 300 orders, Ali said.
“Burpy delivers everything that you can find in a pantry or a refrigerator,” Ali said. “A lot of organic food and a lot of produce.”
The company, based in Austin, has 45 daily shoppers in San Antonio, 50 in Austin, 30 in Houston and 20 in Dallas.
In the next year, Burpy expects to do about $1 million in revenue, Ali said. He graduates in May and plans to work on the business full time.
Burpy gets its grocery items from Wal-Mart, HEB, Costco, Whole Foods. And it recently added office supplies and Office Depot.
Beyond Texas, Burpy plans to expand to Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Kansas City.
Although grocery delivery has been tried before on a large scale and flopped, Ali thinks his business will succeed where others have failed largely because the company crowdsources delivery and uses the latest technology tools to manage its workforce and orders.
Burpy doesn’t have any inventory, warehouses or expensive delivery vans. It taps into existing resources to maximize its efficiency, Ali said. The company does have a few competitors such as Greenling, but it focuses primarily on locally produced organic food.
“We can deliver Oreos and hot Cheetos,” Ali said.
Other Austin competitors include Couch Potato, Munchy Mart and Austin Grocer, but they don’t deliver an extensive inventory of items, Ali said.
Other national competitors include Peapod, Instacart, Amazon Fresh and Walmart to go, but they are not available yet in the Texas market, Ali said. He hopes to establish first mover advantage with the customer base here.
Ali attended the latest Longhorn Startup Demo Day and he said his biggest takeaway came from Billionaire Mark Cuban. It’s best to learn from history, Ali said. Webvan, one of the biggest dot com failures of all time, blew through $1 billion setting up a home grocery delivery network and then filed for bankruptcy. Amazon bought its assets in bankruptcy. It also bought out HomeGrocer, which had gone public and then its stock plummeted.
Burpy has learned from the mistakes made by others, Ali said. The company has raised some angel investment. Sai Ganesh, CTO of Audingo in Austin, is mentoring Burpy. The company is also hiring drivers.

Disclosure: Burpy is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News

Sprint Prepares to Launch its 4G LTE Network in San Antonio

A lot of consumers want smartphones to access data on the go.
But smartphones only work well if they are connected to a smart network that can handle the bandwidth demand from consumers downloading videos, photos and music onto their mobile devices.
Sprint Nextel Corp. has created a smart network, known as Network Vision, that will provide advanced 3G and 4G LTE service in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta by the end of the month. Service in Austin should be available by the end of the year. Sprint expects to roll out the 4G LTE service to 173 million users by the end of the year.

Deborah Neal, director of sales for Sprint Nextel in Irving, TX

Sprint’s network will provide its customers with speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G or third generation cellular service, said Deborah Neal with Sprint. It will also provide improved voice and data quality and stronger signal penetration when people are inside buildings, she said.
In the U.S., people own 327.5 million mobile devices, that translates to 104 percent market penetration, Neal said.
Right now, Sprint operates three completely separate cellular networks, Neal said. The Network Vision ties all of those networks together and lets a device operate on any of them. The Vision Network is an entirely new nationwide network.
“It allows a device to take advantage of all the spectrum Sprint owns,” Neal said.
Sprint offered an overview of its new network during a media luncheon Monday at Acenar Restaurant in downtown San Antonio. When asked why Texas cities are among the first to get the service, Neal said “Sprint has always done really well in Texas and in San Antonio specifically.”
Sprint first launched its 4G service in 2008. It also introduced the first 4G smartphone two years ago and now offers more than 25 4G-enabled smartphones, USB connection cards, notebook and netbook products, mobile hotspots and routers.
In 2009, Sprint and Time Warner both offered Clearwire’s 4G network in a partnership “to help fund the national build out of the company’s WiMax-based system, which Clearwire choose as its 4G network technology instead of LTE. Clearwire, which is majority owned by Sprint, also partnered with Comcast, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google as part of the deal,” according to the San Antonio Express-News.
But the Wi-Max network isn’t as popular as the 4G LTE standard which both Verizon and AT&T rolled out last year, according to this WSJ story.
But the growth in wireless devices is not just coming from phones but from everything from e-readers to blood glucose monitors to Mi-Fi devices and smart picture frames. And the wireless tablet market is projected to grow between 50 percent to 80 percent annually.
Data traffic growth doubled last year and is expected to grow ten to twelve times between 2010 and 2015, according to Roberto Padovani, executive vice president at Qualcomm, who spoke at the Texas Wireless Summit late last year.
In fact, Sprint sees the largest increase for cellular use coming from companies using it for machine to machine devices, said Amy Strobietto, Sprint sales manager in San Antonio. Companies that use video surveillance systems and wireless tracking need cellular service, she said. Also, the explosion in smart meters for the home is also increasing the demand for cellular service, she said.

Megabus to Provide Service Between Austin and San Antonio

It’s not high-speed rail, but any kind of effort to connect San Antonio and Austin and provide the free-flow of the workforce in the region is a welcome one.
Megabus.com will begin service in Texas on June 19th.
The express bus company is offering fares from $1 to travel to Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.
Texas residents can also travel to Norman, Okla, Memphis, Tenn., Little Rock, Ark. and New Orleans for as low as $1.
In addition to affordable fares, megabus.com offers customers free Wi-Fi, power outlets and restrooms.

MyLocalReporter connects companies with the media

Dave Manzer started Austin-based PROverCoffee.com in 2010. He arranges monthly meet ups with members of the media and the business community.

This interview with Manzer is from Startup Week at the Austin Startup Bazaar. He recently launched MyLocalReporter to help companies in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth pitch their companies and products to the right local reporters. The service is primarily aimed at small businesses that might not have their own public relations representative or firm. It costs $89 for a basic pitch up to $189 for a professionally crafted pitch.
“Getting in the news, half the battle is knowing which news reporter to pitch to,” Manzer said. “We connect small business with the news media with hopes of getting more media exposure for small businesses.”

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