Local tech ecosystem produces startups to watch (DimDrop)

Houstonians awoke to flooding on Tax Day, unsure if they should attempt to drive to work. They didn't know the storm's severity, nor if roads were submerged. Victor Cintron said his company, DimDrop, could have helped.

DimDrop, he said, would have allowed government officials to send mobile alerts directly to Houstonians who downloaded an app on their smartphones. It also could have sent specific alerts to users who were driving toward flooded roads, telling them to turn around.

"This will actually provide data, or information, that people can use to make much better decisions," Cintron said.

DimDrop is among the companies local experts named to this year's list of tech startups to watch. The list was compiled as part of the Chronicle 100 look at the region's top companies. The Chronicle 100 will appear as a special section inside the Sunday newspaper.

Founded in 2013, DimDrop provides a platform that government agencies, universities and businesses can use to create and track mobile communications. This can improve their operational efficiency and deliver time-critical information using location-based technology.


Visitors to the USD Partners offices are seen in the company's reception area on Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in Houston. Oil's troubles usher in new cast of players at top of Chron 100 The Sunoco/Stripes at Gessner Drive and Philippine Street. (For the Chronicle/Gary Fountain, May 19, 2016) Oil slump shakes up Chronicle 100 Workers complete construction on the new Kroger Marketplace, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in north Houston. Grocery store boom to dominate big retail projects of 2016 Customer Nicole Dijak gets some help from bank teller Mark Flores, while using one of the new generation ATMs in the Chase lobby at the Washington and Studemont branch. (For the Chronicle/Gary Fountain, May 13, 2016) Banks slog through an off time for energy The Falls at Imperial Oaks provides residents with amenities including a dog park, nature trails, a junior Olympic-size swimming pool as well as access to the 4,200-square-foot Lake Club recreation center. The Lake Club hosts an average of three or four community events a month, and is available for rental by residents. Many communities see fewer house starts Anne Goss buys produce with her 18-month-old daughter, Stella, at the Kroger Store on Buffalo Speedway on Friday, May 20, 2016, in Houston. The store is one of Houston Chronicle's top 100. Three heavyweights dominate the Houston grocery market Martin E. Collins, president and general manager, Gulf States Toyota, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Houston. ( Gary Coronado / Houston Chronicle ) The independent Toyota and Scion distributor serves 157 dealerships in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. In 2015, the company reported $8.4 billion in revenue. No. 1: Amid vehicle distributor’s strong run, it’s taking a
Its largest local customer is Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services. About 10,000 people have downloaded its app to search nearby restaurants and check for health inspection violations. They can also report issues, such as bugs or hair in their food.

This app will one day expand to include health and wellness, animal services, preparedness and response, and mosquito concerns.

"Houston is still one of the very best places to be a startup," said Walter Ulrich, president and CEO of the Houston Technology Center. "We have a vigorous and robust ecosystem to support startups."

But energy startups, he said, have found it more difficult to attract larger energy companies as investors or customers amid the oil price slump.

"They may have to hunker down and survive longer with less investment," Ulrich said.