AP Photo/LM Otero

Blair Garrou, co-founder of Houston-based venture capital firm Mercury Fund, is helping to mobilize the area's investment and tech community in response to Harvey.

First things first: The most immediate need, of course, is money. Garrou and several tech groups yesterday launched a website called Entrepreneurs for Houston, which suggests donations be made to the Harvey Relief Fund, set up by Mayor Sylvester Turner specifically to help those without flood insurance (i.e., most Houstonites).

Tech help: Houston's development community has been working on ways to help. One particularly involved local group has been Sketch City, which holds regular meet-ups focused on civic technology. In fact, it did one about nine months ago on flood response, and this week has developed and rolled out a suite of chat-bots whereby Houstinites can text a number and receive information on shelters (including which one is closest, take pets, have grief counselors, etc.). Sketch City and others like co-working space Station Houston are expected to become, in Garrou's words, the "command posts to develop tech solutions for Houston's flood victims, community leaders and first responders."

Personnel impact: Only one Mercury Fund employee has been flooded out, as most of the team lives on the relative highlands near Rice University. But travel outside of their neighborhoods has been difficult — they don't have boats — so they've "been trying to help from our laptops."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 21,020,216 — Total deaths: 761,393— Total recoveries: 13,048,303Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,289,323 — Total deaths: 167,948 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health.
  4. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.

Facebook goes after Apple

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is seeking to force a face-off with Apple over its 30% in-app purchase commission fee, which Facebook suggests hurts small businesses struggling to get by during the pandemic.

The big picture: Facebook has never publicly gone after Apple, a key strategic partner, this aggressively. Both companies face antitrust scrutiny, which in Apple's case has centered on the very fee structure Facebook is now attacking.