Houston, We Have a Hockey Stick
How do you turn a city into a hub for high-growth, high-potential companies? The truth is, it takes a village. And our village is the Houston ecosystem.
Our community—made up of hustlers, dreamers, and doers—is always looking for the next milestone, and that’s a good thing. It means we’re not prepared to settle, and we aren’t resting on our laurels (like being named one of the fastest growing metros for tech startups).
But it’s important not to lose sight of how far we’ve come. So we’re revisiting some of the big wins from the last year, if only to observe that Houston’s leading indicators for success have pushed us to an inflection point that will continue on an upswing.
Here are just some of those highlights, which all occurred in the last six months:
Sustainable Development Organizations
- MassChallenge launches its newest program in Downtown Houston, supporting up to 25 early-stage startups through a zero-equity, six-week boot camp this summer.
- WeWork Labs, the incubator program from coworking company WeWork, launches in Downtown Houston.
- The Cannon expands to a Galleria location and prepares for completion of its 120,000-square-foot, 32-acre coworking and entrepreneurship campus in West Houston.
- Station Houston becomes a nonprofit to attract more funding from grants and foundations, and to provide more investment money aimed at programs that empower local entrepreneurs and turn innovative ideas into successful businesses.
- ImpactHub launches in Houston.
- HTX Talent, a website dedicated exclusively to tech jobs in the Houston region, is created as part of a cumulative effort between the Houston Exponential (HX) Talent Committee, led by Chair Patrick Schneidau and HX governing board member, Erik Ibarra. It was also made possible through close coordination with the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Innovation, and ecosystem partners like the Texas Medical Center, Station Houston and The Cannon.
- The HX Fund of Funds placed its first investment into Austin-based LiveOak Venture II, a venture capital fund focused on technology and technology-enabled services companies in Texas.
- Eunike Ventures launched in January 2019 to “aid startups in testing their technology with exploration and production companies Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Equinor and Hess Corp.”
- Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures announced a $90 million fund to focus scalable tech companies to advance Chevron’s oil & gas business. The fund seeks out “high-tech, high-growth startups.”
- Bill.com announces a Houston expansion that includes a 25,000-square-foot office in Parkway Property’s CityWestPlace campus in the Westchase District.
- Onit, Inc. secures $200 million from K1 Investment Management, with plans to use the funds to scale its operations and increase its client base of Fortune 500 companies.
- LiquidFrameworks receives nearly $100 million in private equity funding from Luminate Capital Partners.
- Houston-based human resources and benefits platform GoCo.io raises $7 million in a Series A round led by ATXSeedVentures.
- Accenture forms an alliance with—and invests $20 million in—P97 Networks Inc.
- Rice Management Co. RMC releases plans for the Ion, the centerpiece of a forthcoming Innovation District and ‘innovation corridor.’
- Hewlett Packard donates $10 million to UH’s Data Science Institute to invest in Houston’s tech workforce.
- Houston’s first self-driving shuttle rolls out at Texas Southern University, in partnership with Houston METRO.
- Rice Business Plan Competition distributes a record $2.9 million in prizes to top teams.
- As part of The Ion Smart Cities Accelerator, Microsoft and Intel collaborate on a Houston business program designed to bolster companies creating sensors and robotics to ease big-city problems, such as transportation and disaster response.
- Mayor Turner creates a Smart Cities Council to speed tech adoption in Houston. The Smart City Initiative uses data and emerging tech to improve the quality of life for citizens through a variety of projects focused on transportation, sustainability and public safety.