Who are Houston’s Startup Development Organizations? Part II: Accelerators & Incubators

Downtown Houston Skyline

Want to know which Startup Development Organizations (SDOs) are in the Houston ecosystem? Look no further. To keep track of which accelerators and incubators* are available for Houston entrepreneurs to develop their companies and organizations, we’ve put together a living document (thanks, Internet!) that we’ll update as soon as new SDOs open or expand into the area.

Did we miss one? Feel free to send over information to tips@houstonexponential.org so we can include them.

*Want to know more about the SDO hubs in Houston? Check out this post for more info.


Founder Institute
When it was founded:
Founded in 2009 in Silicon Valley, the Founder Institute is the “the world’s premier pre-seed startup accelerator.” The Houston chapter launched in March of 2019.

Who it’s for:
FI “focuses on founders instead of ideas, and helps founders and companies get to traction and funding at the pre-seed stage.”

How competitive is it?
Founders are selected after completing a series of aptitude and personality tests.

What stage of startup should apply/join?
In the idea, prototype or early stage

Costs associated with the program:
Once accepted, participants are asked to pay a $799 course fee. Programs include mentors, networking, and courses that help you be better prepared to launch and grow your business.

Unique benefits:
Founder Institute “creates an Equity Collective where all participants in a program cohort (including Alumni) receive financial upside in the companies formed. This Equity Collective aligns the incentives of all program participants and Mentors, and establishes a critical support network for startups to leverage for support and feedback while building their businesses.”

Industries served:
Generally open to all industries, though it’s not a good fit for service-oriented businesses or businesses without a tech element.


MassChallenge Texas

When it was founded:
MassChallenge launched in 2010, expanding into Houston as of 2019.

Who it’s for:
Early-stage startups

How competitive is it?
Very. MassChallenge accepts applications from all over the world and applicants go through three rounds of judging before acceptance into a cohort.

What stage of startup should apply/join?
Startups who have raised less than $500,000 in equity-based funding and generated less than $1 million in revenue.

Costs associated with the program:
Application costs are $45 for the early bird deadline and $99 USD before the rotating deadline.

Unique benefits:
Those selected participate in a 6-week boot camp accelerator program, and cohort members receive free office space. MassChallenge does not take equity from participants, who have access to > $250k in curated deals and discounts, focused mentorship and ecosystem connections, one-on-one engagement with MCTX founding and corporate partners, and virtual access to the MCTX Austin accelerator workshops and classes.
Also on the table: “the opportunity to compete for approximately $3 million in zero-equity cash awards at the end of the program.”

Industries served:
General


EUNIKE Ventures Hybrid Energy Accelerator
When it was founded:
2019

Who it’s for:
Innovators creating technology that can increase the profit margin of both their onshore unconventional and offshore asset base.

How competitive is it?
Very. After completing an application, companies need to be ready to conduct a small field test of their technology.

What stage of startup should apply/join?
There must be at least a prototype of the technology ready to test for the startup to apply.

Unique benefits:
Eunike Ventures Hybrid Energy Accelerator is “backed by several large oil & gas companies including Anadarko, Hess, and Equinor.” Also: on-field access, access to oil and gas experts, partnerships with oil and gas companies, pilot design and execution, refinement/retesting, access to capital, VC arm linked to this accelerator, and roadmap prioritization.

Industries served:
Oil and gas, energy


ION Smart Cities Accelerator
When it was founded:
2019

Who it’s for:
Founders and their teams

How competitive is it?
(Applications are now closed at this time.)

What stage of startup should apply/join?
Startups ready to validate their technology solutions through pilot programs.

Costs associated with the program:
There is no cost when you are approved for this 10-month program, but startups are responsible for any relocation or living costs.

Unique benefits:
No equity taken; a makerspace partnership with TX/RX Labs; detailed curriculum; mentorship; curated events to connect startups, communities and the City of Houston; “Z3VR’s Digital Twin, a cutting-edge data visualization tool that can consume, represent and filter various types of un-siloed geolocation data inside a virtual model of the Near Northside Community (a “digital twin” of the community)”; piloting support with partnerships that involve Microsoft, Intel, TX/RX, Station Houston and the City of Houston; opportunities for pitching piloted solutions to partners as well as the City of Houston; free membership to Station Houston for duration of the accelerator

Industries served:
Tech, IoT, transportation


TMCx Accelerator
When it was founded:
2014

Who it’s for:
Founders (at least one must be full-time), have to have a working prototype, preference for pre-revenue companies with previous pilots or early-revenue companies, but not all are required.

How competitive is it?
Very. A limited number of startups are accepted into each cohort.

What stage of startup should apply/join?
Promising companies ranging from early-stage startups to companies that are FDA-cleared and revenue positive.

Costs associated with the program:
There is no cost.

Unique benefits:
A highly-tailored curriculum – Lectures, workshops, and panels catered specifically to the needs of cohort companies, with input and participation from healthcare entrepreneurs, clinical stakeholders, design firms, venture capital, and law firms.

TMCx mentorship ecosystem – TMCx has an expansive network of TMC clinical subject-matter experts, hospital administrators, industry partners, venture capitalists, designers, and entrepreneurs. Startups also have access and exposure to TMC corporate partners, including Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS@TMC and AT&T Foundry for Connected Health.

Startups will have a dedicated workspace with storage, WiFi, free printing and scanning, and access to conference rooms as well as access to prototyping facilities at TMCx, while JLABS is equipped with 3D printers and rapid prototyping tools.

Industries served:
Biotechnology, Consumer Products, Healthcare Services, Medical Devices and Equipment, Nanotechnology, Software


JLABS (incubator)
When it was founded:
2016 (Houston location), 2012 (nationally)

Who it’s for:
Startups in biotech and healthcare innovation

How competitive is it?
Requires an application.

What stage of startup should apply/join?
Startups that are already established as a company, but need more space and help fundraising.

Unique benefits:
A no-strings-attached incubator concept that requires no equity or ownership, as well as common research spaces filled with equipment; experts on site that can help turn convert research into a company; access to partnerships with J&J; operations team to help with day-to-day; business services; IT; compliance and safety audits and regulatory support; security; shipping and receiving.

Industries served:
Medical, healthcare innovation, biotech


Owlspark (Rice University)
When it was founded:
2012

Who it’s for:
OwlSpark is open to students, staff, and faculty across all schools and all disciplines, as well as alumni within five years, who have an interest in building leadership skills and capacity as innovation-driven entrepreneurs. Eligible startup teams must have two to five founders, and at least one founder must be affiliated with Rice University. International students are eligible but must secure authorization from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) prior to the start of the program.

How competitive is it?
Eligible teams must fill out an application.

What stage of startup should apply/join?
Early-stage startup teams with two to five founders.

Unique benefits:
The OwlSpark accelerator is an intense, immersive 12-week summer program that provides startup teams with firsthand experience launching a tech startup.

Throughout the summer, OwlSpark delivers entrepreneurship education, teaches relevant business fundamentals, pairs teams with knowledgeable mentors and industry experts, features office hours with successful entrepreneurs, and yields key connections. The accelerator culminates with the Bayou Startup Showcase, a celebration of entrepreneurship, the Houston startup community, and the university accelerator programs that support them. Jointly hosted by OwlSpark and RED Labs, the event provides an opportunity for startup teams from both programs to showcase their businesses.

Industries served:
General


RED Labs (University of Houston)
When it was founded:
2013

Who it’s for:
UH students, recent UH alumni, and UH faculty ready to launch their startup

How competitive is it?
Applications are required.

What stage of startup should apply/join?
Early-stage

Unique benefits:
The three-month summer program offers 24/7 access to coworking space, startup curriculum, mentorship from entrepreneurs and subject matter experts in the community. In addition to the coworking space, startups have access to a number of other resources, equipment, and supplies.

Industries served:
General


Moonshot Space Co.
More info coming soon.

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