Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Introducing the next post in our series on the Startup Scenes across the US: Houston!
Austin may get all the startup attention, with a robust Internet scene and the hoopla of SXSWi, but just 200 miles further south sits Houston. While Austin may be known as the hip city of Texas, Houston is a stronghold for Fortune 500 companies not to mention big oil and energy and companies. Though you may not think it, there’s also a thriving Houston startup scene.
What other types of startups does Houston attract? Andrew Clark, a venture advisor in Houston told Fast Company that the following industries are taking off:
• Healthcare and Life Sciences – With the MD Anderson cancer treatment center (name) and the Baylor college of medicine, there are plenty of opportunities, knowledge and grant money in Houston
• Nanotechnology – Between Rice University and the University of Houston, Clark says, " there’s a lot of opportunity and materials and fundamental material work in the material sciences."
• Enterprise Software – BMC Software (research)
• Social Web – One recent success story is RecycleMatch, which allows user to mat. You don’t think of those kind of things, it’s less sexy. But it’s actually a very green startup. It’s Web, and it’s enterprise.
If any of these areas are in your niche, Houston has the resources to help you launch your startup.
• The Houston Technology Center - has been here for more than ten years. It has a physical presence of a building where budding entrepreneurs can take space on the cheap for short periods of time to get their deal working.
• Rice University—which has the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship—and an entity called Bio Houston and is home to the biggest MBA business competition in the world (fact check).
• The second thing is the state of Texas has a fund called the Enterprise Technology Fund. The ETF fund has been operating since 2005 and has put about $300 million into game-changing science-based companies here in the state, and Houston has it’s unfair share of those dollars because our group that helps companies secure that funding is very good.
• Caroline Collective – As the largest coworking space in the US, carolinecollective.cc
• Meet-Ups and Events – OpenCoffee Club, Startup Houston Happy Hour, RefreshHouston, NetSquared, TiE Houston, and a significant and diverse User Group scene especially a very large iPhone Developer meetup, plus quite a few BarCamp-style events – 20+ in the last two years. Get all the details.
"You will find that all of the obvious negatives of Houston – the heat, humidity, and long commutes are quickly outweighed by the fact that the spirit of this city is so friendly, helpful and intrinsically entrepreneurial that its a wonder more people don't talk about it as a startup hub."
Marc Nathan, Houston Technology Center Former Director of Entrepreneur Development