Joining forces

Accenture invests in and partners with Houston-based company

Houston-based P97 has a mobile payment technology in over 20,000 retail fuel locations. Getty Images

Accenture — through its investment arm, Accenture Ventures — has entered into an alliance with a Houston-based company following an investment.

P97 Networks Inc., a leading cloud-based, mobile commerce company that provides in-vehicle payments and digital marketing solutions for fuel retail and vehicle-manufacturing industries, received an undisclosed amount from Accenture Ventures.

"Accenture's end-to-end digital services make the company an ideal partner for P97," says Donald Frieden, founder and CEO of P97, in a release. "We have a long history of firsts in our markets and look forward to many more working with Accenture — including connected car services, voice-enabled payments, fuel retail innovations and blockchain technology — as we pursue our goal of serving more than half of the U.S. fuel market by 2020."

The alliance establishes Accenture as "a preferred implementation partner," according to the release. Accenture will be able to use P97's PetroZone® platform — that allows users to make digital payments at the pumps, for instance —for solutions for its clients.

"We are tremendously excited about advancing our relationship with P97," says Andrew Smart, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its energy industry group, in the release. "Working together, we will help our clients take advantage of more connected customer experiences."

P97 was founded in 2012 in Houston. Its patented technology uses Microsoft Azure Cloud Services and has been utilized at over 20,000 retail fuels locations in the United States.

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Building Houston

 
 

A new report finds Houston a top city for business friendliness and connectivity. Photo via Getty Images

Houston, the future looks bright.

A new study from the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times places Houston at No. 7 among the top major cities of the future for 2021-22 across North, South, and Central America. Among major cities in the Americas, Houston appears at No. 3 for business friendliness and No. 4 for connectivity.

"Houston is known as one of the youngest, fastest-growing, and most diverse cities anywhere in the world. I am thrilled that we continue to be recognized for our thriving innovation ecosystem," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is quoted as saying in the fDi study.

Toronto leads the 2021-22 list of the top major cities in the Americas, followed by San Francisco, Montreal, Chicago, and Boston.

The rankings are based on data in five categories:

  • Economic potential
  • Business friendliness
  • Human capital and lifestyle
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Connectivity

Houston's no stranger to the list. Last year, the city ranked No. 3 on the same study, and in 2019, claimed the No. 5 spot.

"The fact that Houston consistently ranks among the top markets for foreign direct investment speaks to our region's connectivity and business-friendly environment," says Susan Davenport, chief economic development officer at the Greater Houston Partnership. "Many of the industry sectors we target for expansion and relocation in Houston are global in nature — from energy 2.0 and life sciences to aerospace and digital tech. The infrastructure and diverse workforce that make these prime growth sectors for us among domestic players are equally attractive to international companies looking to establish or strengthen ties in the Americas."

International trade is a cornerstone of the Houston area's economy. In 2020, the region recorded $129.5 billion in exports, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. China ranked as the region's top trading partner last year, followed by Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

Houston's role as a hub for foreign trade and international business "is likely to support the region's economic recovery in the months and years ahead," the partnership noted in May.

"We talk often of Houston as a great global city — one that competes with the likes of London, Tokyo, São Paulo, and Beijing. But that's only possible because of our infrastructure — namely our port — and our connections around the world," Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the partnership, said last month. "Houston's ties abroad remain strong."

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