Eavesdropping in Houston
Houston experts talk tech and the city's future as an innovation hub
What's the future of technology in the Bayou City? Several experts sat down to discuss at a recent luncheon.
The Greater Houston Partnership hosted its second annual State of Technology event — the first to be hosted in person — this week, and panelists joined the stage to discuss ESG, venture capital, and what's next for Houston's growing tech scene. Missed the conversation? Here are several key moments from the event.
"We've got to keep our foot on the gas in Houston."
— Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the GHP, says at the start of the panel. "We were hardly in the game at all five years ago. We are clearly in the game today — we're being noticed," he continues. "But just being in the game is not what we aspire to. We aspire to be a leader and a major player, so we still have a lot of work to do."
"We have seen an incredible shift across all industries and sectors focused on the business impact of ESG. And Houston is in such an incredible place for that."
— Trinity Lloyd, sustainability and energy transition lead at Google Cloud. "Like technology, energy is at the core of every industry and sector," she shares. "We're seeing a ton of innovation around energy transition and climate tech."
"Venture capitalists are seeking the best ideas. Traditionally, VC has been about who you know, but that's changed drastically."
— Sandy Guitar, managing director of the HX Venture Fund. "We're not all the way there yet, but most venture capitalists we're working with are very focused on making sure they get the best ideas in the most democratic way," Guitar says of inclusion in VCs. "You really have to understand difference to solve important problems."
"Early stage venture is at its prime right now. ... It also happens to be the kind of environment that Houston has really been known for."
— Guitar says of the landscape of Houston's startup ecosystem. "We have great early stage venture capital opportunities," she says. "People are looking to get invested in earlier and earlier."
"Premium is now knowing where your products came from."
— Ann Lai, vice president and general manager of displays solutions business group at HP Inc. "The progeny of your device or services is extremely important to the average user."
"While we seek to solve our own corporate social responsibility and innovate within our organizations to have better and more accurate reporting, we have this opportunity to create new markets."
— Lloyd says. "We're starting to see industry lines blurring," she continues. "In 10 years, the way we all do business is going to be different."
"How do we use all of us as grassroots ambassadors to talk about Houston as a strong place for technology?"
— Lai says on getting the word out about Houston's tech scene. "We also need to find ways to track talent earlier in the pipeline."
"It's about the venture capital community at large efficiently finding the fastest growing deals, and corporations having a risk tolerance to lean into that."
— Guitar says about what needs to happen in Houston. "It's about getting that match making right," "That can change the trajectory of Houston."
"Doing good in the world is critical to attracting talent."
— Lloyd says on the future of the workforce. "Houston has an infrastructure of intellectual capital unlike any other city in the world that is really critical across ESG and the climate spectrum."