Introducing HTX TechList
Exclusive: New digital platform goes live to help connect the Houston innovation ecosystem
With a city as diverse and sprawling as Houston, the local innovation ecosystem could stand to benefit from a platform that connects all the dots virtually. So, that's exactly what Houston Exponential created.
HX — a nonprofit dedicated to promoting innovation in Houston — is launching HTX TechList August 13, and the platform will consist of profiles for startups, investors, startup development organizations, and corporations and will act as both a database as well as a forum for innovators to interact.
"The problem we've been solving for such a long time has been [not having] dependable data that you can rely on," says Serafina Lalany, chief of staff at HX. "We're taking responsibility for the curation for it and the quality assurance of it."
The fact of the matter is there's no one source for data and information on startups in Houston. While platforms like Crunchbase and Pitch Book exist — and the HTX TechList will factor in their data — they can have costly memberships and be far from complete, since they only represent venture capital-backed startups.
"For the first time ever, you're pulling up a startup page and you're seeing all their fundraising history, the SDOs they're a part of, a blurb of what they're working on, and, the thing I'm most excited about is, their tags," Lalany says, adding that there's over 2,000 tags. "It makes the whole thing super searchable."
Lalany emphasizes that accuracy is HX's goal, and the organization has a data team to help to ensure validity. After launch, the emphasis will be on calling Houston innovators to create accounts for themselves and their companies. HX's next hire will likely be for a marketing person, Lalany mentions.
The technology has been white labeled from Israel's Startup Nation Central, which launched Israel Startup Finder in 2017.
"Israel, a couple years ago, was also an emerging ecosystem," says Lalany, explaining that the country wanted to work toward global attention. Meanwhile, she continues, "Houston has access to global markets, but there's been an misconception that innovation wasn't happening here."
The HX team has been working with Startup Nation Central for a while and been training on the platform since January, which has included a buildout of 300 profiles for the site. The TechList will launch on August 13 with a free virtual event featuring Mayor Sylvester Turner, Israel's Startup Finder team, and several. Houston innovators. (Note: InnovationMap is a media partner for the event.)
"When we were thinking about the launch event and just the sheer number of virtual events that happen now, we wanted to be sure that whatever we produce is of absolute value to our audience — the founders," Lalany says.
The event, which has registration open online, will feature breakout rooms focused on topics that are important to Houston founders:
- Early stage investment
- Building your team
- How to pitch to the press
- Landing an enterprise customer
- Opportunity in Houston
- Resources for founders of color
While the idea for the platform has been considered for years at HX — even in its early days, the need for the HTX TechList has been enhanced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lalany says.
"The world changed in March, and our mission has become realized even more profoundly than before. Our mission has always been to help connect the dots in Houston — it's such a large city, and outsiders are always overwhelmed," she says. "Once we went digital, we were able to do 10 times as much of the curation function that we did pre-pandemic. It's increased a lot of our efficiency."