by the numbers
Houston sees boom of startup development support, new report reveals
Houston’s startup ecosystem is more robust than you might think.
A new report from the Greater Houston Partnership shows the region is home to more than 60 startup development organizations, such as incubators and accelerators.
“These organizations have formed a growing web of resources assisting tech entrepreneurs across the Houston region,” the report says.
Among those organizations are:
- At least 30 incubators and accelerators
- Coworking spaces
- Colleges and university programs
- Nonprofit initiatives
Houston’s burgeoning startup ecosystem continues to garner global attention.
StartupBlink, a startup ecosystem research center, places Houston at No. 49 on its recent list of the world’s top startup ecosystems. Meanwhile, Houston lands at No. 5 in Startup Genome’s recent ranking of the world’s top emerging startup ecosystems. Startup Genome is an advisory and research group that seeks to boost startup ecosystems.
“There are several reasons why startups choose Houston,” Startup Genome reported in 2019. “The city seems to have it all — relatively low cost of living, the [third] largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, and a growing base of female founders supported by a wealth of organizations and nonprofits aimed at providing resources for women entrepreneurs.”
The Greater Houston Partnership report declares that the Innovation Corridor sits “at the nucleus of Houston’s tech ecosystem.” Rice University’s $100 million The Ion tech hub anchors the corridor as well as Midtown’s Innovation District. The hub features commercial office space, coworking space, and common space for events and programs.
Among Houston’s notable incubators and accelerators are MassChallenge, the Ion Smart Cities Accelerator, Gener8tor, JLabs, Greentown Labs, and TMC Innovation, according to the report. The report points out that TMC Innovation, which includes all of the member institutions within the Texas Medical Center, has accelerated 221 companies that collectively have raised more $5.2 billion in venture capital since its founding in 2014.
Much of the VC that flows into Houston goes to energy startups, according to the report. Drivers of this VC influx include Shell Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, ConocoPhillips Technology Exploitation, Aramco Ventures, and BP ventures.
In all, the Houston area is home to over 800 VC-backed startups that have hauled in more than $4.35 billion in VC over the past five years, says the report.
On the academic front, the report notes the presence of startup-promoting programs such as the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, Rice’s Owlspark Accelerator, the Rice Business Plan Competition, the University of Houston’s Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, UH’s Red Labs startup incubator and accelerator program, and UH’s Cougar Venture Fund.
Among the nonprofit initiatives cited in the report are Impact Hub Houston, BioHouston, and the HX Venture Fund. The fund “seeks to transform Houston into a world-leading hub for innovation by linking outside investors to local startups,” the report says.