Female founders

Houston has the No. 7 most startups owned by women

Based on Houston's number of majority female-owned startups, the city ranks as No. 7 in the country. Getty Images

While there's still a gap between men and women when it comes to, well, a lot of things in business, Houston is among the top 10 cities in the United States for women-owned startups.

In an effort to find the metropolitan areas with the most women-owned startups, Seek Capital conducted a study on the largest 50 metro areas using data from the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs. In Houston, 26.6 percent of its 10,462 startups are owned by women. When compared to other cities, that percentage ranks the city at No. 17. But the number of Houston's women-owned startups — 2,783, which in total employ 9,378 people — earns it the No. 7 spot in the nation.

Across the country, 24.5 percent of the nation's startups are owned by female entrepreneurs, so — compared to the U.S. — Houston's average is slightly better. The top industry for women-owned businesses nationwide is health care and social assistance, but closer to home, that top industry for businesses owned by women is in professional, scientific, and technical services.

In the study, a "startup" is defined as a company less than two years old and "female owned" means at least 51 percent of the company is owned by women.

Austin came in No. 2 in the study for reportedly having 32.7 percent if its startups owned by women. However, Austin has only 1,433 women-owned startups, according to the report, compared to Houston's 2,783.

Earlier this year, Texas was named the best state for female entrepreneurs, according to Fit Small Business. The methodology for that report included evaluating with four equally weighted factors: general business climate and opportunity, the number of female-owned businesses, economic and financial health, and safety and well-being for women.

CategoryHoustonRankU.S. Totals
Percentage of startups that are female-owned26.6%17th24.5%
Number of female-owned startups2,7837th125,634
Employees at female-owned startups9,37810th511,939
Gross sales/receipts of females-owned startups$1-$5 billion-$56 billion
Most active industry for female entrepreneursProfessional, scientific, and technical services-Health care and social assistance

Chart via Seek Capital.

Chart via Seek Capital.

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Building Houston

 
 

Juliana Garaizar is now the chief development and investment officer at Greentown Labs, as well as continuing to be head of the Houston incubator. Image courtesy of Greentown

The new year has brought some big news from Greentown Labs.

The Somerville, Massachusetts-based climatetech incubator with its second location at Greentown Houston named a new member to its C-suite, is seeking new Houston team members, and has officially finished its transition into a nonprofit.

Juliana Garaizar, who originally joined Greentown as launch director ahead of the Houston opening in 2021, has been promoted from vice president of innovation to chief development and investment officer.

"I'm refocusing on the Greentown Labs level in a development role, which means fundraising for both locations and potentially new ones," Garaizar tells InnovationMap. "My role is not only development, but also investment. That's something I'm very glad to be pursuing with my investment hat. Access to capital is key for all our members, and I'm going to be in charge of refining and upgrading our investment program."

While she will also maintain her role as head of the Houston incubator, Greentown Houston is also hiring a general manager position to oversee day-to-day and internal operations of the hub. Garaizar says this role will take some of the internal-facing responsibilities off of her plate.

"Now that we are more than 80 members, we need more internal coordination," she explains. "Considering that the goal for Greentown is to grow to more locations, there's going to be more coordination and, I'd say, more autonomy for the Houston campus."

The promotion follows a recent announcement that Emily Reichert, who served as CEO for the company for a decade, has stepped back to become CEO emeritus. Greentown is searching for its next leader and CFO Kevin Taylor is currently serving as interim CEO. Garaizar says the transition is representative of Greentown's future as it grows to more locations and a larger organization.

"Emily's transition was planned — but, of course, in stealth mode," Garaizar says, adding that Reichert is on the committee that's finding the new CEO. "She thinks scaling is a different animal from putting (Greentown) together, which she did really beautifully."

Garaizar says her new role will include overseeing Greentown's new nonprofit status. She tells InnovationMap that the organization originally was founded as a nonprofit, but converted to a for-profit in order to receive a loan at its first location. Now, with the mission focus Greentown has and the opportunities for grants and funding, it was time to convert back to a nonprofit, Garaizar says.

"When we started fundraising for Houston, everyone was asking why we weren't a nonprofit. That opened the discussion again," she says. "The past year we have been going through that process and we can finally say it has been completed.

"I think it's going to open the door to a lot more collaboration and potential grants," she adds.

Greentown is continuing to grow its team ahead of planned expansion. The organization hasn't yet announced its next location — Garaizar says the primary focus is filling the CEO position first. In Houston, the hub is also looking for an events manager to ensure the incubator is providing key programming for its members, as well as the Houston innovation community as a whole.

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