HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 77
Longtime Houston tech entrepreneur prioritizes giving back to ecosystem
When Chris Howard founded his technology consulting firm in 1997, there wasn't a tech scene in town. But as the company grew over the past 20-plus years, so did Houston's innovation ecosystem — and Howard had a front-row seat for it all.
Now, Softeq's CEO is making sure he's doing what he can to further support tech startups in Houston with the recently launched Softeq Innovation Lab.
"I want to give back as an entrepreneur and a Houstonian," Howard says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "I really want to leverage Softeq's expertise in order to help these companies grow in the same way that we've been doing for a couple of decades now."
The lab exists to cultivate innovation in Houston and build upon the specialized software and hardware proficiency Howard and his Softeq team has — just as it has supported its clients over the past two decades. The full-stack, full cycle engineering services company not only executes programing projects for clients, but also helps them to realize what's possible. Working with both startups and larger corporations, Softeq works on over 100 projects a year.
"We see a full spectrum of what's possible that cuts across many different industries and technologies," Howard explains. "Even the big guys are in a bubble of their own world and don't necessarily know what's going on and what can be done today. We have that experience to help them."
It's an exciting time for the region in terms of tech and innovation, and Howard is ready to make sure Softeq is a part of the conversation.
"There's really a lot of tech in Texas, and we just need to be able to tell that story and connect the dots," he says on the show.
Specifically in Softeq's headquarters in Houston, the innovation lab is geared at supporting innovators from startups and corporations alike — and across industries.
"Houston really is ripe for innovation. The first wave of disruption was in Silicon Valley, but the second wave is happening in industries that are really central to Houston's economy — such as energy, health care, and financial services," Howard says.
One thing Howard hopes to be able to expand into next is financial support of startups.
"I would like to see us add a venture arm as well, where we're actually helping companies get funding both from us as well as other LPs in Houston," he says.
Howard shares more about the Softeq Innovation Lab and how COVID-19 has affected his business and technology in general on the episode. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.