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Houston neck-and-neck with Austin in third quarter venture capital funding reports

Houston essentially matched Austin in venture capital funds received in the third quarter of 2018. Getty Images

It was a Texas showdown when it came to venture capital funding between Houston and Austin in the third quarter of 2018. According to Crunchbase data, Houston startups pulled in $138.8 million — 39.2 percent of the state's entire VC funding — while Austin startups reported receiving $150.6 million — 42.6 percent of the funds.

"It's something we've never even come close to before and, all of the sudden, boom, we're right there," Station Houston CEO Gabriella Rowe tells InnovationMap. "I think that's what we are going to continue to see in Houston."

"We're not going to see little wins now. We're going to start seeing big wins."

Before the startup scene can truly celebrate, it's worth noting that the entire state struggled in the third quarter. VCs contributed $353.7 million to Texas startups in 91 known deals, according to the report. That's less than half of what was reported in the second quarter, and, actually, it's less that what Austin alone received in Q2. However, the state is up year-over-year in VC funding by 11 percent, as the state only saw $319.6 million in Q3 of 2017.

Chart courtesy of Crunchbase

Crunchbase reported that the largest four funding rounds in Houston were as follows:

  • OncoResponse (immuno-oncology): $40 million in September
  • ViraCyte (biopharmaceuticals): $30 million in September
  • Enchanted Rock LLC (utilities): $23.6 million in July
  • DNAtriX (cancer treatment): $15.5 million in September

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Building Houston

 
 

As of this week, Lara Cottingham is the chief of staff at Greentown Labs. Photo via LinkedIn

The country's largest climatetech startup incubator has made a strategic new hire.

Lara Cottingham is the new chief of staff for Greentown Labs, a Boston-area company that opened in Houston earlier this year. Cottingham previously served as the city of Houston's chief sustainability officer and the chief of staff for the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department for the past seven years. In her new role, Cottingham will oversee the day-to-day operations and communications for Greentown's CEO Emily Reichert, along with key stakeholder engagements and strategic initiatives for the incubator.

"Lara brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to our team from her dynamic leadership role at the City of Houston," says Reichert in a news release. "Her breadth of knowledge in sustainability, climate, and the energy transition, and her expertise in regulatory and stakeholder aspects of the energy industry, will be incredibly valuable to our team and community."

Under her leadership at the city of Houston, Cottingham was the chief author of Houston's Climate Action Plan, an initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Houston, and getting the city to a point where it meets the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Cottingham helped the city move to 100 percent renewable electricity, according to the release, and helped turn a 240-acre landfill into the nation's largest urban solar farm.

"In leading the Climate Action Plan, Lara helped spark Houston's leadership in what has become a global energy transition and was a passionate advocate for climate action in Houston," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the release. "While she will be missed, this new role will only strengthen our partnership with Greentown. I look forward to working with Emily, Lara, and the Greentown team to meet our climate goals and make Houston the energy capital of the future."

Before her work at the city, Cottingham worked at Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Houston office range of clients across the energy sector. Earlier in her career, she served as communications director for two congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives. She began her work with the city in 2014.

"In working with Mayor Turner and Climate Mayors across the U.S., I saw how important partnerships are to helping cities decarbonize," says Cottingham in the release. "There is no better partner or place for climate action at work than Greentown Labs. Greentown is 100 percent committed to attracting and nurturing the energy companies of the future and making Houston the energy transition capital of the world. I'm excited to join the team and see how climatetech can help cities reach their climate goals."

Greentown Labs first announced its entrance into the Houston market last summer. The new 40,000-square-foot facility in Midtown across the street from The Ion opened its prototyping and wet lab space, offices, and community gathering areas for about 50 startup companies opened in April. Greentown was founded in 2011 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has supported more than 400 startups, which have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding.

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