Best boss

Houston energy exec scores well on list of top CEOs at Fortune 100 companies

A.J. "Jim" Teague received glowing reviews from ex-employees. EnterprisePartnersProducts
Correction: The original article referenced information from a ranking from Upslide that mistakenly reported Jim Teague's Glassdoor employee approval ratings as 9 percent, rather than his actual approval rating of 96 percent. The corrected story is below.

CEO A.J. "Jim" Teague, of Houston-based pipeline company Enterprise Products Partners LP, has received top marks according to Glassdoor data. Teague receives 96 percent approval rating from employees who've reviewed him on the platform, according to Glassdoor.

The Money Inc. website says Teague, who became CEO in 2016, is working to reconfigure the culture at Enterprise Products Partners. "His goal is to shape that culture so that the company itself can become more popular with the general public," the website notes.

Teague has also received positive reviews locally. In December, the Greater Houston Port Bureau named him its 2020 Maritime Leader of the Year to recognize his support of the Houston Ship Channel.

"Building on the legacy of the late Dan L. Duncan, who started Enterprise in 1968, Teague has remained loyal to the founder's values of hard work, integrity, and perseverance, with an uncompromising commitment to safety," the bureau says in a release.

Fellow Texans also received top marks. As Fortune magazine once observed, Michael Dell's leadership style revolves around "vision, inspiration, curiosity, and ultimately passion." And as it turns out, employees of Round Rock-based Dell Technologies Inc. are equally passionate about their company's chairman and CEO.

According to Glassdoor reviews, Dell has a 97 percent approval rating from employees of Dell Technologies.

In October 2013, Forbes magazine offered a glimpse into how Dell interacts with employees of the tech company he founded in 1984.

After speaking to a group of Dell workers for about 45 minutes, "more than a dozen employees rush forward to have their picture taken with their iconic chief," Forbes wrote, "because they know he'll happily pose — something not many other tech executives would do. He doesn't disappoint. And he leaves them laughing and cheering again after answering a question about what's keeping him up at night. 'I've been sleeping pretty well lately.'"

You might be sleeping pretty well, too, if your net worth were $31.4 billion, making Dell the richest person in Austin and the 18th richest person in the U.S.

Another Fortune 100 company exec, Kelcy Warren, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, scores highly on Glassdoor as well. Warren's employee rating stands at 97 percent.

The respect paid to Warren by Energy Transfer Partner employees almost certainly stems, at least in part, from his laid-back demeanor. He reportedly favors a "non-hierarchical, collaborative management style."

"For all of his success, Warren remains a small-town sort of guy who likes to have buddies to his Dallas mansion on Wednesdays for beers, shuffleboard, and chain yanking," according to a 2015 article published by the Bloomberg news service.

With a net worth of $4.3 billion, Warren ranks 159th on Forbes' list of the richest Americans.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

Pat Matthews of Active Capital visited Houston with a collaboration with the HX Venture Fund. Photo courtesy of Active Capital

When Houston Exponential established the HX Venture Fund, the goal was to bring out-of-town capital and investors into the city of Houston. The fund of funds invests in a portfolio of venture capital funds with the hope that those funds find a way back into the Houston startup ecosystem.

After a little over a year, HXVF has invested in five funds: Boston-based .406 Ventures, Austin-based Next Coast Ventures, Boston-based OpenView Venture Partners, Washington D.C.-based Updata Partners, and Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners.

The fund of funds is also regularly hosting those five funds — as well as a mix of potential portfolio fund members — in Houston for what the HXVF calls "immersion days" where the venture capitalists can meet local startups, innovation leaders, and even fellow investors that they could eventually co-invest with.

"The goals of these days are to have venture capitalists travel to Houston, meet with our entrepreneurs (and the startup development organizations like Station, Cannon and WeWork that support them), and provide both capital and expertise in company building to the tech companies," says Sandy Guitar Wallis, managing partner at HXVF. "The venture capitalists also meet with HX Venture Fund corporate LPs, who can be customers or acquirers of their portfolio companies."

Just this month alone, HXVF is hosting four funds — two from their portfolio and two that they haven't yet invested in. San Antonio-based Active Capital, which has raised a $21 million fund, is among the visiting VCs this month. The fund's founder, Pat Matthews, an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, has shared his busiest day — February 5 — as well as his perspective on Houston innovation with InnovationMap.

A morning too busy for breakfast

After waking up at the Hotel Derek, Matthews starts his second day in Houston by taking a Lyft to the Greater Houston Partnership for what he believes to be a breakfast meeting with Wallis and Guillermo Borda of HXVF, but the group has too much to discuss that a meal falls by the wayside.

Before this trip, Matthews hasn't visited Houston in a professional capacity. While Active Capital is based just down I10 in San Antonio, the firm's investments are split almost in half by deals done in Texas versus the rest of the world. Active Capital focuses on B2B SaaS investments — usually leading — in seed or series A rounds.

Matthews has called Texas home for around a decade. He founded an email marketing startup in Virginia, which was acquired by San Antonio-based Rackspace. He relocated to join Rackspace and worked on growing the organization for six years before creating Active Capital.

Following the meeting — still unfed, Matthews meets up with Serafina Lalany from Houston Exponential to carpool to The Cannon on the west side of town.

Loading up on carbs and fireside chats

Matthews forgoes his usual carb aversion to eat slices of Domino's pizza at The Cannon before beginning his first of three fireside chats with Houston innovators. Patrick Schneidau, CEO of Truss, leads the conversation at The Cannon. (Schneidau is a board member of InnovationMap's.) After the chat, Matthews has a meeting with a startup before heading back into town.

With one fireside chat down, Matthews heads into his second one of the day at Station Houston with Joe Alapat, founder of Liongard. Matthews observes that each of the entrepreneurs who interviewed him had great questions, and seemed to be far along with their companies. Meanwhile, any of the people he met before or after the chat seemed to be at a much earlier stage in their startup journey.

The last fireside chat was hosted by Rakesh Agrawal of Snapstream at WeWork's Jones Building location. Matthews and Agrawal attempted to set up a Facebook livestream for the conversation, but an issue with the technology wouldn't allow for the stream.

An evening of good food and great mentorship

With meetings and fireside chats done, Matthews heads straight to a dinner with Blair Garrou, founder and managing director of Mercury Fund. The two venture capitalists dine at Eunice and split several appetizers and a bottle of wine while discussing their own recent investments and interests. Matthews, who met Garrou in 2014, thinks of him as a great mentor in venture capital.

Matthews headed back to the hotel after dinner and crashes hard after the long day. He would head back to San Antonio on a Vonlane bus — he gets a lot of work done on his trips — the next day.

What's next for Active Capital and Houston?

Matthews says he left Houston with an overall positive opinion of the city, and says it's similar to other Texas cities, aside from Austin, in its startup presence and capacity. While he assumed he'd meet energy and space startups, he realized Houston had a lot more going on than that.

"It definitely seemed like there was a lot of passion and a lot of hustle," Matthews says. "And it seems like the city is really working to support and cultivate that and keep it in Houston. I was inspired."

Throughout the visit, Matthews handed out his business card and some conversations have developed from those connections, he says. Another representative from Active Capital who is focused on sourcing deals with startups will visit next, and Matthews says he also thinks that he'll return to Houston to continue conversations he's been having, including some with other investors.

"I could definitely see doing deals in Houston," Matthews tells InnovationMap.