money moves

Houston venture capital group enters into new era with rebrand

Samantha Lewis, director of GOOSE Capital, shares how the investment firm has rebranded and is focused on the future. Photo courtesy of GOOSE

A Houston-based venture group has flipped the switch on its rebranding in order to transition itself into a new era of innovation and startup investing.

GOOSE Capital — previously known as GOOSE Society of Texas — is a private investment firm based in Houston that focuses on early-stage venture capital deals. Rather than operating as a fund, the GOOSE Capital model enables its corps of investors comprised of Fortune 500 execs and successful serial entrepreneurs direct access to a portfolio of startups and investment deals. At the same time, GOOSE's portfolio companies are able to receive support from these investors.

GOOSE's rebrand includes a new name and website, but also represents a new phase for the investment firm. Samantha Lewis, director of GOOSE Capital, sat down with InnovationMap to discuss the rebranding and what it means for the firm.

InnovationMap: How did the rebranding come about?

SamanthaLewis: In the autumn of 2017 at Kenny and Ziggy's over a plate of greasy eggs and diner coffee, I sat across from Jack Gill, an immensely successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist and the founder of the GOOSE Society of Texas. I had just graduated from the Rice MBA program. I had decided not to go forward with a "tough-tech" startup I'd been working on for most of that year, and I was looking for my next gig, one that could leverage my entrepreneurship operator experience but also get my foot in the door to venture capital.

Jack laid out for me what is an age-old story in the startup world — a high potential organization that has proven itself in its current form, with loads of raw materials but a need for a leader who could take it to the next level. Fortunately, I was the person for the job, and with my energy and their expertise, it was time to level up the GOOSE Society of Texas. One of my key objectives was to build out the strategy and oversee the transition from GOOSE Society of Texas, a loose collection of highly successful individuals investing in ventures, to GOOSE Capital — a diversified, innovation-focused venture firm that can go toe-to-toe with the rest.

IM: Why now?

SL: GOOSE has been investing in startups since 2005. That's a long time. Lately, though, we've co-invested with some major VCs in some hot deals. For example, GOOSE seeded Outrider, an autonomous zero emission trucking solution for logistics centers with follow-on capital provided by NEA, 8VC, and Koch Disruptive Technologies. We also co-led one of the hottest series A deals out of Houston (am I biased?), Syzygy Plasmonics, with The Engine, a fund associated with MIT, and joined the ranks of other major players in the cleantech investing space like Evonik and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

It was time to ensure our brand represented our successful transition that started in that old school Houston diner in late 2017.

IM: What does the rebranding mean for GOOSE's future?

SL: Working with Houston-based Spacecraft Brands, we really wanted to capture what we admire about Houston and what we love about GOOSE: legacy and tradition combined with new beginnings and innovation. Keeping with the original theme of a goose taking flight to represent the startups we invest in, we added the orange circle in the background to represent a sunrise to reflect new beginnings and a sunset to pay homage to a successful decade and a half of GOOSE deploying capital.

As for the future of GOOSE Capital, expect great things. Our re-branding is one of the many steps we are taking to solidify our position in the Seed and Series A venture scene.

IM: What does investing look like these days for GOOSE?

SL: So far in 2020, all of our capital has gone to portfolio companies to strengthen their balance sheets as we wade through the uncertain waters of commercialization and fundraising in the midst of a pandemic. We are still actively diligencing deals, including three from the Rice Business Plan Competition, one in the TMCx cohort, a few Houston based deals, and a couple outside of Texas.

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Building Houston

 
 

Houston fell almost 20 spots on this annual ranking of best places to live. Photo via Sean Pavone/Getty Images

While the Bayou City has just been named the No. 1 destination for movers this year, a new report sees Houston slip again as to the best place to live.

U.S. News & World Report has released its annual ranking of the best places to live in the U.S., and Houston has tumbled down to No. 58 overall. That's a considerable slip from last year, where the city ranked No. 39, and much farther than the rank in 2020.

"A paycheck goes further in Houston than it does in other major metro areas, with affordable housing and free or cheap attractions like biking along Buffalo Bayou and exploring the 7,800-acre George Bush Park," says the report. "The affordability of this region, which is located in southeastern Texas and home to nearly 7 million residents in the metro area, is attracting new people from across the country and around the world."

"In Houston, dining is a pastime," the report adds, "and the region pleases palates with more than 10,000 restaurants. Houston has everything from award-winning establishments to barbecue joints like Gatlin's BBQ. The metro area also offers a variety of international cuisine including Ethiopian and Indian."

At a state level, the Bayou City also once again ranks No. 3 in the reports Best Places to Live in Texas.

For this year’s ranking, U.S. News considered key factors for 150 metro areas such as job availability, housing affordability, quality of life, and desirability. This year, the publication added data about air quality for the first time.

Huntsville, Alabama, grabbed the No. 1 spot from last year’s top-ranked metro, Boulder, Colorado. Huntsville came in third place last year.

“Much of the shakeup we see at the top of this year’s ranking is a result of changing preferences,” Devon Thorsby, real estate editor at U.S. News, says in a news release. “People moving across the country today are putting more emphasis on affordability and quality of life than on the job market, which in many ways takes a back seat as remote work options have become more standard.”

Elsewhere in the U.S. News rankings:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth landed at No. 32, up from No. 37 last year.
  • San Antonio landed at No. 83, down from No. 75 last year.
  • Killeen landed at No. 108, up from No. 114 last year.
  • Beaumont landed at No. 109, up from No. 124 last year.
  • El Paso landed at No. 124, up from No. 131 last year.
  • Corpus Christi landed at No. 133, down from No. 129 last year.
  • Brownsville landed at No. 134, up from No. 140 last year.
  • McAllen landed at No. 138, up from No. 139 last year.
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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