HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 194
Starting a company can be daunting and lonely, but entrepreneurs — at least those who call Houston home — have a monthly opportunity to connect with fellow founders thanks to Adrianne Stone.
Stone, who's had a varied career from getting her PhD in Translational Biology & Molecular Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and joining the 23andMe team as a scientist to supporting founders at Capital Factory, launched Bayou City Startups last year to help connect Houston founders over beers. Now, Stone shares on the Houston Innovators Podcast that her monthly Bayou City Startups meetups attract over 50 attendees on average.
"Being the venture associate with Capital Factory in Houston, I'd seen what the Houston ecosystem had to offer. There were events — happy hours, coffee meet-ups, all these things," Stone says. "But it was not just a casual networking event usually. I wanted a consistent community where I could show up and say, 'guys, I had the worst week,' to people who got where I was coming from and who could commensurate or lean in and help."
Stone observes a need for that type of community more in Houston than Silicon Valley, where she worked when she was at 23andMe. The Bayou City has less of a concentrated startup scene.
"Houston and the Bay Area could not be more different in a lot of ways," she explains. "Everybody I met had a startup in California — it didn't matter if they worked somewhere else, they had a startup.
"I would love to see more of that here in Houston," Stone continues. "Our founders in Houston are super scrappy. They do so much with so little, and we just do not have the amount of capital floating around this ecosystem that you do in SF. I'd love to see more of that here too."
The next opportunity to network with Bayou City Startups is Tuesday, July 18, from 5 to 7 pm at Kirby Ice House. Stone says she picks different types of bars all over the city to meet people where they are and to offer a variety of locations. She adds that she's always up for co-hosts and partners.
Part of what makes Stone, who consults with startups in a professional capacity, an interesting point of view is her "zig-zagging" career. She's held a wide range of roles at an even wider range of professions before she made it to tech startups.
“The through line for me is following my curiosity,” she says on the show. “I was interested in politics, so I did a White House internship. I had a background in science, so I wanted to do something with it, so I went into teaching. Through teaching, I got interested in web development and blogging, so that's how I made the transition into the digital space.”
Her advice to fellow zig-zaggers? Knowing when to say no to things.
"You can overcommit yourself and you're going to burnout or drop the ball or end up disappointing people," she says, admitting she's had to get better at this herself. "Practice saying no. Make it your default. Founders tend to say yes first."
Stone shares more about her career and her observations on Houston's startup ecosystem on the show. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.