Innovation leader shares more on what Houstonians can expect from the HTX TechList

HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 44

Serafina Lalany, chief of staff at Houston Exponential, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss the HTX TechList, which launches this week. Photo courtesy of Serafina Lalany

When Serafina Lalany first visited Houston, she didn't want to leave. So, she didn't.

Lalany first came to Houston 2017 by way of Austin for SXSW — at the time she was living in Boston working in the biotech space. She kept meeting interesting startup founders and extended her flight home three times.

"There was a groundswell of activity here, and I had to pay attention," Lalany says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.

Eventually, she moved in and started working for High Drive Network interviewing entrepreneurs and later was tapped to work for venture design studio Fractal River at Station Houston.

Now, as chief of staff at Houston Exponential, she is helping lead new initiatives and projects that plan to grow business and awareness in Houston's innovation space. For the past year, that has meant working on the HTX TechList launch — a new platform that aims to connect and quantify Houston's innovation scene.

"We needed a centralized datasource classifying startups, investors, startup development organizations, and corporate innovators," she says. "There was not any good resource on the internet that was verified, centralized, and adhered to a data standard."

The platform launches Thursday, August 13, following a free, online event hosted by Houston Exponential, and Lalany discusses what users can expect from the platform in the podcast episode. (Note: InnovationMap is a media partner for the event.) You can listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


Log on to one of these informative online events happening throughout the rest of the month. Getty Images

10+ can't-miss virtual business and innovation events in Houston for August

Where to be online

Another month, another roundup of events Houston innovators should attend — and yes, they are still all virtual. From Houston Exponential launching its new virtual database and networking platform to informative workshops and panels, here's what you need to attend this month.

August 5 — IP Agreements Every Startup Should Know About

Every startup should protect their Intellectual Property (IP) as means to protect their developing products and/or concepts, but often do not know where to start. Join The Ion and Baker Bots as we explore different IP agreements your startup should consider.

Details: This event takes place online on Wednesday, August 5, from 1 to 2 pm. Learn more.

August 5 — Texas Founder Hotseat: Pitch Texas Investors & Experts Online

Do you have a startup, or a strong idea for a startup? Could you use blunt, honest feedback on your startup ideas? On this live and interactive online event you can pitch your ideas to a panel of Houston startup investors and experts for ratings and feedback, all from the comfort of your home. Even if you don't want to pitch, you are invited to hear startup ideas and watch how the experts analyze businesses.

Details: This event takes place online on Wednesday, August 5, at 4 pm. Learn more.

August 6 — Bayou Startup Showcase

Celebrate the launch of the newest startups from Rice University's OwlSpark and University of Houston's RED Labs. Sixteen startups from Class 8 of the program will be pitching and demonstrating during an expo.

Details: This event takes place online on Thursday, August 6, from 2 to 4:30 pm. Learn more.

August 11 — LGBTQ+ In Tech Summit

Capital Factory is hosting its first virtual LGBTQ+ In Tech Summit. The organization is dedicated to increasing diversity in the entrepreneurial and tech community while making our coworking space an inclusive environment for all. Attendees can look forward to a special keynote guest, insightful fireside chats, discussion sessions, a startup showcase, Epic Office Hours, and panels on relevant topics facing the tech ecosystem.

Details: This event takes place online on Tuesday, August 11, from noon to 5 pm. Learn more.

August 12 — Managing Your Digital Presence in a Post-COVID Era

Your startup's digital presence is more important now than ever. In a world where everything has gone virtual, your digital presence is the first thing your potential customers will see prior to contacting you. If you are struggling to create your digital marketing strategy, you're not alone. But fear no more, Allie Danziger of Integrate, is here to help.

Details: This event takes place online on Wednesday, August 12, at 11 am. Learn more.

August 13 — HTX TechList Launch

Join Houston Exponential for a live launch of Houston's innovation discovery platform, HTX TechList, featuring speakers from Start-Up Nation Central, Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Greater Houston Partnership, and a demo by Houston Exponential. Join live virtual breakout sessions moderated by members of the innovation ecosystem influencer. Editor's note: InnovationMap is a media partner for the event.

Details: This event takes place online on Thursday, August 13, at 11 am. Learn more.

August 14 — How Women in Tech Can Affect Change in the Workplace 

The Suffragist movement has long been known for its effectiveness in creating grassroots efforts that created laws to give women the right to vote. 100 years later women are still fighting for equal rights and inclusion. Women's votes will have a tremendous impact on the 2020 election. It's time to organize the collective power of our votes to fight for equality in the workplace.

Details: This event takes place online on Friday, August 14, at 11 am to 12:30 pm. Learn more.

August 18 — Intro to the Texas Startup Scene & Ask Me Anything

Are you an entrepreneur starting a new company? Recently moved your company to Texas? Want to find out how to connect with other entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors in the startup ecosystem? Join Capital Factory VIRTUALLY to hear an overview from experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and community partners at Intro to Texas Startup Scene & Ask Me Anything.

Details: This event takes place online on Tuesday, August 18, at 2 to 3:30 pm. Learn more.

August 19 — Igniting Innovation: Business Roundtable

Join serial entrepreneur Dr. Juliet Breeze as she moderates a conversation with experienced healthcare executives to explore what the impact of the pandemic has meant to their businesses. They'll share insights regarding ways in which they're adapting and positioning for survival and continued success.

Details: This event takes place online on Wednesday, August 19, at 1 to 2 pm. Learn more.

August 25 — HAN + Carta Cap Table Workshop

The Houston Angel Network has teamed up with Carta, the experts in capitalization table management and valuation software. Carta helps companies and investors manage their cap tables, valuations, investments, and equity plans. During this workshop Carta will discuss cap table basics, common mistakes, and tips for responsible equity management. There will also be a real life cap table scenario where both founders and investors can ask their questions about the often little understood mechanics of cap tables and how they evolve with each fund raise.

Details: This event takes place online on Tuesday, August 25, at 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Learn more.

August 26 — Equity in Tech: How We Can Do Better

The tech industry is incredibly powerful — not only through the products created, but with its economic force (forecasted to reach 1.7 trillion in the US in 2020). With great power comes great responsibility. Tech can – and must – do better to create and nurture diversity, equity and inclusion within the industry.

Details: This event takes place online on Wednesday, August 26, at 11:30 am to 1 pm. Learn more.

Here's what interactive, virtual events to log on to this month. Getty Images

10+ can't-miss virtual business and innovation events in Houston for May

Where to be online

While some things in Houston are starting to open back up, society hasn't yet established a timeline for when groups of more than 10 people will be allowed to safely gather. But, the programming must go on.

With that in mind, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Be sure to register in advance, as most will send an access link ahead of the events.

May 4: Post-COVID Fund: Venture Investing in the Post-COVID World

Join Alumni Ventures Group for a webinar that explores how changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will create profound change—as well as unique opportunities for new ventures that tackle these challenges.

Details: The event is at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 4. Learn more.

May 5 — Sell Your Science: Developing a Non-Confidential Pitch for in Person and Virtual Presentations

Learn tricks in preparing a non-confidential pitch deck along with tips that are aimed to help you sell your science at in person meetings or virtually.

Details: The event is at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 5. Learn more.

May 6 — Impacting Public Health: How Can My Idea Be A Part of the Solution?


When a pandemic hits, as a start-up company you may find that your technology can be aligned to help. However, now your timeline is expedited with a global health emergency and you need to get your technology into the market. How do you start to connect with the right players to get your technology into the U.S. market to make an impact on public health safety and security?

Details: The event is at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6. Learn more.

May 6 — Virtual Event with Cindy Eckert - Expert Entrepreneur with Over $1B Exits

Cindy Eckert is an expert entrepreneur with over $1B in Exits, CEO of Sprout Pharmaceutical, and Founder of The Pink Ceiling. Attend the virtual fireside chat between Cindy Eckert and Femtech Focus founder Dr. Brittany Barreto.

Details: The event is at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6. Learn more.

May 6 — Curious About Starting a Career in Tech?

One thing we know is that web developers come from different backgrounds. From teaching to consulting, design to accounting, and they're here to tell you about making that transition. Hear from professional developers in the field about how their careers lead them what they're working on now, how they got there, and how their past experiences apply to the work they do currently. Join General Assembly if you are curious about starting a career in tech, but not sure exactly where to begin.

Details: The event is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6. Learn more.

May 7 — Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Day

Originally scheduled to be hosted at OTC, Rice Alliance Energy Venture Day will now be a virtual event to allow startups to connect with investors and energy companies. The event will showcase about 40 promising energy technology companies. These companies have initial funding and are seeking their A, B, C, or later rounds with technology validation, field trial experience, and/or initial company revenue. The event offers a great opportunity for viewers to learn more about innovative technologies and provides companies with access to potential partners and investment opportunities.

Details: The event is at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 7. Learn more.

May 8 — Lunch & Learn: Startup Funding Rounds

Seemingly every company wants to raise venture capital, but few founders are equipped to navigate the tangled mess of rounds, investment types, and investor expectations. At the end of this presentation, you will have a better handle on whether venture capital is right for your business and what it'll take to navigate from angels to exit.

Details: The event is at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 8. Learn more.

May 12 — Lunch and Learn with Asian Pacific American Entrepreneurs

According to New American Economy, Asian Pacific American entrepreneurs account for nearly a million of our nation's businesses. Whether it's apps, restaurants, social services, or consumer products, it's obvious that the entrepreneurial spirit is high in our nation. Let's hear it from our AAPI small business owners who will walk us through the triumphs and challenges they've faced while running their business and how they're making it work during a shaky period.

Details: The event is at noon on Tuesday, May 12. Learn more.

May 13-14 — 2020 Texas A&M New Ventures Competition

TNVC 2020 will be entirely virtual this year. This event is the culmination of a yearlong effort to identify and provide support to Texas-best technology ventures. There will be several private semi-finals judging rounds on May 13, with an Entrepreneurial Perspectives panel and Q&A with past winners and successful entrepreneurs. The finals will be on the 14th, followed by elevator pitches and an awards ceremony, all of which are open to the entire audience.

Details: The event is on Wednesday, May 14, and Thursday, May15. Learn more.

May 15 — How to Land a Job at a Tech Startup

Join General Assembly for this online event where a panel of tech startup talent acquisition professionals will take you through what types of opportunities exist in today's talent market, how the experience at a startup will make you more marketable in the long run, what talent acquisition professionals are actually thinking while reading resumes, advice for remote interviewing, and more.

Details: The event is at noon on Friday, May 15. Learn more.

May 29 — Mothers in Tech Breakfast

In celebration of Mother's Day, join General Assembly for a virtual breakfast featuring hard-working mothers that are also succeeding in their respective industries. A few incredible mothers will share their insights on how they reached their level of success, advice on navigating the workplace as a working mom, and how we can help the next generation of mothers in tech. Get ready for an honest, vulnerable, and insightful conversation.

    Details: The event is at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 29. Learn more.

    It's a busy month in Houston. Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

    10+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for March

    Where to be

    Editor's note: SXSW has been canceled due to the coronavirus since the publishing on this events roundup. The original version of this article is below.

    March is a busy month for Houston in general — but especially when it comes to innovation. The inaugural Houston Tech Rodeo starts out the month and the Rice Business Plan Competition closes out March in a few weeks — and the interactive weekend at SXSW falls right in the middle of the month for those planning the trip to Austin.

    But for the Houston innovators in the energy industry, March got a little less busy when CERAWeek by IHS Markit was canceled due to the growing threat of the coronavirus, or COVID19.

    Should any other events below have that same fate, this article will be updated.

    March 2-6 — Houston Tech Rodeo

    A week full of events, the Tech Rodeo is made up of over 30 innovation events across Houston. These are InnovationMap's picks for what to attend during the week. For a complete list of the events (most of which are free), head to the website.

    Details: The event is from Monday, March 2, to Friday, March 6 across Houston. Learn more.

    March 5 — Space Center Houston's Thought Leader Series: Designing for Human Performance

    Learn how human factors engineering relates to spacecraft and spacesuit design while celebrating Women's History Month and the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station. Speakers include Celena Dopart, human factors engineer for Starliner at Boeing, and Katie Spira, NASA flight controller.

    Details: The event is at 7 pm on Thursday, March 5, at Space Center Houston (1601 E NASA Pkwy). Learn more.

    March 6 — Premier Talks: Women in Innovation & Technology 

    Join this panel of accomplished women as they discuss the importance of being a woman in the current workforce and leading among your peers. Be empowered to self-evaluate, inspire those around you, and raise the bar on your professional goals. Discuss the challenges women face in a male dominated technology workforce and why it is important to take the limits off of your thinking.

    Details: The event is from 9:15 to 11 am on Friday, March 6, at GA Houston (1301 Fannin St, Floor 21). Learn more.

    March 6 — The Greater Houston Partnership’s Rise to the Top

    Celebrating International Women's Day, the Greater Houston Partnership and the Partnership's Women's Business Alliance brings the Rise to the Top event. Expect a keynote address from Gretchen Watkins, president atShell Oil Company and executive vice president at Global Unconventionals, Shell Oil Company, and candid conversations from a panel of female executives discussing the challenges and triumphs of succeeding as a woman in today's business environment.

    Details: The event is from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm on Friday, March 6, at Hilton Americas (1600 Lamar St.). Learn more.

    March 10 — Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator Meet & Greet

    If you're an energy-focused startup, don't miss this info session with the Equinor & Techstars Energy Accelerator, which is visiting Houston and looking for the 10 best energy companies for its next cohort.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Monday, March 10, at The Ion (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    March 10-11 — Energy 2.0: Equality, Environment, and the New Economy

    Join over 100,000 people taking part in Energy 2.0 2020; an innovative experience that addresses new frontiers in the energy industry where business, workforce, environment, innovation, and policy intersect. Spread across multiple locations and continents, corporate watch sites around the globe, and simulcast online, Energy 2.0 brings energy professionals and a diverse mix of experts across various disciplines together for learning and networking opportunities.

    Details: The event is from Monday, March 10, to Tuesday, March 11, online and at The Westin Houston, Memorial City (945 Gessner Rd.). Learn more.

    March 12 — Lunch n' Learn: In Today's Market - Do Patents Even Matter?

    Inventors and business professionals are asked to review the claims of their patent application before it is filed. This step is THE critical step that is supposed to ensure that the claims will protect their invention. The decision you make here determines if you will be part of the 97 percent of all patents that never recoup the cost of filing them.

    Details: The event is from noon to 1:30 pm on Wednesday, March 12, at The Ion (1301 Fannin Street, Suite 2440). Learn more.

    March 19 — Science First: How 3D Printing is Reshaping the Future of Healthcare

    Technology is evolving faster than ever – and advancements in 3D printing could revolutionize the delivery of healthcare products and solutions to change the trajectory of health for humanity.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 2 pm on Wednesday, March 19, at JLABS @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    March 24 — How to Form a Micro VC Fund Workshop at Mercury Fund

    Welcoming all angels, previous founders, MBA students, aspiring and current venture capitalists that are interested in learning more about the basic essentials for starting a small venture fund. Speakers are Blair Garrou of Mercury Fund and Justin LaPoten of BADR Investments.

    Details: The event is from 10 to 11 am on Tuesday, March 24, at Mercury Fund (3737 Buffalo Speedway, #Suite 1750). Learn more.

    March 25 — 2020 H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge - Startup Competition

    The H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge Startup Competition is Rice's newest entrepreneurship competition, awarding over $60,000 in prize money to Rice-affiliated teams. Students and alumni enter business ideas (high growth ventures or small business ideas) to compete.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Wednesday, March 25, at Liu Idea Lab For Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Rice University - Cambridge Office Building). Learn more.

    March 26 — T3CH Workshop: Grow With Google "Using Data to Drive Business Growth"

    In this T3CH workshop, you'll learn best practices on data-driven decision making; and get practical guidance on how to find and analyze trends regarding online customer engagement with your business, so you can turn those insights into well-informed, actionable decisions.

    Details: The event is from noon to 1 pm on Thursday, March 26, at Impact Hub Houston @ The Cannon Post Oak (675 Bering Drive, #200). Learn more.

    March 26-28 — Rice Business Plan Competition

    The event — dubbed the "world's richest and largest student startup competition" — begins later this month. The Rice Business Plan Competition will host 42 student teams from all over the world. The three-day contest consists of pitches, judging, and a closing banquet where the winners are revealed.

    Details: The event is from Thursday, March 26, to Saturday, March 28, at Rice University and the Hilton Americas. Learn more.

    Houston is hosting a bit of a tech takeover week during the first week of March. Photo by Zview/Getty Images

    These are the events to attend each day during the Houston Tech Rodeo

    Where to be

    Houston Exponential has tapped into the Houston innovation ecosystem to coordinate a week of events to speak to the city's startups, investors, and startup development organizations.

    The week, called the Houston Tech Rodeo, will take place March 2 to 6 — in coordination with the start of the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo — all across town. From panels and meetups to office hours and pitch events, there's a lot to navigate in the inaugural week. For a complete list of Tech Rodeo events (most of which are free and all over town), head to the website.

    Here are the events you should make sure not to miss. Each featured event is free and open to the public.

    Monday: Houston Tech Rodeo Kickoff Event

    Launching the week is a happy hour event with a networking opportunity and a panel brought to you by InnovationMap, KPMG, and Houston Exponential. The event is on Monday, March 2, from 4 to 6:30 pm at Karbach Brewing Co. (2032 Karbach St.). After a short introduction from KPMG and HX, Blair Garrou, managing director at Mercury Fund; Leslie Goldman, general partner at The Artemis Fund; and Samantha Lewis, director of GOOSE, will discuss the VC culture in Houston vs. the world. Click here to register.

    Tuesday: The Founders Round Up at The Cannon

    Why attend one event when you can attend a day full of constructive events geared at entrepreneurs? From 9 am to 5 pm on Tuesday, March 3, at The Cannon, catch workshops and panels ranging from startup failure reasons to revenue tips. From 3 to 5 pm, there's a lean startup meet-up workshop to attend. Click here to register.

    Additional events:

    • HX will also be hosting its "Conventional Financing for your Tech Business" workshop at 9 am at their office (410 Pierce St.) to help startups navigate their financial options. Click here to register.
    • DivInc. will be hosting an evening event to address "Diversity's Impact on Innovation" at The Ion (1301 Fannin St. Suite 2100). This event runs from 5:30 to 9 pm. Click here to register.

    Wednesday: Jason Calacanis Founder Office Hours

    Seven Houston entrepreneurs will join investor Jason Calacanis onstage for office hours — but with an audience. The event, which is on Wednesday, March 4, from 9:30 to 11 am with networking to follow, is at Rice University - McNair Hall McNair Hall, Loop Road Shell Auditorium. Click here to register.

    Additional event: The University of Houston's Office of Research is hosting a "Women in Science and Beyond" panel of successful female scientists. The event will take place at 5 pm at UH Technology Bridge Innovation Center, Building 4 (5000 Gulf Freeway). Click here to register.

    Thursday: Reverse Pitch, Accelerators and Funds with the Ask

    The tables have turned. Rather than Houston entrepreneurs pitching, accelerators and startup development organizations are taking the stage to pitch their programs to potential startup members. The event, which is at 9 am at Sesh Coworking (1210 West Clay St. #Suite 18) on Thursday, March 5, will be hosted by Brittany Barreto of Capital Factory. Click here to register.

    Additional events:

    • Learn from the leading ladies of Houston innovation in The Ion's EmpowerHER event at 11 am at 1301 Fannin St. Suite 2100. Click here to register.
    • Wrap up your day with a networking opportunity from MassChallenge Texas at the C. Baldwin, Curio Collection by Hilton (400 Dallas Street). Click here to register.

    Friday: BAMA Houston Launch Event

    Celebrate the launch of the Business Angel Minority Association — a new organization looking to increase investments for minority-run startups. The networking and pitch event is on Friday, March 6, from 8 to 10 am at The Cannon Tower - Amegy Conference Center (1810 Main St, Suite 1300). Click here to register.

    Additional event: Wrap up your week with networking hosted by HX. The event is from 5 to 7 pm at Saint Arnold Brewing Company (2000 Lyons Ave.) Click here to register.

    Check out these conferences, pitch competitions, networking, and more. Getty Images

    10+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for October

    Where to be

    October is another busy one for Houston innovation. Data-focused conferences, a rescheduled grand opening for The Cannon, and so much more.

    If you know of innovation-focused events for this month or next, email me at natalie@innovationmap.com with the details and subscribe to our daily newsletter that sends fresh stories straight to your inboxes every morning.

    October 2 — Startup Communication: Post Funding Investor Relations with Eric Danziger

    Join Eric Danziger, chief revenue officer at Innowatts, on discussing post-funding investor relations. Danziger has been in the cleantech and smart grid industry for the past 10 years, and Innowatts closed its $18.2 million round earlier this year.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7 pm on Wednesday, October 2, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin Street, #2440). Learn more.

    October 3 — Raising That First Round with Steve Gray, ATX Venture Partners

    Where do you start? This workshop will cover the basics of preparation for that first round of capital raising. There is a rhythm to fundraising, but more importantly, the preparation is vital. Every goal to which you aspire must have a plan and fundraising is no different. At this workshop, Steve Gray of ATX Venture Partners will discuss some lessons learned over the years as well as share ideas on what works and what doesn't.

    Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7 pm on Thursday, October 3, at Station Houston (1301 Fannin Street, #2440). Learn more.

    October 3 — Growth Tour: Houston

    Join Alice, Salesforce Essentials, and the Houston small business community for an unforgettable morning of workshops, networking, and real takeaways to help you reach your goals and strengthen your business.

    Details: The event is from 8:30 am to 1 pm on Thursday, October 3, at The Space HTX (2005 Commerce St). Learn more.

    October 4 — Houston Next: ERG Summit 2019

    To reflect Houston's unique position as the most diverse city in the nation, the Greater Houston Partnership is hosting the Houston NEXT: An ERG Summit with a focus on corporate culture and talent. Join business leaders, HR executives, diversity and inclusion officers and ERG leaders for thoughtful conversations on building diverse and inclusive workplaces.

    Details: The event is from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm on Friday, October 4, at Marriott Marquis (1777 Walker Street). Learn more.

    October 8 — The Dolphin Tank: Houston

    The Dolphin Tank is a "friendly-feedback" pitch session for women entrepreneurs. Springboard Enterprises Dolphin Tank® programs are "helpful feedback-driven" pitch sessions for entrepreneurs to receive constructive insights from knowledgeable professionals. Dolphin Tanks aren't about sharks, piranhas, dragons, or competing for the best idea – they're about channeling the expertise of the people in the room.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 8 pm on Tuesday, October 8, at Lilie Lab (Rice University).Learn more.

    October 9 — Founders Bootcamp: A Roadmap For Your Startup

    JLabs is sitting down with local seasoned investors and entrepreneurs to take a deep dive into key topics designed to equip you with a roadmap for elevating your startup, no matter what stage, into a great company and we'll be swapping war stories along the way.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Wednesday, October 9, at JLabs @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    October 8-16 — Sesh Coworking

    Houston's first female-focused coworking popup event is taking over the town with networking, growth opportunities, and more. Day passes start at $25.

    Details: The event is from Tuesday, October 8, to Wednesday, October 16, at Sharespace (1120 Naylor St). Learn more.

    October 10 — DataCon Houston

    This annual data-focused event is a social and networking opportunity combined with educational programming for business technology.

    Details: The event is from 8 am to 8 pm on Thursday, October 10, at TopGolf (1030 Memorial Brook Boulevard). Learn more.

    October 17 — Lunch & Learn: CPRIT Information Session


    Join the CPRIT team at JLABS to learn about CPRIT's grant funding opportunities available to companies that are developing cancer-focused therapeutics, diagnostics/devices, tools and other non-traditional oncology products.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Thursday, October 17, at JLabs @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

    October 17 — Ignite Healthcare's Annual Fire Pitch Event

    The Ignite Healthcare Network Fire Pitch Competition is held each year to encourage innovation in emerging women-led healthcare companies. The program provides an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to engage with advisors, potential customers, and investors to accelerate and refine the growth of their companies.

    Details: The event is from 5 to 8:30 pm on Thursday, October 17, at JLabs @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.) Learn more.

    October 17 — JLABS x UH: Startup Pains: From Academia to Startup (Med Device)

    JLABS and the University of Houston Technology Bridge present a special installment of Startup Pains, a monthly talk given by entrepreneurs who share their journey of launching a company and overcoming unanticipated obstacles in order to find success in their industry.

    Details: The event is from 5 to 7 pm on Thursday, October 17, at UH Technology Bridge, Building 4, Floor 2 (5000 Gulf Freewa7).

    October 24 — Central Houston's Annual Innovatech Meeting

    This year's program advances the conversation on how not only build, but sustain and support successful and robust innovation ecosystems. Attending the event will be a group of nationally known experts in the fields of placemaking, startup incubators, venture capital and entrepreneurship, and guest speakers will include Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris Country Judge Lina Hidalgo, Central Houston's President Bob Eury, and Central Houston's Board Chair, Scott Prochazaka, who is the president and CEO of CenterPoint Energy, will inaugurate the meeting.

    Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Thursday, October 24, at Lanier Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Americas (1600 Lamar St.). Learn more.

    October 24 — The Cannon Grand Opening

    The Cannon, an entrepreneurial hub in West Houston, is celebrating its new digs. Join the party to learn about coworking at The Cannon, to network with Houston's innovation ecosystem, and more. Note: This event was pushed back due to Tropical Storm Imelda's flooding across Houston.

    Details: The event is from 4 to 9 pm on Thursday, October 24, at The Cannon (1336 Brittmoore Road). Invite only.

    October 27 — Implicit Bias Workshop

    Impact Hub Houston and The Cannon believe that equitable organizations and equitable opportunities stem from a community of equity-focused leaders, but that is a mindset that must be developed. Through this workshop, participants will develop a shared language around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and understand the importance of these concepts when creating changing and lasting impact.

    Details: The event is from 1 to 5 pm on Sunday, October 27, at The Cannon (1336 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

    October 29 — Houston Startup Happy Hour

    Mix and mingle with the city's local entrepreneurs, investors, and more. The event is free to attend, but space is limited. Happy hour specials are available all night for attendees.

    Details: The event is from 6 to 9 pm on Tuesday, October 29, at Poitin Bar and Kitchen (2313 Edwards Street). Learn more.

    October 31 — State of Texas Medical Center

    This luncheon focuses on TMC's role in advancing life sciences. Home to the brightest minds in medicine, TMC nurtures cross-institutional collaboration, creativity and innovation. Houston is not only recognized as a global leader in health care delivery and research, but also as an emerging center for biotech commercialization.

    Details: The event is from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, October 31, at Marriott Marquis (1777 Walker Street). Learn more.

    Ad Placement 300x100
    Ad Placement 300x600

    CultureMap Emails are Awesome

    Overheard: Local innovation leaders share what they see has changed in Houston for venture investing

    Eavesdropping online

    Houston's seen a growth in startup and venture investment — even amid the pandemic — and a group of Houston innovators sat down for a virtual event to discuss what's lead to this evolution.

    The Greater Houston Partnership hosted an installment of its Houston Industry Series focused on Digital Tech on Thursday, September 24. The panel of experts, moderated by Krisha Tracy of Google Cloud, discussed how they've observed the paradigm shift that's occurred in Houston over the past few years — and why.

    Missed the discussion? Here are some significant overheard moments from the virtual event.

    “I think there really is an interest for venture capital here, both locally and also welcoming it from outside of Houston. … There’s something magical happening in Houston, and [VCs] want a piece of it. I think that magical piece is a renewed interest in collaborating.”

    Stephanie Campbell, managing director of Houston Angel Network and co-founder of The Artemis Fund. "I think a lot [of this progress] is due to the GHP, Houston Exponential, and the founding of the HX Venture Fund to bring those venture funds to Houston to say, 'what's happening here?'" Campbell adds, saying that this connectivity and collaboration that's happening in Houston VC is unique.

    “I think there’s a misconception around all we do is oil and gas and life science in Houston, but when you think about what VC-backable companies look like, they’re tech, they’re B2B SaaS, they’re highly scalable, and they don’t tend to be capital-intensive types of things we see corporate venture backing.”

    Campbell says, adding "the connectivity and the interest in VC is really taking off. It's an exciting time to be in Houston and Texas in general."

    “Plug and Play’s ventures team is based in Silicon Valley and one thing they enjoy about meeting Houston-based founders is valuations tend to be more reasonable than in the Bay Area."

    Payal Patel, director of Plug and Play Tech Center in Houston. "There are gems to be found," she adds.

    “I don’t know what it is — if it’s something in the water or just Texans being very friendly, but the investors here share deal flow. It takes a village, and I think we all understand a rising tide lifts all boats."

    Patel says on the collaborative nature of Houston. "It's really magical."

    “What you’re witnessing is a city that has been waiting for industrial innovation to reach the point where it can be adopted at a really high scale, and that happened around 2017.”

    Jon Nordby, managing director at MassChallenge Texas in Houston. Nordby adds that MassChallenge in Houston hasn't been keen on consumer tech, or the "grilled cheese delivery apps," as he describes. "We like companies that are in love with problems, not so much in love with solutions. … We build really meaningful tech."

    “Over the last year or two, we’ve seen that sleeping giant get awoken. Open and external innovation is newly adopted by more legacy industries where it wasn’t before — and that’s just created a mountain of opportunities for startups and investors alike.”

    Nordby says on the shift toward this meaningful, problem-solving technology, which Houston is full of, as he observes.

    Houston's Brené Brown rises strong with new podcast and exclusive Spotify deal

    now streaming

    For two decades, renowned Houston thought leader and researcher Brené Brown has delved into the human condition, studying and exploring themes such as courage, vulnerability, empathy, and shame. Her work has made her a national figure as a five-time New York Times bestselling author and as a host of one of the most popular TED Talks of all time.

    Now, Brown is leaping forward with her self-help work with an exclusive new multi-year deal with Spotify. The Houstonian will host a new podcast, "Dare to Lead," which will premiere exclusively on Spotify on October 19, according to a press release. Fans can also look for her beloved "Unlocking Us" podcast to move to Spotify in January 2021.

    Brown said in a statement that it was "very important to me to build a podcast home where people could continue to listen for free."

    In an added treat for those who love Yacht Rock (and who doesn't, frankly?), Brown is taking over Spotify's Yacht Rock Playlist and has added her favorite tunes (look for smart picks such as Christoper Cross, Doobie Brothers, TOTO, and more).

    As for the podcast, "Dare to Lead" will feature conversations with "change-catalysts, culture-shifters and more than a few troublemakers who are innovating, creating, and daring to lead," according to a statement. It mirrors Brown's bestselling book of the same name.

    "I've partnered with Spotify because I wanted a home for both podcasts," Brown added, "and I wanted it to be a place that felt collaborative, creative, adventurous, and full of music — like my actual house, where you'd find guitar stands in every room and framed pictures of everyone from Willie Nelson and Aretha Franklin to Freddy Fender, Mick Jagger, and Angus Young hanging on my walls."

    When she's not overseeing her multimedia brand, podcasting, writing, hosting, and programming Spotify playlists, Brown serves as a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. She is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

    She is also the author of four other No. 1 New York Times bestselling books, including The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness. Her 2010 "The Power of Vulnerability" TED Talk has consistently been rated one of the top five most-watched of all time, with more than 50 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed talk on Netflix; her "The Call to Courage" debuted on the streaming service in 2019.

    ------

    This article originally ran on CultureMap.