by the numbers
In just a five-year span, Houston's annual haul of venture capital has skyrocketed by nearly 200 percent.
Startups in the region raised $283.8 million in 2016, according to Pitchbook data cited in the Greater Houston Partnership's newly released 2021 Houston Facts report. Last year, the figure climbed to a record-breaking $823.9 million. That represents a five-year jump of 190.3 percent.
Health care attracted by far the most venture capital of any sector last year — $323.9 million — with the IT sector in second place ($203.7 million), the report says.
Over the five-year span, the health care sector also reigns as the area's VC leader, with a total of more than $1.1 billion in venture capital, making up 41 percent of the region's venture capital. IT ranks second, collecting $722.7 million in venture capital, or 27 percent of the entire VC pie.
In all, the Houston area is home to over 700 VC-backed startups, with at least 10 of them valued at more than $100 million, the report says.
The Houston Facts report also sheds light on other facets of the regional economy. Here are six of them.
Economically speaking, Houston may be best known for energy and health care. But the Greater Houston Partnership report shows the tech sector deserves to be part of the conversation.
With more than 243,900 tech workers, the Houston area boasts the 11th largest tech workforce in the U.S. In 2019, Houston's tech industry contributed $29.2 billion to the region's gross domestic product (GDP), a key measure of economic activity.
To put the size of the region's tech workforce into perspective, the number of tech workers in the Houston area is roughly double the population of Pearland.
"Houston is a thriving hub of digital tech talent," the report says.
Citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the report notes the Houston area's GDP stood at an estimated $512.2 billion in 2019. That makes Houston the seventh largest economy of U.S. metro areas.
If the Houston area were a state, its GDP would rank 15th, behind Michigan ($536.9 billion) and ahead of Maryland ($426.7 billion) and Colorado ($393 billion).
If the region were an independent nation, it would rank as the world's 27th largest economy, behind Belgium ($529.7 billion) and ahead of Nigeria ($448.1 billion) and Austria ($446.3 billion).
Expanding corporate hub
The Houston area ranks third in the U.S. for the Fortune 500 headquarters and fifth for Fortune 1000 headquarters. The 20 companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list that are based in the Houston area have combined revenue of $413.6 billion.
The Houston areas maintains trading relationships with more than 200 countries.
The Houston/Galveston Customs District handled 266.6 million metric tons of exports valued at $129.5 billion in 2020, according to WISERTrade data cited in the report. These exports accounted for 65.8 percent of the total value that passed through the region last year, up from 44.5 percent in 2011.
In 2019, the Port of Houston ranked first in total tonnage (foreign and domestic) — after 27 consecutive years in second place — and first in foreign tonnage (imports and exports) for the 24th consecutive year, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Globally, the Port of Houston ranked as the world's 16th largest port based on total tonnage.
The Houston area was home to more than 160,000 business establishments in 2020, according to Texas Workforce Commission data cited in the report. The three industries with the most establishments were professional, scientific, and technical services; health care and social assistance; and retail. These three industries made up 38 percent of the region's business establishments.