HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 211
Hardtech startup adviser on mentorship, Houston's past and future as an innovation hub
To Wogbe Ofori, the definition of entrepreneurship is simple: "To be more opportunity centric than risk averse." And Houston, as he says, has be entrepreneurial for a very long time — despite it being considered the specialty of a certain coastal region.
"Silicon Valley has hijacked the concept of innovation and entrepreneurship, and this city has been filled with entrepreneurs long before the concept of 'tech entrepreneurs,'" Ofori says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.
Ofori, the founder and chief strategist of WRX Companies, has developed a keen eye for entrepreneurship and innovation activity in Houston and shares his observations on the show. An adviser to Nauticus Robotics and strategist to Intuitive Machines and Jacobs, he's also served as a mentor across the local innovation community.
In fact, on the episode, he explains what makes a good mentor for founders in tech. Ofori says he specializes in helping entrepreneurs see around corners and think things through, make wise decisions, and get things done.
"It starts with an ability to listen," Ofori says of advisers and mentors. "One of the keys to my advisory practice is to not only listen but reframe and ask a lot of questions."
"What differentiates this from therapy — and sometimes the line can be fine," he continues, "is that as a mentor or adviser in the context of commerce, is you're always thinking about it toward a transaction in the marketplace."
As he's spent a lot of time working with hardtech founders, Ofori has observed a momentum within energy transition innovation — specifically Houston's role in it.
"It's difficult for an incumbent to disrupt itself. We’ve been positioning ourselves as moving from the energy capital of the world to the energy transition capital," he says. "Now we are just at the place where we're really going to start to see the difference between those who were caught up in the excitement of the energy transition, and those who really have the faith to see this thing through."