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In his role as investor, Matthew McConaughey backs Texas startup

Matthew McConaughey invests in startups, including one based in Austin. University of Texas at Austin/Facebook

Matthew McConaughey is far more than an Oscar-winning actor. He’s the “Minister of Culture” for the University of Texas. He’s a professor at UT and a best-selling author. And he’s co-owner of Austin FC, the Major League Soccer team.

But did you know the Austin celebrity also invests in startups?

McConaughey owns a stake in several businesses, and it turns out one of them is based in Austin. In an email interview with Fast Company magazine, McConaughey revealed he’s an investor in Workrise, an Austin company whose workforce management platform matches skilled workers with employers in the energy industry.

As an investor, McConaughey says he looks for companies “that have a purpose to uplift, empower, construct, redefine, and bring a new or renewed health to individuals, communities, and systems.”

Formerly known as RigUp, Workrise rebranded in early 2021. Since its founding eight years ago, the company has raised $752.5 million from major investors such as 137 Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford, Bedrock Capital, Brookfield Growth Partners, Founders Fund, Franklin Templeton, and Moore Strategic Ventures.

“We founded RigUp in 2014 on the premise that technology could be used to more efficiently and effectively source skilled labor across the oil and gas industry. In the years that ensued, we found that our approach could be taken further; we could help address a much larger socioeconomic shift across the infrastructure industry,” co-founder and CEO Xuan Yong said last year.

“Today, Workrise reflects our aim to bridge the skilled labor gap across industries, to leverage technology and data to empower skilled workers — and, in turn, the economy at large — so the U.S. can prepare for an infrastructure renaissance,” he added.

A little over a year after its rebranding, Workrise laid off an undisclosed number of employees and streamlined its business offerings. Before the layoffs, the company was valued at $2.9 billion.

“Filling the skilled labor gap will be essential to our continued economic growth and recovery, and Workrise is at the forefront of that effort,” Allen Narcisse, chief operating officer at Workrise, said last year. “Workrise has already proven that traditional ways of staffing large projects are ripe for disruption.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Here's your one-stop shop for innovation events in Houston this month. Photo via Getty Images

Houstonians are transitioning into a new summer month, and the city's business community is mixing in networking and conference events with family vacations and time off. Here's a rundown of what all to throw on your calendar for July when it comes to innovation-related events.

This article will be updated as more business and tech events are announced.

July 10 — Have a Nice Day Market at the Ion

Stop by for a one-of-a-kind vendor market - #HaveANiceDayHTX - taking place at the Ion, Houston's newest urban district and collaborative space that is designed to provide the city a place where entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities can come together. Free to attend and free parking onsite.

Have a Nice Day is a creative collective with a goal of celebrating BIPOC makers, creators, and causes.

The event is Sunday, July 10, 4 to 8 pm, at The Ion. Click here to register.

July 12 — One Houston Together Webinar Series

In the first installment of the Partnership's One Houston Together webinar series, we will discuss supplier diversity an often underutilized resource for business. What is it and why is it important? How can supplier diversity have long-term impact on your business, help strengthen your supply chain, and make a positive community impact?

The event is Tuesday, July 12, noon to 1 pm, online. Click here to register.

July 14 — Investor Speaker Series: Both Sides of the Coin

In the next installment of Greentown Labs' Investor Speaker Series, sit down with two Greentown founders and their investors as they talk about their experiences working together before, during, and after an equity investment was made in the company. Attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most important relationships in a startup’s journey and what best practices both founders and investors can follow to keep things moving smoothly.

The event is Thursday, July 14, 1 to 2:30 pm, online. Click here to register.

July 15 — SBA Funding Fair

Mark Winchester, the Deputy District Director for the Houston District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, will give a short intro of the programs the mentors will discuss. There will be three government guaranteed loan mentors and two to three mentors co-mentoring with remote SBIR experts.

The event is Friday, July 15, 10:30 am to 1 pm, at The Cannon - West Houston. Click here to register.

July 16 — Bots and Bytes: Family STEAM Day

Join the Ion for a hands-on learning experience to learn about tech and robotics and gain insight into the professional skills and concepts needed to excel in a robotics or tech career. This event will be tailored for 9-14-year-olds for a fun STEM experience.

The event is Saturday, July 16, 10 am to 1 pm, at The Ion. Click here to register.

July 19 — How to Start a Startup

You have an idea...now what? Before you start looking for funding, it's important to make sure that your idea is both viable and valuable -- if it doesn't have a sound model and a market willing to pay for it, investors won't be interested anyway.

The event is Tuesday, July 19, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, at The Ion. Click here to register.

July 20 — Perfecting Your Pitch

Join the Ion for their series with DeckLaunch and Fresh Tech Solutionz as they discuss the importance and value of your pitch deck when reaching your target audience.

The event is Wednesday, July 20, 5:30 to 6:30 pm, at The Ion. Click here to register.

July 21 — Transition On Tap: Investor Readiness with Vinson & Elkins LLP

Attorneys from Greentown Labs’ Gigawatt Partner Vinson & Elkins LLP, a leading fund- and company-side advisor for clean energy financing, will present an overview of legal considerations in cleantech investing, geared especially toward early-stage companies and investors. The presentation will cover the types of investors and deals in the cleantech space and also provide background on negotiating valuation, term sheets, and preparing for diligence.

The event is Thursday, July 21, 5 to 7 pm, at Greentown Houston. Click here to register.

July 28 — The Cannon Community 2nd Annual Town Hall Event

Partner of The Cannon, Baker Tilly, has played an integral part in the success of Cannon member companies. Join the Cannon community for The Cannon's 5-year anniversary celebration!

The event is Thursday, July 28, 4 to 7 pm, at The Cannon - West Houston. Click here to register.

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