In August we released the Texas Startup Manifesto and announced our plans to expand our Accelerator program to include Dallas with a presence at The DEC. In October we announced our $100,000 Dallas Diversity & Inclusion Investment Challenge. This Tuesday we’ve chartered a bus and are coming to Houston with 30 investors, mentors and entrepreneurs to announce $100,000 just for Houston!
Many of the most successful entrepreneurs in Texas have banded together to give one startup from Houston with a diverse executive team a $100,000 investment to try and change the world. Any tech or consumer startup in the East Texas area with at least one female or person of color on the executive team can apply on AngelList to pitch at our Funding Day on February 13.
“$100,000 isn’t all of the money you’ll ever need, but it’s enough for a scrappy team to focus full-time on building a minimum viable product and finding product market fit for about a year. We give you free rent, free hosting, a lot of other free stuff to make that $100,000 last as long as possible,” said Joshua Baer, founder and Executive Director of Capital Factory.
If you’re successful, you’ll validate the business enough to raise $500,000 and then raise a real seed round from a VC.
We’re fortunate to have two incredible partners to work with on this initiative. DivInc is a pre-accelerator based in Austin that is currently running their third cohort focused on championing diversity in the tech startup ecosystem. Station Houston has been leading the charge to energize the Houston startup scene and is part of the team behind other important initiatives such as the Entrepreneurs for Houston relief effort and Houston Exponential.
“One of our top priorities is to attract more capital for early stage technology companies in Houston,” said John Reale, CEO of Station Houston, “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Capital Factory to Houston and introduce them Houston’s best entrepreneurs.”
We’ll be at Station Houston this Tuesday with a bus of 30 investors, mentors and entrepreneurs from Austin for a day full of programming and networking. We’ll start off with an Epic Office Hours session of speed dating between Austin investors and Houston entrepreneurs in the afternoon. Then in the evening is the Intro to Fundraising in Texas where we’ll announce the $100,000 Challenge and have a panel of Venture Capitalists on stage to answer questions about fundraising for your startup.
One of the ways Capital Factory is intentional about attracting entrepreneurs to our network is with investment challenges that focus on particular industry segments, technologies and geographies. In September we tried an experiment and hosted a challenge around gender and ethnic diversity that was incredibly successful. Not only did it attract applications from teams of diverse entrepreneurs, they were some of the most impressive startups we’ve seen yet! Congratulations to the winner Kiss and Tell who was awarded the $100,000 investment prize!
“Getting the first check is hard enough as it is — it’s even harder in today’s market if you are female. I’m looking forward to backing more diverse teams with women in key leadership positions,” said Jan Ryan, founder of Women@Austin.
The best team that pitches at Funding Day will receive:
- $100,000 cash investment on a SAFE or Convertible Note
- Special access to an A-List of Texas’ top entrepreneurs who add value far beyond the money you received
- 1 year of unlimited co-working at Capital Factory and Station Houston
- Access to the Capital Factory Mentor network
- Company formation by startup law firm Kastner & Gravelle
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars in free hosting credits from Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM Softlayer, Microsoft & Rackspace plus many other cloud services you use
This Capital Factory investment challenge is funded by the Capital Factory Partners Fund, a group of the most active mentors and angel investors in our network. To see the complete list of Capital Factory Partners, see the Mentors page of our website.
One thing you should notice right away is that while we have some women and people of color as Mentors and Partners, there certainly aren’t enough! We hope that this challenge will help us to meet new mentors in addition to new entrepreneurs.
About Capital Factory
Capital Factory is the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas, the number one startup state in the U.S. Last year more than 100,000 entrepreneurs, programmers and designers gathered day and night, in-person and online for meetups, mentorship, classes and coworking. We meet the best entrepreneurs in Texas and introduce them to their first investors, employees, mentors and customers. According to Pitchbook, Capital Factory has been the most active investor in Texas since 2013.
About Station Houston
Station Houston’s vision is to transform Houston into a world-leading hub for tech innovation and entrepreneurship. This vision unfolds as a vibrant district where people live, work and play, with Station serving as the connective tissue fostering our culture of innovation. We connect early-stage technology startups & entrepreneurs with capital, customers & talent — but more importantly, we’re cultivating a community & culture.