Capital Factory is merging with Station Houston and is the first member of The Ion with Rice University and Houston Exponential!
In 2017, we released the Texas Startup Manifesto, outlining a vision of a united Texas startup ecosystem where startup entrepreneurs treat the four major metropolitan areas as one big city when they are recruiting talent, fundraising, and acquiring customers. Startups in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio shouldn’t need to move to Austin to scale. Texas is already the 10th largest economy in the world by GDP and one of the most friendly states for business and startups. Texas entrepreneurs shouldn’t need to fly to the coasts to raise funding or meet customers.
In 2018 and 2019, we connected together all four cities with staff, programming, and a Texas-wide mentor network. We made significant strides and achieved solid results in bringing this vision to reality.
How We’re Putting in the Work
We have been busy turning the Texas Startup Manifesto into reality, already engaged with hundreds of startups across the state. In 2018, we launched in Dallas with the help of The DEC, the Dallas Regional Chamber, UT Dallas, Accenture, Deloitte, Varidesk and many other partners. Our word of the year was “Dallas”. EVERY MONTH we filled up buses full of entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors and physically smashed them together in different cities. One time we invaded Fort Worth with more than 100 entrepreneurs on THREE buses — one from Austin, one from Houston, and one from Dallas. Fort Worth entrepreneurs and investors showed up too, showing that there are real synergies when we work together.
It’s working — 40 of the 120 startups that joined the Capital Factory Accelerator in 2019 came from Dallas — that’s a full third of our deal flow in our first full year of operation. The money is flowing in Dallas too — our startups are getting funded by angel investors and we’ve attracted many new Dallas investors in our fund.
— Bryan Chambers, General Partner and VP of Accelerator
Last year we hired our first full-time employees in Houston and launched a partnership with The Cannon. In the last quarter of 2019 alone, we recruited 14 new Houston startups thanks to our Houston Venture Associate Brittany Barreto! We have invested in Goodfair, GroupRaise, Evolve Energy, Hypergiant, Spruce, Syzygy Plazmonics and Zenus Biometrics and have strong deals in the pipeline.
Not many other investors can claim a half dozen Houston investments — and we expect that number to grow significantly in 2020.
— Joshua Baer, Founder, General Partner & CEO
In partnership with JP Morgan, we invited dozens of investors from around the world on a three day Texas Startups Roadshow highlighting the best of Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
The Word of the Year is Houston
In 2020 our word of the year is “Houston” and our goal is to achieve the same scale and synergies we have in Dallas with a unique Houston angle to it. As our friends at IBM taught me, “Unity not Uniformity.” Houston brings unique and powerful talents to the table that tend to focus on the dirty, dull, and dangerous — two of their biggest industries are Energy and Space. The other is, of course, Health, with the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. We want to leverage those strengths to attract talent and capital to Houston and all of Texas.
Another important value that Houston brings to the Texas startup ecosystem is diversity. Houston is not just one of the biggest cities in the US, it’s one of the most diverse with 25% of the residents born in another country. Since launching in Dallas we’ve seen more women and people of color in our Accelerator and Mentor Network and we are excited to have Houston compliment that even further. Most importantly, we want to learn more about what makes Houston such a welcoming city and how all of Texas can emulate it.
Capital Factory is one of the top startup development organizations in the country, and it’s awesome to see them expanding their footprint in Houston. It’s a win for Houston’s startups and for our booming ecosystem.
Increasing bridges between Texas’ major tech ecosystems in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio has enormous synergistic value. We have a bright future.
— Harvin Moore, President, Houston Exponential
CF will be powering Station Houston and connecting it’s mentor network to the Texas-wide network in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. This includes the Houston mentor network that we have been developing with The Cannon.
As They Say in Improv Theatre, “Yes, and…”
Our goal is that Station Houston members retain everything they love about Station Houston and get the added benefits of Capital Factory. Our general philosophy is to listen first and if changes are needed, do it slowly. Station Houston members should expect the cost to stay the same and the benefits to only get better over the next year.
Starting immediately, all Station Houston members gain access to:
- World-class programming and education
- Capital Factory Texas mentor network
- Union.vc global mentor network
- Free coworking in Austin and Dallas
We’ve learned over the years that Metcalfe’s Law — The Network Effect — applies to our startup portfolio. The more high quality startups we have across a diverse range of industries, the more investors, big companies, and big government want to get involved. Uniting with Station Houston will see benefits run both ways.
— Gordon Daugherty, Co-founder and President
Entrepreneurs in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio will have access to Houston’s mentor network and corporate partners from leading industries like healthcare, energy, and aeronautics. Entrepreneurs in Houston will get access to the financial, retail and travel markets in Dallas and the tech talent and venture capital and booming defense industry in Austin. There are many more examples like this.
Station Houston has a strong history of being a catalyst for the Houston startup ecosystem and earned the spot as the first stop on our first Texas Startups Roadshow to Houston. We are grateful to the founders of Station Houston and everyone on the team who has helped to make it what it is today and excited about the possibilities we will create as we grow together.