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Houston is a fantastic place to build a startup, but most of the early-stage entrepreneurs we speak to are not aware of the local resources that are available to help them.

With applications for the Houston Founder Institute now open, we are excited to release the Houston Startup Ecosystem Canvas, which is currently in Draft v2 below! It was developed by the Houston Founder Institute, Founder Institute Texas Managing Director, Martin Martinez, and local leaders James Phelan, Natasha Gorodetsky, and Tabbie Saenz

This is just a DRAFT, and while we spent many hours on this research, more input is needed. Please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document to help us complete the list. There are definitely omissions on this current version. 

Are you working to build or grow a startup company in Houston? Then apply to the Houston Founder Institute today!

Startup Stages


There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

A. Inspire

  • Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters)
    1. Chron.com
    2. Houston Business Journal
    3. Houston Startups FaceBook
    4. Impact Hub Houston Blog
    5. InHouston Tech
    6. Startup Digest Houston
    7. Station Houston Blog
    8. Texas Squared
    9. Xconomy Texas

B. Educate

  • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspire, like 1 Million Cups, Startup Grind, Startup Founder 101, etc).
    1. 1MillionCups

    2. BioHouston

    3. DevOpsDays Houston 2019

    4. Hadoop, Spark, and Machine Learning

    5. Houston .NET User Group

    6. Houston Altcoin Meetup

    7. Houston Bitcoin Meetup

    8. Houston Cisco UCS Meetup

    9. Houston Data Analytics Meetup

    10. HOUSTON eCommerce Entrepreneurs

    11. Houston Ethereum Meetup

    12. Houston OpenStack Meetup

    13. Houston Webflow Meetup

    14. IoT Nation™ | Houston

    15. Startup Founder 101 Houston

    16. Startup Grind Houston

    17. Station Houston

    18. The Houston CSS Meetup Group

    19. The Houston WordPress Meetup Group

  • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development. (Ex. bootcamps and comprehensive training programs, like Founder Institute, General Assembly, Lean Startup Machine, code camps, etc)

    1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Robotics
    1. Big Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence Texas
    2. Byte Academy
    3. Design Thinking Houston
    4. DigitalCrafts | Learn to Code in Houston
    5. Docker Houston
    6. Flatiron School Houston Coding Community
    7. Founder Institute
    8. Greater Houston Power BI Users Group
    9. Houston Android Developers
    10. Houston Blockchain for Energy, Oil & Gas Meetup
    11. Houston Community College
    12. Houston Cyber Security for Control Systems
    13. Houston Data Visualization Meetup
    14. Houston Growth Startups
    15. Houston JavaScript
    16. Houston Lean Startup Circle
    17. Houston MongoDB User Group (MUG)
    18. Houston React Developers
    19. Houston Social Entrepreneurship
    20. Houston Startup Business Circle
    21. Houston Startup: Idea to IPO
    22. Houston Unity Group
    23. Impact Hub Houston Meetup
    24. IxDA - Houston Chapter - IxD, Product Design, UI/UX, Apps
    25. Lean Startup Machine
    26. Learn to Code | Thinkful Houston
    27. Lumenbrite
    28. Machine Learning Club of Houston
    29. MediaTech Institute
    30. Nucamp
    31. Rice University Data Analytics and Cybersecurity Boot Camps
    32. Startup - French American Chamber of Commerce Houston
    33. Tech Talent South
    34. The Petro-Analytics Group Meetup
    35. University of Houston

C. Validate

  • Team Formation: Resources for teaming up. (i.e. events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching)
    1. Big Data Developers in Houston
    2. CoFoundersLab
    3. Entrepreneur Explosion
    4. Female Hustlers - Boss Babes & Ambitious Dreamers
    5. Founder2be
    6. FounderDating
    7. Hexagon UX Houston - Women in User Experience Design
    8. Houston Design Union
    9. Houston Entrepreneurs and Internet Marketers
    10. Houston React Native Meetup
    11. Houston Startup Network
    12. Houston Unfiltered
    13. Houston VR
    14. Houston Young Professionals
    15. NetSquared Houston (#Net2Houston)
    16. Product Managers in Tech
    17. Sesh Coworking Meetup - Female Career Go-Getters and Girl Bosses
    18. Social Entrepreneur's Network
    19. Software Developers/Engineers/Professionals Networking
    20. Startup Co-Founder Matching: Find the Right Partner in Houston
    21. StartupBlink Houston
    22. Station Startup Jobs
    23. Web Innovations- Houston
    24. Women in Cybersecurity - Cyberjutsu - Houston
    25. Women Entrepreneur Success
    26. Young Indie Game Developers Meetup

  • Build First Product: Hackathons & resources to build. (i.e. hackathons and other builder-focused events and resources)
    1. 2019 Computational Law & Blockchain Festival
    2. CodeDay Houston
    3. CodeRED
    4. Creatorspace
    5. EmberJS Houston
    6. Global Legal Hackathon Houston
    7. HackHouston 2019
    8. HackRice 8.5
    9. Hackster Hardware Meetup - Houston
    10. Health 2.0 Houston
    11. HelloWare Academy Wednesday Coding Night With Pizza
    12. Houston Game Devs Show and Tell
    13. Houston Hackathon
    14. Houston IGDA Game Developers
    15. Houston Legal Hackers
    16. Houston Makes
    17. Houston Raspberry Pi Users Group
    18. Houston Recreational Computer Programming Group
    19. Maker Faire
    20. Open Project Night
    21. Pumps and Pipes Hackathon
    22. Sketch City
    23. TXRX Labs

2. Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

A. Start

  • Establish: Law firms & banks for startups
    1. Allegiance Bank
    2. Bank of America
    3. Bank of Texas
    4. BB&T Bank
    5. BBVA Compass
    6. Boyar Miller Law
    7. Cenkus Law
    8. Central Bank
    9. Chase Bank
    10. Comerica Bank
    11. Duane Morris LLP
    12. East West Bank
    13. Egan Nelson
    14. Ferguson Braswell Fraser Kubasta PC
    15. Hancock Whitney Bank
    16. IBC
    17. Independent Bank
    18. Jackson Walker
    19. Lloyd Mousilli
    20. Lone Star Bank
    21. Mudd Law
    22. Norton Rose Fulbright Law Firm
    23. Origin Bank
    24. Orrick
    25. Polsinelli Law Firm
    26. Regions Bank
    27. Silicon Valley Bank
    28. Strahan Cain
    29. Unity National Bank
    30. Wells Fargo Bank

  • Workspace: Co-working and flexible workspaces (note: “official” office space goes in 3.1.a. Infrastructure)
    1. Cowork Lab
    2. FIRMSPACE
    3. Headquarters
    4. Houston Technology Center
    5. Impact Hub Houston
    6. Local Office
    7. Novel Coworking
    8. Ranch Office
    9. RED Labs
    10. Starion
    11. Station Houston
    12. TechSpace
    13. The Annex HTX
    14. The Cannon Houston
    15. TMC+
    16. The Work Well
    17. Ventures Coworking
    18. Washington Office Co.
    19. WeWork
    20. Wicowork
    21. WorkLodge
    22. Workplace 1919

B. Develop

  • Formalize: Accounting, development and HR for early-stage startups.  
    1. Adnorml
    2. Behar CPA
    3. Betts Recruiting
    4. Bradsby Group
    5. Buer Interactive
    6. Cooper CPA Group
    7. Desss Inc
    8. Haskins & Associates PC
    9. hrQ
    10. IOM Partners
    11. Insperity
    12. LaPraim
    13. Lucas Group
    14. Marino CPA Firm
    15. Murray Resources
    16. PKF Accountant
    17. The Allen CPA Firm
    18. TriNet
    19. Webinopoly
    20. Whole Wheat Creative

  • Prepare for Seed: Incubators and advanced mentorship. (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources for startup TEAMS)
    1. BioHouston
    2. Biotechnology Commercialization Center
    3. Bunker Labs
    4. Fannin Innovation Studio
    5. Fruition Technology Labs
    6. Houston Technology Center
    7. INSTINCT
    8. LaunchEffect
    9. MD Anderson I-Corps Regional Program
    10. Monarq Incubator
    11. Owl Spark
    12. Red Labs
    13. Rice Alliance
    14. SMAART Incubator
    15. Station Houston
    16. TMC Innovation Institute
    17. WeWork Labs

C. Launch

  • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs (Techstars-style programs that provide funding)
    1. Capital Factory Accelerator
    2. enventure.
    3. JLABS
    4. MassChallenge
    5. NextHIT Accelerator Program
    6. OwlSpark
    7. RED Labs
    8. RedHouse Associates
    9. Station Houston
    10. TMCx Accelerator
    11. Vesalius Accelerator

  • Pitch & Demo: Show local startups for investment (i.e. demo days for companies seeking seed investment)
    1. Bioventures Final Pitch Day
    2. DigitalCrafts Demo Day
    3. Founder Hotseat: Pitch Your Startup to Houston Startup Experts
    4. Houston Startup Demo Day
    5. Houston Startup Demo Day: Transportation and Mobility Innovation Edition
    6. IGNITE By WorkLodge for Start Ups
    7. Open Hub Day @ Station Houston
    8. Open Pitch Practice
    9. Present Your Idea
    10. TMCx Demo Day
    11. What's Your Pitch: Innovations Meet the Market

3. Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

A. Recognition

  • Investor Networking:  Connect professional investors with founders. (i.e. events or groups that facilitate connections with professional investors)
      1. Access Silicon Valley (Houston)
      2. Angel Investment Network
      3. GOOSE Society of Texas
      4. HBS Houston Alumni Angels
      5. Houston Angel Network
      6. Pipeline Angels
      7. Rice Angel Network
      8. Texas Investment Network
      9. TiE Houston

  • Major Media: Mainstream local business press. (i.e. major local or regional publications that frequently champion local businesses)
      1. ABC13
      2. CBS Houston
      3. CNBC Houston
      4. FOX 26 Houston
      5. Houston Business Journal
      6. Houston Chronicle
      7. Houstonia
      8. NBC Houston

B. Funding

  • Angels / Micro-VCs: Seed-stage investors
    1. Amitav Misra
    2. Aziz Gilani
    3. Bedros Bedrosian
    4. Blair Garrou
    5. Brad Wilson
    6. Cannon Ventures
    7. Carlos Hamilton
    8. Christopher A Howard
    9. Damon Spiegel
    10. David Baumgartner
    11. David Steakley
    12. HALO Fund
    13. Houston Angel Network
    14. Jai Mehta
    15. Jason Hill
    16. Jason Hodges
    17. John Filla
    18. John Leggett
    19. John Reale
    20. Jonas V Butkus
    21. Josh Adler
    22. Karun Sreerama
    23. Keith Kreuer
    24. Kirk Coburn
    25. Mike Bridges
    26. Purav Patel
    27. Rakesh Agrawal
    28. Rice Ventures
    29. Richard Yoo
    30. Robert Anderson
    31. Roy Touchy
    32. Sudz Khawaja
    33. TiE Houston
    34. Traveon Rogers
    35. Vivek Dixit
    36. Warren Pinkerton

  • Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
    1. American Prudential Capital
    2. Blue Bear Capital
    3. BroadVail Capital Partners
    4. Chevron Technology Ventures
    5. Cottonwood Venture Partners
    6. Denham Capital
    7. Donovan Ventures
    8. EnCap Investments
    9. Energy Innovation Capital
    10. EnergyFunders
    11. EnerVest
    12. First Reserve
    13. Houston Health Ventures
    14. Houston Ventures
    15. KKR
    16. Live Oak Capital
    17. Main Street Capital
    18. Mercury Fund
    19. Murphree Venture Partners
    20. Rock Hill Capital
    21. Small Ventures USA
    22. TA Capital
    23. Texas HALO Fund
    24. TMC Venture Fund
    25. Vesalius Ventures
    26. Yellowstone Capital Partners

C. Growth

  • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, local business insurance. (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
    1. 42Floors
    2. CityFeet
    3. G&A Partners
    4. Hirsch Insurance Agency
    5. Hiscox
    6. Houston Business Insurance
    7. HumanBridge HR Consulting
    8. Insperity
    9. Instant Offices
    10. Kingspoint Insurance Agency
    11. Korn Ferry
    12. Lee Hecht Harrison
    13. LoopNet
    14. Maize Consulting
    15. Noveri Insurance Agency
    16. Regus
    17. SquareFoot
    18. TechSpace 
  • Expansion: Growth accelerators/consultants. (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
    1. Accenture
    2. Alvarez & Marsal
    3. Aon
    4. Arthur D Little
    5. A.T. Kearney
    6. Avanade
    7. Bain & Company
    8. Berkeley Research Group
    9. Booz Allen Hamilton
    10. Boston Consulting Group
    11. Bridgepoint Consulting
    12. Buck
    13. Capgemini
    14. CGI
    15. Darby Consulting
    16. Deloitte
    17. Enaxis Consulting
    18. Ernst & Young
    19. FTI Consulting
    20. Grant Thornton
    21. Hatch
    22. Hill+Knowlton Strategies
    23. Infosys
    24. KPMG
    25. McKinsey & Company
    26. Mercer
    27. Milliman
    28. Navigant
    29. North Highland
    30. Oliver Wyman
    31. PKF Texas
    32. Protiviti
    33. PwC
    34. Publicis Sapient
    35. Sogeti
    36. Tata Consultancy Services
    37. Willis Towers Watson
    38. Wipro

4. Success Stories

Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

  1. Alert Logic
  2. Bellicum Pharmaceuticals
  3. BMC Software
  4. BrainCheck
  5. Chai One
  6. Cheers
  7. CS Disco
  8. Decisio Health
  9. GoCo
  10. Harvest
  11. HighRadius
  12. MacroFab
  13. Mainline.GG
  14. Meshify
  15. Molecule
  16. NanoRacks
  17. OncoResponse
  18. Opvizor
  19. OrthoAccel
  20. P97
  21. Procyrion
  22. Pulmotect
  23. Rebellion Photonics
  24. Saranas
  25. Simplilearn
  26. SoftNAS
  27. Solugen
  28. Sunnova
  29. The Right Place
  30. Waste Management



Supporters


To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

1. Evangelists

Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.

  1. Amanda Shih
  2. Alexis J Taylor
  3. Blair Garrou
  4. Bobby Jacobs
  5. Brian Patrick
  6. Brittany Barreto, Ph.D
  7. Gabriella Rowe
  8. Grace Rodriguez
  9. Hesam Panahi
  10. Hira Qarni
  11. James Phelan
  12. Jeff Reichman
  13. John Reale
  14. Jon Nordby
  15. Ken Jones
  16. Keith Kruer
  17. Kim Roxie
  18. Kirk Coburn
  19. Lawson Gow
  20. Madalyn Sklar
  21. Martin Martinez
  22. Michele Price
  23. Neal Murthy
  24. Natasha Gorodetsky
  25. Neeraj Tandon
  26. Patrick Schneidau
  27. Paul Hill
  28. Roberto Moctezuma
  29. Sandra Louvier
  30. Sarah M Worthy
  31. Tabbie Saenz
  32. Tony Mayer

2. Government

Public organizations that facilitate local economic development

  1. Central Houston
  2. City of Houston Innovation
  3. City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity
  4. French American Chamber of Commerce Houston
  5. Greater Houston Partnership
  6. Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce
  7. Harris County Economic Development
  8. Houston Exponential
  9. Houston Office of Economic Development
  10. Houston Metro Chamber of Commerce
  11. Houston Women’s Business Center
  12. MidTown Redevelopment District
  13. SCORE Houston
  14. The Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce

3. Talent

Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

  • Local Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs)
    1. Houston Baptist University
    2. Rice University
    3. Texas A&M
    4. Texas Southern University
    5. University of Houston
    6. University of St. Thomas
  • Local Employers (Major technical employers, like Microsoft or Google or large local companies, with large local offices)
    1. Amazon
    2. Anadarko
    3. BMC Software
    4. BP
    5. Chevron Corporation
    6. Cisco
    7. Exxon
    8. GE
    9. Halliburton
    10. Hewlett Packard Enterprise
    11. HostGator
    12. IBM
    13. Microsoft
    14. M.D, Anderson
    15. National Oilwell Varco
    16. Oracle
    17. PROS Holdings
    18. Samsung Engineering
    19. Schlumberger
    20. Shell
    21. TechnipFMC
*  *  *

Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on the Houston Canvas on this collaborative Google document (This is just a DRAFT, and more input is needed!)

Are you looking to build a startup company in Houston? Then apply to the Houston Founder Institute today!

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