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Bayou Business Download: An Inside Look at Houston's Tech Sector

Published Jun 11, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta

In this episode of Bayou Business Download, we take an inside look at Houston's tech sector and related jobs. Is Houston a tech town? We dive into a recent report and the numbers may surprise you. Partnership Director of Data Analytics Josh Pherigo joins us.

Key topics include: 

  • A look at what constitutes tech-oriented cities across the U.S. 
  • Figures on Houston's tech-based employment and what industries those employees are often working in. 
  • A discussion of the most recent CompTIA analysis of the nation's tech bases. 
  • Where the tech-oriented opportunities are for Houston coming out of COVID-19 and beyond. 

Read Josh's latest analysis of the tech scene and learn more about digital tech and innovation in our region. 


Bayou Business Download is presented by: 


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Digital Technology

Amazon and Google to Open New Facilities in Houston Area

One tech giant is opening its first office in Houston as another plans a massive expansion in the region.  Construction is now underway in Richmond on an 850,000-square-foot fulfillment center for Amazon. The e-commerce company’s state-of-the-art facility is set to open in 2021 and will employ approximately 1,000 full-time workers, Amazon said this week. The center is one of the company’s next wave of facilities where employees work alongside Amazon robotics to pick, pack and ship small items for customers such as books, electronics and toys.  “We’re delighted to continue our growth and investment in Texas, with our new fulfillment center in Richmond,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment.  Fort Bend County Judge, KP George said he’s proud that Amazon chose Fort Bend for this major investment. “The Fort Bend fulfillment center will generate 1,000 high-quality jobs for our community, adding tremendous value to our commercial sector. The Fort Bend Economic Development Council and the County have worked diligently with Amazon to successfully implement this major project.” The Partnership has been working with Amazon in an effort to increase the company’s investment in this region. “We are proud to support Amazon’s most recent expansion to Houston, which further positions the region as a global logistics and distribution hub,” said Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Officer for the Partnership. “The Greater Houston region provides unparalleled access to consumers and end users and Houston’s strong technical and skilled talent is prepared to meet the needs of this state-of-the-art facility.” Google Inc. also announced this week it will open its first Houston office at One Buffalo Heights on Washington Avenue. The roughly 12,000-square-foot office, which will house Google’s regional Cloud Enterprise Sales Team, is slated to open early next year.   "Houston is a hub for innovation and technology and the digital universe. Google's decision to establish an office here provides further momentum as we build the Silicon Bayou," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. The Partnership has also worked alongside Mayor Turner, Houston Exponential and other groups in recent years to recruit Google to Houston. “Houston is an innovation city and our key industries like energy, life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, in particular, are ripe for digital disruption. Houston is a logical destination for Google’s next office,” Davenport said. “The fact that Google is opening their first office in Houston is a testament to the work we have been doing to build out innovation ecosystem. We are hopeful this will lead to increased engagement between Houston companies and Google, which will lead to an increased presence of the company in Houston as they scale their relationships.”  Learn more about Houston's digital technology ecosystem. 
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Digital Technology

North America's Largest Cleantech Incubator Expanding to Houston in 2021

Houston will soon add a major player in the clean energy space. North America’s largest "climatetech" incubator will make its first national expansion to the Energy Capital of the World next year to accelerate the clean energy transition. Click to expand Greentown Labs announced today its plans to open its second location in Houston in spring 2021. As the city’s first climatetech and cleantech-focused startup incubator, Greentown Labs Houston will be a catalyst in driving progress toward the goals outlined in Houston’s recently announced first-ever Climate Action Plan. “For decades, Houston and the energy industry have been inextricably linked. As a lifelong Houstonian and Mayor of our city, I am very proud of our history and proud of the innovation, growth and prosperity that the energy industry brings to our community,” said City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “It is our responsibility to continue this legacy, to develop innovative technologies and practices that will reduce carbon emissions, and we are committed to that goal.” Today's announcement comes just a few months after the City of Houston released its science-based, community-driven Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, meet the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and lead the global energy transition. Mayor Turner co-chairs Climate Mayors, a bipartisan network of almost 450 U.S. mayors demonstrating leadership on climate action. “While it was historic for Houston to launch its first Climate Action Plan, the real success is when we put that strategy into action, said Mayor Turner. “Greentown Labs moving to Houston is proof that we will meet our goal of making Houston a capital of energy innovation.” Greentown Houston will serve as an on-the-ground catalyst for the energy transition in Houston, aiming to bring together civic and business leaders, entrepreneurs, students and other stakeholders who have already begun the transition and raise awareness of the opportunity for those who have yet to engage.  “We know we can’t solve climate change from the coasts alone and believe it’s critical to engage with major ecosystems around the nation,” said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “Houston has long been known as the energy capital of the world and we believe it is well positioned to be the energy transition capital of the world.” With the expansion into Houston, Greentown Labs aims to build a bridge between the Boston and Houston metro areas to have the best and brightest engineering and business minds in energy working together on the global climate challenge. Both cities are members of C40, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, and have a shared goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  “I am thrilled that some of Houston’s brightest minds will be given a place to tackle some of the biggest problems that face humanity today,” said City of Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone in a pre-recorded message. “I suspect that this may be the sign of a great relationship between our two cities.” Today’s announcement was led by Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, which has played a significant role in supporting Greentown Labs’ expansion efforts to the region. As an organization dedicated to Houston’s long-term economic vitality and growth, the Partnership is an ardent champion of bolstering Houston’s leadership in meeting the world’s increasing energy needs while lowering the world’s carbon footprint. “We are thrilled to welcome North America’s largest cleantech incubator to Houston, which comes at a time of great momentum for Houston’s innovation ecosystem and further positions the region to lead the transition to a cleaner, more efficient and more sustainable, lower carbon world,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Partnership. “As the home to major corporate energy R&D centers, corporate venture arms, and VC-backed energy startups, Houston is already leading the way in digitization, renewable forms of energy, and the development of carbon capture management technology.” Greentown Labs supports climatetech and cleantech entrepreneurs with the community, resources, and connections needed to achieve their technical and business milestones. Greentown Houston will serve the same purpose for cleantech entrepreneurs in the Greater Houston area, and at its outset will raise 7.2 million dollars to provide approximately 30,000 square feet of prototyping lab and office space for about 50 startups. This initial investment should sustain operations for about three years.  When asked how many jobs the expansion will bring to Houston, Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert estimates between 200 to 300 for the first year once the program is full. This number was estimated by their impact in the Boston area where companies have supported roughly 6,500 jobs since their founding.  Greentown Houston is made possible by a network of supportive Founding Partners that represent a broad community of energy organizations, renewable energy experts, and organizations committed to supporting early-stage cleantech startups.  Founding Partners include:  Chevron NRG Energy, Inc. Shell BHP Vinson & Elkins, LLP ENGIE North America Inc. Sunnova Energy International Inc. SCF Partners (SCF) Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.    Greentown Houston's Founding Advisory Board includes:  Michael Skelly, Senior Advisor with Lazard Partners and renewable energy pioneer in the U.S. wind industry Tim Kopra, Partner, Big Bear Capital   Learn more about Greentown Labs. Get additional details about Houston's energy and digital tech sectors. Partnership chair Bobby Tudor spoke about Houston's role in the global energy transition. Read his remarks here. 
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