Skip to main content

Venture Capital, Expansion of the Ecosystem Among Subjects Discussed at State of Tech

Published Apr 20, 2022 by Megan Broussard

State of Technology 2022

State of Technology 2022

State of Technology 2022

Technology industry experts from across the region gathered this week for the Partnership’s second annual State of Technology event at the Hilton Americas. A wide-ranging panel discussion covered some of the topics most important to Houston’s evolving tech landscape, including access to capital, the expansion of major tech players and the growing importance of environmental, social, governance or ESG in tech.
Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey served as moderator for the discussion and was joined by Sandy Guitar, Managing Director at HX Venture Fund, Ann Lai, Vice President and General Manager of Displays Solutions Business Group, HP Inc. and Trinity Lloyd, Sustainability and Energy Transition Lead at Google Cloud. They lead the conversation on Houston's growth in innovation and the many ways our city supports a robust, ever-evolving tech ecosystem. From conversations on how the pandemic has influenced the way technology is approached to an update on Houston’s role as a national leader in tech innovation, the afternoon was an insightful look into the past, present and future of technology.  

Harvey celebrated the progress Houston has made and discussed the reasons Houston’s technology scene has seen a significant increase in the past years, despite challenges from the pandemic.

“Venture capital funding of Houston companies has grown from $284 million in 2016 to $2.34 billion in 2021,” said Harvey. “This growth includes a concentration of early-stage funding, positioning Houston as the 3rd fastest growing early-stage tech ecosystem in the country.”

Industry experts believe Houston can compete with already established tech hubs, such as Silicon Valley, because it offers diversity, opportunity and the much-needed support for startups to succeed.

"Houston ranked second among 14 major U.S. labor markets for the number of relocating software and IT workers, according to a report by Axios in May 2021," said Harvey. “Houston is attracting interest from large technology companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which recently moved their headquarters to Houston.”

Panel topics included the prominent shifts in the industry, tech waste, the importance of digital inclusion and the continuation of Houston’s rise as one of the country’s most prominent emerging tech hubs. The panelists also discussed several crucial components required for the continued success of Houston’s growth in tech innovation. 

“Houston has an infrastructure and intellectual capital unlike any other city in the world,” said Lloyd. “It’s critical for anything across ESG/climate spectrum. Putting a focus on that, on how people can make a difference, means that the next generation will gravitate here”

“How do we use all of us as grassroots ambassadors for Houston’s tech ecosystem,” said Lai. “That’s critical. We also need to get talent earlier in the pipeline.” 

Each panelist shared how their companies have contributed to the incredible momentum in innovation as well as their commitment to ensure that with this growth comes accessibility. Additionally, the panel shared insight on how technology not only impacts several industries, but communities as well. 

“ESG and technology are deeply integrated and connected,” said Lloyd. This is an opportunity for every organization to embrace their energy, their climate and their ESG to help lead others in their sectors.”

Looking forward, the panel all agreed that there is a responsibility to use technological advances to better workplace culture and productivity as we begin to function in what many call the “new normal.” Although the pandemic may have spurred rapid development in technology, that will not slow down anytime soon. 

“There’s a full democratization and decentralization in venture capital and in tech companies themselves... most venture capitalists are very focused on how to get the best ideas in the most democratic way possible,” said Guitar.  

Learn more about Houston's innovation ecosystem and read the latest Houston Tech Report.



Related News

Digital Technology

Houston Data Firm Ranks Among Top 50 Global Advanced Manufacturing Startups

Houston-based Fluence Analytics ranked as one of the top-50 private advanced manufacturing companies in the world, according to a report by CB Insights. The annual report also recognized the data firm, which specializes in continuous analytics and process control solutions for polymer and biopharma industries, as a top startup under the Research & Development (R&D) Optimization bracket.  CB Insights analyzed 6,000 companies based on R&D activities, market potential, investor profiles, tech novelty, competitive landscape and other business factors  to develop the list of  50 most promising advanced manufacturing companies in the world. CB insights then segmented companies into cohorts, showcasing the leading companies those specialties. Fluence Analytics obtained an elite ranking under the R&D optimization cohort, alongside Toronto-based BenchSci and San Francisco-based Benchling.  Fluence Analytics CEO Jay Manouchehri told the Partnership his team is thrilled to see the firm’s work recognized on a global scale. "Our team is very excited that our real-time process analytics, optimization and control products for the polymer and biopharma industries are included among such elite startups,” Manouchehri said.  The new rankings come one year after the company relocated its headquarters to the Houston region from New Orleans. The company relocated  to take advantage of Houston’s talent pool and robust energy and petrol industries, which are Fluence Analytics' key customers.  "There are very, very good people in the Houston area with a lot of diverse experience — oil and gas, petrochemicals, all the service companies, a lot of the contractors and fab shops that we would work with," President and CCO Alex Reed told Houston Inno in Aug. 2021.  Fluence’s rankings showcase Houston’s thriving tech industry, consistently attracting notable companies and strong talent to the region. Houston currently houses over 40 corporate R&D centers and 24 major energy R&D centers.  Learn more about Fluence Analytics as well as Houston’s burgeoning digital tech and advanced manufacturing industries.
Read More
Digital Technology

CHIPS and Science Act To Boost U.S. Leadership in Science and Innovation

Houston is a leader in the new frontier of technology manufacturing. Our region has experienced significant growth in high-tech manufacturing as new entrepreneurs have partnered with local universities and existing industries to accelerate the development and deployment of life saving medical technologies, pioneering energy systems and other advancements benefiting all Americans. On Tuesday, August 9, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law, a piece of legislation ensuring that the United States remains globally competitive in incubating the next generation of tech startups, ideas, and innovators.  This bipartisan legislation will accelerate American-based semiconductor manufacturing and drive investments in technology innovation, research, and development, with the aim of reducing the United States’ reliance on foreign parties. The Act provides a tax credit for American-based semiconductor chip manufacturing projects and provides significant appropriations for the National Science Foundation, regional technology and innovation hubs, and advanced research programs such as STEM grants. In addition to semiconductor manufacturing incentives, the legislation also authorizes $10 billion over five years to create at least 20 regional technology and innovation hubs across the country. The legislation’s hubs program allows eligible consortia to participate in a competition run by the Department of Commerce to designate these regional technology and innovation hubs, and at least 60 strategy development grants will be awarded to help build regional innovation strategies. This legislation signals a federal investment in regional, technology-forward economic development, and the Houston region stands ready to maximize this opportunity.   The passage of the CHIPS and Science Act offers significant economic opportunities for our state and our region. Texas currently has the infrastructure to support new semiconductor projects, and our region’s experience as a center for world-changing innovations has readied Houston to drive our nation’s capabilities for decades to come.  More on the CHIPS and Science Act available here. Learn more about advanced manufacturing in Houston here. 
Read More

Related Events

Digital Technology

State of Space

State of Space brings together leaders from NASA’s Johnson Space Center and some of the most prominent aerospace organizations today for an insightful conversation on how public and private…

Learn More
Learn More