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Innovation

Houston is where innovation and industry converge. Ours is a city that chooses to take humankind's boldest challenges head-on, from landing on the moon to developing the first artificial heart. And Houston's innovation ecosystem continues to thrive through programs like TMC Innovation Institute at the Texas Medical Center and spaces like the emerging Innovation District. 

25,000+

Local workforce of Houston's top 100 digital tech companies

16.9 percent

Part of Houston's digital tech firms that specialize in health care

8.25%

City of Houston has a combined sales and use tax rate of 8.25 percent

Innovation Corridor

Houston’s Innovation Corridor is at the center of an extraordinarily powerful social and economic convergence. The four-mile-long Corridor is linked by light-rail, bike lanes, and pedestrian thoroughfares, and offers easy access to key industry and institutional players along with an unparalleled array of amenities. It runs from Downtown on the north end, south through Midtown, the Museum District and the Texas Medical Center. 

 

Innovation District

Rice University is currently developing a new innovation district in Midtown. Housed on a 16-acre site anchored by a former Sears building, the hub will bring the area's entrepreneurial, corporate and academic communities together. The nucleus of the Innovation District is The Ion, a nearly 300,000-square-foot structure that serves as a collaborative space for businesses at all stages of the innovation lifecycle. A number of companies and nonprofits have taken up residence in the development.

Houston Tech and Innovation Conversations at SXSW

A Data-Driven Look at Houston's Innovation Ecosystem

The Partnership's Josh Pherigo takes a data-driven look at the current trends in the startup space and the Houston region's momentum in building a thriving innovation ecosystem.

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The Power of Diversity in Innovation

Jan Odegard of The Ion and Ashley DeWalt of DivInc Houston talk about the power of diversity within innovation.

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Corporate Partnerships Drive Innovation in Life Sciences

Fiona Mack of JLABS at TMC discusses how Houston is quickly emerging as a hub for life sciences innovation.

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The Houston Tech Report

This report outlines the tremendous growth in Houston’s tech ecosystem in recent years as evidenced by the expanding workforce as well as startup and venture capital activity. The report also highlights the region’s unique strengths in the sector. 

Houston Exponential

Houston Exponential is a dynamic organization that serves, organizes, champions and grows the region’s innovation ecosystem. HX is accelerating the development of Houston’s innovation economy, fostering a robust ecosystem that supports high-growth, high-impact startups. HX works to convene the ecosystem, helping to build an innovation district in Houston and attracting talent to the region and promoting Houston’s image, both locally and nationally, as a vibrant, innovative economy where startups thrive.

Houston's Innovation Partners

Related News

Digital Technology

New Generation of Startups Aim to Fuel Resurgence of Advanced Manufacturing in Houston

5/13/22
An autonomous rover dubbed the “layout Roomba” that marks architectural and engineering designs directly onto unfinished concrete floors is one of many examples of the innovation happening in Houston’s advanced manufacturing sector. The city boasts a thriving tech ecosystem and is considered a global manufacturing powerhouse due to its central geographic location, unparalleled infrastructure and talented workforce.  Funding is now flowing into Houston to help drive the next wave of manufacturing innovation. According to the Partnership’s 2022 Houston Tech Report, more than 900 investors have funded over 1,500 venture capital transactions in the Houston region over the last five years. Data shows that 8.6% of all VC deals are funding manufacturing projects with another 8.7% funding AI and machine learning ventures.  “I think Houston is a great place to start a company. It hosts a diverse pool of exceptional talent, a reasonable cost of living and a welcoming start-up community,” said Derrick Morse, CEO and founder of Rugged Robotics. “Houston is also home to a number of innovative companies that solve really hard and really important problems.”  Rugged Robotics, a Houston startup company founded in 2018, hopes to revolutionize the construction industry by tackling the challenge of field layout by using its small robot to create a more detailed, more accurate and faster way of doing the work. Traditionally, a construction worker must do the marking manually using tape measures, chalk lines and surveying equipment. Morse, a construction industry veteran, said he saw a need to solve a pain point in the construction industry. “By focusing on the problem, and by developing a practical solution, we’ve unlocked a very exciting opportunity” Morse said. Rugged Robotics is operating out of the East End Maker Hub, a makerspace and manufacturing center in Houston’s East End. Morse said it was a no-brainer to choose the incubator as they started growing. “The East End Maker Hub was initially attractive for two reasons,” Morse said.  “First, access to the machine tools and rapid prototyping equipment we were familiar with at TXRX, and second, flexibility.” He added that the flexibility of the leases allows the company to move into bigger spaces as they evolve. Next month will mark a year since the $38 million innovation hub opened. Urban Partnerships Community Development Corporation says the facility is 95% occupied with 49 tenants from candle making to biotech/manufacturing, a sign of a successful first year. The East End Maker Hub aims to create 1,000 new companies over the next five years to boost Houston’s advanced manufacturing jobs. Houston has one of the largest manufacturing workforces in the country with more than 213,100 workers, but it declined by 8.6% between 2015 and 2020, according to the Partnership’s analysis. “We've retained or created over 330 jobs thus far and aim for 500 in the coming years. We're a model for how to use public funding to jump start development to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Natasha Azizi, Executive Director of UP CDC and East End Maker Hub. The East End Maker Hub is part of several landmark projects to position Houston as a national leader in tech innovation.  According to the Houston Tech Report, venture capital investments have grown  from $423 million in 2017 to $2.02 billion in 2021, a near five-fold increase and an unprecedented 47.4% growth rate per year. Click to expand Rugged Robotics team Rugged Robotics recently raised $9.4 million in Series A funding to help the company hire more people, expand its products and more. “We’ve built an amazing foundation, and I’m excited by the road ahead.  Our team is truly inspiring.  I can’t wait to see what we’re capable of,” Morse said. Learn more about Houston's advanced manufacturing sector and innovation ecosystem.   
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Economic Development

Now is the Time to Hire Houston Youth

5/12/22
With summer comes a valuable opportunity for employers to tap into up-and-coming talent to accomplish real, meaningful work while investing into the workforce Houston will need to ensure it retains its competitive 21st-century economy: The paid internship.  Meaningful internships can empower an entire generation while building toward a more prosperous future by giving students and young adults an opportunity to ‘window-shop’ for careers in a variety of industries and settings and recognize career pathways, to learn workforce behaviors, and understand how their coursework applies in a business setting.  Since 2016, the City of Houston has helped employers access a diverse spectrum of more than 26,000 young, talented Houstonians aged 16 through 24 through its Hire Houston Youth program. The program has also facilitated job readiness training for over 35,000 youth and adults. This summer, the City is asking employers to provide 16,000 summer internship, job, and apprenticeship opportunities. Program details: Internships should last at least eight weeks (June 13 and Aug. 5, 2022) Internships should pay at least $10 per hour; the average pay in 2021 was $15 per hour Employers without openings can sponsor an intern or register and join the Hire Houston Youth community Additionally, the City is hosting a job and resource fair on June 11, 2022, at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. The fair is open to employers from across the entire region and jobseekers of all ages.   See more details and add your openings for the Hire Houston Youth program here. Register for the June 11 job and resource fair here.
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Related Events

Airports

State of the Airports

Houston Airports is one of North America's largest and busiest multi-airport systems in the world and plays an important role in the greater Houston region's position as a great global city.  State of the…

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Additional Resources

See below for additional resources in Innovation. 

Need more information about Innovation in Houston? Your dedicated team member can help:

  • Assist in site selection analysis
  • Assist in evaluating and applying for incentives
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  • Provide data on key business facilities
  • Facilitate and foster key introductions
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