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Houston Exponential Launch
by Garrett Bryce w/photos courtesy City of Houston
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today held a news conference announcing the launch of Houston Exponential, a consolidated organization aimed at accelerating the development of Houston's “Innovation Academy”, focused on supporting high-growth, high-impact startup businesses.

Houston Exponential will be a joint effort of the Greater Houston Partnership's Innovation Strategy Office, the Mayor's Technology and Innovation Task Force, and the Houston Technology Center.

Gina Luna, chair of the Innovation Roundtable at the Greater Houston Partnership, made the announcement at the conference, noting the city's “innovation community.”

“As Houston works to attract jobs and talent to the region, it's essential to elevate our innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” Luna said. “Startups are the largest driver of job creation in cities today, as well as a critical component of our efforts to attract and retain corporate investment, venture capital and talent. Houston is fortunate to have an outstanding innovation community, with so many important partners.” Listen (10:12)

Luna will serve as chair of the new organization's governance board. Lori Vetters, president and CEO of the Houston Technology Center, will transition into an advisory role for Houston Exponential. Dick Williams, former president of Shell Wind Energy and former chair of the Houston Technology Center board, will serve as interim president and CEO of the organization.

Luna announced that Houston Exponential has already launched HX Venture Fund, the city's first venture capital “fund of funds” to invest in venture capital funds.

Turner spoke following Luna, discussed Houston Exponential as a “new hothouse” for pushing growth in the city, and stressed innovation's importance for Houston.

“Innovation is Houston's bedrock,” Turner said. “The city would have never thrived without the innovations it took to build the Ship Channel and the innovating that goes on every day in the energy industry, at the Texas Medical Center, at the Johnson Space Center, and at the manufacturing center.” Listen (2:53)

Other speakers included Barbara Burger, Houston Technology Center executive committee member and chevron Technology Ventures president, JR Reale, Station Houston co-founder, and Devin Baptiste, founder and CEO of Listen (9:20)

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