This week Houston was named the #4 Up-And-Coming Tech City by Forbes Magazine. Here’s what Forbes had to say about Houston:
“Houston hasn’t exactly earned a reputation as a city teeming with techies. But that’s changing. "Fifteen years ago, we had all the assets, but we weren’t really developing them," says Walter Ulrich, chief executive of the Houston Technology Center, the state’s largest technology incubator. "So all the leaders of Houston got together and recognized that the city needed to diversify its economy. There’s been this tremendous transition."
Houston’s strategy: Smash different discoveries together. To wit: Houston’s itRobotics, founded in 2002, has developed new cost-cutting robots that inspect a variety of boilers and energy pipelines for structural flaws.
Other Houston start-ups are commercializing technologies originally developed at local research institutions. Nanospectra Biosciences, a local drug delivery company, is working on a nano-scale particle (pioneered at Rice University) that destroys cancerous tumors. The particles are injected in the bloodstream and accumulate inside cancerous tumors. When the tumor is exposed to a laser, the particles absorb the near-infrared light and convert it into thermal energy, destroying the tumor.”
An interesting back story on how the article came together: the reporter, William Pentland, contacted Christina Garza, media relations manager at the Greater Houston Partnership about the story. Christina referred him to Walter Ulrich, president and CEO of the Houston Technology Center [link]. Walter provided the background for the story and as you can see was quoted. It’s great to see the collaboration between the GHP and HTC lead to such a prominent feature.
One more local connection to note is Rice University. The two companies mentioned, itRobotics and Nanospectra Biosciences were both founded based on innovations at Rice and are licensed through the Rice Office of Technology Transfer.
Kudos to Houston for providing the environment where technology start-ups can flourish. The main reason we created the Fast Tech 50 program was to change the mindset of those outside of Houston about our advancement in tech savvy.
The 2007 Fast Tech 50 companies are responsible for creating almost 3,250 jobs and over $387 million in revenues to the local economy. Houston is about more than just oil and the space program (which are pretty good in their own right!). No one industry dominates the Houston business climate anymore. The city’s businesses are as diverse as its people and cultures.
Congratulations to the GHP, HTC and Rice, it’s great to see your efforts in the tech community being recognized on a national level.