David Gow, CEO of Gow Media and SportsMap Tech Acquisition Group, joins the pod to talk about telling the stories of Houston at CultureMap, SportsMap, and InnovationMap. With a background in sports radio and a passion for embracing Texas’ local culture, David isn’t afraid to engage with the newest subjects circling around the Houston ecosystem. Talking points for this episode include embracing the intersection of culture and sports, encouraging energy transition, and exploring brand innovation.
[00:00] Podcast starts - Putting Houston Innovation on the Map
[01:43] Leaving the world of Compaq for Gow Media
[09:38] Expanding Gow Media to include CultureMap
[14:46] Meeting Houston’s ecosystem needs with InnovationMap
[21:15] Embracing a new energy future at EnergyCapitalHTX.com
[27:13] Creating & raising funds for a SPAC
What was your reasoning behind acquiring CultureMap as a sports media company?
After diving into entrepreneurship with a sports media focus, David was presented with an opportunity from CultureMap to expand Gow Media’s influence. Originally unsure of where that partnership might go, David soon realized the importance of finding an intersection between sports and culture. Expanding his brand by acquiring CultureMap soon felt like a no-brainer and influenced the branding of future expansions as well.
“When you think about it, there is a huge intersection between sports and culture in our society. We're able to witness that intersection and we see it every day. There are all kinds of stories that we write that live at the intersection of sports and culture.”
How have you continued expanding the “Map” brand over the years?
Not only has CultureMap become a central piece of Gow Media, but so have SportsMap and InnovationMap. SportsMap felt like a great next step for David as Gow Media continued to tackle the intersection of sports and culture. Later, the third installment of InnovationMap solidified that Gow Media cares about passion-focused storytelling and about showing the best parts of Texas culture.
“What we provide to our audiences is topics of passion. Our audiences are passionate about food, culture and the restaurant scene, certainly their sports teams, and people are passionate about innovation in the city. That's the place we like to be, with a map to those fun, different categories.”
What was the story behind creating InnovationMap as the third brand?
Houston Exponential and the Greater Houston Partnership needed a brand to point where stories of Houston’s tech and entrepreneur communities could be told. After approaching Gow Media, David felt a calling to expand beyond sports and culture, and to engage with the future of Houston. Innovation is a massively important part of Houston culture, David explains, and the work going into creating successful Houston tech businesses needs to be highlighted.
“The city needed a media outlet that would tell the stories of successes, so that when anybody wanted to tell the story about the tech community in Houston and the entrepreneurial ecosystems in Houston, it would be one platform where they could point to.”
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for Houston moving forward?
Beyond the “Map” brand, Gow Media has now announced the launch of EnergyCapitalHTX.com to keep up with what David believes is a massive opportunity for Houston: the energy transition. Normally hailed as an oil and gas capital, David believes Houston will soon become the leader in clean and alternative energy. A transition in energy and in industry deserves a place online where stories are told and technology is highlighted.
“Just as we created InnovationMap to support the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems, we've announced we're going to launch a media platform to tell the stories of energy transition. I think that's the next big wave and there’s a strong need for the city to exert leadership.”