[00:00] Start of episode
[02:25] Accounting = much more than numbers
[06:20] Working for the NFL
[13:55] NFL sports tech and innovation
[16:24] Mission of Houston Exponential
[22:00] Houston’s up-and-coming industries
[30:50] What’s next for Houston Exponential
What do you think is an up-and-coming industry that investors and founders should be on the lookout for?
As Houston moves away from an oil and gas identity, Natara says many exciting things are happening in the city. From an emerging energy transition to a thriving healthcare industry, Houston is becoming a diverse ecosystem of both sectors and people. Natara says that there’s no other city that can do diversity like Houston can.
“One of those things I think is so special is supporting diverse founders, supporting diverse companies, and things of that nature—we're really leaning into that”
What more could ecosystem builders do to better equip founders?
First off, Natara says that people need not think of Houston as a cookie-cutter place. It’s not trying to become the next Silicon Valley or take what Austin has. Houston is unique, Natara says, with people who tinker, build, and launch startups. Moving forward, Natara says that Houston must embrace its unique identity by supporting those inside and outside of Houston, nurturing incubators and innovation centers around the region.
“Here, you have so many people who have families and live in the outskirts of Houston and so having them to come in for an accelerator incubator every single day might not be what's needed.”
What is Houston Exponential’s mission?
First, Natara says that Houston Exponential was looking out for the groundswell of startup development organizations. They wanted people to come in—accelerators, incubators, and investors. With not a lot of money invested in Houston at the time, Natara says that Houston Exponential needed to fill the void. The essence for Houston Exponential, from the start, has been to bring people to Houston. The city has all the ingredients—someone just needs to bring them together, Natara says.
“One of the best things about Houston is that people collaborate even if they're competitors.”
Busting two myths about Houston
The first myth that Natara breaks right out of the gate is the idea that Houston doesn’t have any talent. While Houston does import and export talent, Natara says Houston has robust talent, ready and willing to go—they just need the right resources and the guidance to the right places, she says. The second myth? Houston doesn’t have money. Natara says that Houston surely has money but maybe not investors in tech and innovative spaces. Part of Houston Exponential’s mission is pointing these investors to the right places.
“They're investing in energy, they're investing in health and life sciences and now it's time for us to help make sure that they're aware of their other opportunities. That's an education thing. That's not a ‘lack of’ thing.”