This is the first of what will be recurring release notes to share the initiatives and efforts of Houston Exponential’s strategic committees. You can learn more about the HX committees on our Strategic Committees page.
Density and Collisions Committee
The Density and Collisions committee was formed in Q2 2020 with the charge of promoting physical and virtual interactions between all stakeholders across the Houston innovation ecosystem. Over the last few months, this group has expanded this mission to also focus on growing the reach of the Houston tech ecosystem and raise awareness in under-represented populations.
The first initiative of the Density and Collisions committee was to survey founders across Houston and pin point the major needs and challenges they face. This manifested in the form of the 2020 Founder Survey. Armed with that data the team was able to start brainstorming solutions.
One identified need, especially in light of communications moving virtual, was an online platform to connect our sprawling ecosystem. Fortunately, Houston Exponential was already building the HTX TechList which launched August 13. The HTX TechList is a big step in unifying the Houston innovation community and promoting the ecosystem globally.
From an outreach perspective, the committee identified two channels to focus its efforts on: learning from individuals who represent minorities in the tech ecosystem, and partnering with diverse organizations that align with HX’s mission of growing innovation in Houston. These are two ongoing initiatives that will be reported on in future release notes.
Talent and Learning Committee
The Talent and Learning committee refreshed its member base and re-established its charge, exploring different models to recruit and develop high quality startup and tech talent. After weighing a cost/benefit on various projects, the committee set on two paths. First was to help educate startups and founders on hiring best practices ranging from selecting a co-founder to scaling a team. Secondly, to identify high demand roles that currently lack talent in Houston, and work with educational institutions and corporate partners to bolster offerings in these fields.
The Investment committee is split into two sub-groups: Capital Summit, and Early-stage Investing Capacity. Both of these groups restarted efforts in Q2 with the joint goal of activating high net-worth individuals and educating angel investors about investing in early stage deals. The 2020 Capital Summit will be a remote event planned for later this year. This annual summit is a convergence of hundreds of top investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate innovation leaders from around the country with a focus on investment in Houston’s rapidly growing innovation ecosystem.
Thematic Focus Committees
We made some updates to the model for how our thematic committees operate. We moved from hosting recurring monthly/quarterly meetings, to direct outreach on a strategic basis when specific ecosystem needs arise. Our goal is more effective, impactful engagement. Reflecting on previous achievements (formation of the Ion, Rice Data Science Institute, HX Venture Fund, bringing Greentown Labs to Houston, etc) we realize that they were born from this more targeted approach to committees, and we want to replicate that success.