Houston’s Next Step: The Role of Funds of Funds in Venture Capital

Recently, Houston Exponential announced plans to create a venture capital Fund of Funds (VC FOF) to support the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. This strategy has been used by other cities, such as Detroit and Cincinnati, to spur local startup growth. Private firms also offer VC Fund of Funds. What does this type of fund look like, and how has it played out in other locations? The Basics FOFs are funds that invest in multiple smaller funds. The increased diversification that they offer invest...
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The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

McNair Center Intern Shelby Bice attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference along with 18,000 other computer scientists on October 4-6, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.  The Grace Hopper Celebration honors the legacy of Grace Hopper, a trailblazer in computer programming who led the team that developed the first programming language, a precursor to COBOL. The conference is organized by The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, a nonprofit organization founded in ...
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Interview with Dr. Armen Orujyan

Dr. Armen Orujyan is the founder and chairman of Athgo, an entrepreneurship platform that is in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, U.N. Department of Public Information and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Athgo advances innovation ecosystems in Europe and Africa and has established recurring global innovation forums at the U.N. and World Bank. Orujyan earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000 and hi...
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Social Capital Wins over Financial and Human Capital

Entrepreneurship can spur economic growth and job creation. As a result, state and local governments are seeking ways to establish entrepreneurial ecosystems. One way to strengthen an ecosystem is to increase its social capital. Social capital is the networks of relationships among people who work in a particular field. Lack of social capital is among the top reasons that nine out of ten startups fail. Money and skills are not enough for success in entrepreneurship. Aspiring entrepreneurs als...
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Entrepreneurship for All: Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. is known for its politicians and bureaucrats, but it's also where the top-20 U.S. government contractors are based. In recent decades, high-tech, high-growth entrepreneurship has been on the rise in the U.S. capital. Startup ventures, coupled with a diverse economy, largely fueled by the federal government, have led D.C. to emerge as a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. History of Entrepreneurship The diversified needs of the federal government have led to a varied ecosystem. F...
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MassChallenge: Connecting Startups and Big Business

Corporations and startups are moving toward early stage interactions. MassChallenge, a highly successful nonprofit accelerator, has been connecting corporations and startups since its 2010  launch in Boston. MC has several US and international locations, which accelerated 372 startups in 2016. MC delivers positive results and has been listed among the Best Startup Accelerators by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, led by Baker Institute Rice faculty scholar Yael Hochberg.  There are over ...
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Mile-High Entrepreneurship

Boulder has long been considered Colorado’s startup hub, but Denver is emerging as a strong contender. Mentoring and venture capital support have helped Denver’s ecosystem expand rapidly so that it is well on its way to becoming self-sustaining. Denver has garnered a reputation as one of the best places for high-tech, high-growth ventures.The total number of tech startups located in downtown Denver has increased by 13% in the last two years; 4% above the national average in new startup growth...
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Read the Houston Entrepreneurship Pipeline Report

This paper examines the startup training institutions in Houston, Texas, and what they are doing to open up the city’s pipeline of startup firms. Recent academic research has shown that startup training institutions can have an enormous positive effect on an ecosystem’s growth. A good ecosystem pipeline turns out a large quantity of high-quality startup firms that have received top-tier training. Houston’s accelerators and incubators do not perform at the levels of benchmark institutions. The...
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Development of Research Parks and Innovation Districts in Houston

On May 4, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated his support for building a data science center. The next day, he endorsed plans for an Innovation District. How would these types of development promote entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth in Houston? The Basics What are Research Parks, like the proposed data science center, and Innovation Districts? Research Parks promote research, technological development and commercialization by creating a high density of universities and rese...
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Gateway to Entrepreneurship: St. Louis

You probably know St. Louis as the Gateway to the West, but the city is emerging as a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. For decades, St. Louis followed the economic development model of attracting and keeping large out-of-town companies with generous tax breaks and subsidies. In the 1990's, political and business leaders became frustrated with the slow economic growth under these policies and began implementing entrepreneur-friendly policies. While the city has not abandoned tax breaks and ot...
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