Capital Factory Announces Merger With Station Houston

Startup hub is also partnering with Rice University and the Ion

Austin tech incubator and collab space Capital Factory has been busy in its mission to encourage innovation among startups in Texas, and has just taken another step in its expansion. Today founder and CEO Joshua Baer announced a merger with Station Houston and a partnership with Rice University and innovation hub the Ion.

Capital Factory CEO Joshua Baer in 2013 (Photo by John Anderson)

Station Houston is a startup hub for Houston’s tech innovation community that strives to provide startups with resources and connections.

In September 2019, it was announced that Station Houston would be incorporated into the Ion, another startup hub currently being developed by Rice University. The Ion is a self-proclaimed “nucleus for innovation in Houston,” that fosters an “an inclusive community and culture where entrepreneurs, academic institutions and corporations come together to solve some of the world’s greatest problems.”

In the press release, Baer said Capitol Factory wants to provide Station Houston members with the benefits of Capital Factory, at no additional cost. It will also connect Station Houston’s mentor network to the Texas-wide network in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio.

Baer laid out his vision for a unified Texas startup scene with the Texas Startup Manifesto released in 2017. Through it he hoped to incorporate “Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and the rest of the state into a Texas Startup Megatropolis” for recruiting talent, fundraising and acquiring customers. Baer’s company has successfully engaged with hundreds of startups across Texas since then.

“Texas is already the 10th largest economy in the world by GDP and one of the most friendly states for business and startups,” Baer said in the press release. “Texas entrepreneurs shouldn’t need to fly to the coasts to raise funding or meet customers.”

Founded in Austin in 2008, Capital Factory launched a second location in Dallas in 2018. In 2019, 40 of the 120 startups that joined Capital Factory Accelerator came from Dallas, according to Bryan Chambers, general partner and VP of Accelerator. After the success, Capital Factory wanted to expand in Houston as well.

In the press release, Baer explains the city is attractive due to its position in three rapidly expanding industries. “Houston brings unique and powerful talents to the table that tend to focus on the dirty, dull, and dangerous – two of their biggest industries are Energy and Space. ... The other is of course Health, with the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world.”

Houston Exponential, a nonprofit organization designed to, according to their website, “accelerate the growth of Houston’s innovation ecosystem,” will also be part of Capital Factory’s expansion in Houston, though the details remain unclear. Harvin Moore, president of Houston Exponential, said Capital Factory’s expansion in Houston is “a win for Houston startups and for our booming [tech] ecosystem.”

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Capital Factory, Joshua Baer, The Ion, Rice University

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