William Marsh Rice University

Accelerator Hub at The Ion: Scaling Sustainable Ventures to Support Innovation in the Houston and Houston-Galveston Area

Houston, TX

Venture Challenge

Federal Share: $1,500,000
Local Match: $2,105,499

The proposed Accelerator Hub unites three complementary accelerator programs, amplifying these programs’ strengths and enabling more effective and inclusive development of entrepreneurial talent. The Accelerator Hub will unite The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator (ISRCA), The Rice Alliance CleanTech Accelerator (RACTA), and DivInc Accelerator. The ISRCA has already launched its second cohort, the RACTA draws its strength from the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, and DivInc, which serves minority and women-led startups, seeks to expand by launching its first cohort in Houston. Backed by Rice University, a world-class institution, and the City of Houston, the Accelerator Hub is uniquely positioned to leverage these urban development commitments to scale sustainable ventures. Co-locating the ISRCA, RACTA, and DivInc enables the Accelerator Hub to be a robust ecosystem connector with a collaborative, stakeholder-based approach to deploying technology that makes Houston and the Greater Houston-Galveston Area smarter, more resilient, and more sustainable; commercializing research; and activating, developing, and funding minority entrepreneurial talent. This proximity and collaboration minimize barriers to access to support and maximizes connectivity among startup, mentor, investor, industry, community, and stakeholder networks, as well as amplifies and optimizes startups ’capacity to drive relevant, scalable, and sustainable innovation and economic growth, with clear and achievable success metrics. In this way, the Accelerator Hub as a whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, yielding exponentially additive value that builds momentum for the Houston.