Monday, 23 December 2013 02:20

Out of the box: Walter Ulrich

Emerging technology: HTC’s work with entrepreneurs and startup companies provides them with in-depth guidance

I started out as a geek, a technologist — I loved dealing with technology. But as I grew in my career, I realized that technology was only a means to an end and the end was to do something interesting, something that would help people, patients or companies succeed.

So I became a business person, and I love being at the Houston Technology Center because it combines that little geek that is deep down inside me with the joy that I find in translating technology into commercial success, business success, new companies and good jobs.

The Houston Technology Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is the largest technology business incubator and accelerator in Texas, advancing the commercialization of emerging technology companies in Greater Houston.

In fact, the center has been named one of Forbes’ “Ten Technology Incubators Changing the World,” and one of “Twelve Business Incubators Changing the World.”
Each day, the staff and partners of the Houston Technology Center work closely with entrepreneurs and startup companies providing them with in-depth strategic and tactical business guidance, fundraising advice and connecting them to opportunities, allies and capital.

Promoting ‘tech city’

As a catalyst for change, economic growth and development, the Houston Technology Center’s focus is to assist in the acceleration and commercialization of emerging technology companies. The Houston Technology Center also promotes Houston as a leading technology city and serves as a hub for the local technology business community.

Supported by more than 300 of Houston’s leading corporations and academic institutions, as well as the Greater Houston Partnership, Texas Medical Center, NASA-Johnson Space Center and the City of Houston, the Houston Technology Center has become the region’s center of technology entrepreneurship by assisting companies within several key sectors: energy, information technology, life sciences, nanotechnology and NASA/aerospace related technologies.

There is no end in the application of new technologies to solve the world’s problems, whether it is clean energy, remediating the atmosphere and the water, working with national defense and terrorist issues, the technologies that we see every day are applicable. And we are not talking about generations; we are talking about years.

In 13 years of operation, the Houston Technology Center has provided feedback to more than 1,000 companies and coached more than 250 companies, helping them raise $1.5 billion in capital and liquidity events, and creating nearly 5,000 jobs.

The Houston Technology Center serves as the Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization for Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Emerging Technology Fund, assisting small to midsize technology firms expediting the commercialization of new life-changing inventions and improving research at Texas universities.

Character counts

It is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to work with the entrepreneurs who are making these kinds of changes for our community, for our state and for the world.

These entrepreneurs are supported not only by the Houston Technology Center, and my colleagues, but they are supported by volunteers — hundreds of volunteers — and sponsors and board members like Jim McIngvale who each contribute in their own way.

McIngvale has proven to be extraordinarily successful, but the characteristics that he brought to create Gallery Furniture are the characteristics that we look for in all the entrepreneurs we work with — hard work, integrity, persistence and a positive outlook on life.

Walter Ulrich, president and CEO of the Houston Technology Center, was previously CEO of several technology companies and an executive with two major global management-consulting firms. He also serves as chairman of the Gulf Coast Center for Innovation and Commercialization, serves on several boards and is active in major community organizations. Early in his career, he was responsible for the development of the first successful email service. For more information, visit
www.houstontech.org.

To learn more about the Houston Technology Center, like its Facebook page www.facebook.com/HoustonTechnologyCenter and follow on Twitter @HouTechCenter.

Published in Columnist