David Ferris over at Forbes gives a fascinating look at a new tech start up incubator 'Surge Accelerator' in the traditionally environmentally suspect Houston:
Surge wants to serve a gap in Houston’s startup ecosystem: the entrepreneur who has a great idea but lacks the money, plan or contacts to be of interest to venture capitalists. The startup gets $30,000 or more in funding, three months of office space and business plan advice, and introductions to energy executives and local VCs like Energy Ventures and Limerock Partners. In exchange, Surge takes a six percent equity stake in the company.
This accelerator model, popularized by ventures like TechStars and Y Combinator, is becoming familiar in high-tech hubs like Silicon Valley and the Boston but is rare in Texas. Its counterparts are Capital Factory in Austin and Tech Stars Cloud in San Antonio; another energy-focused accelerator is Greenstart out of San Francisco.
While the concept isn't new in of itself, it's definitely a sign of a cultural shift in the energy world. If it can happen in Houston, it can happen anywhere.