Again, I would like to say congratulations to the 2011 Class of the FastTech 50. Below are my remarks and a couple of pictures from Tuesday’s event.
On behalf of the Directors and Staff of PKF Texas it is honor and a privilege to be here today as we celebrate Houston’s future and the success of all these outstanding entrepreneurs, organizations, and their personnel. We are proud to again be the presenting sponsor of this great event for the eleventh consecutive year. Congratulations to all of you, the Fast Tech 50 Class of 2011.
Recently I came across an article by Mr. Steven Bertoni, on staff at Forbes with his article on America’s Fastest Growing Millionaire Cities.
While the Bay Area has its history of launching its start-up founders into the billionaire stratosphere, Houston is the Number 1 city in the US for growth in High NetWorth Individuals. A recent study quoted by the magazine showed that from 2009 to 2010 Houston’s millionaire population surged by 9.6% and the year before that it surged 29%.
Sounds like fertile ground for potential investors to me. Thank goodness we live in Houston, Texas! And while energy related businesses are contributing to that growth its creating opportunities in other areas for our city.
Recently, I had the honor of joining our some additional distinguished colleagues from the Tech Sector in putting on two Entrepreneurial Boot Camps for our folks in the Clear Lake-NASA region of our City. The response was overwhelming and we had to turn some folks away from the second class. This can do attitude, this desire to pick myself up and build something with my knowledge and expertise is as old as country’s early history. It’s in our blood, our psyche that we want to build and create something.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a long look at one of the country’s well know “Tech States” –California. According to the Texas State Data Center:
- More than 363, 000 Californians moved to Texas in the past five years contributing to increasing our population at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the nation.
- In 2010 alone, 70,000 Californians moved to Texas.
While the Texas miracle has been chugging along for 10 years, our Tech community has been rising and growing and gaining national as well as International attention. Some accolades regarding our infrastructure include:
What are some examples of this you ask?
- The Houston Technology Center was recognized as one of the Top Technology Incubators Changing the World by Forbes
- And the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship has assisted in the launch of over 305 technology companies and which has raised more than $1 billon in funding. And the largest and richest business plan competition in the world, awarding over $1.3 million in prize money last year.
Part of that infrastructure includes: the aforementioned (HTC); Rice Alliance; and support groups like The Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC), Bio-Houston, and the Houston Angel Network (HAN). All of these organizations are providing forums for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and find financial investors and backers. And newcomers like RedHouse and Surge Energy Incubators are on the horizon as well.
The Class of 2011 will continue the trend of being one of the youngest we have ever had in our program. In comparing this year’s group of winners, it’s clear that they represent a much younger and still developing group of early stage companies. They will have an impact on our local and national economy for many years to come, and they will add to the legacy of what makes Houston the top city in the country to start a business. The average growth rate for this year’s group is a staggering 65%.
During this past year we had over 349 companies express an interest in becoming a member of this exclusive club. The Fast Tech 50 class of 2011 continues Houston’s tradition of technology excellence. And they also bring to the forefront new and different stories of entrepreneurial success. This year’s list of honorees includes; 18 first-time honorees, 6 two-time honorees, 7 three-time honorees, 9 four-time honorees, 5 five-time honorees and 3 six-time honorees and 2 eight-time honorees.
Three of our honorees were started in the 1980s. Thirteen honorees were started in the 1990s. Finally, thirty four honorees were started since 2000. This group of honorees is by far, our youngest group of companies ever.
The local economic impact made by this year’s Fast Tech 50 is phenomenal! When reviewing the entire 50 companies, an impressive overview quickly emerges. These organizations are responsible for creating almost 4,700 jobs and over $831 million in revenues to our local economy.
In closing, I would like to again reference Dr. Kotkin who states Houston, perhaps more than any other city in the advanced industrial world, epitomizes the Rene Descartes ideal—applied once earlier to 17th century Amsterdam—of a great city offering “an inventory of the possible” to longtime residents and newcomers alike.
Congratulations to the Class of 2011!