Houston Exponential expanding to Fort Bend County for startup programming

Jun 02, 2022
Chris Mathews

After recently being acquired, Houston Exponential is growing its reach in the Bayou City region.

Houston Exponential, or HX, is partnering with the Fort Bend Marketing Program, managed by the Ford Bend Economic Development Council, to expand its presence into Fort Bend County. HX, which works to develop the region's startup and innovation economy, plans to establish a local headquarters in Fort Bend County to better reach founders and early-stage companies in the area, the parties announced June 2.

The efforts to expand HX's reach into Fort Bend County comes shortly after the organization announced being acquired by Houston-based Gow Cos. The expansion into Fort Bend will be the first of many planned expansion efforts for HX under the leadership of Gow Cos., the company said.

"It’s long overdue," said Lawson Gow, partner at Gow Cos. and interim CEO at HX, of the expansion. "We are very optimistic about the innovation potential in Fort Bend County and are excited to be partnering with the Fort Bend Economic Development Council and Fort Bend County to kickoff this initiative."

Fort Bend County is home to nearly 1 million residents and is among the fastest-growing areas in the Houston metro region — both reasons HX was interested in the expansion. Through the partnership, HX plans to offer programming and activities for founders, startups and small businesses in Fort Bend County.

"Our county is ripe for an explosion of innovation and entrepreneurialism, and we are excited HX will help support and grow our innovation community," said Rachelle Kanak, executive vice president of marketing and operations at Fort Bend County Economic Development Council.

Formerly a nonprofit organization, HX is transitioning into a for-profit business after being acquired by Gow Cos. HX plans to leverage connections with the Gow family's portfolio of business interests in the Houston region: Gow's father, David Gow, is chairman and CEO of Gow Media, which owns ESPN Radio Houston, SportsMap Radio Network, CultureMap and several other digital content sites.

In addition to HX, Gow Cos. also owns sports festival provider Pokatok and sports tech accelerator Pokatok Labs. Before launching Gow Cos., Gow founded The Cannon, a local network of entrepreneur and startup coworking facilities.

In addition to the HX brand, the deal included HX events like the Houston Tech Rodeo and the Listies, a local tech industry awards gala. The company said it will recognize the sponsorships that were previously contracted for upcoming events.

Houston Exponential was originally formed in October 2017 through the combination of the Houston Technology Center, the Greater Houston Partnership's technology innovation roundtable and the Mayor's Technology & Innovation Task Force.

Founded in 1986, Fort Bend EDC is a public-private partnership and membership-based organization aimed at promoting economic development within Fort Bend County.