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Empowering Entrepreneurs To Make A Difference In Houston

By Chris Tomlinson
Houston Chronicle

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr)  The HAN network in Houston (Houston Angel Network), is a critical part of boosting entrepreneurship in the region.  The group of angel investors sifts through more than 100 business plans a year, providing critical early stage funding that adds new business to Houston’s economy. For women in business in Houston, here is is link to the website for more info http://houstonangelnetwork.org/

Houston Chronicle

Tucked away in the rear corner of a luxury hotel near the Galleria, some of Houston’s most adventurous investors gather once a month in a nondescript beige conference room for a live version of the television show “Shark Tank.”

Four entrepreneurs take turns in front of about 40 investors, paging through their best PowerPoint slides and explaining why their startup has the potential to generate a 1,000 percent return. But unlike the television show, the so-called angels are dressed for casual Friday, the room is plain, and the gentle questioning belies the hopes, dreams and cash at stake.

“From our perception, we’re not like ‘Shark Tank’ at all,” argues Rob Tucci, owner of a chemical export business. “Shark Tank has a fast, rather brutal quality. We’re not like that.”

Tucci exemplifies why the startup community calls early stage investors angels. He’s a successful CEO with the time and cash to invest in young entrepreneurs who want to solve society’s problems and make a lot of money doing it.

He’s also a former president of the Houston Angel Network, a group that allows investors like him to flock together and share their expertise in deciding which companies are worthy of pushing forward. Angels are often the earliest investors, getting involved ahead of venture capitalists and long before investment bankers think about an initial public offering.

The network, better known in the startup community as HAN, is a critical part of boosting entrepreneurship in the region, sifting through more than 100 business plans a year and providing the critical early stage funding that adds new business to Houston’s economy. The group is one of nine networks in Texas, and with 102 members was the most active network in the country in 2015.

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