Yesterday we were honored to receive first place in the Goradia Innovation Prize competition!
When I first announced that I would move back to Houston from Switzerland to launch Smart Office Energy Solutions, people thought I was crazy. “Why Houston?” “They don’t have startups there – just big oil companies!”
I assured them – or maybe I was just assuring myself – that Houston was a great place for starting up a venture. There’s a talented workforce here, a business-friendly political context, and the cost of living is just so, so, low. Plus, I contended, there is a nascent-but-growing support ecosystem for startups.
Well this award is proof of that. Smart OES has won many awards in the past, but I have often been somewhat cynical of their value. The recognition has been nice, but they haven’t done anything to advance our venture. Our joke has been that, if our company completely fails, we’ll dole out one award to each investor – those would be some expensive plaques!
This award, however, came with a cash prize, making it very helpful in advancing our venture! This shows how Houston is taking entrepreneurship seriously and literally putting its money where its mouth is. As I stated in my presentation, we have grand ambitions to create a massive worldwide market but we need help to achieve our lofty goals. Well, this helps.
So I offer my sincere thanks to the Houston Technology Center, its staff, the Goradia family who funded the prize, and the judges who selected us. You are helping foster entrepreneurship in Houston in very meaningful ways! And I offer my congratulations to the other Goradia Innovation Prize finalists. It is an honor to be counted among you and I hope that we will all become resounding success stories!
Now . . . back to working hard to live up to the hype!