Bauer Business Focus

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Walter Ulrich | May 7, 2010

Published on May 5, 2010

Houston Technology Center CEO Walter Ulrich, right, talked to KUHF business reporter Ed Mayberry about the center’s recent work with small businesses to develop innovative technology.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on nurturing young companies with breakthrough technologies with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7FM.

Walter Ulrich, the CEO of the Houston Technology Center (HTC), talked to KUHF Business reporter Ed Mayberry recently about the center’s role in nurturing young companies with breakthrough technologies.

Recently Forbes.com named HTC one of the “Ten Technology Incubators Changing the World.” Ulrich said that distinction says a lot about Houston.

“It’s a terrific recognition of what the community has achieved. It’s a global recognition of how far this community has come diversifying its economy with cool technologies.”

Ideas promoted by the business incubator include OrthoAccel Technologies, with a device designed to halve the time needed to straighten teeth with braces; Smart Pipe, which fixes aging high-pressure underground pipes with little digging; and Nanospectra Biosciences, which hopes to fundamentally change cancer treatment.

“One of our graduate companies will make chemotherapy obsolete. What they do is use gold nanoshells and teach them to go after cancer cells and only cancer cells. They can be heated up and kill cancer cells only.”

The slow economy has made it harder for entrepreneurs to find the financial support they need. This means the HTC has to be more selective when choosing which ventures to support with consulting, access to financing, space and other services.

There are just three criteria needed to be a client:

“We are looking for businesses that are growing and creating good jobs,” Ulrich said. “They need to be able to get to $30 million in revenues within five years. With life sciences there’s a longer period but there needs to be an equivalent payoff.”

“The second thing we are looking for need to have a breakthrough technology.”

“And the CEO or founder must be coachable.”

There are some entrepreneurs with great ideas that don’t make the cut because further development work is needed.

“We are good about counseling them whether they should come with us, or they are too early on in the process and they may need to go to the University of Houston Small Business Development Center to get their basic ground work together.”

The HTC is holding its annual awards banquet – The Red, White & Blue Celebration of Entrepreneurship – on Thursday, May 13. More information is available on the HTC website.

Click here to hear the full Bauer Business Focus interview.

 

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