Second Annual Bayou Startup Showcase Emphasizes Collaboration, Innovation

Published on September 14, 2015

UH RED Labs Partners with Rice OwlSpark to Give Founders Increased Access to Mentors, Tech Entrepreneurship Scene

University of Houston and Rice University students involved with technology startup companies participated in the recent Bayou Startup Showcase. See more photos from the event at

University of Houston and Rice University students and founders of technology startup companies participated in the recent Bayou Startup Showcase. See more photos from the event at

The second annual Bayou Startup Showcase brought hundreds to the University of Houston campus in August, as UH’s RED Labs technology accelerator partnered with Rice University’s Owl Spark to give 14 startup teams the opportunity to present their business concepts.

Housed in the C. T. Bauer College of Business at UH, RED Labs brought six companies to the event, which capped off a summer of shared coworking space at TMCx.

“We take teams of technology startups and connect them to mentors, give them a space to work out of, provide curriculum and educational materials that they can learn from, and connect them to the resources they need to launch their companies,” said clinical assistant professor Hesam Panahi, founder of RED Labs.

This class of RED Labs founders created companies based on innovative technologies, including a service to help customers discover new board games and a device that turns a crowd into a coordinated photography team.

“Over the course of the summer, we have the teams work on everything from their business models to how to pitch. All of that comes together at the Bayou Startup Showcase,” Panahi said.

Panahi and OwlSpark Managing Director Kerri Smith collaborate to align the accelerators and to provide guidance to participants.

“It’s been an awesome collaboration for our teams to work together for a 12-week period,” Smith said.

RED Labs founders represent majors and programs from across the UH campus, and through the program, they learn valuable skills in order to help their business ideas grow from concept into reality.

“The whole purpose of being in the program was to grow the company and learn all the business knowledge,” said Juan Gallegos, a mechanical engineering senior. “I’m an engineer, so I don’t have any business skills. Being here at RED Labs tremendously grew my knowledge of business.”

RED Labs and OwlSpark continue to further their collaboration by partnering for this year’s 3 Day Startup event, which will be held Oct. 23-25 at TMCx.

By Stephanie Phillips

Bayou Startup Showcase 2015 – Highlights

The Bayou Startup Showcase is a celebration of entrepreneurship, the startup community of Houston, and the university accelerator programs that support them. Jointly hosted by Rice University’s OwlSpark startup accelerator and the University of Houston’s RED Labs startup accelerator, the Bayou Startup Showcase provides an opportunity for startup teams from both accelerator programs to showcase their businesses to the greater Houston community. See full event video.