12 Houston accelerators that your startup should know

Michelle Vernaza
12 Houston accelerators that your startup...

With Texas’ thriving business ecosystem it’s no surprise that startups from both the east and west coast are relocating to Texas, specifically in major cities like Austin and Houston. As the largest city in Texas and fourth-largest in the country, Houston offers unrivaled opportunities for early stage tech startups looking to hit the ground running. 

For startups, there’s no better way to fast-track your growth than by joining an accelerator program. 

If you’re in the Houston area and finding yourself thinking of what accelerators would best fit your startup, here are 12 of the best Houston accelerators your startup should know about. 

Founder Institute HTX

Founded in 2009 by Adeo Ressi and Jonathan Greechan, Founder Institute has assisted in launching over 5,000 companies across over 200 cities, making it the largest pre-seed startup accelerator in the world. Early on, it became evident that founders needed assistance when it came to the structure and feedback of their startup. In return, the growing need for accelerators helped the Founder Institute grow rapidly amongst hundreds of cities.

Texas Medical Center Healthcare Accelerator

Texas Medical Center’s Healthcare Accelerator, formerly TMCx, is a leading program for emerging digital health and medical device startups. For healthcare startups, this accelerator is an unmatched opportunity to build your startup with the help of top medical experts and access to top-tier hospitals and seasoned advisors. 


OwlSpark, founded in 2012, is an accelerator program targeted to Rice University students, staff, faculty, and alumni within five years after they’ve graduated. With the help of OwlSpark, the Rice community can receive aid in anything from entrepreneurial assistance to early-stage startup help.

Fruition Technology Labs

Launched in the heart of Houston, Fruition Technology Labs provides entrepreneurs with a five-step program called the “5 Steps to Fruition.” Since its founding in 2013, its program strives to impact companies by implementing ways for startups to achieve substantial growth through a group of startups known as the Life Impact Innovations. 

Ion Smart Cities Accelerator

The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator supports technology-based startups throughout the Houston area. These startups are categorized into three different cohorts ranging from transportation to sustainability. The purpose of this accelerator is to better aid and accommodate the Houston population. 

Ion Aerospace Innovation Accelerator

Also operating out of The Ion building is the Ion Aerospace Innovation Accelerator. The program has partnered with the NASA Johnson Space Center and is focused on supporting minority business enterprises (MBEs) tackling aerospace-related challenges.


Co-founded by Preston L. James II in 2016, DivInc is a Texas-based accelerator with reach in Austin and Houston. Currently, the Houston program is focused on tech startups with innovative solutions that leverage 5G technology, like IoT, manufacturing, artificial intelligence, enterprise software, or e-commerce.

Since the accelerator is heavily focused on diversity, one of the requirements for the program is that the participating founder must be a person of color or a woman entrepreneur.

DivInc’s Houston accelerator is based out of The Ion alongside the Smart Cities and Aerospace accelerators.

Plug and Play Tech Center

Saeed Amidi founded Plug and Play Tech Center in 2006 with the intent to match corporate clients with startups seeking investment opportunities. From retail to food and beverage, Plug and Play offers its accelerator program across a vast group of industries. As a result of its ability to help a variety of startups, in 2019 alone, they’ve accelerated 1450 startups. 

MassChallenge Texas in Houston

Since 2017, MassChallenge Texas has raised $74 million in funding, generated $31.6 million in revenue, and helped 181 startups. Located in areas such as Austin, Boston, Houston, and Rhode Island, this accelerator’s methodology of creating meaningful change has created a big impact on how high-growth companies tackle challenges across the startup scene.

Greentown Labs Houston

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, our economy has only ten years to make significant changes in order to decrease the effects of climate change and global warming. However, CEO Emily Reichert believes that Greentown Labs can reduce these effects by supporting climate-tech startups in Houston that focus on energy, transportation, manufacturing, and more. Located in the Innovation District, Greentown Labs opened its doors on Earth Day 2021 and currently has 30 startup members. 

gBETA Houston

Founded in 2015, gBETA offers a seven-week accelerator program that helps speed up the growth of early-stage startups. Not only is gBETA nationally ranked, but it has also generated over 1,500 new jobs across the U.S. and Canada and raised $125 million in capital. 

Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator

Since its launch this year, Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator has recently stepped into the Houston accelerator scene with a focus on early-stage energy startups. This summer, 12 startups have been selected to go through its 12-week program, helping them with anything from fundraising to connecting with new partners and mentors.  

About Michelle Vernaza: Michelle is a communications Intern for Swyft, which is a tech PR firm in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft also has a small satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft has been listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas for two years running by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.

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