Houston is home to SURGE Accelerator, an incubation and mentorship program for startups in the energy software space.  At a year and a half old SURGE can provide the accepted startup company with $30,000 in seed funding, free office space, and access to dozens of mentors in Houston’s vibrant energy sector in exchange for a six percent common equity stake. Over the course of the three-month program, the entrepreneurs focus their business models and learn from their mentors and one another; the program culminates with the opportunity to pitch to investors on SURGE Day.

Surge isn’t an answer for every kind of idea, but for those working in data that addresses energy production and consumption the welcome looks to be very warm.  That is no surprise as the Houston area has nearly 4,000 energy-related companies.  Its an epicenter, a big one, making the matter of who to see and meet and why something that both startups and potential customers or clients need help with due to the sheer numbers involved.

Sarah Groen, a business consultant and investor and her business partner, Kirk Brand Coburn, are working to change the status quo.  Groen says, “Energy companies can be very risk-averse. That makes the market very tough for new businesses to break into.”

The offering at Surge is simple; it’s an incubation and mentorship program for startups with $30,000 in seed funding, free office space, and access to dozens of mentors in Houston’s vibrant energy sector in exchange for a six percent common equity stake. Over the course of the three-month program, the entrepreneurs focus their business models and learn from their mentors and one another; the program culminates with the opportunity to pitch to investors on SURGE Day.

Four members of the initial class of 11 startups have received venture funding; two more are in the process of closing a funding round. “We’re really excited about how well they’re doing,” says Groen. Even if only a fraction of SURGE’s startups are successful, they could have a significant impact on Houston’s economy, she adds: “We believe we can add $350 million to this city’s economy in the next 10 years, thinking conservatively.”

Over time, the Surge incubator could play a significant role in improving energy efficiency and developing green energy products with mainstream appeal.

The current class application period ends November 30th so get to the site and apply straight away.

Your humble writer apologizes for the short time frame but only minutes went by from awareness to putting this post up.  It looks like there will be more classes coming, so get set.

I wish you the best of luck to you and Surge.  The Surge business model looks like a very innovative twist that is getting results.  It’s model that others might look into as well.


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