Author: John ‘JR’ Reale, Station Houston Co-founder & CEO

As part of our efforts to be at the forefront of industry solutions, Station Houston, Houston’s hub for technology and innovation, has partnered with Bechtel, one of the world’s most respected engineering, construction, and project management companies. The partnership focuses on enhancing opportunities by mentoring and engaging with local entrepreneurs regarding EPC industry challenges.

“Partnering with Station Houston and its community of startups supports Bechtel’s plan to connect directly with innovators who want to participate in solving some of the largest challenges in the EPC industry today,” said David Wilson, Chief Innovation Officer at Bechtel.

During the latest startup showcase in May 2018, we selected five founders based on their start-ups’ applicability to the EPC industry to pitch their ideas and receive feedback from a group of Bechtel experts. The technology presented varied from long-range hazardous gas sensors to fleet management software to a laser-based pipeline measurement system. Afterwards, the entrepreneurs met with a team of Bechtel innovators in a variety of workshops to further discuss their pitches and hone in on potential industry applications.

While securing capital investment is a key objective for many startups, gaining real-time guidance, experience, and expertise from a large, established, industry-leading corporation can be infinitely more valuable.

I’ve heard time and time again from startups at Station about how difficult it is for them to get their foot in the door at these large corporations. Our corporate partnership program, like the one with Bechtel, allows us to help with that pivotal first step. Our focus has always been to provide the Houston start-up community with access to a corporation driving a corporate innovation culture and a process to cultivate and implement new ideas and technology in the industry.

“The hardest part of starting a new company in a heavy industry is getting good feedback at the earliest stages of problem discovery.  A program like this allows you to get in front of multiple potential users at the same time and hear what they like, dislike, and really need,” said Kenley Clark, founder of Supply Insiders, a heavy industry procurement platform, and one of the attending entrepreneurs at the startup showcase.

"Because of the pace of change, it just makes sense to engage the widest community we can," Wilson said. "We're a builder and not a technology company, so it makes sense to plug into the smartest people in the locations we're in."

The startup showcase is part of broader corporate partnership between Station Houston and Bechtel. Station Houston works with the founders within their membership network to source, vet, and prepare startups to engage with corporate partners, like Bechtel. The main goal is to cultivate more innovation within their organization and throughout the broader Houston community.