Thursday AM February 8th, 2007

Houston Technology Center introduces new president and CEO...

Walter UlrichThe Houston Technology Center is welcoming a new president and CEO Walter Ulrich (ALL-rich). HTC clients and graduates contribute more than $225 million a year into the local economy with the center's business acceleration and commercialization efforts.

"It helps them to understand what it takes to be successful. You get a bright scientist out of a major university who has no business experience. You know, whoever said 'build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door' was either an idiot or a communist! Right? Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, you know of many companies that have survived because of great marketing with, quite frankly, mediocre products. Here, typically an emerging company, typically you see great products—great product ideas. The products need to be refined, business plans need to be put together to raise money, marketing plans need to be developed, introductions to customers are needed, and as the companies become more capable in telling their stories, introductions to venture capitalists. The Houston Technology Center does that."

Ulrich is one of the 17 original members of Governor Rick Perry's $200 million Emerging Technology Fund committee.

"The state of Texas has the dubious distinction of being a net exporter or intellectual property. We have smart people in their garages doing really cool things that are turning out to be very large businesses. But in the past they've often been funded out of Silicon Valley and those companies have had to move west. Or out of Route 128 in Boston, or Research Triangle Park. The $200 million is designed to help companies bridge that gap between the friends and family—that is, you know, that kind of do it on their credit card—to the point where professional investors are willing to be interested in doing it."

Ulrich says HTC is not just a source for acceleration and commercialization, it's also a place.

"We have a terrific building here with a number of client companies. It's a hotbed of energy of emerging technology executives working their businesses, running into the hall to other people in the same similar situation, where they can exchange ideas with, running into members of our board of directors that are very successful businessmen, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs themselves."

Former HTC executive Paul Frison (Fri-SAHN) will continue in an active role in special events and attracting technology companies to become tenants in its newly-expanded facility.

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