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Forging the Future gets its first student entrepreneur guest, Adis Lujinovic, a Texas A&M Chemical Engineering senior and CEO of Switchless. Switchless, founded in 2022, is a startup pioneering the smart home industry with feature-rich and interconnected smart switches for commercial and residential use. Talking points include Adis’ early inspirati…
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Nate Thompson, Managing Partner of HTX Sports Tech, joins the show to talk about his impact as a key player in the sports technology industry. Sports tech is an industry experiencing massive growth and incredible innovations in recent years, and Nate has been at the forefront, providing strategic guidance to sports organizations, innovation ecosyst…
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Forging the Future finds itself in Aggieland with this week’s guest, 1876 Venture Director Shelly Brenckman. As a lifelong entrepreneur and learner, Shelly works with Texas A&M students on an independent, pro-bono startup and student accelerator. Talking points include gaining fundraising experience in unlikely places, catching the spark of entrepr…
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Timothy Neal, CEO of AmPd Labs, joins the pod to talk about the future of manufacturing and the industry side of 3D printing. Standing for “additive manufacturing product design,” AmPd Labs is a Houston-based additive manufacturing startup with capabilities that span the entire product lifecycle, from design to production. As the first CEO of AmPd,…
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Muriel Foster, Director at gBETA Houston, joins Forging the Future in a conversation about equipping entrepreneurs with skills, networks, and mentors for the challenges of the future. gBETA is a part of a growing community of accelerators under the brand gener8tor, a platform that empowers programs like gBETA to provide incredible opportunities for…
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Forging the Future heads to Austin for the Texas Venture Forum & Gala to discuss community-driven innovation happening across the state and the impacts of the Texas triangle on the global economy. From Austin’s own backyard to Latin America, Chris talks with directors, CEOs, and futurists in this mashup episode about their respective projects and t…
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Denny Chared, Founder of DC Finance, joins Chris at the Texas Venture Gala & Forum in Austin to discuss the current trends and future potential of family office investments in tech and venture. With origins in Israel and a base in New York, DC Finance builds an international network of high-net-worth individuals, family offices, and investors for m…
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Jay Steinfeld, Founder of Blinds.com and Entrepreneur in Residence at Rice Business School, presses rewind to take Chris to 2001 to discuss the founding, innovating, and selling his company. Originally started as Laura’s Draperies, Bedspreads, and More, Blinds.com was inspired by Jay’s desire to evolve continuously, and ended up being sold to Home …
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YJ Lin, Sr Program Manager at Dell for Startups, joins Chris at South by Southwest to celebrate 40 years of Dell and the company’s recent initiatives to make startups soar, both in Houston at The Cannon and around the world. Dell for Startups provides mentorship magic for innovative startups at every stage in their journey, offering tech support an…
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Thom Singer, CEO of Austin Technology Center (ATC), meets up with Chris at SXSW to celebrate the past of Austin’s amazing tech accomplishments and look to the future of a more innovative Texas. Made up of 280 companies and over 60,000 employees, the ATC fosters innovation and growth within Austin’s technology ecosystem by connecting, promoting, and…
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Chris takes Forging the Future on the road to Austin for 2024’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference, held from March 8 - 16. Speaking with special guests and subject matter experts Mike Courtney, Ilya Tabakh, and Ehab Gabr, this episode tackles a taste of South By and talks about some of the most innovative technologies on the (very) near horizon.…
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Chris talks with Kim Bach, the SVP of Customer Success and CPO at Dailyhuman for an episode on groundbreaking AI technology as a tool for fostering and sustaining human skills in organizations. Kim helped pilot Dailyhuman in the NFL Combine through a readiness mindfulness lab and says that through AI, Dailyhuman makes lasting changes in qualities l…
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Aaron Knape, CEO and Co-Founder of Rivalry Tech, joins the pod to talk about his journey to entrepreneurship and what it's like to scale a leading technology company in Houston. Rivalry Tech began with their mobile platform, sEATz, and has now expanded to revolutionize hospitality and convenience with their order fulfillment technology. Talking poi…
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Brian Richards, Managing Director at Accenture’s Houston Innovation Hub, joins the pod to talk about helping senior leaders at large corporations in greater innovation and spearheading projects in the Houston innovation community. Serving clients globally, Accenture is a professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and…
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Scott Gale, Executive Director of Halliburton Labs, brings innovation and scale to center stage in this week’s episode. Founded in 2020, Halliburton Labs provides access to a unique industrial setting catered to the specific needs of tech startups who are changing the face of clean energy today and for the future. Talking points include forging his…
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Jay Zeidman, Managing Partner of Altitude Ventures and Chairman of the Board for Houston First, talks about making impactful investments in the future of healthcare and the wellbeing of Houston. Based in Nashville, Altitude Ventures accelerates growth and provides early-stage venture capital financing for healthcare services and startups. Talking p…
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CS Freeland, Founder of the Texas Venture Alliance and creator of the Texas Venture Crawl (now known as Texas Venture Fest), joins the pod to share her unique insights on the thriving innovation scene in Texas. Founded in 2022, the Texas Venture Alliance is a statewide venture capital network and ecosystem of startup support that aims to amplify ve…
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Steve Kean, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), joins the pod to talk about the unique innovations and impact the city of Houston has already accomplished and can look forward to on the horizon. Formed in 1989, the Greater Houston Partnership has a mission to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a busi…
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Chris Howard, Founder and CEO of Softeq, switches places from host chair to the hot seat in this part two episode guest hosted by entrepreneur, angel investor, and COO of Softeq, Craig Ceccanti. Continuing their previous conversation from part one, Craig and Chris tackle Softeq’s present-day success with their venture studio and Chris’s journey as …
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Chris Howard, Founder and CEO of Softeq, switches places from host chair to the hot seat in this episode guest hosted by entrepreneur and angel investor Craig Ceccanti. Inspired by feedback from his own interview on Forging the Future, Craig wants to reverse the roles with Chris and give the podcast audience an opportunity to learn the origin story…
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In this episode of Forging the Future, Chris sits down with Rakesh Agrawal, founder and CEO of SnapStream, to discuss his journey of founding and scaling a technology business in Houston prior to the prevalence of the budding ecosystem that exists today. Rakesh shares his experience of founding SnapStream over 20 years ago and the importance of gle…
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Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Vice President of Energy and Innovation at University of Houston, takes the pod on a field trip to the UH Tech Bridge. With a unique blend of wet labs and office space, the UH Tech Bridge offers students and faculty the incredible opportunity to innovate alongside startups and companies. Talking points include efforts to …
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Joe Alapat, CTO & Founder of Liongard, takes a journey through customer feedback and company pivots in this episode about his cybersecurity platform, Liongard. From rough beginnings of selling too wide of a product to customers, Liongard has grown and matured into a successful startup, securing $30 million in funding. Talking points include leaving…
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Peter Rodriguez, Dean of Jones School of Business at Rice University, brings his education expertise to the pod to talk about the future of entrepreneurship and business learning in Houston. Rice has put Houston on the map for having some of the best business and entrepreneurship undergraduate and graduate degrees in the country, but Peter believes…
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Blair Garrou, Managing Director at Mercury, brings his leadership in Houston venture capital to the pod to discuss the origins of Mercury and the shift in investing perspectives from growth to profitability. Having just closed their fifth fund a couple months ago, Blair is hopeful about the timing of Mercury’s financial success and the future of so…
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Forging the Future is on the road this week at the Houston Startup Showcase at the Ion. Joined by guests Gustavo Suarez, Founder & CEO of Trez, and Samra Nawaz, CEO & Co-Founder of WellWorth, Chris takes the hot seat and walks through his own experiences as a multi-time successful founder in comparison to present-day startup founders in Houston’s b…
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Mike Francis, CEO and Co-Founder of Nanotech, joins the pod to talk about his cutting edge climate conscious technology and the all-Texas round recently raised by NanoTech. Through an innovative roof coating, NanoTech can reduce lost heat and limit CO2 emissions from heating and HVAC in businesses and homes. Talking points include saving lives thro…
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Remington Tonar, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Cart.com, brings his wide variety of skills and interests to the pod to chat about the extremely fast and incredibly impactful success of Cart.com. Having just closed a funding round of $60 million and have a valuation of $1.2 billion, Cart.com is a Houston-based startup making waves and garne…
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Neal Dikeman, Partner at Energy Transition Ventures, joins the pod to talk about how he got into cleantech investing and where we’re headed as we bridge the gap between fossil fuels and the future. Working between Silicon Valley and Houston, Neal is tackling the tough questions in clean tech, such as: How can software and energy investors work toge…
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Jesse Martinez, Founder of LSA Global and the Latinx Startup Alliance, four-time startup founder, and Venture Partner at Vamos and Resolve, brings his impressive resume to the pod to talk about his passion for investing in Latinx founders in tech. Born and raised in Houston, Jesse has traveled around the country founding startups, investing in oppo…
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This week, Mitra Miller shares her remarkable journey in the tech industry, offering insights into her experiences as a woman navigating the field. Mitra is a managing member of Mill River Advisors and a board member at the Houston Angel Network. She is also a mentor at the Eagle Investor Program. Mitra highlights the importance of fostering divers…
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In this exciting mashup from TechCrunch Disrupt, one of the largest tech events in the world, Chris interviews leaders in the investing space. Hussein Yahfoufi talks Chat GPT for business growth, Ray Fuentes on democratizing private equity investment, and Jeff Taylor on how TechCrunch serves both startups and established companies. You won’t want t…
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Stephen “Steve” Altemus, President and CEO of Intuitive Machines, joins the show to talk about space- investing in it, building new technology for it, and traveling through it. Sound waves might not be traveling through space, but Steve and his team are making their own waves on Earth as they prepare for their first lunar landing mission this Novem…
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Forging the Future is on the road in San Francisco this week for TechCrunch Disrupt. In this information-packed episode, Chris interviews two VCs from Oklahoma, Nathaniel Harding and Michael Basch, and another investor that's recently relocated from San Fran to Texas, George Munguia. Topics include derisking tech investments, expanding venture in t…
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Zach Coelius, Managing Partner at Coelius Capital, joins the pod from TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, an annual tech conference held in San Francisco. As an entrepreneur turned early stage investor, Zach understands the non-stop stress of entrepreneurship and uses his connections from his innovative career to make impactful investments in B2B software. Ta…
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Trevor Best, CEO and Co-Founder of Syzygy Plasmonics, brings his energy expertise to the pod this week to talk about the science and strategy behind his startup. Alongside his co-founder Dr. Suman Khatiwada, Trevor is making a new form of chemical reactor that eliminates combustion and prevents CO2 emissions. Topics of discussion include early entr…
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Ashok Rao, Board Director of GOOSE Capital and multi-time startup chairman, brings his financial and capital expertise to the show to talk about the “entrepreneurship virus” and his opinions on innovation. As someone who has been at the forefront of many interesting startups, Ashok lends some of his wisdom to topics like navigating today’s tumultuo…
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Allie Danziger, CEO & Co-Founder of Ampersand Professionals, brings her unique entrepreneurial experience to the pod to talk about shortening the skills gap between education and employment. As someone who benefitted from early opportunities at internships and founded her first business at 24, Allie is passionate about helping students transform in…
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This week, Chris talks with Natara Holloway Branch about how she went from accounting in the NFL to being the CEO of Houston Exponential, which supports startups and founders to make entrepreneurship more accessible for Houstonians. They also touch on the emerging sports tech industry and break two big myths about Houston along the way. Houston alr…
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This week, Chris welcomes Jon Nordby Head of Ecosystem and Community at MassChallenge. After working in a variety of positions in Houston, Jon saw the need for a thriving startup ecosystem in the city. He worked for Houston Exponential and Startup Genome before hitting the ground running with MassChallenge. Their team connects thousands of experts …
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HX Venture Fund takes over this episode as Managing Director Sandy Guitar and Venture Partner Aleece Hobson talk about their revolutionary fund of funds and the impact it’s having on the Houston tech ecosystem. Alongside their everyday work with investors and founders, Sandy and Aleece also help run the Venture Houston yearly event, happening this …
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Chris welcomes Paul Cherukuri, Professor, Chief Innovation Officer, and Vice President of Innovation at Rice University. Paul has integrated his experience and education in science and technology at Rice, spearheading the university’s innovation—all while still researching and teaching. Chris asks Paul about the key ingredients to getting universit…
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Erik Korem, Sports Scientist and Founder of AIM7, joins the pod to talk about finding valuable recommendations and results from wearable devices like Apple Watches. With a passion for sports technology and a desire to make data analysis accessible for everyday people, Erik hopes his startup AIM7 will revolutionize the ways we interact with the watc…
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Sunny Zhang, Founding Partner at Born Global Ventures, Marketing Professor, and Founder of TrueLeap, joins the pod to talk about the many professional hats she wears and how they help her contribute meaningfully at her venture studio. As a part of an emerging ecosystem of startup support in Houston, Born Global Ventures is excited to take on more d…
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Diana Murakhovskaya, Co-Founder and General Partner at the Artemis Fund, joins the pod to talk about supporting women-led startups at her female-founded venture fund. Born in Ukraine and raised in New York, moving to Houston and starting Artemis Fund opened up new startup opportunities for Diana in the constantly innovating, continuously changing s…
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David Gow, CEO of Gow Media and SportsMap Tech Acquisition Group, joins the pod to talk about telling the stories of Houston at CultureMap, SportsMap, and InnovationMap. With a background in sports radio and a passion for embracing Texas’ local culture, David isn’t afraid to engage with the newest subjects circling around the Houston ecosystem. Tal…
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Ben Narasin, Founder and General Partner at Tenacity Venture Capital, joins the pod this week to talk about his journey from young entrepreneur to seasoned investor. Instead of a spray and pray investment approach, Ben takes pride in Tenacity’s strong investment vetting processes and dedication to the entrepreneurs they invest in. Talking points fo…
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Forging the Future goes on the road to the FIRST Robotics Competition to meet 3 robotics professionals pioneering the industry and giving back to the next generation. Logan Farrell of Rugged Robotics, Greg Needel of Rev Robotics, and Andy Baker of AndyMark join the pod during this interview montage episode, lending their expertise and insight to a …
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Greg Johnson and Mark Mesko, Imagineers at Walt Disney Imagineering, attend the FIRST Robotics Competition and talk about the important link between FIRST kids and future Imagineers. Combining creativity, technology, and collaboration, Greg and Mark appreciate the unique opportunity they have as both Imagineers and FIRST mentors to use robotics to …
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Dave Lavery, Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA, takes listeners out of this world and on a journey across the surface of Mars. Dave is responsible for building one of the first flying robots on Mars, the Ingenuity Helicopter, which communicates directly with a rover on Mars to survey terrain on the red planet. In this episode, …
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