The Innovation Hub of Houston

The Cannon Houston filled an important role in 2017 with the launch of an innovation space, drawing attention to and from strong Houston industry and the startup community.

Founder Lawson Gow’s vision of democratizing access to the physical resources that cities and entrepreneurs need, fell right in line with our commitment to doing the same in education and capital development. Coverage from Ileana Najarro at the Houston Chronicle, among many others, that a hub for Sports Tech was emerging, sparked conversations between MediaTech Ventures and people throughout Houston, about the parallels between Sports and Media, particularly more evident in video games and eSports.

This month, The Cannon is opening their 6th Houston area location – The Cannon Sports + Media – as a global hub for Sports and Media Technology.  

Meaningful use of space fosters communities, and the resulting concentration of attention from industry professionals, mentors, and investors, mitigates risks that innovators must undertake as they change the world. We know this from Hollywood’s distinction as a geographical epicenter and property ready made for today’s entertainment industry. Through our shared vision for the media industry, it’s evident that much of what’s causing Texas to boom is investment in property that fuels the economy.

Not office space and not coworking, not even “startup space” or tech space, but purpose driven space – property designed for makers, creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs; space that democratizes access to the physical resources that cities and entrepreneurs need.

Today, Houston’s largest entrepreneurial community closes ties with our work in Austin, TX, bringing MediaTech Ventures’ startup incubators and media platforms to The Cannon community in conjunction with the launch of The Cannon Sports + Media.

The Cannon is not alone in fueling this impact. Their efforts alongside much of Houston recognizing the impact of purposeful space, has created a boom for entrepreneurial activity and the startup “scene” (as it were) emerging there like never before. I’ve had the pleasure of being a mentor in Rice University’s Accelerator, OwlSpark, years ago. Houston Exponential has been pivotal in supporting connections and experiences that tied the ecosystem together, and enabled everyone to access events and lectures tailored to the entrepreneurs in the region; welcoming us to participate in transformative events such as Houston Tech Rodeo. Downtown Launchpad revealed to cities throughout the world how collaboration between the City, programs, property, and local support, could establish a central hub that directly impacts the recognition of the City of Houston and what people can do working together for their entrepreneurial class; MassChallenge Texas’ success immediately found a second home there alongside gener8tor and Impact Hub Houston. Texas’ most collaborative startup program, Founder Institute, quickly grew from Austin to Houston given Houston’s culture and community. Also reinforcing my point about purpose driven space, Houston’s energy industry and much of the University education sector is finding opportunity in The Ion.

Innovation hubs, through a city or region of the world, start best by identifying the distinct strengths of the local community and developing with those in mind; we seeded that in a look at Austin’s media industries, uncovering far more in video games, social media, and podcasting, than the celebrated reputation at the Live Music Capitol. In Houston – oil & gas, shipping and transportation, aerospace, life science and healthcare, tremendous international ties, sports and media, and music.

From Music to Media and Sports

Blues music recording and production started in Houston in the ’40s with one of the first recording studios, Gold Star Recording Studio; today called SugarHill Recording Studio and still continues to record local, regional, and national musicians. The key to fostering local innovation and the risks entrepreneurs take, is in embracing this history, knowing the culture of your community, and focusing everyone’s attention on the potential and opportunities together. In turning the disparate collection of professionals, artists, resources, entrepreneurs, and investors, toward the future of that sector, Houston’s history in media and music, would go on to develop Don Robey who built two record labels — Peacock Records and Duke Records. Robey worked with Memphis Slim and Floyd Dixon, Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton, who, in 1952, recorded ‘Hound Dog,’ which you certainly know by way of another artist if not Big Mama Thornton. Janis Joplin is from the area, ZZ Top is classic Houston, Punk found a substantial place in Houston, and in  In 1986, James ‘Lil’ J’ Smith founded Rap-A-Lot Records along with his role in the rap group The Ghetto Boys… all this well before and influencing people more familiar today such as Beyonce and Chamillionaire.

The Cannon noted that with The Astros, The Texans, The Rockets, Houston Dynamo, much of what Houston has colliding with entrepreneurs, technology, and media (more than Silicon Valley, Denver, Austin, or beyond), is Sports.

Leveraging their growing community of startups, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, advisors, and investors, The Cannon is working to democratize access to the resources innovators need to succeed and their newest space has been designed to build a community of innovators focused on revolutionizing sports and media, as well as anyone with the desire to build their business in a space custom designed and programmed for the sports fanatic.

The Cannon and MediaTech Ventures have formed a strategic partnership to better serve the media industry and entrepreneurs through MediaTech Ventures’ incubators and technology.

“We’re excited to be teaming up with MediaTech Ventures as a programming partner in The Cannon Sports + Media space. The intent of the space is to be a hub for all-things sports and media innovation and activity. And MediaTech will be a huge driver of this kind of community in Houston.”

– Lawson Gow, Founder and President of The Cannon

The Cannon’s community and property developments caught our attention immediately as a critical piece of the Texas startup ecosystem and in MediaTech Ventures’ work with the regions best and brightest founders and incubators, as Texas booms as an epicenter of innovation, Houston’s amazing culture, history in technology, and impact in the arts, is unparalleled and indispensable. Aligning with The Cannon’s vision means even more access and resources to creators, and the introduction of The Cannon Community to our startup programs throughout the world.

Among the most impactful platforms and ecosystems in Texas’ innovation economy, the close collaboration crosses the chasm between two of the largest and growing cities in the United States while enabling entrepreneurs and investors to access, learn from, and get connected throughout much more of what has the region in the spotlight of the world.  Let’s do more of this, together, from property to programming that focuses on innovation. Having a social impact on the world is really rather easy – we help people become creators who thrive.

Comments on The Innovation Hub of Houston

  • Kristie Whites

    We are so excited to welcome The Cannon to the MediaTech Ventures community!

  • Neal Murthy

    Welcome to Houston!

    • Paul O’Brien

      Overdue and excited to be doing much more there together

  • Mark Simchock

    I have to ask…Do you have a twin or a clone? And if not, when do you sleep 🙂

  • Thomas Alomes

    Congrats Let’s chat about Sports Innovation Texas and how the sports tech links between Houston and Austin can be strengthened.

    • Paul O’Brien

      Brilliant, cc JohnZozzaro. Thomas we have a tremendous amount of interest from capital communities, in Sports Tech, and it’s not *our* (as in MediaTech’s) core focus but it certainly is The Cannon’s, and the parallels to media are precisely why we’re doing this together. Let’s talk soon

  • Lydia Davies

    This is awesome!!!

  • Iris Gonzalez


  • Shelly Atwood

    I have my HTXTEHRODEO 2020 shirt on today.

  • Michael J. Pratt

    Bravo! And the Cannon’s founder Lawson Gow is a fighter in next Tuesday’s Digital Fight Club: Houston!!

The Innovation Hub of Houston

by Paul O'Brien time to read: 5 min