June 2019 Impact Updates

Impact Friends and Family,

June has been filled with celebration at Impact Hub Houston!

Did you hear? We are excited to partner with Houston Exponential for a summer pop-up! Stop by to say hello!

What else?

We launched the Impact Hub Houston Community Membership this month! We’re working to offer you more programs to learn from, more events to connect at, more storytelling to inspire you, and new virtual and physical spaces to empower your networking and coworking! Learn more at https://houston.impacthub.net/membership — if you’re ready to take our relationship to the next level, apply to become an Impact Hub Houston Community Member, today!

Before June flies by, be sure to connect with the Impact Hub Houston fam on Friday, June 28:

…and don’t miss out on these opportunities from Houston’s broader impact + innovation ecosystem:

We look forward to seeing you at these events!
Team Houston

Impact Hub and WWF Join Forces for the Oceans!

JOIN FORCES FOR THE OCEANS: For any of our members and partners addressing themes like climate, energy, food, water, and oceans — some of WWF’s key areas of focus — Impact Hub has a partnership with WWF that aims to bring together innovators from our two networks, identify high potential solutions and provide these with access to WWF’s deep expertise in nature conservation as well as credibility and support in scaling and access to finance.

Impact Hub’s partnership with WWF builds on 8 years of successful collaboration and now enters a new phase. Our ambition is to expand our collaboration to many more countries around the globe, working together on a deep strategic level to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. 

First, we need to have a better sense of the kind of solutions within the wider community. Then we might, for example, provide ventures with best practices from Impact Hubs around the globe, reach out regarding relevant events, WWF projects, joint programs, support offers, among other things to inspire and enable you to move forward with your project.

One dump truck full of plastic waste enters our ocean every minute and by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. As unsettling as these facts are, there are lots of changemakers out there already getting involved and acting for a more sustainable world. If you are one of them, don’t miss the chance to learn from our experience and make a difference. Register now!: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScKtXZYmF-Cnqnz61Txg9GPD7bypXoBtjdNMLll_yOGEUhSBw/viewform

To learn more, go to http://wwf.impacthub.net/about/. If you’re an Impact Hub Houston member and apply to participate, please let us know! >>> houston@impacthub.net

…and if you’d like to become a member and participate in this opportunity, sign up now at https://houston.impacthub.net/membership. We look forward to helping you create the impact you wish to see in the world!

ELEVATE: Hubspot Offers Free Inbound Marketing Accelerator Program for Social Ventures & Startups!

For all Impact Hub Houston Members and Community:

Behind every fast-growing startup is the ability to successfully attract, engage, and delight customers.

To do so, high-growth companies must focus on adding value to customers at every stage of their journey. Inbound marketing, sales, and service are well-known methodologies for achieving customer value.

General Catalyst and HubSpot are excited to announce ELEVATE, a free virtual accelerator consisting of eight 1-hour sessions designed to help early-stage startups learn the principles of inbound marketing and create a growth playbook tailored to the needs of their customers. Startups will be invited to attend an exclusive, four-week program where they will join Master Classes led by HubSpot experts to learn inbound methodology fundamentals, and case studies led by General Catalyst portfolio founders and executives to better conceptualize how to apply these principles. In the fourth week, startups will complete a Master Class and case study focused specifically on fundraising led by General Catalyst investors and portfolio founders. 

The summer will culminate with a final pitch event to a live audience at INBOUND19!

Featuring experts from HubSpot, General Catalyst, Stripe, Gusto, B12, and Verta.AI, ELEVATE will teach high-potential startups how to grow better. If you have a social venture or startup and you are looking to grow, apply to ELEVATE today: https://offers.hubspot.com/startups/elevate

Applications close Sunday, May 26th at midnight EDT. Attendees will be notified of their acceptance no later than June 1.

ELEVATE ACCELERATOR SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Attract – June 4th and 6th

  • Master Class: As an emerging company, nothing is more important than driving traffic to your website. The easiest way to attract traffic begins with understanding your target audience.
  • Case StudyLearn how Gusto navigated customer discovery and set up their online presence to attract early customers, and become a top payroll and benefits provider for small businesses.

Week 2: Engage – June 11th and 13th

  • Master Class: Now that you’ve attracted website visitors, you need to engage them with your content and turn them into repeat visitors. As you provide more value to your prospects you will begin to build trust.
  • Case Study: Learn how Stripe built their sales strategy and engaged repeat visitors to become the leading payments platform for internet businesses.

Week 3: Delight – June 18th and 20th

  • Master Class: The cost of acquiring a new customer is dramatically higher than the cost of retaining an existing customer. Creating the final step of the inbound approach, delighting customers should be treated with the same care and attention as all the other steps of the methodology.
  • Case Study: Learn how B12 has continued to delight early customers with their AI-built website product through their deliberate focus on customer success.

Week 4: Present – July 9th and 11th

  • Master Class: With an inbound marketing practice in motion, startups might also be ready to raise seed capital to help fuel anticipated growth. Successfully raising a seed round requires a compelling narrative, a thoughtful plan of action, and an understanding of the documents and requirements from potential investors during the process.
  • Case Study: Learn how an early stage GC founder built and presented a crisp narrative and secured top investors for her seed round.

Apply to ELEVATE today: https://offers.hubspot.com/startups/elevate  Applications close Sunday, May 26th!

Meet the Team: Shiroy Aspandiar, Co-Founder & Board Chair

As we shared in our campaign launch post, we are excited to introduce you to the people behind Impact Hub Houston. First, meet Shiroy Aspandiar (https://www.linkedin.com/in/shiroy-aspandiar-b6a38443/), Co-Founder and Chair of our Board of Directors, as he shares how his entrepreneurial journey led him to play a key role in launching Impact Hub Houston:

I was one of the many people who bought into the myth of the unconquerable entrepreneur. The pioneer who was prolifically confident, obsessive, charismatic, and unyieldingly optimistic. For a time, I, too, felt unconquerable and rode a wave of euphoria for months as I plunged full-time into co-founding One Jump, an online platform that connects underserved students to enrichment opportunities with the goal of combatting the opportunity gap.

And then something changed. My savings were gone. Debt began to pile up. Traction slowed. Technical challenges increased in frequency. The rejections and defeats along the startup journey began to feel less like rain and more like hail. Seeking advice about what I was experiencing, I called a mentor and after a long pause he shared: “I think I know what you’re feeling. You’re in the pit.”

Almost all entrepreneurs tumble into the pit at some point. What can often make or break their venture is their ability to pull themselves out of it. But how do you do that? I wasn’t sure, so I looked for help. I sought out other founders and mentors. I looked for a community, but struggled to find one … especially as a social entrepreneur.

We’re different. While we’re mission-oriented, we are quickly labeled as “charities,” and that label is either limiting or incorrect. Traditional business models can also be at odds with our theory of impact. I found this to be true with One Jump as I communicated with our mentors, advisors, and prospective investors. Our team was often pushed to work with affluent schools more directly, but we believed this would only further extend the achievement gap. During launch, our team struggled to find examples of successful hybrids and benefit corporations and how to structure them. Structuring as a non-profit, for-profit, hybrid or a benefit corporation matters significantly, but there’s a lack of quality coaching on choosing which structure would work best for your startup. And lastly, there’s a growing need to educate up the ladder – to reach potential funders, investors, foundations, and family offices about the rise of for-profit social enterprises, their expected returns, company performance, unique tax code implications, and so much more.

Frustrated and seeking community support, I presented my startup at a Sketch City Hackathon. Through that experience, I met Natasha Azizi, who had worked for Unreasonable Institute, an organization that supported social entrepreneurs internationally. She shared that she was planning to bring an organization called Impact Hub to Houston. I learned that Impact Hub was a collection of locally rooted, globally connected “hubs” dedicated to supporting social impact and social entrepreneurship in cities around the world. Think the United Nations if it were made up of hubs that support changemakers and problem solvers. Hubs were the places you’d go to connect with movers and shakers working individually and collaboratively to make the city and the world a better place. I immediately wanted to be a part of that community. That’s what I was looking for.

Over time, my engagement with Impact Hub Houston increased and I became a co-founder. I found it empowering to be able to shape an organization that I and many of my peers urgently needed. With programs that included coffee colliders, community townhalls, founders workshops, meetups, Open Project Nights, Fuck Up Nights (Yes, it’s a thing! Look it up!), and so much more, we are working to build an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem.

We help make Houston more equitable by supporting changemakers and social entrepreneurs so that they feel less isolated and can focus on delivering greater impact through their work. We’ll help problem solvers stop falling into pits…but if they do fall, they’ll find a vibrant community of individuals, mentors, and other stakeholders helping them get back on their feet.

Guided by our refined vision and mission, and our amazing leader in Grace Rodriguez, we are excited to write the next chapter of Impact Hub Houston! Join us in building a movement, and engage in the rewarding-yet-challenging work of achieving our vision: To make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues.