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.
…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!
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 Study: Learn 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.
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.
Houston: The day is here. We are officially launching Impact Hub Houston as a nonprofit organization to inspire, connect and empower the Greater Houston area’s changemakers, social entrepreneurs and impact supporters; and make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues!
We have a few exciting announcements to share, but first, we want to let you know…over the past few months, our Launch Team has dived deep into discussion around who we are, who we aim to serve, how we want to create and amplify impact, and what we want to implement and offer to do so. Those conversations led us to be more intentional about the language we use, because language shapes how we think — and how we think shapes what we do.
Acknowledging that, we refined our Vision and Mission to more accurately represent the change we wish to be in the world:
Our Vision: To make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues.
We have heard time and again how other cities are building strong innovation ecosystems, from Chicago to Cincinnati to Detroit. Guess what: Houston is, too! We will shine a spotlight on our own city and elevate the people, businesses, and organizations who have been pioneering progress under the radar. While we champion an inclusive impact-driven innovation ecosystem, we will partner with more organizations across the region to collaboratively transform Greater Houston into a model that the rest of the world aspires to learn from and become.
Our Mission: To inspire, connect, and empower changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters with mentorship, sponsorship, meaningful content, thought-provoking talks, hands-on learning opportunities, and vibrant community conversations. To create inclusive and equitable environments where people plug in and actively advocate for each other. To deepen and strengthen relationships among stakeholders to build an innovation ecosystem where people collaborate across organizations, cultures, identities, geography, and generations. As a member of the Impact Hub global network, we support people who are developing solutions aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through our collective experience, we’ve found that the kind of support that changemakers and entrepreneurs need most take the forms of guidance, connections, funding, and advocacy. We’ve shaped our mission to directly address those needs while making sure that we hold ourselves accountable to meet people where they are and foster stronger understanding, engagement, and support across the diverse communities of Houston.
Through that lens, we are pleased to announce the following programs and collaborations we’re working on to deliver on our Vision and Mission: