Two nascent models for local economic development merged in Houston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Equity crowdfunding portal Let’sLaunch partnered with The Cannon coworking space to facilitate more investment opportunities for local startups.

Cannon Ventures is an investor network that curates and vets Houston startups on behalf of investors. The Cannon launched a coworking space in West Houston and expanded to multiple locations.

The Next Decade of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Coworking and Crowdfunding are nascent ideas. The largest operator, WeWork, receives frequent press about their rapid expansion, funding raises, and occupancy. However, many coworking spaces that aren’t in multiple metros are still building a foundation. Many spaces operate as indie coworking spaces and emphasize their impact on the local community and economic development efforts. These spaces connect freelancers, startups, small businesses, remote workers, and community organizers.

The indie coworking community prioritizes social impact over real estate acquisition and signals a do-it-yourself ethos. In small to mid-size cities, coworking spaces are often anchors to the city or town’s revitalization efforts.

Equity crowdfunding offers a similar do-it-yourself approach that could generate more local equity capital. Small to mid-size cities can move equity finance through the crowd without relying on a handful of high-net-worth individuals to absorb all of the risks of new ventures.

The density of connections through informal networks are key to ensure a robust and healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem. The more grassroots and do-it-yourself spirit applied to these efforts, the stronger the foundation.