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Our Vision
Our Values
Our Goals
Our Community
Our Team

Our Vision

To be the home for Houston’s innovation community.

Cultivating a transformative culture of people, places, ideas, and experiences that build the world we want to see, creating a better quality of life for all of Houston.

Chevron's keynote lunch during Activation Festival 2022

Houston has long been an entrepreneurial haven.

But as a major metropolis, we hunger for the kind of cross-pollinating, momentum-building magic that transpires from a meaningful concentration of brains and businesses in one area—prosperous micro-regions like Boston’s Seaport or Atlanta’s Tech Square—and transforms a pocket of activity into a powerful culture that inspires people to come together to build things, solve problems, and test ideas that improve how we move, work, play, care, and learn.

It can happen in Houston.

Houston’s new innovation district takes our city’s talent and sprawl and connects it all, harnessing Houston’s potential to emerge and endure as a tech hub, a thought leader, a cultural core, and a global economic force. Twelve blocks built to encourage serendipitous collisions across all sectors and skill levels, and promote equitable businesses, products, and jobs in our image: ones that reflect our city’s diversity of ethnicities and enduring individualism, our big-hearted tenacity and wildcatting audacity, our gumption and resilience come hell or high water.

An invitation to build the world we want to see.

opportunity ingenuity-community infographic
Ion Plaza during Activation Festival.

It starts at the Ion: Houston’s HQ for innovation.

Located at 4201 Main St. in the heart of Ion District, this beautifully revived building brings Houston’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs where ideas go to grow.

You have a promising product.
An intriguing technology.
A vague business idea.
A question.

Our goal is to connect your What-ifs with What now?

To provide wide-reaching space and support to perfect, protect, and project your idea into the world so that it thrives. Through a state-of-the-art prototyping lab (build it), an investor studio (pitch it), an accelerator hub (fast-track it), and a network of corporate and academic partners (sustain it), every aspect of the Ion is tailored for collaboration and growth—whatever your industry or experience level. Work spaces range from casual nooks to reservable rooms to the open sweep of the Forum Stairs, which features a robust rotation of speakers, skill-building workshops, and networking events: a perpetual buzz of inspiration and opportunity.

For anyone hungry to build a better way—startup or student, mentor or maker, CTO or see-what’s-out-there—it can happen in Houston.

Our Values


A mixed-use place where ideas and capital meet


At the center of Houston’s Innovation Corridor, linking people and creating pathways for the future workforce


An enduring, tangible, financial commitment by Rice University and its partners to the future


A job-generating neighborhood fueled by innovative, sustainable technologies, and entrepreneurial drive


A vibrant urban environment, engaging people with each other, the city, nature, the arts, food, science, and technology


The space for all people and perspectives

Our Goals

Goal No. 1

Strengthen Houston’s economic resiliency and competitiveness by investing in the region’s geographic center.

Goal No. 2

Attract and retain innovative talent, companies, and institutions in central Houston.

Goal No. 3

Foster an inclusive and welcoming neighborhood that offers economic opportunity to all Houstonians and produces long-term value.

Goal No. 4

Create a vibrant, connected, and timeless place that celebrates Houston’s communities and culture and is an authentic extension of the city’s character.

Our Community

In 2021, Rice University’s Rice Management Company finalized a first-of-its-kind Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with the City of Houston for development of Ion District. The purpose of the CBA is to connect Houstonians to jobs, business opportunities, and education. Key focus areas of the CBA include: economic opportunity, housing, and inclusive hiring and contracting.

Our Team

The Ion Team is the beating heart of this building and the activity within it. They are responsible for creating and fostering the ethos of the building which is an inclusive space for connection, collaboration and innovation.

Ion Team

Brad Burke

Associate Vice President for Industry and New Ventures, Rice University, Office of Innovation Executive Director, Rice Alliance Chair, Executive Advisory Board, GCEC

Catherine Santamaria

Director of the Rice Business Plan Competition

Chelsea Wessels-Self

Program Manager, Academic Network and Workforce Development

Cheyenna Mitchell

Program Manager

Christopher Ortiz

Events Specialist

Holly DeArmond

Managing Director, Executive Director of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers GCEC is HQ at Rice Alliance

Jessica Fleenor

Director of Acceleration Programs - Rice Alliance Managing Director - OwlSpark & BlueLaunch

Jinneth Ramos

Executive Assistant

Joann Echeverria

Graphic Designer, Marketing and Communications

Kelly Franks

Events Specialist

Kerri Smith

Associate Managing Director - Rice Alliance Executive Director - Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator

Lauren Brooks

Data Analyst

Matthew Peña, PhD

Associate Director - Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator

Quynhmai Nguyen

Senior Director of Operations

Ragen Doyle

Corporate Engagement Officer

Roslynn Velasquez

Marketing Director

Seraphina Van

Associate Director, Event Operations

Serina Brown

Accounting Specialist

Tara Williams

Director of Venture Programs

Rice Real Estate Company

Bryson Grover

Investment Manager, Real Estate Development

Sam Dike

Sam Dike

Investment Manager, Strategic Investments

Colton Beardmore

Senior Associate, Real Estate

Scott Irby

Associate Investment Manager, Direct Real Estate

Annaissa Flores

Strategic Initiatives Analyst


Our common areas, including the flex space located on the Lower Level and the soft seating in the main floor lobby are open to the public Monday – Friday from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM during regular building hours.

Yes! All of our restaurants have varying store hours separate from the Ion and can be accessed from their own dedicated entrances, whether they are located within the Ion or are a stand alone business within Ion District.

Ion Prototyping Lab (IPL) is a maker space located inside the Ion. They have Industrial Designers and Engineers on staff to help design and build your product, and they have memberships and classes for those that want to do it themselves. For more information, visit their website here.

Ion Investor Studio is a private gathering space for investors, a studio that can be reserved where investors can interact and meet with founders, entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, and other investors. Individuals interested in using the space must apply for the ability to book the space.

The meeting spaces at the Ion are available to rent and reserve, subject to availability. You can apply to host your next meeting or event at the Ion here.

We offer Ion building tours by advanced scheduling with the Ion team. Ion District tours are available on a case-by-case basis. Please inquire about tours via our Get in Touch page.

Please fill out our event application form here and a member from the Ion team will reach out to you. Space requests must be made at least one month in advance of the event date and are subject to approval on a case-by-case basis. Submitting a request form does not guarantee event approval. Please do not send out invitations or publicize your event until proper documents have been signed.