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.
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.
Houston has long been an entrepreneurial haven.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Jan E. Odegard
Senior Director, Operations
Senior Director, Strategic Alliances
Senior Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Senior Director, Ecosystems
Director, Marketing and Communications
Program Manager, Academic Network and Workforce Development
Graphic Designer, Marketing and Communications
Corporate Engagement Officer
Associate Director, Event Operations
Digital Marketing Specialist, Marketing and Communications
Rice Real Estate Company
Investment Manager, Real Estate Development
Investment Manager, Strategic Investments
Senior Associate, Real Estate
Associate Investment Manager, Direct Real Estate
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 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.
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.