Thank you Guy [Diedrich, Vice Chancellor, Texas A&M] for that introduction, and for all your hard work cultivating great ideas at Texas A&M.
It's a pleasure to be among such a distinguished group of individuals, people who truly "get it" when it comes to the future of our great nation and who have the insight and courage to invest in promising technology, treatments and techniques.
After a few days hearing from folks like Guy and Jamie, [Rhodes, Central Texas Angel Network] y'all have probably gotten a Texas-sized crash course on what we're doing here in the Lone Star State.
I know you have held past conferences in Boston and San Francisco, but for sheer volume, Texans consistently lead the nation in bragging ability.
Of course, part of that is because we have such a great deal to brag about.
Our combination of low taxes, predictable regulations, fair courts and world-class workforce has helped create an economic stronghold that's been the envy of the nation the last decade and a boon for any company seeking to grow, particularly innovative young companies seeking firm footing during their early years.
That's helped us earn the title of best state to do business, according to Chief Executive Magazine for seven years running.
It's also helped us lead the nation in exports for a full decade.
That's important because it's brought Texas to a unique crossroads, a place where world-class academic research can come together with a vibrant private sector and tap into a steadily-growing high-tech economy that's just scratching the surface of its potential in this state.
We've taken steps over the past 10 years to nurture that segment of our economy first, by maintaining our business climate, and secondly, through programs like our Texas Emerging Technology Fund.
Through the TETF, the state has invested more than $177 million in grant-matching and research superiority funds in Texas universities, helping attract some of the top researchers in their respective fields here to the Lone Star State and putting them to work on projects that will improve communities, cure diseases, and save lives.
Since its founding, the TETF has invested more than $169 million in 133 early-stage companies throughout Texas helping these promising companies attract additional VC dollars right here in Texas.
I know I don't have to tell you all the value of those sorts of companies, but I'm proud to say our portfolio is already worth more than the sum of our original investments.
We're also helping more of our universities join the ranks of tier one schools, which in Texas already include Texas A&M, Rice and UT-Austin.
I believe these steps we've taken, combined with the bold and visionary nature that has always defined Texans, have our state positioned to become the nation's next high-tech hub, a center of innovation, collaboration and competition for the next wave of all technology development and manufacturing.
It's a role that's been filled by the Boston Corridor with the minds at MIT and Harvard supplemented by the venture capitalists and economic strength of New England.
It's a role that's been filled by Silicon Valley with innovators at Berkley and Stanford supported by the West Coast VC engine.
Here in Texas, we're close to reaching that level with world-class research being conducted and put to work at universities across the state and at any number of startup companies stretching from Houston to El Paso, and all points in between.
We're creating a culture that will help ensure that great ideas that are born in Texas stay in Texas from the laboratory to the marketplace.
Our combination of talent, dedication and expertise is shaping the Texas, and the America, of the future and bringing our state closer to the day when it's the very first place people think of when they think of life-changing, and life-saving, innovations.
And now after hearing about everything we have to offer here, I hope you'll think of us first, as well.
I thank you all for coming to the Lone Star State, and for the valuable work you all do bringing promising companies together with the resources they need to be successful.
May God bless you and, through you, may he continue to bless this nation we love so much.