Venture Texas Conference 2019

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Venture Texas Conference 2019 plans to bring together hundreds of international, U.S., Texas investors, venture capital and angel investors for three days to collaborate, connect and discover why everything is bigger and better in Texas. The first two days of the conference fills a void in the Texas venture capital industry with a focus on investors instead of entrepreneurs, bringing together partners representing billions in assets under management. The third day will be the matchmaking day.

Featuring Henry Cisneros as the VTX Conference Keynote Speaker.

Go to for details and registration.


IITI Sino-Texas Conference 2018 Wrap-up


The 2018 Conference was a great success!

The attending investor group represents $250 million worth of inbound investments to the United States. It’s up to Invest in Texas Initiative and it’s members to make sure it goes to Texas. That’s why Texas Business Leaders, Public Officials and China Investors came together for Invest in Texas Initiative's 2018 Sino-Texas Business & Investment Forum. The 3-day forum highlighted investment matchmaking opportunities with networking, education and social events. Hot topics include the current analysis and sensitive nature of the China/U.S. trade relations, high-tech and real estate investment opportunities and the current investment climate in Texas.

Investor Matchmaking, Education and Networking

Feature Speakers and Topics include:

China & U.S. Trade Relations

Real Estate Investment in Texas

The High-Tech Investment in Central Texas

The current analysis of the sensitive trade relations with China was the hot topic during the conference and how that could affect foreign investment to Texas. University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs China Public Policy Founder, David Firestein opened the conference with his short analysis and closed the conference with a full analysis. All of which was spoken in fluent Chinese by Firestein to the Chinese dominated audience. That prompted the many university student volunteer interpreters to translate his insightful assessment to the U.S. attendees.

Opening the conference was a genuine Texas welcome from State Representative Eddie Rodriguez and an international welcome from IITI Chair Dandan Zou. The forum was MC’d by IITI Executive Director Richard May with presentations from Georgetown mayor Dale Ross, Chinese investor Yonghua Wang and international attorney, Yuan Wan covering all of the aspects of why to invest in Texas and why the Chinese are looking to invest in Texas. Capping the session was David Firestein, giving a brief update on the current and sensitive U.S./China relations.

Mainstay Global’s Jared Mermis started off the next morning talking about the external environment of living and investing in Texas and University of Texas at San Antonio International Trade Center’s Jaime Martinez on the resources that are available for foreign investors. After their presentations the dialogue was dominated by two powerful conversations going on in the Texas business environment, especially in Austin, was real estate and high-tech featuring four-person panels from each. (see below)

In the afternoon and evenings, IITI stayed true to their concentration with real estate and high-tech. Wednesday, the Chinese guests were treated with a tour and reception at the Capital Factory. The Capital Factory is a technology incubator, accelerator and venture fund all rolled into one. The Capital Factory houses hundreds of businesses centered around high-tech and sponsor all shapes and sizes from one-man startups to Dell, Texas A&M and Walmart.

The next day’s afternoon event featured a hard hat tour of the Proper’s high rise condo/hotel development in downtown Austin from Bailey Tipps. The tour included IITI investors and attendees shooting up 40 stories in a large open cage to witness their art in progress of two story condos ranging from $1-6 to $1.8 million to one bedroom condos at a mere $750,000. The hard hats were necessary as the high-rise is still in full construction mode featuring concrete, no windows and a lot of space that the tour guide had to fill in for the imagination. The hard hats also helped with the constant rain while the open holes soon-to-be windows showed the 40-story high view of the historic floods rushing down the Colorado River aka Lady Bird Lake just below.

That evening, the guests were treated to a reception at the Grove Real Estate Development offices in central west Austin. The Grove is a brand new mixed-use development just beginning a few blocks down the road at 45th street and Bull Creek Road that will showcase a different but similarly priced homes in a neighborhood setting rather than a high-rise. Along with dinner, The Grove’s Edjuan Bailey gave a detailed demonstration of the homes to be built and the return on investment those homes will provide to any investor.

The final day represented the heart and soul of the conference which was investing matchmaking from projects in Austin, San Marcos and Frisco to the attending Chinese investors. Projects included investment into “opportunity zones” presented by Teresa Shell and Bryce Berta from Shell Real Estate Services. Joshua Baer touting the many investment opportunities from the Capital Factory. Jian Yi presenting the Daytona multi family development. Steve Tolen from Indie Powers needing more funding to complete the management of their innovative energy battery system. Kavi Capital’s Eduardo Viesca and Alfredo Kawage presented their apartment development in San Marcos to fill the growing population in the area especially in terms of Southwestern University Students. Then Calvin Chen and Bethany Fadel showcasing their innovative design and development looking to fund the remaining of the development.

The next presentation was an in-depth analysis of the U.S./China tariff “war” from David Firestein. Speaking in fluent Chinese, volunteer Chinese college students helped all of the U.S. attendees understand the complicated nuances going on between Beijing and D.C. and what does it mean today and especially for tomorrow.

The last of the program showcased Jared Mermis being awarded the IITI International Business Award. David Firestein received the IITI International Partnership Award and all of the Chinese student volunteers receiving IITI Ambassador Awards. Capping off the event was a private tour of the LBJ Presidential Library for the international guests and attendees.


David Firestein

Learn the current dynamics of the China trade war from the leading expert David Firestein. David J. Firestein is the inaugural executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center (CPPC). A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Firestein specialized primarily in China and U.S.-China relations.


Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

Texas State Representative Eddie Rodriguez serves on the House Committees on Economic & Small Business Development and Environmental Regulation. Rep. Rodriguez’ legislative agenda has addressed economic development, job creation, housing, education, hunger and nutrition.

Investor Matchmaking

Foreign Investment into Texas business is a game changer for Texas business and the economy. Sponsoring and attending companies, projects and entrepreneurs tool advantage of the international investment opportunities from the Invest in Texas Initiative slate of Chinese investors.


Dandan Zou

Mrs. Zou is the founder and CEO of Mainstay Global, a marketing consulting firm specializing in foreign direct investment in the U.S. She serves as the Chair of the Invest in Texas Initiative (IITI), a statewide non-profit trade organization which promotes the Texas Investment landscape internationally, and is an active member of the Association to Invest in the USA (IIUSA).


Jared Mermis

Living and Investment in Texas

There are many opportunities in Texas that exist nowhere else in the U.S. or the world. Jared Mermis with over 24 years experience in the Texas business environment will open the day’s session with today’s assessment of living and investing in Texas. Jared is managing partnering at Mainstay Global's and directs domestic operations and new business activities. As a board of director for the Invest in Texas Initiative, Jared tells the Texas business story from China to Texas.


Panel Sponsor

Texas Real Estate Services

The State of Real Estate Panel Discussion

Find out the current real estate investment landscape in Texas

What does it take to invest in real estate in Texas? And is it a good idea? Join us for a panel discussion on the Texas investment landscape featuring Texas real estate expert Phil Crane of Providence Commercial real estate; Market Economist Sam Tenenbaum who specializes in market research and economics for CoStar (NASDAQ: CSGP), the world’s largest commercial real estate data and analytics company. Ana Barbara Llorente, Senior Finance Executive of Pendas International, who specializes in taxation, operations and transactions for small and middle corporate clients and Teresa Shell with a background in international real estate and owner of Shell Real Estate Services. They will be presenting the real estate investment dynamics in a big picture and matter-of-fact style to get the best understanding of the return on investment.


The High Tech Landscape Panel Discussion

Austin ascends: High tech transforms Texas capital into a star - Post Gazette

Austin is know for its live music, bats, longhorns and being weird but also as one of the fastest growing high-tech centers in the country. With a combination of Texas friendly business environment, entrepreneurs-turned-investors and the cultural and financial desires of in-demand tech professionals, Austin now ranks behind San Francisco and has been dubbed the Silicon Hills of America. Join Austin Chamber’s Global Technology and Innovation, Leigh Christie, Capital Factory’s International Partnership Coordinator Ali Syed and Dr. Christopher Laing of Capital City Innovation and moderator Richard May from IITI for the panel discussion that will give you the overview of the high-tech business and investment environment for Austin and Texas.

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Click here for a more detailed version of the "2018 Sino-Texas Business Forum At a Glance".

Be a proud SPONSOR for the 2018 Sino-Texas Business & Investment Forum now! Reaching out to the international investment community just became easier through IITI’s sponsorship opportunities.


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For more information on the event, contact IITI Executive Director Richard May at