If I wanted to collect the same amount of rainwater dropped by Hurricane Harvey at Capterra’s Arlington, Virginia office, I should have set my rain barrels out in June 2016.
Houston is suffering one of the biggest natural disasters to ever hit the U.S. Over 50 inches of rain have fallen, as of midweek. Tens of thousands of people are displaced and thousands of those will lose their homes.
Officials in Houston are already blaming the storm for dozens of deaths in the area, which is a huge jump from earlier estimates and a number that is unfortunately likely to rise. Flood damage is forecast to cause $35 billion in damages, with other damages likely to put the total cost over $100 billion.
How you can help
Here’s a list—abridged from the longer New York Times list—of places where you can help:
- Houston Food Bank and The Food Bank of Corpus Christi—Working to feed people now and while they recover after the storm has passed.
- The United Way—“United Way’s first priority will be safety, shelter and basic needs, like food. Once the community is stabilized, United Way will focus on long-term recovery efforts.”
- GoFundMe—The online donation portal has a special page for Harvey-related causes.
- BakerRipley – Our cousins at Austin-based Software Advice have called this out as a great, Houston-based charity that’s going to be doing a lot of work once the first responders are done.
If you give to any of these causes, check with your employer to see if they’ll match your contribution. It’s a great way to give more and many businesses now support matched giving.
Locals can also give time, blood, food, and clothing.
The Houston software industry
When Katrina hit, I was working for Barnes & Noble. The company, in one of the nicest acts I’ve witnessed, gave regular updates about employees accounted for in the New Orleans area and posted guidelines in the break room detailing how to get a fleeing employee help if they came into your store.
Capterra is a business software directory, first and foremost. That means we have a lot of relationships with software vendors of all sizes, based all around the world. Working here has given me a chance to meet people from California to Belgium, Spain to New Zealand.
Last night, I searched through our vendors to find those based in the Houston area. Some of these businesses manage huge software projects, while some have newer or smaller offerings.
Regardless of their size, they are all reeling, in one way or another, from the storm. Some have flooded offices, some have employees who’ve lost homes, while some have lost thousands of dollars in missed work or damaged property.
I can’t say that pulling all these names into one place is going to change the world, but we’re part of this community and there’s value in calling out the people in the community who’ve been affected.
If you work with any of these folks, reach out and let them know you’re thinking about them.
BMC makes Remedy Asset Management and IT Service Management tools, and is focused on making IT management easier for businesses. BMC now has offices around the world, but it was founded in Houston in 1980 by some former Shell employees. Its headquarters is still there.
CS DISCO makes legal discovery software, DISCO. It’s the youngest business on this little rundown, opened in 2013. Over the last four years it’s done some incredible things, growing to a business that now supports 25% of the AmLaw 200.
Edible Software makes Edible Software. Not literally. Instead, Edible helps improve traceability in the food supply chain. It focuses on the upper end of the chain, with products for wholesalers, manufacturers, and the like. The company moved into its Houston headquarters in 2008.
ESX is an association, event, and membership management software company, maker of xCatalyst. A recent reviewer on Capterra wrote, “I would highly recommend xCatalyst as a product and ESX as a company. Working with them has been a great experience, and we truly consider them partners in what we do.”
HCSS opened its door back in 1986, the year my sister was born —“Hi, Monica.” HeavyBid is one of its flagship construction management tools, focused on estimating and bidding. Based in Houston, the company also runs a cool intern scholarship program for construction business interns that “knocked it out of the park.” Great way to give back.
Management Controls makes, among other solutions, Track, a contractor cost tracking software. The business was founded in 1989 and is located just outside Houston. The business just had Shell pick up its Forecaster software, designed to help companies make better project and turnaround forecasts.
While Miratech isn’t based in Houston, it purchased Houston-based Bridgeway in 2015. Bridgeway was founded in 1989 and focused on legal and law firm management software. CMO Compliance is one of Miratech’s current offerings, while eCounsel is a Bridgeway offering that was carried over into the new business.
NetIQ makes IDM, an identity management solution to control system access. In 2015, the brand was acquired by Micro Focus, but it still maintains a headquarters in Houston. The company’s American operations have been hit by the storm, but it looks like international systems continue to run smoothly.
P2 Merrick used to just be Merrick, until it was acquired in 2014. The business focuses on oils and gas operational management, and is the maker of RIO. While P2 is headquartered in Denver, the Merrick business has maintained its Houston location since the merger.
PROS makes Smart CPQ, a quoting software designed to help sales teams make better pitches. PROS is a Texas company, and in a recent update on its site, said, “PROS first priority is to ensure that support is in place for our Houston and Austin-based employees who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey… Houston is a resilient city but will no doubt need assistance as it continues to weather this storm. Please join us in offering support to those in need.”
Quorum is an energy and gas software company and the maker of Energy Software Suite. Based in Houston, the company has offices around Texas. In an update on Harvey’s impact, the company said, “First and foremost, we’d like to confirm that all Quorum Houston employees are safe and accounted for… As many of you are local to the Houston area, we hope that you and your families are safe. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these trying times.”
SHR sells reservation management software WindsurferCRS. SHR was formed in 2015 when Sceptre and Houston-based Whiteboard Labs merged. The company’s headquarters is in Houston, but it operates in many countries around the world. Just last week, SHR bought a European reseller to make a move into the European market.
SMA makes analytics and automation software, including Ascern. This is one of Houston’s older software businesses, founded in 1980. The headquarters are actually just north of downtown in Kingwood, a particularly hard hit area. Completely unrelated, it recently posted a blog about the 50th anniversary of the ATM, which was introduced at a Barclays location in Enfield, UK—a branch that I used to work at.
Stone Bond makes Enterprise Enabler, among others. Enterprise Enabler is a data visualization software that allows businesses to better understand what’s happening under the hood. Stone Bond has been in Houston since 2002 and it is located squarely in the center of the city.
Swearingen is the maker of RISynergy, which is a radiology information system. In plain terms, it’s a system for managing radiology departments, covering scheduling, billing, and results. Swearingen is based out of Beaumont, a city about an hour and a half north of Houston. Harvey moved into this area on Tuesday, forcing hundreds out of their homes and causing flash floods. Swearingen’s motto, by the way, is “Everyone Swears by Swearingen.”
Houston’s other tech
These are software businesses based in Houston, but the city has plenty of other stuff going on around the edges. There are incubators and startup support groups such as Station Houston and the Houston Technology Center. Station Houston is located just blocks from the convention center where thousands of residents are now sheltering.
These communities were already important to the city and to its businesses, but in the aftermath of this storm, they’re going to be even more valuable. They provide members with support, connections, and guidance, all of which will be needed in the coming months.
There are also online service providers and other tech firms in Houston. Study site Course Hero is based in the Space City, giving college and high school students access to notes, study materials, and mentoring.
HostGator, one of my favorite web hosts, is a Houston transplant. While it was founded in Florida, Houston lured the company over back in 2007. This week, the Austin-based head of marketing tweeted, “Really proud of our @HostGator #Houston crew. They are out, in boats and shelters, helping with the aftermath. Wish I could be with you!”
Established businesses not only help new entrants grow, they also support cities and communities by donating time, spending money, and hiring locals. Houston will be relying on these senior players a lot over the next many months.
Right now, Houston is relying on everyone to do what they can. There’s no time like the present to reach out and help. Hit up those links at the top or find another way to make an impact. Good luck and stay safe.