Kirk Coburn Announces Closure of Houston’s Surge Ventures

Houston — Kirk Coburn, founder of Surge Ventures, on Friday posted a “Dear John” letter saying Surge is closed.

In a tersely worded blog post, Coburn wrote: “I received an e-mail from a senior oil and gas executive a few months ago stating, ‘There is noise from some that Surge is ‘dead.” I have given into the noise.”

Coburn, who last September said he was putting the Surge cleantech accelerator on hold, wrote Friday that among the reasons why he decided to shutter Surge was a lack of industry support.

“Unfortunately, the industry just did not buy into our model, idea, team, and/or innovation,” he wrote. “Because I was unable to raise support from the industry and find C-level champions, it is time to move on.”

Since the September announcement, Coburn has written a number of blog posts describing the current environment for energy startups. “As the Information Age began to scale, Houston’s investment and focus on the infrastructure required to nurture the new knowledge economy actually declined. I believe that this is a symptom of being a petrocity,” he wrote “As discussed before, Houston was the only large city to drop off the list entirely when measuring high-tech startup density.”

In his post Friday, Coburn also places blame on himself for Surge’s end. “SURGE cannot sustain itself. I am responsible,” he writes. “I have failed to recruit and lead an awesome team, raise the necessary support, cast a large enough vision, and make it happen.”

Coburn writes that he will still manage companies from Surge’s four classes for the next 10 years. “I made a 10-year [commitment] and am bullish about these awesome entrepreneurs building the future of energy,” he writes. “When they call, I will always be available to warn them about the mistakes that I have made.”

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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