Hi, I’m Heath and I’m passionate about educating, empowering and enabling people to maximize their potential, especially entrepreneurs. I’m a Managing Director at Mercury Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm.  Prior to joining Mercury Fund, I founded Gestalt Theory Venture Partners and held executive roles as a corporate development executive and fin-tech Division President at Insperity (NYSE: NSP).  I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and have founded, co-founded or joined the founding team over a dozen times and have worked at a number of F1000 companies and as a consultant.  It doesn’t mean I know everything, but I’ve seen a lot and realize that the learning opportunities on the entrepreneurial journey is never over.  I try to leverage my executive, serial-entrepreneur and managing-at-scale experiences to actively invest in and mentor entrepreneurs throughout the Houston innovation community.  I earned an MBA in Marketing at Texas Southern University and a B.S. in Finance from the University of New Orleans.

heath butler

My Story

I was born into an entrepreneurial family and I am a 3rd generation entrepreneur at heart.  And similar to other multi-generational nurturing that takes place, like ranching families in Texas, cold-mining families in the heartland or acting/entertaining families in Los Angeles, my family business was entrepreneurship in New Orleans.  While the size of the business didn’t create life-changing wealth, it was the what, when, where, how of the experience itself that made it unique. 

Growing up, in the French Quarter (literally) of New Orleans, where over 10,000,000 walk the streets of a quarter square mile area to simply enjoy living provides a gumbo pot of everything an aspiring entrepreneur needs to see to learn how to survive, navigate and eventually thrive in any environment.  When an area that small has so much activity (nearly 24hrs/day) not only do you get to build the work ethic, mental stamina and sales muscles entrepreneurship requires, but you interact with, learn from and engage people from all walks of life.  And then there are all the intangibles… new business concepts, pivoting the business during downtimes, life lessons from customers, story telling to customers, inclusive experiences with customers and most important, balancing life and understanding money is just a tool…it’s not the goal! 

All of those experiences made me who I am today and I started StartupHeat to help aspiring entrepreneurs minimize downside risk and position themselves to maximize the upside of their potential.

I’ve become passionate about finding the reasons why most startups fail and what businesses can do to avoid the many pitfalls that can lead to their demise. Why do startups fail? Is it because there’s no market for their idea? Is it because of the execution? Is it because of timing? I started almost a year ago on this journey to explore, better understand, and answer those questions to help solve that problem for exuberant entrepreneurs.

I’ve been mesmerized by the appetite for risk of today’s entrepreneurs, the lack of preparation and understanding of how to manage that risk, and simply the amount of people that believe, “if I build it, they will come.” 

And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve started writing this blog. With StartupHeat, I want to help exuberant, aspiring and/or existing entrepreneurs, and startup business leaders like you to define your “success equation.” Critical to this is understanding that the first step in business isn’t to just create something to sell, but rather to think more thoroughly about how to solve a pain point for your buyer/customer. You need to make their lives easier.

The StartupHeat blog will provide entrepreneurs and early-stage companies with the tools and techniques to find the signal within the noise. I aim to help:

  • Aspiring entrepreneurs – Balance the conflicting mental states of typical irrational exuberance (initial overwhelming excitement and optimism) vs. rational practical focus (what’s necessary for you to be successful, long-term). You’ll learn how to approach your venture in a more mindful way.
  • Existing entrepreneurs – Learn how to bring products to market in a digital/virtual age – tools and techniques you can use for new product launches; and
  • Advisors/Investors – Gain the information you’ll need to assess early-stage companies and consider if to invest your disposable income in the next big thing!

To be clear: I’m a huge supporter of exuberance, and entrepreneurial optimism, (“failing fast,” and learning on the fly) and would argue that kind of energy is vital to success. But that excitement must be harnessed and tempered with practical realities of the marketplace.

For new founders, my favorite posts are the first 8 blogs that walk new founders through the keys to getting started and introduces my Mindful Startup Formula. I believe mindfulness is a key ingredient to startup success as it helps founders minimize risk and maximize the signal.

I’ve learned a lot from experience and know what success and failure look like, so I’m able to offer you that perspective. In some ways, StartupHeat will be my therapy to help organize my thoughts and simply figure out how to better advise you, whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, existing entrepreneur, or established business/investor.