6 Questions with Trey Bowles, Managing Director of Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth

Feb 22, 2022

Trey Bowles is the Managing Director of Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth.  

Trey has been an entrepreneur for more than two decades and is currently located in Dallas Texas. Trey was the founder of multiple companies in the verticals of media, e-commerce, consumer based technology and experienced two exits that provided good and bad lessons he continues to share with early stage founders. He has been a board member and advisor to hundreds of companies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area over the last ten years.

During the 2011 economic downturn, Trey founded Startup Texas as a branch of the Obama administration's Startup America. Since that time Trey has founded and scaled multiple not for profit organizations focused on empowering entrepreneurs to start, build and grow their businesses in North Texas and across the country. Trey has dedicated time to supporting student entrepreneurs and founded the entrepreneurship program at Southern Methodist University (SMU) where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor. 

Bowles lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and three children where he serves on the board of several entrepreneurial organizations and as co-chair of the North Texas Angel Network.

01. What makes Techstars Physical Health a great opportunity for startups?

This program is built for companies who have a focus in physical health, health sciences, rehabilitation, physical therapy, osteopathic care and musculoskeletal conditions, mobility, performance, sports, exercise, medicine, software, hardware, digital health, wearables and innovations in human movement.

Here is a little bit more insight into the different themes we are focusing on through the program. 

  • Rehabilitation and Therapy: Physical Therapy and rehabilitation are core to the process of addressing physical health. There are numerous challenges and opportunities around providing care and cures for physical hardship. This includes companies intersecting with osteopathic care and musculoskeletal conditions.

  • Software and Platform Technologies:  We are looking for companies who are building innovative software or platform technologies that empower and maximize the approach to Physical Health. This could include AR/VR, AI driven solutions, software for enabling more efficient data, results, impact of physical health therapies, and products/SaaS solutions that assist in the Physical Health vertical.

  • Hardware and Wearables: This includes actual devices and apparatuses that work to enhance the overall health and wellness of the patient or customer and provide innovative solutions to address in both preventive or diagnostic care scenarios.

  • Performance Enhancement and Exercise:  We are looking for solutions that provide improvements and efficiencies around exercise and physical improvement. Addressing the field of Physical Health is not simply about curing conditions and health issues that patients are currently facing,  but also creating optimal effectiveness of the physical body and introducing preventative solutions to injury before it occurs.

  • Covid-19 Long Haulers:  COVID has created some serious physical and neurological conditions for the “long haulers” who spend months fully recovering from the various aspects of coronavirus. This program will help identify and  treat patients with this relatively new set of symptoms and ailments.

  • Misc: Ultimately, we are looking for solutions that are scalable and sustainable and move forward the field Physical Health. This would include ancillary technologies or innovations that improve the effectiveness of any element of the supply chain which could include billing, reimbursements, regulatory approvals, military integration or other governmental solutions, and more. Innovation is a very broad term and we are looking for founders and teams who are creatively and effectively finding ways to innovate in and around the themes listed above.

02. What are some of the biggest learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey that you bring to being a Techstars MD? 

I have learned throughout my journey as an entrepreneur that every company and every founder has something to learn. Surrounding yourself with the right team, the right mentors, the right partners and the right investors is essential to success. The role of the right mentor can be invaluable. I believe the role of a mentor is to remove obstacles that stand in your way as a founder and to help you in the space of where “you don’t know, what you don’t know.” Another key learning is that being able to attract world class talent is essential. If you are the best at more than one thing in your company, then you have hired poorly. If you are the best at nothing in your company, you have hired brilliantly. If you owned a professional basketball team and played for that team and you had the chance to trade for Lebron James, but you would have to give up your starting spot…who wouldn't do that. Remember that it is way more important who owns the company than who runs the company. Bring together a team that is second to none. Finally, don't give up! Most founders who have realized great success comes from the fact that they and their teams were persistent and they didn't give up. They believed when others didn't, they continued working when there was no clear path to success and chose to not give up. Then it is a rich combination of hard work, amazing team, and a little bit of luck that gets you to the next level.

03. What is your favorite thing about the Fort Worth, Texas startup scene?

One of my favorite things about the Fort Worth startup scene is that this city and region was  built on the shoulders of wildcatters, innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. The spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation has been woven into the building of this city.  There have been so many amazing entrepreneurs who have been through this city. There has been a lot of work that has been done in building an ongoing foundation to support entrepreneurs in Fort Worth. The Techstar Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator is just another example of key stakeholders across the city coming together to support the building of an ecosystem that is well prepared to support entrepreneurs as they attempt to effectively start, build, and grow their businesses.  It is that shared focus and commitment combined with the amazing cost of living and business friendly environment that makes Fort Worth, Texas one of the top places in the country to build a business.

04. Describe a situation with a startup founder or team where you felt like you made a difference. 

Having had the opportunity to work with, advise and support thousands of startups over my career there is nothing that makes me feel more fulfilled as when I help educate, encourage, equip, empower and provide key resources for a founder to make his/her own way. It’s not only helping make a key strategic introduction or showing a startup team how to maximize their effectiveness or connecting a startup to an investor where together they can build something truly transformational to a market. When I see an entrepreneur buck the probabilities and find a way to fulfill their dreams and accomplish their vision, that is when I feel as though I played a small role in helping to introduce founders, and their mission to the world.

05. What do our partners which include the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Goff Capital and the University of North Texas Health Science Center bring to the accelerator?

The combination of partners involved with the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator bring a unique combination of stakeholders from different areas of the world to support a common goal. In Fort Worth, where we have a city built upon hard work and legacy of entrepreneurs, these partners believe there is more to be done and they rightly understand that it takes different stakeholders from different aspects of culture to truly provide the environment and ecosystem essential for entrepreneurial growth. Specifically, the benefit of having access to the faculty, facilities, and subject matter experts that reside in Fort Worth and within the UNT HSC system will provide access to clinics, labs, potential patients, and a network of the best of the best in Physical Health.

06. If you could have coffee with any entrepreneur who would it be and why?

If I could have coffee with any entrepreneur it would be less about who that particular person was and more about when I met them for coffee. I would want to meet with any of the transformational entrepreneurs in the world at a specific time in their journey. I want to talk to them before they “made it”. When they weren’t sure that it was going to work. Actually, I would want to meet them when they were in a state of turmoil. When they were doubting themselves or at an impasse where they believed it wasn’t going to happen. It is when an entrepreneur is the most vulnerable and transparent and when they make the decision to move forward that makes them great. I would want to tell them that they could do this, they were no different or better than another entrepreneur but what would separate them would be what they do now. They can either decide to push through and persevere or give up. Now is the time that will make them great and not just when they excel, grow and exit. Entrepreneurs are made from the same ilk. They think similarly, they dream bigger and they believe in what they are doing. This should be a lesson for all entrepreneurs. Even the greatest entrepreneurs of all time have been where all startups live… in the unknown, the unproven, and the possible.

If you are interested in applying to Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth, submit your application here by May 11.

Learn more about the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth