The Dallas Startup Week team has put together a dynamic range of entrepreneurial programming that kicks-off next Monday, March 2nd. The events start with A VC, an Angel and an Entrepreneur Walk into a Bar. Seriously!
Local track captains have created events organized along 16 topical tracks. The focus varies from traditional strengths like Commercial Real Estate, Fashion, Food, and Travel to emerging emphasis on Medtech, and Education. There are also core sessions on Business, Funding, and Mentor Hours. I’m especially intrigued by the non-traditional tracks Pop Up Shop and The Kaleidoscope for Her.
Pop Up Shop
What an cool way for the community to experience and support local small businesses. From Wednesday to Friday, there will be something new in store, including jewelry, eco-friendly fashions, and white board magnets.
House of Genius and Ignite on the same day! This is a smart way to infuse creativity and join communities of like-minded individuals. The Ignite session will be Kicked off by Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Dallas is transforming a coworking space into a play/party space. I’m calling it FortPlay.
I start every day at #ChaseBaseCamp, the hub for Dallas Startup Week. Please stop by and say hello!
For more information, check out Dallas Startup Week
Join us on twitter: #DSW15 #ChaseBaseCamp
2014 was our biggest year ever in Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We hosted 4 Startup Weekend events this past year, two being our first verticals in the area (health and education), and two during the Global Startup Battle. We have a lot of momentum in our startup community, and we don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
Dallas/Ft. Worth is unique in that two very large cities are located in close proximity to each other, meaning the North Texas area is quite spread out. For 2015, we wanted to improve the accessiblity of all the events since we cover such a large area, so all of the North Texas organizers got together to come up with a new community initiative – dividing North Texas into 4 regions. Dallas, North Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Denton, with the goal of having one event in each region every year.
Up to this point, all of the Startup Weekend events were run pretty independently with no real connection to each other, except for sharing some organizers in a few cases. We wanted to change that. We wanted to build a single “brand” for Startup Weekend in North Texas. When we need artwork or shirts for events, we turn to our local design company from Denton, Pan Ector Industries. We had coffee with owner and creative director, Nick Webber to discuss taking on our new regional branding concept including the values and branding guidelines of UP Global, and our goals for Startup Weekend North Texas. What they came back to us with was nothing less than spectacular – about 6 solid designs that scream Texas, Dallas and North Texas in general.
We hosted a free UP Global Happy Hour for the entire North Texas startup community and talked about our past year, the UP Global programs that are currently going on in Dallas (Startup Digest, Startup Next, Startup Week, and Startup Weekend), our plans for 2015, and then closed out with revealing the new artwork (all by Pan Ector Industries).
The reception was fantastic, all of the events this year will have access to these new logos and shirts, ready to use in a so many ways ranging from signage and banners to social media and marketing pieces. We really feel that keeping all of these events connected will improve our bonds as organizers and contine to grow the UP Global community here in North Texas, and continue to support our new entrepreneurs with their ideas and opportunities.
NEXT DALLAS EVENT: Startup Week, March 2-6!
Sunday night at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center, Dallas Startup Weekend finished up on it’s first ever health focused event. Entrepreneurs, developers, designers and health professionals from all around the Dallas/Fort Worth area came together to build products, services and applications focused on improving health and healthcare.
Among the amazing list of other ideas Virtual Visit, Health Record Trust and ReLyf took home top prizes during the weekend.
3rd Place: ReLyf
Helping doctors provide a more personal touch to visits, by giving them the ability to quickly look up current patient information before entering the exam room.
2nd Place: Health Record Trust
Health Record Trust provides a software service to remove personally identifiable information from EHR health records and deliver HIPAA-compliant data to meet your research needs.
1st Place: Virtual Visit
Virtual Visit provides a new way for families to track and understand the day to day lives of family members living in skilled nursing facilities. Whether it’s keeping track of doctor visits, meals or just general satisfaction, through the use of an end-user focused mobile application.
Rather that looking to the facilities for revenue, Virtual Visit is giving an incentive the facility employees who use the app, then transferring the cost to the family. Doing this allows the app to be included in various packages that the facility may offer to new residents.
For winning, Virtual Visit has access to $24,000 in hosting credits with SoftLayer, $1,000 of production credits with True Vault (a HIPAA compliant data storage API), one month of residence at the Addison Treehouse, Consulting time with lawyers at Stewart Courington and will be presenting at Dallas New Tech, next month.
The Startup Weekend sprint can be a bit of a grind, so to give all the teams a much needed break, the Dallas organizers hosted the first ever Dallas Startup Weekend Table Tennis Tournament. Participants from each team competed for the coveted 3M Cup. Players signed up and a single elimination bracket was created. The event took only one hour, but gave participants a well deserved break while also creating a little camaraderie among the teams.
Dallas is primed for health and health technology innovation, and the ideas that came out of Startup Weekend Dallas: Health prove that there is not only a need but a passion to make great strides in the health industry as a whole.
Congratulations to all the teams who participated, it’s people like you who will make health and healthcare better for the future.
Photos from the event can be found on our flickr page. (which will be updated shortly)
Startup Ecosystem (ˈekōˌsistəm,ˈēkō-/): A group of people interacting as a system to create new partnerships or temporary organizations that search for repeatable and scalable business models.
So you want to be a startup entrepreneur? Are all your friends saying, “You’ll have to move to Silicon Valley to do that?” But do you really? Besides, what makes Silicon Valley, the de facto standard of a tech startup community anyway? What makes it the benchmark region to compare “all things entrepreneurial” against? Can’t you stay here, in Dallas/Fort Worth and build a successful tech startup? It has a strong startup ecosystem too… doesn’t it?
Well, in order to answer this question FAIRLY, we’d need some way to measure the health of the Dallas Startup ecosystem.
Brad Feld,in his book “Start-up Communities”, does an excellent job pointing out some of the key traits of a healthy start-up community . According to Feld, strong startup communities have high marks in the following areas: Leadership, Community Intermediaries, Network Density, Government, Talent, Support Services, Community Engagement, Companies that support that engagement and Capital.
So how does Dallas/Fort Worth fare in these areas? Over the next few weeks I will highlight strengths and weaknesses of the DFW Metroplex in each of those areas. But here’s a quick overview of what you can expect.
It all begins with Leadership. There is no sickness in the body that we can’t first detect in the head. So the question is, “Who is leading the growth of startup entrepreneurship in the region?” Is it led by “the doers”, the entrepreneurial community. Or is this a mandate from the investor community, or even worse…. some government agency. Are those leaders visible and accessible? More importantly, are they committed to the region? Dallas gets a “B” in the area of leadership.
I’ll explain why in the coming post “Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Ecosystem: Room to Grow… Reflecting on Leadership”.
Intermediaries are advisors and mentors. Are there well respected mentors, advisors and… more importantly… sponsors giving back to the community at all levels and across all demographics? I gave this area a C grade. There are some very well respected people engaged in the Dallas entrepreneurial community. Mark Cuban, was recently quoted as saying entrepreneurship outside Silicon Valley, will dwarf what’s happening in the valley. He went on to suggest that Dallas, Austin, Boston and Raleigh-Durham were “better” for his portfolio. The C grade was given because the “giving back” doesn’t happen across all sectors and demographics.
Watch for “Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to Grow… Reflecting on Mentorship” for details.
Network Density [A]
Network density refers to how well the startup founders in the community connect and interact with each other. I think Dallas/Fort Worth is doing rather well in this area. Although the community is relatively small, those that are “doing something” know everyone else that is “doing something”. It’s a small, but tight-knit circle. So the real question is, how does “network density” scale?
I’ll talk about some ideas in ”Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to Grow… Reflecting on the Network”.
The world generally sees entrepreneurs as a renegade bunch, going against the grain and bucking the system. In some ways that is true. But to really grow and sustain a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem, policy makers have to be on board. We have already seen how a municipality can stifle the ecosystem, when the City of Dallas cited “Uber” for operating without the city’s approval. Although they have worked the matter out, it was still a drag on the time, energy and resources of the company. Cities should be making it “easier” to do business and get things done. But because most area city councils and economic development boards don’t understand startup entrepreneurship, that doesn’t happen. On the other hand, innovative partnerships like the “Entrepreneurial Village” with the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce are signs of hope. It’s still unclear, however, whether they want to lead, which is a bad idea, or simply facilitate the process. I have a few ideas that might help….
I’ll share them in “Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to grow… Techno-Cities”.
For a startup ecosystem to grow and survive there must be a steady pool of talented people at all levels to support it. Although the region isn’t the home of a Stanford University or U.C. Berkley, the universities in the area do a good job of turning out high quality students. I give the area a grade of B, because of our ability to attract good people. Larger companies in the area are excellent places for developing in-house talent that at some point might find its way into the startup talent pool. Hopefully we can move startup entrepreneur from a fringe lifestyle to an education supported career option.
I’ll talk more about talent and how we can begin to groom the talent pool at a much earlier age in “Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to Grow… Start Up Talent Hire”.
Support Services [B]
Supporting services is another strength of the region. Startups need legal, accounting, real estate services, etc. that can handle the issues of a startup venture. Startup companies are not simpler, smaller versions of large, well established companies. Support service providers that understand and can guide startup entrepreneurs through the maze of going from idea to a sustainable business is key. There are many startup boutique service providers in the area, but Dallas/Fort Worth has a strong group of larger firms that are open to taking on this “less lucrative” work in lieu of servicing their larger corporate clients.
We’ll talk about this in depth and point out some of those startup friendly service providers in “Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to Grow… Start Up Service Providers”.
Engagement is one of the strongest startup ecosystem health markers for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We should applaud the number of “Meetups”, startup events and conferences held in the area. The leadership has done a good job of bringing the community together on a weekly basis. The upcoming “Startup Weekend – Denton” and the recently held “Digital Dallas Summit” are both good examples of engagement. The community should be proud of the momentum that it has generated by hosting engaging activities for the tech startup community. I encourage you to take a look at the Launch DFW Events calendar as a one stop shop for entrepreneurial engagement in Dallas/Fort Worth.
I’ll share more about local activities in “Assessing the Dallas Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to Grow… Get Engaged!”
Another strong marker for the region is the vast number of large companies that can provide support to the startup entrepreneurial world. Whether it is as a customer base or as a source of research opportunities, the number of large companies in the area make this marker a strong point. We can expect more companies to support startup activities by creating departments and programs to encourage cooperation with high-growth startups.
We will look at some of the venture programs of a few larger companies in the area in “Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to Grow… Getting Help from the Big Boys”.
At the end of the day the startup ecosystem must have fuel to make it go. Capital is that fuel. Is there a strong community of Venture Capitalists, angels, seed investors? They must be available, visible and accessible across all sectors of the startup community. This is one of the major areas of opportunity. It’s understandable that capital in this area would be slow to embrace tech. Texas has a rich history of oil and gas, backed by a wealth of knowledge and financial success in these industries. Over the next decade, however, as some successful technology exits, some of the oil and gas money will move over to the tech arena.
I’ll delve into this a little more in “Assessing the Dallas/Fort Worth Startup Eco-System: Room to Grow… Show Me the Money!”
Attempting to quantify the health of a Startup Eco-System is hard work. In every strong area we can find weakness and in every weak area we can find strengths. Our goal then is to identify a direction of growth in a particular area. An A grade today does not mean that we have gotten it right. It only means that we are moving in the right direction at a pace that is reasonably acceptable. In areas where we score a C or D, that does not mean we are doomed. It means that the leadership needs to get momentum moving in another direction. I look forward to exploring the Dallas Startup Ecosystem with you over the next few weeks. I encourage and welcome your feedback, whether we agree OR disagree.
GOOD LUCK in 2014 to all the rebels, radicals, misfits and those alike taking on the challenge of changing the world, and Dallas/Fort Worth in particular, one startup at a time.
When you think of Dallas, what are the first things that come to mind? Some people think of the Dallas Cowboys, the popular TV show “Dallas,” or the airport that is on track to become America’s second-largest by 2022. But who thinks of Dallas as a thriving entrepreneurial hub?
People don’t consider the fact that Dallas is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. 10,000 businesses have corporate headquarters here, and organizations such as Microsoft, PepsiCo, Samsung, and Ericsson have a major presence in the region. Close to 50 major restaurants are based in Dallas-Fort Worth, and there is an abundance of local high-tech talent here, too. What about the fact that Dallas is the fifth-largest market for self-employed workers and home to more than 25 billionaires who have chosen to reside and build companies here?
I bet you didn’t know that approximately 19,000 new businesses are started in Dallas each year. Jn the past six months, we’ve gone from one accelerator (top 10-ranked Tech Wildcatters) to five accelerators across the region. We’ve grown from five coworking spaces to more than 12—and growing daily. Startup incubators, university entrepreneur programs, and other entrepreneur support systems are sprouting up across the region every month. This city is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity.
Last Wednesday marked the six-month anniversary of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.
The DEC (pronounced “deck”), as it is affectionately referred to, launched nationally as a central hub for startup activity in the region. Offering education, training, mentorship, incubation, shared space, promotional opportunities, and access to capital, the DEC serves as a launch pad for entrepreneurs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is one of a myriad of startup support organizations determined to put Dallas on the map.
This week, the DEC announced several new initiatives in Dallas, all built around supporting entrepreneurship and creating a more collaborative community in the nation’s “largest geographical entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Chief among them is the DEC’s partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to provide support to entrepreneurs as they seek advice and counsel on obtaining patents around intellectual property, products, and services. Through this agreement, representatives from USPTO will make trips to Dallas to sit down with entrepreneurs and walk them through the best way to protect and leverage IP for startups. This opportunity creates substantial value and differentiation for the businesses launching here.
The DEC also announced a partnership with the City of Dallas that has yielded $200,000 in grant money to foster entrepreneurship in the region and help build an Entrepreneurial Village in Dallas to bring the startup community under one roof.
In another announcement, the DEC said that it would put its IP, content, curriculum, and incubation program online for free on the open-source platform Git Hub. The goal is to be a leader in demonstrating a “give before you take” approach to supporting entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur and thought leader Steve Case, CEO of Revolution and Chairman of UP Global, said, “The Dallas Entrepreneur Center is a great example of how cities like Dallas can step up and in big ways to provide resources that support entrepreneurial success.” He continued, “Dallas is one of a number of strong markets in Texas that are well-suited for startups, incubators, and accelerators, and we applaud their leadership in encouraging a rise in entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the U.S.”
Dallas is experiencing an explosion of entrepreneurial activity. More than 70 individuals and 35 companies have decided to office at the DEC, and more than 3,500 people have streamed through its doors. This flurry has actually created a “startup inertia,” leading to better and sounder businesses, ready to access the vast amount of capital that exists in the Dallas region and take advantage of the “can-do” attitude innate to those who live here.
In a recent press release, I weighed in on what we believe will make Dallas a hub for entrepreneurship across the country. “The DEC is dedicated to bringing promising entrepreneurs, corporations, educators, investors, and community leaders together to continue building a thriving startup ecosystem in Dallas. We are proud to have champions like the USPTO, the City of Dallas, and countless others share our desire to help others realize their entrepreneurial dreams. We are just one of a countless number of local organizations that are serving entrepreneurs in this region to start, build, and grow high-growth, scalable organizations destined for success.”
Dallas may be the greatest entrepreneurial ecosystem that you have NEVER heard of, but our goal is to change that. We are committed to helping build great companies and being a conduit for their stories of innovation, determination, and success in the Dallas area.
Texas is arguably the No. 1 state in the country to DO business; now we are focusing on why Dallas is one of the best places in the country to START a business.
So be prepared to hear much more out of Dallas’ startups and entrepreneurs because before too long, you might just be moving this way to start YOUR next business.