2014 Themes

Ranked one of the top 25 counties for high-tech jobs

Denton County was ranked sixth on a list of the top 25 U.S. counties for high-tech jobs, according to an analysis by Progressive Policy Institute, beating out Travis County (the only other Texas county listed).

People are meeting up to create and connect

This year saw the first Startup Weekend Denton, and many new regular meetups including Open Coffee Club Denton, Open Hack Denton, and Denton Jelly.

Coming Together: City officials, University leaders, and Technology Advocates

ConnectDenton is made up of the city’s economic development office, the University of North Texas’ Greenhouse Innovation and other local technology advocates, all coming together on a common vision for Denton as a technology destination.

UNT Innovation Greenhouse Helps Launch 35 Startups

Established in 2013, The Innovation Greenhouse out of UNT has helped launch 35 student-led startups and hosted numerous programs and events in 2014.

Denton residents curate weekly Startup Digest

Denton residents Clarissa Redwine and Kyle Taylor curate a weekly digest promoting over 970 events this year and sent out to a community of 1700 subscribers across 45 weeks. If you’re doing the math, that’s over 77k emails that went out in 2014!

Non-profit with a Startup Mission

The TechMill is a non-profit organization and coworking space led by a group of entrepreneurs, techies and software developers in Denton with a mission to develop and promote the city as a startup hub in North Texas.

Denton opens its first coworking space

Starting first in a coffee shop called Banter and moving recently into a new space called Square 205, there is much planned by way of expansion for Denton in 2015.

Denton City Council Approves $220,000 for downtown tech initiative

The funding will be used to help launch an innovation district near the city’s downtown, and to organize and host programs to foster innovation and recruit even more startups to the city.

Dallas ranks among the top 5 cities for women in tech

In a study from RJMetrics exploring the state of women in technology in the U.S. based on data driven from meetup.com, Dallas ranks among the top five cities for women in tech.

Texas is #2 in growth of women-owned businesses

With a 98% increase of women-owned business, Texas ranks No. 2 among U.S. states for the fastest growth between 1997 and 2014.

Tech Organizations Run by Female Teams

All female leadership teams are making an impact in Dallas with tech organizations like seed accelerator, Tech Wildcatters, and the weekly educational program 1 Million Cups Dallas.

Golden Seeds investment group

Golden Seeds investment group, a female-led angel group with 25 investors in Dallas looking at startups led by women to invest in. Golden Seeds Dallas investors offer monthly office hours where entrepreneurs meet with experienced, early stage investors.

Inaugural North Texas Women in Technology Awards

The first ever North Texas Women in Technology Awards, presented by Texchange and the Dallas Business Journal, honored 25 women making waves in the local tech scene.

First female Board President of Texchange DFW

TeXchange DFW, coincidentally, had its first female Board President this year. Entrepreneur Bettina Bennett has helped to inspire and empower other local female technology entrepreneurs.

D Magazine September cover story on Dallas women

In September this year, Dallas' own city magazine, D Magazine, published a great cover story profiling 5 Dallas executive women in leadership roles.

Elizabeth Street Capital Program opens it’s doors to Dallas

The program, founded by Tory Burch, aims to provide $10 million in loans to women entrepreneurs across the country, and added the Dallas market in mid 2014.

The revival of downtown Dallas

Since 2000, the downtown Dallas population has grown from just 200 people to over 8,000, with numerous CEOs, developers and entrepreneurs making Downtown Dallas home base because of its access to retail, favorable business climate and close proximity to public transit, coworking spaces and accelerators.

The DEC moves to Downtown Dallas

After one year of operations, The DEC relocates to downtown Dallas to 10K sq ft in the heart of the West End Historic District, to be closer to DART, retail and business activity. The space hosts community events, mentor sessions, and houses the seed accelerator program VentureSpur.

Seed accelerators Tech and Health Wildcatters move in

Seed accelerators Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters relocate to downtown Dallas taking over 2 floors or 18,000-square-foot space at 211 North Ervay.

Coworking expansions

The Grove coworking space in West End expanded this year to accomodate demand, quadrupling the size of their space. While longtime coworking resident Common Desk also expanded its coworking footprint in Deep Ellum, doubling its size, for entrepreneurs, startups and professional services companies.

FortWork Joins the Party Downtown

Dallas Fort Work coworking joined the likes of Tech and Health Wildcatters at 211 North Ervay, moving locations from far North Dallas to downtown Dallas in early December and providing coworking desks, event space and an art gallery.

60K+ Square Feet of Coworking Space

There are now 7 co-working spaces with some 60,000+ square feet of space in Downtown Dallas alone, three accelerators, and two or three incubators.

Downtown now accessible by public transit for startups

DART becomes the “Official Transportation Provider of the Dallas Startup Community.” To learn more about the special "startup discount," visit dartup.co.

Events & Programs

Startup Weekend in New Cities and New Verticals

Four Startup Weekend events were held in North Texas this year - in Dallas, Denton, and for the first time in Fort Worth including two Startup Weekend Bootcamps. Roughly 220 participants developed and tested 29 ideas throughout the 54-hour weekend events. This was also the first year that Dallas ran a vertical Startup Weekend event held in the Education and Health sectors.

Startup Next is proving to be a catalyst for growth

Startup evangelist and entrepreneur Kevin Strawbridge led two programs this year, where 17 startup teams learned about customer development methodologies over the course of each five-week program.

House of Genius Program Launches in Dallas

This unique program emerged in December last year and hosts two entrepreneurs each month in an anonymous setting. In one year they have hosted 108 collaborators and 32 presenters.

Dallas New Tech Turns One

In just one year, Dallas New Tech has grown from an audience of 50 to 300 and 60 startup companies in the North Texas area pitching on stage. Notable story is Blownaway, Dallas’s premier on-demand beauty app, secured a six-figure investment from the Angels of Texas after presenting at September’s Dallas New Tech.

Open Coffee Club span 5 cities in North Texas

There are 5 Open Coffee Clubs now -- two in Dallas, 1 in Fort Worth, 1 in Denton, and one with a video game focus in Plano. This weekly program has put in over 112 hours of discussions centered around the tech and startup community.

Find Founder with CoFounders Lab

If you’re looking for a co-founder, you may have been one of 275 people that attended the Cofounders Lab meetups this year in Dallas, Addison or Plano.

Wednesday with 1 Million Cups of Coffee and Startups

Hosted every Wednesday morning at 9am at The DEC and IdeaWorks, this program hosted over 49 weeks in 2014, heard 132 startups pitch. The program also holds true to its name consuming over 3,015 cups of coffee this year.

LaunchDFW Happy Hours colliding connections over cocktails

Launch DFW hosted 16 happy hours this year -- where 1,135 attendees collaborated over 2,837 alcoholic beverages.

Lean Startup Machine Launches in Dallas

International program launched in Addison for the first time this year and coordinated by community leaders Kyle Taylor and Kara Brown. With their focus on validating ideas, the 68 participants used over 350 post-it notes throughout the weekend, and came up with 8 innovative and customer-validated ideas.

3-Month Apps Challenge promotes sustainability

North Texas Apps Challenge presented by the North Texas Commission and The Clean Web Initiative, which brought the City of Dallas, the City of Denton and the Town of Addison together with entrepreneurs to solve real-life issues for residents around clean water, sanitation, and health. Over $80K in cash and prizes were awarded to the winning teams.

Attracting national Influencers at the 2014 AngelSummit

200 investors, corporate and community leaders from across 20 states came to downtown Dallas to talk about national trends in Angel Investing at the inaugural Angel Summit.

Community Ambassador Program Promotes Give Before you Get

This year 55 DEC Ambassadors spent over 2500 hours volunteering their time and getting connected in with over 30 local and national organizations.

Accelerators & Incubators

Fort Worth opens new incubator for startups

IdeaWorks in Fort Worth is a nonprofit backed by donors, sponsors and the City of Fort Worth which serves startups through Entrepreneur Roundtables, educational events and community engagement.

Startup resource for startup north of 635

A public-private partnership between The DEC and the Town of Addison, demonstrates that in our region, economic development is about more than just helping big companies, but also helping power small businesses.

Preparing startups for international markets in Richardson

Richardson-based incubator that’s attracting local and international entrepreneurs to capital sources in China.

Deep Ellum welcomes new collaborative workspace

The Garage is a collaborative workspace for startups to access mentorship, capital and rent office space.

Socially Innovative startups making an impact with GroundFloor

United Way’s GroundFloor program is a social venture program launched in 2013, and most recently announced its second class of socially innovative companies. Its inaugural class leveraged investments of $310,000 to raise an additional $1.85M to fund their impact work.

Mentors offering free advice and feedback to startups

Housing over 100 startups in their space this year and offering a free mentorship program to anyone in the community. Over 14,000 hours of coaching and feedback have been provided to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in the community.

Big Win for Tech Ft. Worth: First IPO of a biotech company in Texas in 10 years

ZS Pharma raised $107 million in their IPO this year and now have a market cap of $900 million. ZS Pharma was a part of the Tech Ft. Worth incubator back in 2009 after relocating from Indiana to Fort Worth.

Dallas-bred Restaurant and Retail Tech Seed Accelerator

The only retail and restaurant focused accelerator program in the world, featured 6 startups this year from across the globe. Four of the six companies in this year’s class have decided to stay in Dallas, a great indicator of companies moving here because they believe the resources, customers and capital here will help make them more successful.

Health-tech focused accelerator program graduates seeing traction

The only health-tech focused accelerator program in the Southwest graduated its second class during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. The 12-week program made $30K investments in 11 startup companies from across the US and the world, while announcing earlier this year that its inaugural class has collectively raised $4.6 million.

Veteran seed accelerator program Tech Wildcatters making an economic impact

Currently housing a portfolio of 63 companies that have collectively raised more than $40 million in capital and helping create more than 300 jobs. The application deadline for this highly competitive program closes on January 13th.

New Accelerator launches to fund innovative startups using NFC

New accelerator program launched this year and housed in the Garage invested in 4 startup companies.

DFW-based startups generating revenue accepted into inaugural class

Collide Village received over 120 applications in the Fall and selected 6 local and revenue generating startups for its four-month program that launched in November at the Addison Treehouse.

Investments

Dallas ranked 18th best city for VC funding

The total investments made in the first three quarters totaled $323 million across 32 companies, and North Texas was also home to the second largest venture capital deal in Texas during the third quarter - Teladoc, a telehealth service provider, raised $50.25 million from a group of investors.

Strongest Q2 for investments since 2006

Of these investments, the top spots went to ZS Pharma with a $40 million raise (and then later followed by an IPO), while $84 million went to Teacher Synergy, and $50 million in Teladoc. This year saw the strongest Q2 since 2006, with 5 times more investments made in Q2 2014 than Q2 2013.

Angel investment and interest on the rise in Texas

Across the US, 12% of angel investments made during Q2 this year were in Texas. And Dallas recently hosted a national Summit on Angel Investing, with local influencers helping the national Angel community spearhead the discussion about how to create the next 1 Million Angels in the country.

Banks are getting in the action to help accelerate startups

In Dallas, Comerica Bank just completed a $50,000 cash grant and was awarded to the startup company Rollout. In Fort Worth, Capital One Bank sponsored the fourth annual Fort Worth Business Pitch Competition, awarding $12K in cash and prizes.

Grassroots startup competition Startup Jackpot at AngelSummit

While another contest called Startup Jackpot, backed by VC firm Trailblazer Capital, funded $15,000 in cash to accelerate another local startup during the Angel Summit. Congrats to the winner Cariloop, a graduate of the 2013 Health Wildcatters program, who also closed a seed investment round of $400K led by Green Park and Golf Ventures.

Companies behaving like investment backers

Another way companies are behaving like backers is by creating internal venture arms -- like Dallas based 7-11 Ventures, Texas Instruments TI Ventures, and the Mark Cuban Companies. Cuban has made investments in several Dallas-based startups this year including these two startups and UT Dallas alumns: iLumi and Xpire.

Outside capital firms looking at Dallas-based companies

Austin-based VC firms like LiveOak Ventures announced that they’re looking at more deals in Dallas. A few months after making their announcement, they made their first investment of $3.5M in Razberi Technologies, a Carrolton-based company developing network video solutions for security surveillance.

Entrepreneurs leveraging crowdfunding for startup capital

Companies are also turning to crowdfunding to seed fund their next venture this year - like TCU undergrads Dropshades that raised $78K; more than $100K was raised by iLumi prior to their investment by Cuban; or Chui, the world’s most intelligent doorbell raising $86K for pre-orders.

Universities

Students accelerating their ideas with competitive contests

Almost 200 teams participating in the highly competitive business pitch competitions including UTD Business Plan Competition, Baylor’s New Venture Competition, TCU Values and Ventures, and the SMU Business Plan Competition. Together these students teams were awarded a total of $161,500 in cash and prizes.

Student teams get connected at UNT Innovation Greenhouse

This past year, the Greenhouse helped 36 student startup teams apply what they learned in the classroom to their business ideas, and many went on to win cash awards like the Founders’ Award from TCU, the NTx Apps Challenge, and the Sabre App Hackathon Challenge.

Venture Development Center incubates startup teams

Active mix of UTD technologies in cybersecurity, medical devices, biotech, material sciences and software, companies typically have a mix of university technology, licensed and free. In 2014 the combined 35 companies have raised over $5M in a variety of federal grants as well as some equity investment.

Entrepreneurship enrollment on the rise at UTD

UTD is expecting a growth in enrollment of about 17% with a total of 1180 students expected to take Innovation and Entrepreneurship courses in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

UTD Startup Launch Courses and Seed Funding Opportunities

The “Startup Launch Track” is a specialized track offering a unique opportunity for a select group of entrepreneurs to take up to 4 startup launch courses and to receive up to $25K in seed funding. Since inception in Spring 2013, three student teams have been selected for the competitive, including the Rollout, the winner of this year’s DEC and Comerica $50K Business Pitch Competition.

UTD alumni startup team from business idea competition to growth

In 2010, The UTD two student founders of iLumi won the graduate UT Dallas Business Idea Competition in 2010 and later when on to launch the company with faculty mentoring. Following a successful crowdfunding of more than $100K, iLumi went on to receive a $350K investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank in April 2014.

Funded ventures emerging from established programs in SMU’s Cox School of Business

SMU’s Cox School of Business is helping accelerate and celebrate entrepreneurs. The school hosts two business plan competitions with $50K in prize money available, the Southwest Venture Forum, the Dallas 100 Awards honoring the fastest growing privately held companies in Dallas, and manages the MBA Venture Fund. Over the last 5 years, a combined investment in Cox grad and undergrad ventures have reached $140M.

SMU accelerates startups with real-life experience and capital

Accelerate your Startup program at SMU enabled 5 companies with a total of $25,000 total with a new class starting again in January and Austin College is going to be launching their first mini-accelerator programing starting in the Spring semester through a partnership with the DEC.

Entrepreneur Clubs gaining interest from students and the community

SMU’s Cox School of Business boasts 2 Entrepreneurship clubs for Grad and Undergrad students. The UTD E-Club attracts 150 students at their events from all seven schools within UTD. Meanwhile, TCU’s Entrepreneurship Club is the largest chapter affiliated with the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, and is one of the largest organizations on TCU's campus.

First Entrepreneurship Program in the country continues with high accolades

The Baylor Entrepreneurship Department was one of the first entrepreneurship programs in the country, which started in 1977. The program is currently ranked #3 in the US by Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine. The program has grown by approximately 100% over the last seven years.With 200 undergraduate students majoring in Entrepreneurship, and another 100 students getting minors.

Corporations

Corporations supporting startups that are taking flight

American Airlines has worked to build a longstanding relationship with the startup community, partnering with organizations like Startup Texas and Tech Wildcatters. This year, AA beefed up their program to include even more benefits - with a partnership through the DEC providing startups access to free flights for growth opportunities.

IdeaWorks welcomes first marquee corporate sponsor

A peer DFW company, Radio Shack stepped up as one of the first marquee corporate sponsors of the business incubator Idea Works Ft. Worth, adding senior advisors to their Advisory Council, providing financial support and technology products for the space and its members.

Local companies paying it forward for qualifying startups

Dallas-based Softlayer, now a part of IBM, announced the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for Cloud Startups where qualifying startups can receive up to $120,000 worth of credits to put towards IBM Cloud usage, helping entrepreneurs to launch their businesses and focus their resources on coding, building, scaling and bringing innovations to market.

AT&T hackathons are helping foster innovation in cutting edge technologies

AT&T’s Foundry in Plano ran six hackathons and workshops this year in areas focusing on Connected Car, public safety, embedded systems, women in tech and home automation.

Sabre organized their first Hackathon at Sabre headquarters in Southlake

The 24-hour codefest culminated in the creation of 16 unique travel apps. The First prize winner was a team from The Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, or TAMS High School in Denton and received $15,000 in cash.

Microsoft hosts Kinect hackathons to connect to talent

Over 100 developers, designers and makers, gathered over a weekend to develop and create over 15 apps using the Kinect sensor. Several of the original developers of Kinect came down to Dallas and were making real time updates to the SDK while people were hacking on the product.

Banking moves to the Garage - Capital One’s ‘The Garage’

Capital One has opened a new innovation center in Plano to design, engineer and innovate the future development of two products - home loans and auto financing. The Garage is connecting to the startup community by hosting student hackathons and exclusive events with organizations like Digital Dallas.

McKinney is selected for a new US Technology Center

International Financial Services provider Barclay’s Bank selects McKinney for US Technology Center, which is expected to create 500 new jobs.

Looking forward to 2015

Opportunity to bring more women and minority-owned startups to the table

North Texas is recognized as a diverse business ecosystem. There are entrepreneurs of all backgrounds contributing to our ecosystem and they find Dallas to be a great home base. If you are a leader of a group, let’s work together. Let’s do more to talk to each other and build better and more wide-ranging support programs.

Growing our local ecosystem of tech and mobile programming talent

We can still do more to bring high-quality technology education. Key players like General Assembly, an international educational institution teaching people new skills like coding, design, and business skills, which is planning for a 2015 launch. The community is also launching their own new programs: There were 6 introduction to coding programs launched in DFW this year, including EpicU at Valley View Mall and CodeEx hosted at Tech Wildcatters.

Celebrate a free week of education March 2nd at Startup Week

Dallas Startup Week is a free, five-day celebration of our community that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship. We're led by local Dallas entrepreneurs and hosted in amazing spaces all over town. Learn more at dallasstartupweek.com.

Help us find 10,000 entrepreneurs in the metroplex

The DEC ambassador team has set up a site where you can become a visible face of how DFW does entrepreneurship. Whether in Denton, Dallas -- Plano or Southlake, Carrolton or Fort Worth, if you are an entrepreneur, we want to SEE You. Visit the site at thefacesofdallas.com, learn about it at our Twitter hashtag.