A Victory Lap for the Dallas Startup Community

Take a victory lap Dallas, you deserve it! We pulled off something quite amazing on Tuesday night, and it’s just the beginning. Let this sink in…

Tuesday night’s Dallas New Tech was a record setter, with around 280 ticket sales. There are other events with that turnout of course, but to my knowledge we’re the only monthly event in tech with those numbers. It took Boulder several years to reach this milestone (Austin doesn’t have one), and we’ve done it in just under one.

It gets better: #BigDNT was an evening tech event, held on the rooftop of a building with significant history in Downtown Dallas. We didn’t provide parking, valet, or make special arrangements to help people “deal with downtown.” They just did it. It’s proof that Downtown Dallas was the right choice for the “density” conundrum. It’s also proof that Dallas is ready for a new lifestyle of convenience, public transportation, and walkability.

What else is happening around the city?

We have five open coffee clubs now (two in Dallas, one in Fort Worth, one in Denton, and one in Plano with a video game focus – Arlington will come online soon). House of Genius is rolling along nicely in its 10th month. LAUNCH DFW has several happy hours every month across the metro area.

There are now six introduction to coding style events, and a plethora of community led initiatives such as UX, fundraising, and startup basics meetups. And we’ve had requests for more – like the annual “Introduction to the Startup Community.” We’ll do two of those this quarter.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is in November with dozens of participants across the D/FW metro area. There’s an Angel Summit the week before GEW, the first of its kind, with an amazing assortment of personalities from the venture capital and angel community from around the world. They chose Dallas, not Austin, and there’s a reason.

Next year is shaping up quite nicely. Dallas Startup Week is March 2nd through 6th – we’ll host more than 10,000 people over several days with key/marquee events each night. Every regularly scheduled event in Dallas will be compressed into one week, with a specific focus on the 9,200 square miles that is our home.

There are four Startup Weekends planned in 2015 – one per quarter in each quadrant of the metro area, two Lean Startup Machine events, and two Startup Next programs. Others will happen (Edu, Health, etc.), but this is the shell, and it’s amazing. No other US metro area has more Startup Weekends planned.

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 (depending on your definition) incubators. There are also several tech focused conferences held in Dallas (Big Design, the PHP Developer’s Conference, Front Porch, and Dallas Digital, just to name a few), and there are many wonderful groups like Digital Dallas that showcase a variety of industries in the Dallas Startup Community. Did you know that Dallas is home to one of the country’s largest game development communities?

We just signed DART as the “Official Transportation Provider of the Dallas Startup Community.” They see what’s happening and want to be a part of it. DART is a key player in the community. I’ve met people randomly that have flown into Dallas to find our community – having taken DART from the airport to downtown. It’s an attractive lifestyle element, and it’s working in our favor.

Opportunities to participate in the community have never been more available. You can find all of these on the LAUNCH DFW Events page. In fact LDFW is setting monthly viewership records and now has a team of 6 people working on content, events, and sponsorship. It’s all grown up, and ready for the changes we’re planning over the next several months.

There are no gatekeepers in this community, just participants, facilitators, and advocates. Bradley and I happen to be two of the loudest proponents of what’s happening here, but there are dozens, if not hundreds of people that play key roles.

How can I help?

Michael Sitarzewski

Michael Sitarzewski is the Publisher of Launch DFW, co-founder and CEO of Epic Playground, Inc., makers of inboundgeo. He is a veteran entrepreneur (and a TechStars Cloud alum) with a specific focus on Web-based software and services. Sitarzewski has been a part of the internet startup culture since 1994 and has had two exits along the way. After a seven years in the Boulder, Colorado startup community, Michael returned to Dallas, Texas, in 2013 where he’s focused on growing and increasing the visibility of the burgeoning Dallas startup community. He is the EIR at The DEC, a mentor in the RevTech accelerator, and leads several events in the Dallas area. Sitarzewski considers helping people understand and leverage technology his life's work.