LAUNCH DFW 2014: A Year in Review

2014 was a banner year for North Texas startups.

If you weren’t able to attend the State of Entrepreneurship event that the DEC hosted earlier this month, there’s a spectacular website with a TON of stats, links, and insights to catch you up on everything that’s being going down here in North Texas this past year.

Bottom line: 2014 was a good one for our North Texas startup family. And we’re giddy as hell about 2015, if these past twelve months were any indication of the kind of momentum we’ll see in the next twelve.

Here at LAUNCH DFW, we’ve also seen a great deal of traction, but let’s start with what happened in our community (that’s why we’re here, after all).

Startup Resources

Dallas does startups best. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says so. And it’s because of all of the resources that our community has available.

Really, we’re just improving on what’s already awesome. This year was the launch of a new accelerator, Collide Village, which is currently housed at The Addison Treehouse, a new coworking and resource community in North Dallas. “It is a central point for many North Texas cities to collide and the Treehouse provides the perfect environment for acceleration,” Hussain told LAUNCH DFW earlier this year when announcing the new accelerator program.

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211 N Ervay, the new “tech mecca” of Dallas.

And there’s movement everywhere here in North Texas. Tech and Health Wildcatters moved downtown this summer, into 211 North Ervay, one of downtown Dallas’ longtime vacant office towers that is now housing several tech companies and resources, like coworking community Fort Work.

Several other coworking spaces opened this year, including the Garage (in Deep Ellum) and Fort Worth’s IDEA Works.

The VentureSpur program celebrated another successful year of their accelerator, and we’re excited to hear that several of their startups will be staying in the Dallas area.

OH YEAH — and we need to talk about Denton. Seriously, there’s too much to list (again, check out that page the DEC set up, because there are a ton of stats and tidbits of information) — but we’ll take a stab at it:

Not only are the metroplex’s resources multiplying, but they’re being recognized. Common Desk was named one of the top 10 cutting edge coworking spaces earlier this year. We were thrilled to celebrate our September happy hour with them in their newly expanded (and super sexy) space.

Events

There are always plenty of events for our community going on, and luckily LAUNCH DFW has a place for you to see what’s going on around us. We opened up the calendar this year so that you can submit your own events! We’re making sure everyone stays connected, so if you have an event that you want everyone to know about, go on and submit one!

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Bettina Bennett at the first ever North Texas Women in Tech event.

Now for more of your successes. Thanks to Bettina Bennett, local startup rockstar and Chief Maverick of Whichbox Media, Dallas saw its first ever North Texas Women in Tech event, which celebrated the women entrepreneurs that keep our ecosystem thriving.

North Texas was also home to the first ever NTX Apps Challenge, a 12 week initiative led by Robert Kent of the North Texas Commission. The challenge was comprised of 85 days’ worth of hard work, mentorship, workshops, and app development. The NTx Apps Challenge awarded $80,000 to five teams who created sustainability apps to address four key municipal growth challenges.

Over the summer, we hosted our Built by Immigrants event, to celebrate the foreign-born entrepreneurs here in our community who help to innovate and grow the technology that’s booming here.

Also for the first time, Dallas was home to Angel Summit, an event produced to facilitate conversation among community and industry leaders, and ultimately to enable and inspire more investors to fuel greater innovation in their communities. The event also featured Startup Jackpot, backed by VC firm Trailblazer Capital, which funded $15,000 in cash to accelerate another local startup.

LAUNCH DFW GROWTH

This year also brought change and growth for your LAUNCH DFW family. We’ve had amazing support from the contributing writers and volunteers who have made what we do possible.

We had the opportunity to speak with the lovely Lauren Silverman on KERA’s Think this past July, and LAUNCH DFW founder Bradley Joyce spoke about the astounding amount of growth in our community: “A lot of people here locally in the community are looking to create a better place for startups here in town,” said Bradley. And LAUNCH DFW is proof of that, when it comes to building out our team.

Over the summer, I joined the LAUNCH DFW team full time (after meeting Bradley Joyce at The Grove), and in November, Lauren Zeien came on board to further support all of the awesome content, events, and programs that we have planned for 2015.

Along with Dallas New Tech, we’ll be bringing more events (and happy hours, of course) to the entrepreneurs looking for networking and learning opportunities.

Photo Credit: Joseph Brewster

Photo Credit: Joseph Brewster

We’re also excited to be moving into our NEW SPACE in January at Alto 211 — what’s been deemed the new “tech mecca” of Dallas.

We’re sincerely looking forward to 2015, guys, and can’t wait to hear all of your stories and successes. Thanks for making 2014 such a brilliant year.

Rachel Winstead
winstead.rachel@gmail.com

Rachel is a freelance writer and works at Soap Hope in downtown Dallas. She hates the term "disrupt," tweets about startups, and appreciates a well-crafted hashtag.