Our Community’s Major Strides

I’d like to thank The Dallas Morning News for the writeup on the Dallas-Fort Worth Startup Community. It’s important to recognize what is arguably the fastest growing industry in the region. That it’s the Sunday before the regions largest celebration of entrepreneurship, is very helpful too.

There is one thing I’d like to add to the story, though, and that’s the age of our community. The speed of growth in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton startup ecosystem is unprecedented. Other cities have been at it for much, much longer, so to compare what’s happening in Dallas to other cities is a fine art. Austin has a good 8 years on us, Boulder 8 to 10, the Valley has 45+ years on us. To have an inaugural Dallas Startup Week earlier in the year, with much closer to 3,000 is spectacular. But I digress.

We’re really only at about 2.5 years on the timeline of this most recent iteration of a startup community. The data points, in that context, are phenomenal. If we’re to compare VC/Angel investments to other cities, it really should begin in 2013. I wrote a piece on why successful entrepreneurs don’t invest in our ecosystem, and it’s true just two months later. In summary, we haven’t seen a major exit come from this community.

One of the first opportunities to address in 2013 was to stem the tide of great talent leaving Dallas to other cities, Austin primarily, because of its proximity. We’ve been successful – now we’re seeing the opposite. People from all over the country (including Austin) are moving here. We meet with them constantly, and introduce them to the whole community as applicable.

Our size (9,200 square miles) is only a problem when you’re not connected to your local community. While we are one mega-community, it’s a network. Find your node. The adage that “you must have a car to live in Dallas,” is only true when your choices to live and work require you to have one. Many in our community are car-free and leverage transit and other modes of transportation.

And thanks for mentioning Kauffman Foundation’s report, again. Our Editor in Chief did a fine piece on that report, so for follow-up, please read it.

If you have questions about the Dallas/Fort Worth ecosystem, Launch DFW lives in the space. Please say “howdy.”

Original by Hanah Cho, Dallas Morning News.

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.