Founders listen up: Three key events in January 2017

Every Sunday, Ateanna creates a week’s view of some of the events happening across the region. I look forward to it as do many of you (thanks for the feedback!). This is different. This is a look at three events that will take place in the month of January, and a little more data on why they’re important to founders.

These are my thoughts, and my thoughts alone. If you have feedback on the format, ping me directly via email michael@launchdfw.com or hop on the Community Slack and ping me there. Engaging the community is a passion of mine.

1. Collide Village’s Collidathon – The Entrepreneurs IoT Hackathon, 5 Challenges – 2 Weekends – 100s of Hackers

Sign up: January 21st to January 29th, 2017
Addison TreeHouse

During the first weekend, most of the Tech Partners (Microsoft, Ericsson, Senet, ST Microelectronics, Zenseio) are giving technical education talks on the use of their platforms. These aren’t hobby companies, these are big companies taking an interest in the local DFW community. For a founder, exposure to these companies alone is worth the time to attend.

Sunday, Collide Village will be teaching on the topics of Business Model Creation. Understanding how a business operates (not a hobby) is the focus. It’s a business analysis on what key areas to look for before you build your product.

During the second weekend, mentors from all tech partners will be present to help the teams build their prototypes. More than a dozen mentors are already signed up, and more importantly, Tahir says there are over 150 attendees registered.

To be clear, this is a technology hackathon aimed at solving existing or future business challenges utilizing IoT as technology platform in the following 5-key disruptive areas:

  • Smart City and Intelligent Environments Challenge
  • Connected Car/ Transport/ Geospatial Challenge
  • Smart Buildings Challenge
  • Blockchain enabled IoT Platform/ Solution Challenge
  • Enterprise and Industrial IoT Challenge

2. The Tech Wildcatters Gauntlet Bootcamp: Start or Scale Your Business in 2017!

Get tickets: January 23rd to January 27th, 2017
Tech Wildcatters HQ

When I hear the words “bootcamp” and “business” together, I approach the event with a bit of skepticism. Most of these events are led by people whose only “business” experience is in building the courseware they’re selling online. Not to discount that process (there’s value in every learning), but it’s not what people need to build strong sustainable businesses.

Starting January 23rd, Dallas’ Tech Wildcatters is hosting an event called “Gauntlet Bootcamp: Start or Scale Your Business in 2017!”

To be clear, this thing is 1) not cheap, and 2) untested. However, it’s worth consideration for a few simple reasons, and under a specific set of circumstances. Follow me.

First, the cost is a seemingly unwieldy $2,499. Yes, you read that correctly. Before you roll your eyes, or faint, let me explain why this might be worth it for you. First, use the discount code “Intro899” for the introductory price of $899. Don’t be silly.

If you’re a first time founder, can afford the price tag, and can actually dedicate 5 days to this bootcamp, it may be worth your while. This isn’t for a student founder that’s going to put this on a credit card while having a full college class load. It’s not for the tepid “I have a startup” type that’s had the same idea for the past two years.

This is for the person that’s decided to go big, or go home. Tech Wildcatters is Dallas’ oldest accelerator program, and has been trying something new for the past year. It’s called “The Gaultlet” and it’s a new take on an old model. No need to go into details here, but it’s new and innovative.

What does that have to do with this bootcamp? You get to leverage the Tech Wildcatters engine for one week. Here’s a hint of what that means:

  • Investor Pitch event on final afternoon of Bootcamp.
  • Templates such as: Marketing Plan, Financial Plan, Investor Presentation, and Elevator Pitch.
  • up to $1M in free and discounted platform tools such as cloud hosting, incorporation, CRM, accounting setup, and more.

Take a look at that last item. Up to $1m in free and discounted tools and services. Many accelerators have deals with sponsors called “perks,” and it’s just one of the many benefits of being accepted to one of these programs.

This bootcamp will provide investors to pitch to, all of the templates you’ll need to build the “business” side, and services and tools to build the technical side.

If you can afford the risk, and the time investment, this bootcamp is something to consider. If you’re going to fret over potentially “wasting” a week of your life and losing your money, do not do this.

3. Ignite DFW 6 – Enlighten us, but make it quick

Texas Theater
Get tickets: January 24th, 2017

One of the things I hear frequently in this community is that we have too many events (panels/happy hours, etc.) and that there’s not enough in the way of just pure socializing and fun. Essentially, we need an escape, but with friends outside of startup land.

Ignite DFW is designed for exactly that. It’s a mix of education, entertainment, and socializing. The tag line for the event is “Enlighten us, but make it quick.” That perfectly describes a typical Ignite experience. We’ve had five of these events so far. Everyone leaves inspired to act, to engage, and are certainly entertained.

These speakers are awesome.

Take a couple of hours out of your January and come hang out with some remarkable people. It’s nothing like a normal “startup” event… by design. Tickets are $10.

  • 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.

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