Dallas Startup Ecosystem: Collaboration Is the New Competition

April 6, 2017

5:50 pm

During this year’s Dallas Startup Week, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC) hosted the 4th Annual State of Entrepreneurship in Dallas. The event highlighted 2016 wins, launches, acquisitions, and the mechanics of the startup ecosystem. A highlight of the event included the award for the Startup Evangelist of the Year.  Local entrepreneur Michael Sitarzewski took home the title for his work with Ignite DFW, inboundgeo, Dallas New Tech, Launch DFW and more.

Leading up to the announcement, Trey Bowles, the CEO of DEC, described the changing entrepreneurial landscape in Dallas, more specifically on how collaboration is the new competition.

From accelerators and incubators to coworking spaces and larger corporations that support entrepreneurs, collaboration plays a vital role in the success of new businesses in Dallas and beyond. In Dallas, it takes a community to be successful.

“People succeed, not by themselves. They succeed through a community, because that’s what it takes. Corporate America has a big role to play in entrepreneurship, and when you combine the two together, now that’s powerful,” said Nina Vaca, the chairman and CEO of Pinnacle Group.

Jennifer Roberts, the head of digital products at Chase, shared how JPMorgan Chase partnered with a 5-year-old startup LevelUp to add an order food ahead functionality to Chase Pay, the company’s mobile payments product.

“This is one example of how expertise from a startup can drive big impacts,” said Roberts.

Due to these connections and collaborations, startups now more than ever are gaining more access to both funding and developing a viable exit path. In the past, companies like Brainspace, Ustream, buzzshift, and University Laundry have all successfully exited, and more recently startups such as Cariloop, Vinli, and StackPath have raised rounds.

“If I had to pick any place, any place in the world, this is where I would be,” said Lyco Holdings President and CEO Bobby Lyle in a video presented at the event. “Dallas was, when I got here, and it is today, a city that is becoming. We are a city of becomers. We are going to become better than we were yesterday. We are going to become something that we dream about, and we are not afraid to undertake that.”

The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

During the talk, Bowles, touched on two initiatives that focused on the next generation of entrepreneurs: Blackstone LaunchPad and Redbird Entrepreneur Center, both creating a stronger ecosystem that supports locals.

For Blackstone LaunchPad in particular, $2 million will be set aside to support students at UT Dallas, connecting them into a network of more than 630,000 students globally across 20 universities. The program helps startups through mentorship, launching them, and then through growth.

Read all our coverage of Dallas Startup Week at Tech.Co.

This article is part of a Startup Week content series brought to you by CHASE for BUSINESS. Startup Week is celebration of entrepreneurs in cities around the globe. CHASE for BUSINESS is everything a business needs in one place, from expert advice to valuable products and services. Find business news, stories, insights and expert tips all in one place at Chase.com/forbusiness. Read the rest of our Startup Week series.

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world. He also runs a non-profit, Digital District, which focuses on improving professional digital literacy in DC. You can contact him by email at elliot(@)elliotvolkman.com or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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