CELEBRATE | August 23, 2017

A Look at the Dallas-Fort Worth Startup Community

Photo Credit: Shelley Widom

For a long time, when people thought of Texas and startups they were immediately drawn only to Austin.That is not the case anymore. Dallas-Fort Worth, or “DFW” as we locals call it, has a booming startup community that has been growing exponentially over the years and it’s gotten national recognition for the community, access to global enterprises, capital and more. 

The Old DFW Startup Community
Dallas is not just made up of Dallas. DFW is made up of Plano, Frisco, Addison, Richardson and many other “suburbs” that have their own ecosystems. The metroplex is over 9,000 sq. miles, so it’s pretty spread out, and would be a pretty long walk (which is why we drive everywhere!). And for a while, that’s all that DFW had. Different pockets throughout the metroplex that had people doing cool things but no real sense of organization. There was nothing connecting all of these communities.

The much needed organization piece came about when Tech Wildcatters, a tech accelerator that was named one of the top tech accelerators in the country by Forbes, launched, as well as The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC) which is a 501c3 non-profit that provides the resources entrepreneurs and startups need to start, build, and grow their businesses successfully. From there, local community leaders founded LaunchDFW, an online hub for all things startups in DFW. Enter coworking. Enter RevTech and Health Wildcatters. Enter strategic partnerships such as the Town of Addison’s Economic Development Department partnership with The DEC, which in turn produced resource centers for entrepreneurs such as The Addison TreeHouse and Stoke. Enter the many corporate headquarters that call DFW home (Dallas is home to over twenty Fortune 500 companies) that support the innovation happening throughout the metroplex. Enter the over forty universities (University of Texas Dallas, Southwestern, and Arlington, UNT, TCU, SMU, A&M, to name a few) that foster entrepreneurship in Dallas. Enter… well you get the picture.

On top of all of the above, DFW is nationally ranked in entrepreneurship in multiple categories. For example, women-owned businesses in Dallas generate a higher average revenue than any of the country's other largest cities. For another example, over a quarter (and that number is growing!) of startups are minority-owned and we’re ranked  #11 out of 50 major metro areas in that same category.

What’s Next?
The startup scene in DFW is growing and will continue to grow. DFW has always been a place for big business, and now DFW is being nationally recognized for it’s innovation, startups, and entrepreneurship. There are so many different ways to involve yourself in startups in DFW that it’s almost impossible to choose just one. There are dozens and dozens of coworking spaces, multiple accelerators, multiple corporations who work closely with entrepreneurs, colleges, and more, all supporting innovation throughout the city. There are Meetups happening daily, and events that bring people together weekly. Whether you’re an entrepreneur who is building a startup or you’re working for some of the big corporations headquartered in DFW that have new innovation departments that work directly with said startups and entrepreneurs, DFW is the place to be when starting a business in Texas. Just ask billionaire Mark Cuban

Shelley Widom is the director at the Addison TreeHouse in Addison, Texas. The Addison TreeHouse is a 501c3 non-profit coworking space that focuses… About the author