“Start Here, Exit Here”: Dallas Startup Week Begins Its Second Year

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thought about back then. There’s still work to do this year. We have a new slogan: “Start here, exit here.” This place has so much variety that we’re going to just focus on that.

X: What about getting the word out to other places?

MS: That’s happening anyway. That was the other realization. We spent the last year meeting and greeting when [entrepreneurs] come to Dallas. We had a lot come from Austin, some from the Valley, some from Boston. I think that message is happening organically and so we just are working on building that brand a little bit more. The opportunity to create a company in a garage is ever more available here.

They’ve seen what’s happened here. Softlayer was acquired by IBM for $2.1 billion. It’s happened here.

In the past year, the community has become more solid and, in some ways, more fragmented. There’s also a lot of work to do to help each of the cities build their own ecosystems. You’ll never hear me say to someone who lives in McKinney that McKinney is a terrible place to build a company. It’ll be, Hey, I know XYZ who runs a coworking space there. I’m going to help them build and grow where they are.

X: What was the biggest success last year at startup week?

MS: We had 3,000 people in the first year, which was really cool. That set the record for an inaugural startup week, a big milestone. The other thing was proof that this was actually something people would attend. There’s the selling of the dream—this is what we imagine and envision—and to actually see it all come together was really great.

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