“Start Here, Exit Here”: Dallas Startup Week Begins Its Second Year
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people said was that sessions were too close together. We tweaked the schedule to add 15 minutes between every event. Each of the venues are walkable in 15 minutes.
X: What was the biggest “non-success?”
MS: The weather. We lost a day and a half to ice. The first day, it rained like crazy. We bought a bunch of orange umbrellas to give to people at Base Camp.
X: What’s different about this year’s agenda?
MS: This year we’ve added five tracks, Internet of Things and robotics, also dev. We also added a community track, which is basically all the events that happen throughout Dallas-Fort Worth through the month anyway all being squished into five days. Also, Startups 101, the basics for someone who [says],“I worked at the JC Penney IT department and want to build a company. How do I start. What do I do?”
X: Houston is looking to get its own Startup Week going. What advice would you give them?
MS: Lessons learned: We can’t possibly reach out to every single person. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Dallas is very old. There are several generations in it. Make sure that you touch each one of these generations to get feedback and get input from those people. They’re going to have connections and great speakers and access to opportunities that you don’t.
Engage the VCs and ask them for companies in their portfolio. Get them involved early; have them at least sponsor a couple of happy hours or something like that.
The organizing team is important. Find people that can dedicate all their time to [focusing on the week.] We have an “organizer’s handbook” that we’re modifying this year. We absolutely can share that.