Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Dallas Startup Scene is on Fire!

Back in 2005 I read about other startups in Dallas, but I didn’t really know anyone else actually starting anything. What was missing? I think we simply didn’t have the people and places to connect the community. Fast forward eight years and one could argue that Dallas is a lot more connected than the Bay Area – I’ve spent a lot of time in both places and the energy in Dallas is really exciting. Turns out there is a LOT going on thanks to a growing group of dedicated connectors like Eric, Mike, Molly, Austin, Tiffany, Nick, Trey, Jennifer, Gabriella, Stewart, and Michaela. But what about the places? Two weeks ago a friend of mine quit their corporate job to stick their toe into the startup waters. We jumped into my car just after lunch for a quick tour of the Dallas’ startup scene – turns out you can actually do that today.

weldssFirst we drove over to see Austin and Tiffany at Weld. In a short time they have turned an empty office/studio on the edge of the design district into a vibrant community of creative entrepreneurs. The energy generated by this growing group of startups and creatives is simply amazing and inspiring. Austin is the idea guy and Tiffany is the glue that keeps it all working. I love stopping by for their art shows and mixers – simply a great scene! If you haven’t visited them yet – get in your car and get over there.

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commonNext we headed over to Common Desk to see what Nick has put together for startups in the Deep Ellum area. More than 26 startups call this coffee shop style co-working space home. The design and ambiance are great and more importantly there are a lot of people stuffed into the space building really cool stuff. Again, I highly recommend taking a look if you haven’t seen what Nick has built. Oh, and by the way, Nick has his own television channel to show off what he is doing, check it out…

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twcOur next stop was the TechChurch, home to Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters – two early stage accelerators for startups. Located in a former Catholic church, the facility is now home to several startups as well as each TWC and HWC class. Gabriella, Stewart and Michaela are the instigators and keep the wheels on this place. I love stopping in to catch pitch practice or simply to catch up with the latest startup news. Make sure you check out the bell tower if you make it by.

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decgggOur next stop was to Trey and Jennifer’s new collective space, The DEC, located inside of Softlayer’s Catalyst Space down in the Lower Oak Lawn area. Robert and I decided to make The DEC home to HAUL, my latest startup. There are just a couple of other startups in the space right now, but when it officially opens next month I have a feeling it is going to be BIG.

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Finally, last week Tech Wildcatter’s held their annual Pitch Day at the Grenada – more than 700 entrepreneurs gathered together to watch the 11 graduates of the 2013 class give their final ‘pitch’ before going out in the world on their own. It was amazing seeing everyone together. Are you loving Dallas as much as I am? Tell me about it…

 

QVC x YouTube = HAUL?

everutjomgIn this month’s edition of Vanity Fair Bruce Feirstein suggests that ‘Everything old is new again’ and provides the following historical analysis. What did he miss?

Valpak Coupons + Internet Explorer = Groupon

Scrapbooking x iPhone = Pinterest

The Sears Catalog + A mouse = Amazon

The Rotary Club x Fiber-Optic Cable = LinkedIn

Pearle Vision + Broadband = Warby Parker

Christmas Newsletters X Giant Server Farms = Facebook

Filene’s Basement + Email = Gilt

Your “Artsy” Cousin Mae x Wi-Fi = Etsy

QVC x YouTube = HAUL

Note: I added the last one… :)

Boulder Startup Week

BSW-2013-200pxEach May the startup community in Boulder hosts a 5-day event called Boulder Startup Week in an effort to showcase the unique startup culture found in this tiny Colorado city. This year I was invited to attend and spent the last three days taking in all that Boulder could offer. It was an amazing experience – truly inspiring.

The best part of my trip was the Startup Crawl. In less than four hours we got to visit 22 startups in their own offices. Hearing about a startup is great, but seeing where and how they work is really fascinating. I took a lot of pictures (as seen on my Facebook page) and met a LOT of entrepreneurs. Some of the companies I visited include: Trada, Simple Energy, Revolv (formerly Mobiplug), PivotDesk, Birdbox, Sendgrid, Applied Trust, Orbotix, Pivotal Labs, Linksmart, Precog, Flixmaster, Roundpegg, Quickleft, Vacation Rental Partners, Mobile Day, Kapost, Rafflecopter, Napkin Labs, Mighty Fudge Studios, Mocavo, and Victor and Spoils.

I can’t wait to talk to my startup peers in Dallas to see if we could pull something like this off in Big D. Big thanks go out to Erica O’Grady who initially invited me and provided housing – THANK!

My Next Big Thing. . .

haul-glassLots of you are asking about what I am up to these days so I thought I would give you a little update. Since January I have been working on a new startup called HAUL. Initially, spending all of my free time learning all I could about the market and attempting to formulate a plan to best address the opportunity. Most recently we’ve been recruiting the team and raising capital. For the past few months we have been in ‘relative’ stealth mode. But, as you know, the Dallas startup community is relatively small and you know the cat is out of the bag when the telemarketers start calling. Evidently it’s hard to keep a secret when you are:

  • meeting with lawyers
  • shopping for office space
  • working with software developers
  • hiring employees
  • doing video shoots
  • raising capital
  • selected by Google for their Glass Explorer Program
  • telling friends what are you doing when they ask

We aren’t quite ready to come ‘out’ as it were, but I can tell you that HAUL addresses a market segment an order of magnitude larger than any of my prior startups combined. I’ve made almost EVERY startup mistake in the book and we’ll be doing our level best to give ourselves the best chance possible to build a billion dollar company. I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been building…