Venture Spur’s Dallas Pitch Day Highlights North Texas Startup Scene

11/4/13Follow @treybowles

In the last year, entrepreneurial activities in Dallas have been going gangbusters. One illustration of this: In just a few short months, we went from having one accelerator focused on supporting startups to four of them today.

Venture Spur, an Oklahoma City-based accelerator, held its first Dallas Pitch Day last week, after having opened a Dallas program this year. Venture Spur investment criteria specializes in mentoring startups in edtech, mobility/telecom, and banking/finance/insurance-related technologies. Venture Spur decided to have the classes in Dallas and Oklahoma City run simultaneously, culminating in a joint pitch day.

As I settled into my comfortable chair at Dallas’ historic Inwood Theater, I could feel the excitement and anticipation in the air. While those of us in Dallas’ startup ecosystem are well aware of the entrepreneurial activity taking place in this region, this was the first chance for the general community to be exposed to the great work that has been going on since August when Venture Spur launched its first Dallas class.

And this pitch day itself is indicative of a much larger movement throughout Texas to support entrepreneurship. In fewer than four weeks, the state will have hosted three pitch days: Techstars Austin on October 29, Venture Spur, the next day, and HealthWildcatters, which will take place on November 20.

About twenty minutes before VentureSpur’s pitch day began, the room filled up with the Who’s Who of investing in Texas including Mercury Fund, Trailblazer Capital, Silver Creek Ventures, Austin Ventures, and others.

Kraettli Epperson, VentureSpur’s executive director, kicks off the day and acts as our master of ceremonies for the day. But David Matthews, Venture Spur co-founder and a principal at Trailblazer Capital, stole the show. Yes, “The David Matthews Band” served as musical entertainment, with David playing drums, accompanied by sound and light effects.

In between the musical interlude, Joel Fontenot, managing partner at Trailblazer Capital, led a panel discussion among local executives from Microsoft, SoftLayer—recently acquired by IBM—Alcatel-Lucent, and Cisco debating which is more important, the device or the network? It was a particularly apt topic for the demo day since mobility/telecom is not only one of the VentureSpur’s featured verticals but also one of the foundations for the North Texas economy. The discussion brought together North Texas’ startup community … Next Page »

Trey Bowles is the founder and CEO of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. Follow @treybowles

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