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

Dallas — Aside from an unexpected—and unwelcome—surprise ice storm courtesy of Mother Nature, the first Dallas Startup Week last year went off without a hitch.

“Other than that, we had very little negative feedback, which was surprising,” jokes Mike Sitarzewski, founder and CEO of Epic Playground and a chief organizer of Dallas Startup Week, “so I’m looking for the negative this year.”

About 3,000 people attended last year’s Dallas Startup Week, organizers say, making it one of the most successful inaugural startup weeks in the country. This year’s activities begin Tuesday, and the week features a variety of activities, including fireside chats, hackathon prep courses, accelerators, and fundraising.

Like last year, most of the events will be at venues across downtown Dallas. “The Main Street district has a walkability score of 96—the highest in the state for any neighborhood,” Sitarzewski says. “That makes downtown Dallas unique.

But Sitarzewski adds that organizers aren’t solely focused on Dallas as an entrepreneurial hub. “If you like to mountain bike, you might like Grapevine, which is next to a great lake and trails,” he says. “If you want the small-town college atmosphere, look to Denton.”

Here is an edited transcript of our conversation:

Xconomy: Last year you told me the goal was to bring “the Greater Dallas-Fort Worth startup communities together to share their experiences and network. Next year, it’s about bringing other people in and showing them why they should start and move their company to Dallas.” Is that still the plan for this year, to focus outside?

Mike Sitarzewski: That was the original plan. What ended up happening was that we’re in recognition that this place is much bigger than even we … Next Page »

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Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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