Bowles, Zielke Discuss Disrupting the Accelerator at Upcoming Event

Houston—In the last decade, accelerator programs to boost startups have spread across the country. In Texas, some of these organizations are now examining how accelerators might evolve in the near future.

Some of those efforts will be the focus of the “Startups Disrupted” panel later this month at Xconomy’s upcoming Disruptors conference. The daylong forum, to be held Oct. 27 at the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx accelerator in Houston, features some of the most innovative and forward-thinking technology executives, founders, investors, and scientists.

The agenda includes entrepreneurs, investors, and heads of leading institutions in sectors such as healthcare, energy and cleantech, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, space, and transportation.

Oftentimes, innovation begins as an idea inside the mind of an entrepreneur, who is able to harness the resources needed to turn it into a real product. In Dallas, both Gabriella Draney Zielke and Trey Bowles are leading groups that are boosting innovative early-stage companies in new ways.

For example, seed accelerators, which typically provide 12 weeks of training, are a common first stop for startups. Earlier this year, Zielke, who co-founded Tech Wildcatters seven years ago, decided to change up how they do business by launching the “Gauntlet.”

The Gauntlet is a program through which accepted startups earn accelerator investment by progressing through five stages, instead of an automatic investment in return for equity as is typical. Instead of being wedged into a one-size-fits-all program, Draney has said their startups will advance at their own pace and receive more customized coaching.

Along with Tech Wildcatters, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center has become a key part of the Dallas startup community, one that largely did not exist a decade ago. Bowles founded the DEC three years ago as a coworking space, incubator, and accelerator all in one. Since then, the DEC has franchised itself to other parts of Texas, while embracing projects to encourage diversity in tech entrepreneurs, smart city programs, and more.

Both leaders will share insights on their progress later this month. We hope to see you there, too.

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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