I just got back into the Dallas startup scene a few months ago after a 20 year absence. The VC scene was the 16th floor in those days and thriving. Startech was the startup university/incubator.
Now, all gone. I am being told be VC veterans that only real estate and food industry startups are being funded.
Dallas would appear to be a great place for startups. Why so little funding infrastructure?
Andrew, I sent a connection request. Feel free to connect on this site that way. Regarding the groups you mentioned, I am vaguely familiar with them and yes, I have met with some of the individuals as have colleagues of mine and they were less impressed than I was. I won't specify any further in a public forum, and I certainly appreciate self marketing. But again, I will go back to the use of "serial entrepreneur." If one calls oneself such they better have more than 2-3 barely successful companies under their belt. I have dealt with individuals with 80 companies in their portfolio and any where from 4-100 Billion in assets...not once do I hear them call themselves a "serial entrepreneur."
Some of the company portfolio's seem good, and again I have not paid much attention to the Dallas market in the last five years. The concern if I am a funder in a Dallas company still goes back to the other concerns I have. As long as the team, board of advisors is competent and connected where they need to be, I really don't care about location. I'm sure there are some companies in Dallas that are there. I just think overall, the success of "the shark tank" while great in inspiring people to be entrepreneurial, has unfortunately also created a sub market for people to prey on the marketability of get rich quick entrepreneurship. And that neither supports nor encourages genuine, serious entrepreneurship that supports and grows economies and businesses.
So if the incubator has "coffee" or snacks or a "Community dog" you can pet (You can do your own research and deduce where my inferences lie) you are selling office space more than building a foundation of entrepreneurship.
Unfortunately too much money is in oil and gas still. By far, they are the major investment areas along with real estate due to a strong economy. But we live in a global economy. You can make something happen wherever you are living. Dallas has always been more about show than content. I see the same 5-10 people running around patting themselves on the back calling themselves "serial entrepreneurs" that I saw 5-10 years ago.
My question to you would be why worry about whether your investment comes from Dallas. Let it come from anywhere and base in Dallas if that is where you want to be.
From my own personal experience about 5 years ago...I pitched a startup with my CFO as the former CFO who took Amazon Global. I was told by the angel networks Dallas was the wrong place..that at most $1M was invested and it was extremely rare, that you usually the size was $50K.
I will connect outside of the forum as I am in North Texas. But again, my thoughts are let the investors in Dallas continue to stay in their little bubble of socialite circles. There are far greater and more competent investors around the globe and no reason not to approach them.
One other issue, challenge with Dallas that I have noticed which could be limited to my experience. I have lived in Dallas and Los Angeles. In Dallas there is a much greater "big fish in a small pond" vibe with the business world. In L.A there was more of a "big fish in a huge ocean" vibe. The difference being that from the Hollywood hills to Malibu you had about 250,000 the world's wealthiest individuals. Dallas has strait lane and areas of Preston Hollow, but in terms of an international investment community it does not even compare to Southern California or Silicon Valley and that absolutely hinders the world of startup investing. In L.A. I never really experienced the egos at the top because there is always someone next door or down the street who is wealthier or has some form of greater "prestige." For that, I sensed a much greater desire to support and collaborate. In Dallas, I get the same 10 names over and over again. In Dallas, my experience is if I don't have access to a potential investor I get referred to a gatekeeper of a gatekeeper of a gatekeeper, and they alllll wanna talk and talk and talk...the kind who raise their voices at a restaurant to let everyone know that they get to fly on Jerry Jones private jet to football games which has nothing to do with the seriousness of a potential business deal. In L.A, my experience is more, "my colleague is a personal friend of Jack Ma. I want to introduce you." Also an element of old money in Dallas. One investor in Dallas I have talked to in the past once confided in me how unaccepting the old gourd of Dallas was to be friendly. I mean...silly A-crowd adolescent stuff among grown adults.
Also many of the those (very small number) with the greatest spotlight in Dallas and north Texas for entrepreneurship have "incubator" businesses that thrive on the propaganda of their CEO's to infer that great things are happening in the world of startups. Nothing wrong with incubators, but there is no infrastructure in place with any of them (that I have come across at least) that truly supports and nurtures true entrepreneurship. If the CEO's would stop being absorbed with self and the fascination of self labeled "Serial Entrepreneurs" and put the focus and attention on the talent and passionate entrepreneurs, the overall environment would be much healthier, collaborative and meaningful leading to more investments.
But I have been through this twice with Dallas searching and hoping there was the needed culture. I will always remain open to it, but these days, the majority of my resources are anywhere but Dallas.
Again, all my 2 cents.
David M: Can't see how to reply to you in this thread (market: better web software). However, if the supply of funds is the issue then the market is to become a funder. Yes?
On your second answer, what did you think of DEC, North Texas Angels, and Tech. Wildcatters (under new management)?