Category Archives: Blog

CodeLaunch

Message from Our Newest Partner: CodeLaunch

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Tech Wildcatters and CodeLaunch are symbiotic amenities in the North Texas entrepreneurism ecosystem, which is one reason why CodeLaunch is thrilled to be partnered with Tech Wildcatters. CodeLaunch is an annual seed accelerator which pairs embryonic stage software technology startups with software developers and entrepreneurs. CodeLaunch was created and is produced by Frisco, TX based Code Authority and a family of entrepreneurial minded sponsors and partners.

CodeLaunch is for great people who have intriguing startup opportunities that need their first round of funding, developers to build their MVP, a needed introduction or exposure to downstream incubators. The process begins at the annual application deadline May 31 when hundreds of embryonic stage startup proprietors, and their ideas, go under our microscope. During that process the finalists are selected, coached, mentored and prepared for Pitch Day.

At Pitch Day the finalists have an opportunity to pitch to a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs and an audience of hundreds made up of developers, community leaders, and people from the community interested in entrepreneurship. Each has an equal opportunity to earn accolades from the judges, seed capital or equity stake conversations from software developers like Code Authority. The CA team chooses one or more winners from the finalists at the Pitch Day and makes an offer to build the “MVP” for an equity stake, which the CA employees share in.

In contrast to many other accelerators, competitors are not required to agree to equity deals to compete. Through at least 2016 it will remain free to enter and Pitch Day attendees who RSVP gain complimentary entrance. CodeLaunch is an open marketplace for startups, capital partners, and developers to start discussions which lead to launched companies.

When the pitches are complete and the awards given out, the real fun begins. The Deal Making Reception is a short exhibition of vendors, startups, partners and sponsors who enjoy the energetic vibe of ground level innovation, invention and community engagement. Food, drink, music and the spirit of opportunity are enjoyed by all.

2016 CodeLaunch Dates

  • May 31 – Applications Due
  • Aug 17 – Pitch Day. Dr. Pepper Arena Frisco, TX

Together with Tech Wildcatters support, CodeLaunch will continue to be the embryonic stage startup amenity that serves our North Texas community and the nation at large. We look forward to meeting you at the Tech Wildcatters Pitch Day “VIP Reception” May 26.

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Newsletter - DHG

NOTE FROM OUR SPONSOR: Dominion Harbor Group

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We are excited to be partnering with Tech Wildcatters to provide members with the kind of exceptional insight and guidance on intellectual property (IP) that only Dominion Harbor Group’s (DHG) singular experience in IP portfolio value optimization can provide.  DHG is one of the most respected integrated patent advisory and optimization firms in the U.S., with decades of experience among its seasoned team of licensing, legal, technical, engineering and financial professionals. The firm manages, helps protect, and leverages intellectual property portfolios, maximizing their value and helping owners and investors achieve appropriate returns from their investment in innovation.

In addition to its expert services, DHG also facilitates access to its affiliate, the Monument Bank of Intellectual Property (MBIP), the world’s first “IP Bank” for startups.  The MBIP exists to provide a resource for owners of high-quality but underutilized patents to invest those patents in innovative young companies.  As a result, the patent owner gains the opportunity for a return on the investment made in their patents while the startup benefits directly from an immediate strengthening of its IP portfolio.

We look forward to working with the Tech Wildcatters members to help you identify, protect and fully leverage the innovations that make your business unique.  Through that process you’ll be able to distinguish your business in the market, protect yourself from unlicensed imitations that devalue your brand and threaten your growth and increase the probability of your market success.  In a knowledge economy, a company not only needs a great product, but must also own the intellectual property rights to that product as well.  DHG is uniquely positioned to help you ensure that your company develops and acquires those critical rights.

TAX SEASON

Note from Our Partner: Whitley Penn

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It’s that time of the year again! If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you and your company are working on taxes. There’s also a good chance you’ve gotten confused or frustrated during the process. Good news, we have word directly from tax experts at Whitley Penn explaining what’s new this year. Here’s what you need to know. 

On Friday, December 18, President Obama signed into the law the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016” including the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015” (“Act”, “law”).  The new law ends months of uncertainty regarding “tax extender” provisions that Congress enacted only on a temporary basis in prior years.  The Act makes several of these provisions permanent and also temporarily extends other provisions for a limited time period.  Note that the effective date of the changes varies for each provision and the expiration period for each temporary provision also varies.

Some of the key provisions that were made permanent by the Act include:

  • Deduction for state and local sales tax.
  • Research and development credit.
  • Increased Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 179 expense limitations.
  • 100% exclusion for gain on qualified small business stock.
  • Reduced built-in gain recognition period for S Corporations.
  • 15-year recovery period for qualified leasehold improvements.
  • 15-year recovery period for qualified restaurant buildings and improvements.
  • 15-year recovery period for qualified retail improvements.
  • Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes.
  • Enhanced child tax credit.
  • Enhanced education credits and expenses.

Various income tax, excise tax, and fee provisions that were modified or extended on a temporary basis by the Act include:

  • Bonus depreciation on qualifying property. The applicable recovery percentages are 50% for property placed in service in 2015 through 2017, 40% in 2018, and 30% in 2019.
  • Increased first-year depreciation limitation for automobiles and light trucks.
  • Certain employer tax credits such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit are extended and modified on a temporary basis.
  • Various energy and alternative energy credits and incentives are extended and modified on a temporary basis.
  • The 40% “Cadillac” excise tax on high-cost employer health plans is delayed until tax years beginning after December 31, 2019.
  • The medical device excise tax is delayed and will not apply to sales made in calendar years 2016 and 2017.
  • The annual fee assessed to health insurance providers is delayed one year.

The passage of the new law eliminates much of the uncertainty that taxpayers encountered for several years while trying to develop a long-term tax plan.  We recommend that you contact your Whitley Penn tax advisor to discuss how these new developments impact your tax position and to implement the provisions into your overall tax strategy.

From-Molly-UPDATED

Note From Molly: Go, Go, Go!

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Just yesterday, we brought in some of our key mentors and investors to help us take those precious second and third looks at the hundreds of startups who have applied to be part of the Class of 2016. It’s a fun tradition for us to review applications with people who are smarter than us (and those who will ultimately invest and mentor the upcoming class). We walked away having identified the coveted list of startups that will be invited for Finals, the last step in the application process, which takes place in February.

After that meeting with our investors, I went downstairs to our event space to meet some of our major sponsors for the 2016 program. They were at HQ to attend our first annual Sponsor Luncheon with our Chief Revenue Officer, Clarisa Lindenmeyer. What a pleasure it was to meet everyone in the room — and as they all introduced themselves, it was made very clear why they’re partnered with Tech Wildcatters and why we’ve chosen to do business with them this year. Each brings a level of professional acumen to our program, and ultimately our portfolio of startups, that adds so much value to what we’re doing here. You’ll be meeting each of them throughout the year too, especially if you’re selected into the next class or have graduated from our program in past years.

12544723_10205128417959482_882572845_oNext week, our alums, mentors, sponsors and investors will be joining us for a private New Year’s party to kick off the year and share more about how we’re changing our program in 2016. Events like this are some of my favorite — because it’s when we get the entire TW Family together to talk successes and goals, but also let loose and relax. Because we work hard. Everyone surrounding Tech Wildcatters works hard. And that’s something to celebrate.

Like I said, it’s an exciting time to be around Tech Wildcatters — there’s so much going on. Like the Gauntlet, which you’ll hear more about very soon. Or the changes to our investing structure. And then there’s our precious secret sauce, the Tech Wildcatters program.

I’ll leave you with a big hint about one of the biggest changes we’re making to the program in 2016. Unlike past years, our application is not closed. The opportunity to enter our program in March has passed, but, the next chance to enter Tech Wildcatters is in May.

Until next time, I look forward to hearing from any of you if you have interest in getting involved this year. I assure you, this is the year to do it.

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The Year of the Entrepreneur

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“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” Molly Cain, Executive Director

Startup companies, and the entrepreneurs that lead them, quickly learn to celebrate successes as they come. Small companies are typically plagued with challenges and problems from day one, and the entrepreneurs at their helm learn to savor the triumphs that are sometimes few and far between.

Of course, these fledgeling companies stand a better chance if the ecosystem they grow in nurtures and supports them. At the State of Entrepreneurship address, held December 9th at the Hilton Anatole, the Dallas startup community gathered to review the data that  has been compiled which indicates the growing robustness of the local startup ecosystem and to celebrate the successes that have come as a result. “This event was created to highlight all of the great work entrepreneurs are doing across North Texas. With more than 850 in attendance, I believe we are all getting the word out about all of the activity going on in our community.” said Trey Bowles, founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. 

Since Tech Wildcatter’s inception in 2009, we’ve seen firsthand the growth and positive changes our community has undergone. Each year we receive a record amount of applications to our 12-week long mentor-driven accelerator program. We’ve been able to raise more capital from investors who are turning from oil and real estate to try their hand at tech. We’ve seen the startups we’ve invested in since 2009 grow, receive additional funding and make profitable exits. 

The successes we’ve seen local startups and entrepreneurs celebrate seemed to be greater and came along more frequently than they have in the past. Here’s to seeing more of what happened in 2015 this upcoming year. But in true entrepreneurial form — rather than hoping for it, we’re working for it. 

From-Molly-UPDATED

Note from Molly: Closing Out 2015 with American Airlines

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“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi

In this last newsletter of 2015 and on the night of the State of Entrepreneurship, I thought I’d get a bit sentimental and also, share some big news.

As you’ve no doubt seen this year, Tech Wildcatters is in a serious growth spurt. But this is no less true for so much of our startup community right here in our hometown of Dallas, Texas. Some of you may be surprised to know that a bit more than six years ago, Tech Wildcatters was one of only a handful of ambitious entrepreneurial groups embarking upon the mission to turn this state into a major innovative hub. Today, we’re seeing this actually happen!

From this seat, it’s so fun to be part of and watch it unfold before our very eyes. There are others that watched it begin to unfold, and over the past several years, they’ve jumped in head first to build upon the momentum (or the “snowball” effect I reference in the Dallas Morning News this week). Those groups are our external partners. From local media, to the Dallas Entrepreneur Center all the way to our sponsors, they are priceless friends in this process — and they all play a very unique role in our ecosystem here at TW.

American Airlines is one such partner for us. They’ve been with us for awhile now (one of the gutsy early few that saw big promise and potential in getting involved with startups), but this year they decided to up the ante and blew us away with something I’m VERY excited to share with you all today.

If you’re a startup that has applied or is considering applying for Tech Wildcatters, you’ll want to hear this. 

Some background: The last step in our application process, and the last barrier to potentially becoming a member of the Class of 2016, is an in-person pitch. It’s held behind closed doors, but it’s a much-anticipated event each year, open to only our investors and a handful of key mentors. Startups from all over the world fly into Dallas to share their stories with our attendees, and we use their feedback to narrow down and select our class from this elite group.

Here’s the big news: 

This year, the selected few startups invited to pitch us in Dallas in February (there will be up to 40 of you), American Airlines will work with us and award Business Extra points for those startups to use as they wish! This has exceptions, of course which I promised to mention. For instance, international companies will need to have an office in the US before they can receive their points. But we’ll let you know those details when we notify you.

Even better, to the companies that are formally accepted into the Class of 2016, American will be giving you even more Business Extra points as a congratulations!

PS — You have to actually apply to our program to be in the running for this. And you also have to actually have a Business Extra account set up for us to be able to grant points to you, so there’s that. 

It’s corporations and partners like that who recognize what we’re doing and back us up with their resources, that will continue to put Dallas on the map. They’re also the ones that understand the needs our startups have (like the need to get on an airplane to conduct business, while also saving money!) that make them a perfect fit for companies like ours.

We’re so very proud to partner with American and I’m personally thrilled to offer a perk that only a few of the top accelerators are able to provide their finalists.

Where are we going in 2016? The sky’s the limit.

 

Disclaimer: This is not the typical, generic internship.

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Interns-Wanted

Disclaimer: This is not the typical, generic internship.

If you are looking for an internship that’s only about making copies and do coffee errands, this is not for you.

But…if you’re a badass and think you can keep up with us, take initiative, pitch ideas or dive in wherever needed (we’re an “all in” kinda team around here), then keep reading.

As the #1 B2B technology accelerator in the nation, Tech Wildcatters invests in startups from all over the world, then we invite them to move in with us at our HQ in Dallas and take them through an intensive program.  Needless to say, it’s a fast-paced, energetic and hard-working atmosphere.

Our favorite part? No day is ever the same. Some days we’ll have 80 people in the building watching our startups pitch (think Shark Tank), other days we’re in College Station blowing things up with explosives or touring NASA, and then of course, there are days when our team and our interns are working closely with and helping our startups in the many tasks their required to complete while with us. This internship is like no other, and from our executive team all the way down to our interns, we insist on working with individuals who walk confidently, embrace new ideas and can pivot on a dime. As our culture generally is, the more trustworthy and capable you are, the more things you get to work on…your self doubts are your only limits here.

Right now we’re on the hunt for interns who have a passion in startups, technology, communications or general business and possess a wild desire and curiosity to learn a little bit about everything during their internship with us. We’re not gonna lie, our interns of COURSE have some of those dreaded internship duties, but you’ll also walk away with a killer resume having gotten to tackle things like:

  • Market research
  • Pitching and then executing your own project
  • Event planning and logistics
  • Supporting TW executive team, startups, alumni and mentors
  • Attending and networking at events around town and at HQ
  • Serving as an ambassador of Tech Wildcatters and living our culture!

We accept applications on a rolling basis. Internships schedule:

  • Summer: May to August 2016
  • Fall: September to December 2016
  • Spring: January to April 2017

Think you’re the perfect fit? Fill this form out and tell us why. If we like what you have to say, you’ll hear from us with next steps.

Questions? Then Stephanie is your go-to person. (We like interns that can figure things out, so that’s why we didn’t put her email address right there for you)

 

 

Why We’re Thankful This Year…

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 As we run full speed into Thanksgiving week and move toward the holidays, it’s the perfect time to look back on the year. More specifically, look back on the year from a human perspective. It’s true we can shout the many wins of our startups, the dollars raised and the customers acquired from the rooftops (and that we surely do often), but it’s ever so important to remember that none of it would be possible without the people that make up our TW Network.
If you’re reading this, you are part of it. 
  • Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the mentors and investors that make Tech Wildcatters what it is today. It’s your belief in our mission for the last six years, your help in selecting the startups for our program and most importantly, the time that you dedicate to this organization, that truly makes us a top five program in the country. Thank you will never feel like enough, so we’ll just keep building onto this world-famous program to make you proud.
  • Thank you to the startups from the Class of 2015 and EMERGE for making this such an exceptional year. While it’s true entrepreneurship is full of extreme and exciting “ups” with occasional and voluminous “lows,” you taught me (and our team) so much about human character and ambition this year. Only a rare few share the understanding that this journey is a tough one, and your fledgling fight to pursue your businesses was amazing to watch. Thank you for letting us be and to continue to be part of that journey.
  • To our alums. For serving as ambassadors of Tech Wildcatters all over the world, for showing everyone what scaling really looks like, for coming back to HQ and sharing your stories and for giving me a warm welcome when I joined the family…thank you. Regardless of where you and your business are right now, you’re shining examples of hard work and one of the most special and important elements to this organization.
  • To our partners and sponsors. Thank you — truly. The value you bring our startups is unmatched. Without you, our program wouldn’t be as robust as it is. You’re helping to build us as we grow, and you’re helping us be better everyday.
  • To our community, an enormous thanks. For all who recommend our program to potential applicants, for those of you who attended any of our many events and even the hundreds of you who have “liked” just one post on our social media, you’ve helped us spread our message and contributed to helping us bring great startups from around the world and ultimately, great business to the Dallas economy.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
2015 DDCF - EVENTBRITE - logos

Where There Are Startups, There’s Opportunity

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Earlier this year, the team at Tech Wildcatters sat down to determine what might make a great impact to economic growth in the Dallas area. One thought kept coming up — the need to find and place great talent. So we decided to do just that.
For the second time this year, we’ve broken records and held the largest startup career fair in the city. After the Career Fair on October 22, we’ve now invited more than 600 people in our doors to help introduce them to their next potential dream job. Numerous startups and corporations have been introduced to great talent they wouldn’t have found otherwise — and we think that’s success.

The monsoon that passed through Dallas last week didn’t dampen the entrepreneurial spirits of those attending the Downtown Dallas Career Fair. Hundreds of job seekers came through Tech Wildcatters’ doors to network with 22 rapidly growing companies, some of which are based right here in downtown Dallas.

If you stopped by, you saw first hand that the Downtown Dallas Career Fair differs greatly from the typical career fair at a college or university. Not only were large corporations present but also startup companies who’ve just recently graduated from our accelerator. This was a rare opportunity to join the team of a company that could very well be “the next big thing.”

The Downtown Dallas Career Fair is an excellent example of the economic health of downtown Dallas, growing more robust each day. There’s a wealth of skilled individuals looking for work and plenty companies who are ready to snap them up and add to their staff. Our partnership with Downtown Dallas Inc. has allowed us to strengthen our ties to our neighbors downtown, and add fresh faces to the startup ecosystem. Dallas is already known as a real estate and oil hub, and it looks like technology will soon be added to that shortlist.

We’d like to thank our Downtown Dallas Career Fair partners and sponsors: Downtown Dallas Inc., Touch Titans, The Iron YardSMU Continuing and Professional Education, NEED, Research Now, The Dallas Stars, and Brainspace. Without them, hundreds of job-seekers would not have had the opportunity to network with some of Dallas’ hottest companies.

Any questions or want us to send your resume along? Email info@techwildcatters.com.

EFNT

Volunteering on 9/11: EFNT, Carry the Load, Equest

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Last Friday, September 11th 2015, the TW Staff had the opportunity and pleasure of partnering with EFNT (Entrepreneurs for North Texas), Carry the Load and Equest to honor U.S. troops past and present. The goal that day was to improve and make the Equest Horse Park facilities more handicap accessible while remembering the troops we’ve lost in conflict.

Equest offers many therapeutic services for veterans and their family through equine assisted activities and events. Carry the Load programs provide an interactive way for Americans to honor, remember and celebrate those lives lost protecting the US and it’s citizens.

We gathered in the main arena and at 8:46am shared in a minute of silence during the time that the first plane struck the North World Trade Center Tower. This was followed by the Marine Corps presenting the colors, and the 400+ volunteers joining together to sing the national anthem and say the pledge of allegiance. As I looked out on the hugely diverse crowd of people, I felt an overwhelming sense of unity and reverence.

Clint Bruce, Co-founder of Carry the Load and former Navy Seal, introduced himself and spoke about his time in the military and why he founded the organization. As he referenced the large cardboard sheets depicting photos and biographies of U.S. solders who have lost their lives, he emphasized that each made the ultimate sacrifice for the U.S. and we must share the responsibility of “carrying the load” of honoring their memories. He said the best way of doing this was joining together to volunteer, and improve the livelihoods of those in our community. He ended by saying “They believed we were worth it. So let’s be worth it.”

After the emotional opening ceremony we split into groups, each designated to a certain work project. Some were building wheelchair-accessble ramps, others were clearing debris from the riding trails. Veterans wearing red shirts, Dallas PD and FD joined in the efforts, and were stopped every few minutes to shake hands with someone thanking them for their service.

For a brief respite from the hot Texas sun, volunteers were welcomed into the stables at Equest to meet the four-legged ambassadors and feed them apple and carrot slices. I attended the “Horsemanship 101” course, which is offered to every new volunteer and participant at Equest. I entered a corral with 20 or so fellow volunteers and learned the ABC’s of horses and the various services and programs Equest offers to the disabled and veterans. This astounding facility and herd of 47 horses is located just 15 minutes from Downtown Dallas!

While the work was physically straining, and the heat relentless, the camaraderie and positivity shared by all served as ample motivation. The amount of work completed in only a few hours was remarkable, and as Freedom Day 2015 came to a close the organizers remarked how all goals and expectations for the day were vastly exceeded.

As for me, I left feeling greatly touched and proud of my community, and reminded of the extraordinary good that can be done when we come together.

Did you know? We're accepting program applicants on a rolling basis! Next deadline is June 22nd. APPLY NOW