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Interns!

Quick Pitch Recap: Through Interns, Startups and Pictures

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Quick Pitch was all kinds of amazing this year! And our interns really helped to make the event as great as it was. Deep in the trenches, they helped everything to run smoothly. So who better to recap than two of them? Carolina and Stephanie help us to get an inside look at Quick Pitch 2015.

Heels clicking on the floor, the snapping of camera lens, and groups softly mumbling were some of the sounds you might have heard at our Quick Pitch earlier this February. It was an exhilarating time to hear startup companies pitch their ideas.

But behind the scenes was where the real magic happened…

Our new Office Manager Dom shined as he furiously got everything ready for Quick Pitch. From carrying soda, ice bags and food to organizing and delegating tasks, our very own Hulk made Quick Pitch an enjoyable experience for the companies. Startups were bonding and actively listening over hot tea, others were helping each other to calm their nerves with jokes. Some kept to themselves and softly practiced their pitches in their designated work spaces/corners.

Once the pitches were over, Carolina recalls more than a few sighs of relief.

At the happy hour, some of the groups were like kids on a playground, nervous about who to talk to. But then the booze started flowing, connections were made, and everyone became more comfortable. There were more than a few intense foosball and ping-pong games!

As females, we were inspired watching women officiate a male dominated industry with professionalism and poise. Gabriella, Clarisa, Molly and Maggie were in their element as they led the Quick Pitch event.

Even though we’ve only been here for two weeks, our fellow interns have banded together and formed a unique bond. It was fun to watch some of the startups around us start to develop the same kind of friendships. Once the Tech Wildcatters Class of 2015 officially is set in stone, these relationships will only grow stronger. And it all started with Quick Pitch!

And what about our startup participants?

“We got a chance to meet a lot of the other finalists who all had great ideas, and we’re looking forward to being part of the best Tech Wildcatters class yet!”

“It was great to see everyone involved at Tech Wildcatters doing such a great job; it was inspiring to see their heart and soul.”

“[It was] excellent! We’ve pitched to a few other angel groups and TW was at the top of the list.”

“Awesome! I loved everyone’s no BS attitude. I think it showed a culture of accountability.”

“Thank god for the happy hour.”

Enterprise, Wearables and Data: What We’ve Seen in This Year’s Applications

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It’s always interesting to look into the metrics around our application process.
We don’t release all the stats, but here’s a sneak peak.

Where do people find us and which sites do they apply on?

We accept applications on our website, f6s.com and Angelist. This year our site and f6s.com were pretty close. We are a founding member and the US launch partner for f6s, so have been using their platform to drive applications and give away free startup resources for a few years now. Angelist started taking applications a little over a year ago and don’t market them as heavily, which is where I assume the disparity comes from.

As for how people find us, being consistently ranked in the top 10 of accelerators is extremely helpful, as is your everyday google search. We also show up and speak at lots of events throughout the year and of course our favorite are the mentor referred companies. Yes, we’re a little like VC’s in that a trusted referral makes our decision much easier. But we look at and consider each and every application.

Application-SOURCE-GRAPHIC

What kind of tech are they building?

While we always have a few consumer apps sneak into our applicant pool, most of the companies fit our basic criteria of the majority of their revenue expected from businesses. This means b2b2c is perfectly acceptable.

That’s where we’ve seen a major uptick in wearable and IoT. With successes like Validic, a lot of startups are considering more heavily the use of connected devices in enterprise and government.

Flowing from the hardware connections comes data. Lots of uses of this data, and it really doesn’t matter where it comes from. A person, a machine, the web…all produce data that can lead to information that will ultimately lead to action/outcome. We’re excited about all parts of the information flow, from collection to dissemination to analytics to application.

It’s going to be a great year at Tech Wildcatters!

 

The Rockstar + The Next Class + The Fortune 500

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Once our team mapped out a plan for 2015, our team didn’t take time to sit around or relax over the holidays…we got down to business.

First, remember how I was on the hunt for a rockstar Program Coordinator? Well, we found her. Meet the amazing Maggie.

Next, Gabriella and I have both been reviewing the hundreds of applications coming in for the program (the deadline has been extended to the 23rd, by the way), meeting teams and I’m keeping Skype in business with calls to founders all over the US and around the world. This being my first time through the process, I’m overwhelmed with the passion I’m hearing from the founders and the ideas they’re bringing to the table. How will we narrow it down to the sweet 16?

Well, behind the scenes, we’ve been meeting with our mentors and have hosted one major review session with our investors to look at the companies applying for Tech Wildcatters. We’ll have another review session once applications close this Friday. We’ll then be reaching out to the finalists and inviting them to Quick Pitch, a private event with our investors here in Dallas on February 3.

The 16 companies selected for the Class of 2015 will receive their formal invitation to join Tech Wildcatters after Quick Pitch.

Today, I’m also excited to share that Tech Wildcatters has launched the first-ever Corporate Innovation Network. This is our answer to the question major corporations bring us often, “How can we work with a startup?” It bridges the gap between early stage companies and the Fortune 500. This is exclusively available to the alums in our network and the companies we select to be part of the Class of 2015.

We’re the first accelerator to be offering a program of this kind, so I encourage you to read more about it and the inaugural corporate partners, here. It’s a game-changer folks.

Told you 2015 was going to be big. Just wait…we’re just getting started.

Molly

Introducing Our New Program Coordinator!

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66057_10101178408586700_1014476726_nHi! My name’s Maggie and I’ll be the new Program Coordinator here at TW!

I’m so excited to jump right into my new role and to meet all of you.

How’d you hear about Tech Wildcatters?

A great friend of mine referred me to the job description and I felt like it was written for me.

An organized creative with stellar communication skills? Um, yeah. I’ve got a background in graphic design and copywriting but I love order and efficiency most of all.

When I met Molly and the rest of the TW team, I was even more excited! They’re a killer team that gets stuff done – efficiently and intelligently. They’re well-spoken and fun and I got why people wanted to work with them – for the same reason I wanted to join them. I love the energy! It’s so exciting how that energy mirrors what’s going around our offices – Downtown is exciting and moving. It’s young and growing and energizing.

Man, you really like Downtown!

I’ve lived Downtown for almost seven years – and I’ve been car-free for about five of those. I love walking everywhere and running into familiar faces. Just walking my two dogs can turn into an adventure quickly when I run into somebody I know. The Downtown community is very tight-knit, and it’s just one very cool family.

I’m pumped to be here – and looking forward to my first program starting in March.

I’d also like to introduce the seven interns we’ve hired to help with this year’s program: Michael, Thao, Stephanie, Rui, Jean, Carolina and Prateek. They’re going to be a tremendous help and I know we’ll have fun learning the ropes together!

A Look Into 2015, Applications and “Leveling Up”

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The day before 2015, Gabriella, Clarisa and I sat in a restaurant, laptops and brains wide open. We met to talk about 2014 and our team goals for this year. We came with lists upon lists of things we want to accomplish and big dreams and goals. But it didn’t go quite as we planned (isn’t that how plans work?).a01ca090cf09894fe55193c073d4aba1

It’s true we have some seriously ambitious and exciting goals for the year, and we did spend a good amount of time mapping some of those out. But at one point, the laptops shut and we got serious. All the goals and projects we brought with us to the table were showing a trend. And we decided we’d instead just talk about what 2015 would be all about for us and for Tech Wildcatters.

Leveling up.

Now don’t get me wrong, clearly Tech Wildcatters has been on a different level since it’s inception in 2009. We’ve been on a “hockey-stick-kind-of-ride” since the beginning and we continue to rank in the top 10 around the nation each year (thanks Inc. for the shout out in 2014). We’re also internationally recognized as one of the top B2B accelerators for startups. But what happens when you get to the top? Well if you’re the kind of people we are, you know you’re just setting the baseline for what you want to do next.

We’re flattered with all the attention, of course. But quicksand can be just as cozy as a top 10 list — and if you stand there too long, you’re not going to enjoy the result. So there’s an onus on us to push the limits again, to pull others with us too…as we want startups to continue getting even more benefits from this unique model we offer, and those that our friends in the accelerator community do too.

So that’s what we’re gonna do. Level up.

In 2015, you’re going to see some big things from us. You’re going to see a class of stellar startups selected by our incredible investors and managing partners, plucked from the largest amount of applications we’ve received to date (which by the way, you still have time to apply). You’ll see stronger relationships and opportunities to work with some seriously legit corporations here in our backyard. You’ll hear more about our alums, especially the ones that hit a certain point in the success of their company. And you’ll get a Pitch Day you’ve never been to before.

And yes, we’re cramming that all into one little year.

To all of you who contributed to making our 2014 as wonderful as it was. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We’re nothing without our investors, our mentors, our alums, our partners and our community (Dallas and beyond). Thank you for helping us get to where we are, we’re so very excited to take you all with us to the next level.

Molly – Executive Director, Tech Wildcatters

 

hiring

We’re Hiring! Looking for an organized rockstar with stellar communications skills.

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We’re seeking an organized rockstar with stellar communications skills. When we find you, you’ll be our new Program Coordinator. 

This is a full-time, salaried position with benefits. Requirements: Minimum 1-3 years out of college, exceptional communications skills, organizational skills and all that’s below.

Tech Wildcatters is an internationally-recognized seed accelerator for startups. We take promising companies (and their founders) through an intensive 12-week program full of resources, education and mentorship. Our next program starts March 2015 and as we need to add a rockstar to the team to help us prepare and execute. This is not your typical entry-level role, it’s fun, challenging and will give you memories and skills for a lifetime. You don’t have to be heavily in-the-know about the startup community, in fact, we prefer you’re not.

Read all the way through if you’re intrigued.

And remember, how well you sell us on your qualifications for this role (i.e. how kicka*s your cover email is) is one way we get to see how you’ll communicate with the Tech Wildcatters community. And that’s a big deal.

Now close your eyes, imagine a really put together, organized, Type A kind of person…but a special kind of one, one with a personality and a complete non-fear of change happening around them. A doer with a logistical brain and a splash of creativity when an opinion needs to be tossed into the conversation. One that thrives well when given a lot of responsibility and has a great attitude on all tasks.

You’re organized. 

The kind of person who can stick with a schedule, book travel and calendars with ease and assist with (or own entirely) the event planning process for our program. Someone who works closely with the Executive Director on weekly, monthly quarterly tasks for the program in a “this work reflects on me too” kind of way. An intuitive someone who sees the future steps of a task without someone having to lay it out for them, then works hard to help the team accomplish it. Someone who actually wants to learn and yet is ready and willing to jump into the trenches with boring work from time to time (because we’re lean, and everyone will do it at some point).

You’re all about the team. You’re collaborative. 

The right candidate will be comfortable working around a passionate, creative, fast-paced group, but wants to see serious organization happen within it. Our culture is important to us, so it needs to be important to you — that means you’re collaborative, helpful and want to see others succeed before you get credit for the work. You geek out when it’s time to file or arrange things the right way. Your friends expect you to remember their birthdays, book the restaurants and know that when you say you’ll do something…you do it. Someone has complimented you before on taking initiative (“you read my mind!”), which means you see things that can be done without being told and then you actually do it, or you suggest ideas on the fly and ways to get those ideas executed too. And the attitude you have while being chief doer on the team? Rockstar status. You aren’t in it for the glamour, you’re in it to make your team and our company look good and for the pride you take in getting stuff done the right way.

You know what’s on every spinning plate at any given time and you’ll jump in to help anyone who asks.

You can communicate well. 

You don’t get annoyed when things change. Instead, you roll with it like a champ and make sure you’re aware of what’s on the to-do list all the time. You also communicate to the team when you’re working on something, hit an obstacle that you need someone to remove for you, fail or need to clarify something so you can move forward. You’re a team player (not in the cliche sense, you have to really actually be) and you have to have STELLAR communication skills (typos and poorly written sentences are really not cool) in that you can write a legit email very well and talk or message with our investors/mentors/partners and make us look great while doing it. Your boss is a stickler on this and expects you to hold yourself to a high standard here.

Think your friends would ever describe you this way?

You just read a description for our dream Program Coordinator. This position reports to the Executive Director of Tech Wildcatters but also works closely with the VP of PR/Marketing. It’s a full-time salaried position with benefits.

Send your typo-free resume and a great cover letter with your pitch to info@techwildcatters.com. Tell us why you’re it. And include any links you think will help convince us.

Meet Molly, Our New Executive Director

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techwildcatters_mollyCainBy now you’ve probably heard the news, we’ve got our new Executive Director! Gabriella officially handed the reins of Tech Wildcatters to Molly Cain in early October and we’re now moving full speed ahead. This is a big growth move for us, and we’re just getting started.

You’ll be getting some exciting updates from headquarters in the coming months, but for now, here’s a little from Molly.

“I’m beyond thrilled to be joining the Tech Wildcatters team as it enters it’s sixth year. We’re at the perfect place to take a closer look at plans for growth and a little shake-up on the process side of things. So over the past month, I’ve dug in to fully understand where we can improve, where we excel and where we can dive in and try new things – now it’s time to hit ‘go’.

Gabriella has done an exceptional job getting this program to where it is today and I’m looking forward to harnessing that incredible momentum. She put this program on the map – we’re recognized, ranked, established in the community and known world-wide. But five years later, the landscape is different. Where there once were only a handful of accelerators to choose from, companies can now select from hundreds (if not thousands) of programs. And therein lies our opportunity.

So how do we set ourselves apart and remain one of the top choices for companies looking to accelerate? Well, you’ll be seeing our answer to that question over the coming months through a variety of initiatives and program enhancements. Not to mention the caliber of companies we’ll have with us for the Class of 2015, which I’m especially excited to welcome into the family.

Bottom line…we’re going to the next level. Buckle up!

I’d also like to send my personal thanks to our investors, mentors, alums and partners for the warm welcome to this community. I’m so excited to be part of the Tech Wildcatters family and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”

Molly

Tech Wildcatters Company Retreat

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It’s not hard to be inspired with this as your backdrop.

Last month, the Tech Wildcatters family participated in an offsite retreat in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico with the goal of teambuilding and relaxation. Several frozen drinks, humid dance parties, and team bonding sessions later, this is what we all took from our trip:

“It’s well documented that the most successful high growth firms credit much of their success to their people and culture. Part of developing a culture is regular opportunities to celebrate wins, share leadership’s vision, and just get to know each other outside of work. We chose Puerto Rico for our annual offsite this year because it’s been a big year of wins and change, so we wanted our location to reflect that. I personally had a great time watching everyone interact. I also got to see a couple of aha moments when I shared our organization’s structure and growth plans. Bring on 2015!” — Gabriella Draney, Tech Wildcatters CoFounder and CEO

“I’ve done tons of team building exercises. TONS. So when Gabriella says…”lets take a trip for team building” I’m thinking, “Hmm. What can we accomplish?” Going to Puerto Rico with our team was awesome. While it wasn’t the traditional approach: no surveys, book reports, personality analysis etc., it was so helpful. Traveling with people just makes you get to know each other better. And often, this gives better understanding into who people REALLY are. From crazy airport mimosas, San Juan Taxi drivers, the amazing ocean, lots of story telling and of course DANCING….I had a blast with our team. We laughed so much and really just got to know each other as people. So for me, traveling to Puerto Rico with our team gives me more tolerance and understanding of the people I work with and that is just priceless.” — Clarisa Lindenmeyer, Tech Wildcatters VP Corporate Affairs and PR

“I’ve always looked forward to teambuilding and offsite retreats for the renewed energy and sense of connection that they bring. This trip to Puerto Rico was no different. Being in a beautiful setting puts people at east and when people are at ease, they open up and we learn more about what motivates them. It was so nice to hear the history of Tech Wildcatters and the vision for the future of the company directly from Gabriella— no one can tell that story like she can.” — Raquel Vincent, Community Manager, Tech Wildcatters & Health Wildcatters

“Puerto Rico was amazing, a chance to break away from the normal daily routine of work and a hectic environment and switch into a relaxing bonding experience. I learned a lot about each of the ladies from the Wildcatters group. We discussed our lives and goals in a way that was positive and eye opening to my understanding of Tech/Health Wildcatters. I gained a new found respect for the hard work and dedication that Gabriella, Raquel, Clarisa, and Melanie create on a day to day basis. I heard the origin story of how Tech Wildcatters came to be, and its humble beginnings gave me insight for the battles and journey I have with the codex. I learned to think of these ladies as a family unit, in which we have debates, shared successes, and common goals. The trip was a great escape but an even better life lesson.” — Jay Henderson, Tech Wildcatters Engineer in Residence

“I’m motivated by people, so the more that I get to know people and the greater my connection to them, the more I want to serve/work with them. Puerto Rico was a great trip and extremely successful in my mind because it allowed me to get to know my coworkers better, which ultimately increases my productivity and enjoyment in my work. I really look forwarding to seeing each of my team members at work, and I know that we are all there to support each other and make both programs a great success.” — Melanie Smith, Health Wildcatters Operations Manager

A huge thank you to American Airlines for helping make this trip possible!