Category Archives: Blog


How This Dallas Startup (And TW Grad) Built A $100M Company

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— Blog by Laura Reed

Startup accelerator Tech Wildcatters hosted a lively speaker series on Wednesday, August 12 starring their alumni company, FanPrint.

The TW office space downtown quickly began to fill with faces both new and familiar. The socializing began early and seats filled quickly. The speakers and TW executive director Molly Cain took the stage and it was suddenly silent. The spotlighted speakers included founder and CEO TK Stohlman, three time Dallas Cowboy Super Bowl Champion (and VP of Partnerships) Darren Woodson, and advisor and investor Gil Marmol. They were joined with Rachel and Mike, two other important members of the team, to explain the road to their success.

Molly began by asking TK about his humble beginnings and the conversation slowly transitioned into an in depth analysis of the importance of passion for what you do. TK was a member of the Tech Wildcatters 2012 class, and admitted he did not have the concept for FanPrint finalized at the end of the process, but that did not hinder his efforts. FanPrint is an e-commerce platform for passionate sports fans, but selling officially licensed products did not come without its trials.

TK owned the room when he spoke. His passion and energy was contagious. When asked about how to deal with his biggest company let downs, TK responded,

“It’s about relentless perseverance, no matter what happens. We will fight and get the deal no matter what.”

Darren Woodson recognized the intense drive that TK had when they met. Darren was quick to praise TK and the FanPrint team for their hunger for success. Darren said that when he heard about the idea and talked to TK, he instantly knew he was going to be an investor. When Darren spoke, he related his experience with FanPrint to his experience in the NFL. He stressed the significance of perseverance, teamwork, passion, and hard work, and no, he wasn’t talking about football. He recognized the drive that TK had and knew he wouldn’t stop when trials came his way. He said,

“It’s not always the most talented team that wins, but the team that works the hardest is always the best.”

Molly sat next to and (reluctantly and jokingly) shared her microphone with FanPrint investor Gil Marmol. They laughed throughout the series about this, and Gil’s humor shone through his many stories. Gil had wisdom and advice for TK about financials throughout FanPrint’s beginnings. He spoke of TK’s entrepreneurial expertise by saying,

“In the investment community, people have energy, high energy, and then there’s TK.”

(Cue the laughter) Gil also had praise for VP of Licensing, Rachel Duitch. Gil claimed that when Rachel shoots, she doesn’t miss. He talked of how she had gone on all of the ‘non glamorous’ trips to gain licensing deals. Rachel then told a story about how FanPrint landed one of their biggest licenses, the CLC, by using the ‘whatever it takes’ attitude that is their core culture.

The story began with a big ‘No’ from the CLC on recommending FanPrint to colleges, but TK doesn’t take no for an answer. FanPrint’s competitor was the only company being showcased at an upcoming expo in Miami with all of the CLC officials in one place. TK and his FanPrint team just happened to plan a trip to Miami on the same day of this event. When CLC officials got a whiff of what was happening, they agreed to recommend FanPrint as long as they didn’t show up in Miami that weekend. Long story short, the go get ‘em tactic worked and their perseverance, per usual, paid off.

Don’t tell TK that anything is impossible. His words of wisdom throughout the night were all substantial pieces of advice for anyone who wants to be successful. FanPrint didn’t always have big name athlete Darren Woodson to spark networking wildfire. He stressed that if you can make your business model work with smaller names, then you can do so much more when you secure the big ones. He said,

“At the beginning, people don’t have confidence in you. You have to build it up… As a founder, it’s not about the glory, it’s about doing whatever it takes for the team to succeed.”

The ‘Whatever It Takes’ mentality was a theme throughout the night. It was obvious that the determination of the team was what drove the company to its huge accomplishments.

The audience was eager to ask questions near the end. The common thread in the Q&A was simply, “How did this happen?” This was when TK said what every investor is terrified to hear,

“Burn your boats. We’re gonna be a success and there’s no turning back.”

TK sends out an investor update email every Friday for the past three years to keep in touch with those who helped him rise to success. The relentless attitude of TK and his team was apparent throughout the speaker series. The team stressed that you have to hire passionate people, and you can’t teach passion. The wrong people can kill a culture, and the culture at FanPrint is one to be envied. 

As the speaker series drew to an end, the mingling had just begun, as is so with the startup community. Many audience members eagerly walked up to introduce themselves to the speakers before they could even step off of the stage. An energy filled room of entrepreneurs talked with one another and networking ensued. Don’t miss Tech Wildcatters next big event next Thursday, August 20, Demo Day.

Hey, You! Wanna Intern?

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This is a job listing for a fall internship at Tech Wildcatters. Your first task is to read this all the way through. If you like what you’re hearing, email us at and wow us.

Here we go…

At Tech Wildcatters, we put on killer events, execute the nation’s #5 startup program (at least that’s what Inc. Magazine and Forbes tells us) and plug into our world famous network to help ambitious startups become multi-million dollar businesses.

It takes a crazy, hard-working, all-in kind of team to make that stuff happen. Some days we work really late, other days we drive to NASA, sometimes we’re in San Francisco and all the time we’re working together to make sh*t happen in a beautifully chaotic and masterful way. Frankly, that’s how we (and the startups that graduate with us) have become nationally-recognized.

There’s absolutely no way we could make things happen around here with our staff. But there’s even less chance we could do it without another group of VIPs…our interns.

That’s where you come in.


We’re looking for our next batch of interns to join us this fall. We have four positions available.


You’re a self-starter (meaning, you look around you to see what needs to be done), you’re kind of obsessed with learning, you’re curious about startups, you want to learn from a bunch of badasses, you can work in a fast-paced (sometimes ambiguous) environment, you can pivot and work on something else immediately. And you’re fun to be around.


You’re really interested in learning, doing, shadowing, executing stuff like this (but not limited to):

  • Blogging/Video Blogging/Social Media’ing and other communications support.
  • Planning events and helping execute events at TW.
  • Manage your own special “project” (which you’ll select within the first few weeks).
  • Plug into the startup community in Dallas by attending networking events around town.
  • Being curious and helping us problem solve, or come up with something new!
  • Research — really, this could be anything.
  • Supporting TW staff and alum startups with special projects as needed.
  • Project management, planning, curriculum development and other business-related tasks.
  • Typical internship stuff (taking out trash, printing things, yadda yadda…it’s not THAT much)

It’s hard to fully define what you’ll be working on this fall — You’ll get a sneak peek into our 2016 year and get to know everyone in our community. We think it’s a pretty sweet internship. If you agree, send us a note.


Where Are They Now? Prateek, Former TW Intern

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Spotlight by: Christy Torres

Each Tech Wildcatters’ class is accompanied by a group of bright-eyed individuals willing to dedicate hours of their day working as our interns. Coming from all walks of life, each intern brings a unique perspective to the atmosphere at TW.

The Tech Wildcatters’ intern program provides an environment that allows each individual the space to grow professionally, discover what their talents are, and hone in on those new found skills. Using the new platform TW has given them, many of our interns take what they’ve learned and put it to practice in their future endeavors.

We caught up with Prateek, former Class of #Twenty15 intern and current student at the UTD, shortly after he landed in India for what some might call a “summer venture” to hear first-hand how he felt about his experience as a TW intern.

What did you love most about working at TW?

“Meeting people. From the TW staff to the mentors, from investors to the genius brains behind the startups in the Class of 2015, and being a part of the Dallas Startup Ecosystem, I miss every bit of it! I would love to be back and help out in any way I could!”

What lessons learned help with what you’re doing now?

“The whole experience of working at TW was a lesson on its own. It taught me a lot of things, from how entrepreneurs should think, how investors think, how to overcome and pivot from obstacles, from appreciating the help you receive and to help anyone in any way you could. All these things and more really help me at my current job.”

What are you doing now?

“I’m working as an investment analyst at an early-stage investment firm called YourNest Angel Fund. My responsibilities are to look at different deal flows that come through our website and LinkedIn page and  help the Fund manager and Associates with their due diligence. Additionally, I’m also exploring different sectors and spaces to find hot new startups to invest in.”

Any additional comments you would like to add?

“It was a wonderful experience working at TW and I greatly appreciate the things I have learned there! Also, I wish TW the best of luck with their new EMERGE program!”


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, and Angelist. This year our site and 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.


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.


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



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 Tell us why you’re it. And include any links you think will help convince us.