Dallas’ Climb Back

Visit almost any tech website and you’re bound to find an article with a title similar to “where’s the next Silicon Valley?”

As I’ve written before, I don’t believe there is another Silicon Valley simply because they’ve created the tools that eliminated the requirement for talent density- which by the way is probably bad news for them long-term.

But this week, Dallas reminded me why we believe so strongly in the ecosystem moving forward, why we think tech (and startups) will ultimately play a larger role in the local economy, and why we’re based here.

On Tuesday, the administration from Midlothian ISD stopped by our offices to chat about the programs they’re creating to encourage students to learn skills that aren’t taught by state-mandated curriculum – things like starting a business, sales, interviewing, etc…

This rockstar team of females is engaging the outside community to learn best-practices and they’ve created a new innovation center designed to mimic an office environment instead of a school one so that the “real world” experience is as authentic as it can possibly be.

For too long, we’ve largely taught students that there is one path to “success” and the reality is that the path to success is defined and is different for everyone. These educators are ensuring that students have the analytical and creative skill sets needed to ensure they’ll thrive regardless of their path.

Then Yesterday, the city hosted it’s inaugural Venture Dallas conference. First and foremost, the team that put this together deserves a big thank you from the ecosystem.

People like Samantha Colletti, Joe Beard, Vik Thaper, Bryan Chambers, Cindy Revol, Natalie Pazera, and my partner Jonathan dedicated a lot of time to ensure that a curated list of investors and entrepreneurs could connect at an event that highlighted Dallas’ strengths while creating value for all attendees.

Our ecosystem is full of great startups that are backed by some of the best investors in the country including Neighborhood Goods (Forerunner), Bestow (NEA), and Kubos (Haystack) and has recent exits backed by Silicon Valley luminaries Sequoia (Elevate) and Kleiner-Perkins (Choose Energy).

First-rate conferences like Venture Dallas will go a long way in raising our national profile, but also celebrating the real successes that are happening here.

While I’m almost always the skeptic in the room, today I’m feeling especially optimistic about Dallas’ technology ecosystem and hopeful it will begin the long climb that brings it back to prominence similar to the days of the 16th Floor at the Galleria.

Kevin Stevens

Partner @ Intelis Capital investing in the digitization of traditional industries. Previously product lead at KPCB-backed Choose Energy.
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