By Trey Bowles, Serial Entrepreneur, @treybowles
On Wednesday of last week, I sat in the audience (well actually I stood, because there was standing room only) anxiously awaiting the start of Dallas based Tech Wildcatters 2012 Pitch Day. The Tech Wildcatters Pitch Day has become a staple in our startup Tech community and a great opportunity for those in the investment space to see the growth and progress of the current class of companies exiting the TW's accelerator program. This current class included 10 companies (from hundreds of applicants) that made it through the 12 week "boot camp" where they have been incubated and mentored. Focused mainly on B2B web, software, mobile and gaming startups, Tech Wildcatters Pitch Day has become the MUST-ATTEND event in Dallas Startup Tech. With some amazingly creative and promising classes in the past, this class was no different.
As a Tech Wildcatter mentor, myself, I was excited to see these companies, some of which I had come to know very well, have the chance to address this interest audience. The day is separated into two sections with one intermission. The first segment was kicked off by Socialyzer CEO and leader of local tech blog Launch DFW, Bradley Joyce followed by Qwiqq and YooLotto who has a technology that allows you to take pictures of your lottery ticket and they will notify you later if you have won anything.
Gabriella Draney, co-founder and Executive Director of Tech Wildcatters, has come a long way since she first started this organization nearly 4 years ago. By creating the first tech accelerator in Dallas and bringing together a then fragmented community, Draney has turned Tech Wildcatters into a Top Ten Tech Accelerator in the Country, according to Forbes and on Wednesday announced a key partnership with American Airlines to launch the first ever International Startup Exchange Program.
The second segment was kicked off with a visit from a very special guest. Mike Rawlings, mayor of Dallas, sent his commitment to the startup teh community in Dallas via personalized video that was showed on the main screen. The Mayor shared his support for Tech Wildcatters, congratulations for this years 10 startups in the program, and personally challenged the DFW investment scene to fund the startup community. You can see his video made specifically for the event here.
In the second segment, the companies were equally impressive and showing their commitment to be high-growth startups in the community. Some of the companies that shared in the second segment included Credii, Motivation Science and the recently launched Policy Pulse, a web app that empowers people to learn, connect and act on local policies that are up for vote in their neighborhood.
In the audience were the media, other entrepreneurs, and key investors in the community including angel networks like NTAN, DAN, and Lonestar Angels. Also present were representatives from VCs Dallas Venture Partners, Trailblazer Capital, Silvercreek Ventures, Covera Ventures, and Austin Ventures.
After 12 weeks of weekly pitch practice, numerous office hours put on by mentors, and a lifetime worth of caffeine, beer, and cold pizza, these companies had finally made it. Made it through the first part of what they all hope to be a long journey. Made it through the first gauntlet of the startup process. Made it to the first stage and first presentation where the public can see what may be the future of technology, and the next stage in technology evolution. Whether the future holds IPOs and acquisitions or just a great experience at being entrepreneurs, these companies are all to be commended for their hard work, their ideas and their willingness to jump into the world of entrepreneurship. After seeing them present and getting first hand access to their commitment and tenacity, I am confident that you will see many of these companies on the national scene in the near future.
So, to all of you looking for great companies as potential vendors, investment opportunities, or for partnership, don't count Dallas out. With nearly 30 Fortune 500 companies, a burgeoning startup community, and commitment from the leadership in our town, Dallas is a growing force in the tech community.
Check out all of the Tech Wildcatters current accelerator class:
Nommunity- Those with dietary needs and preferences have a heck of a time finding restaurants they can go to. They also struggle to find recipes, deals and news related to their diet. The restaurants, retailers and manufactures that cater to these folks have a hard time reaching them in an effective manner. By acting as a meta-filter we make everyones life easier. Learn more. Follow @nommunity.
OrderMapper- Order Mapper is building a mobile ordering platform that puts tens of thousands of businesses in the palm of your hand and makes ordering from them quick and convenient. Our apps let you order from virtually any store without having to call or wait in line. We’ve already sent pizza orders to 30% of stores in the US and flowers are next! Search ‘Order Pizza’ or ‘Order Flowers’ on the App Store now. Learn more. Follow @ordermapper.
Qwiqq- Managing numerous social sites is difficult and time consuming for local merchants. Qwiqq solves this pain by enabling local merchants to quickly and easily create a real-time commerce post and then efficiently share it across Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Email and SMS. Qwiqq turns powerful social networks into powerful selling networks. Learn more. Follow @qwiqq.
Socialyzer- Socialyzer is an advanced API platform that exposes intelligent, predictive algorithms for consumption by social media related applications. Our algorithms enable these applications to offer their users the ability to optimize their social media activity for maximum engagement with a single click of a button. Currently, the Socialyzer SmartShare Optimization Engine can increase clicks by up to 94% and increase retweets by up to 160%. Learn more. Follow @socialyzerHQ.
Motivation Science- Motivation Science is a wellness platform that helps employers save money on their health plan. Our proprietary technology creates an individualized wellness program for each employee. The platform will launch October 1, 2012, with a minimum of 10 paying beta companies. Motivation Science is currently in the Tech Wildcatters accelerator and is a semifinalist in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Health Innovation Challenge. Learn more.
YooLotto- YooLotto is the Lottery Player's mobile app. We provide personalized notification services by taking a picture of the lottery ticket. We save time and money for the 170 Million lottery players. YooLotto provides free lotto tracking services to users of the Front-End, and on the Back-End, we bring these customers to Convenience Stores to increase inside sales. Learn more. Follow @yoolotto.
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Opinions and statements expressed by guest bloggers are theirs alone, not opinions of The Startup America Partnership.