Technology

Startup Life: How We’ve Successfully Expanded our Network in Dallas

Startup Life: How We've Successfully Expanded our Network in Dallas
Jenna Van Schoor
Written by Jenna Van Schoor

Since our last post on the Dallas Startup Scene, we’ve been growing our network in DFW by initiating a popular monthly event.

Interested in finding out more about it? Thought so!

But before we share how we’ve been successfully expanding our network in the city, let’s recap on some of the characteristics of the Dallas Startup Scene, which we touched on in our previous blog post.

Growing a Business in Dallas: A City that is Becoming

There are so many different startup and business events happening in Dallas, many of which happen on a regular basis and bring together people from different industries.

All of these masse events speak to the current growth and innovation that is taking place in the city, which brings to mind what Trey Bowles, CEO and Founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC) had to say about the current status of entrepreneurship the city:

“We [the DEC] plan to continue to build upon the history of entrepreneurship and innovation that has built this great city, and in the future we will see even more people launching, building and exiting businesses, and then plugging back into the ecosystem to help other entrepreneurs succeed.”

This enthusiasm is no more evident than in the way that successful Dallas entrepreneurs speak about growing their respective businesses in the city:

This spirit of entrepreneurship is critical to developing a culture of business and growth in the city, and all of the masse events we mentioned above absolutely contribute to the momentum necessary to really kickstart a booming business culture.

But what happens when these events don’t provide the connection and value that you’re looking for as a startup in growth phase?

Our Approach: We’re Doing Things a Bit Differently

Our CEO Claire Burge has worked to build a variety of different startups, which means that she’s attended and spoken at a number of startup events all over the world.

While this variety of different startup events no doubt offers value to many growing businesses, having been to so many different events over the years, Claire was looking for another way to connect and network in Dallas, beyond the sometimes well-intentioned but ultimately superficial small talk that happens at big conferences.

But how do you do that in a big, sprawling North American city, with an admin team based on the other side of the world?

Our solution: work with local VC’s like Lighter Capital to connect with other CEO’s in similar stages of growth by setting up a monthly dinner meeting with a difference. The difference being that the dinners go beyond just socialising, they’re also focused on learning.

Monthly CEO Dinners: Taking Learning to the Next Level

To really maximise the value of these monthly dinners, the focus has been on achieving the following objectives:

  • Building a network
  • Moving beyond small talk
  • Talking about real issues
  • Working together to co-solve these real issues with people who are grappling with the same problems

How this works in practice is that there are three “founding” members who each get to invite a new guest to every monthly event, to help grow the network further and ensure that varying perspectives are, quite literally, being brought to the table.

By keeping these dinners to six people at most, the dinners are kept intimate and personal, and ensure that real issues and learnings can be discussed and elaborated on in a more open and relaxed setting.

In fact, these monthly dinners have proved so valuable that we’re needing to manage the amount of interest we’re getting, as new guests always want to come back!

More About our Founding Members and What They Think of DFW

To wrap up, we thought we’d introduce you to the other two founding members (besides Claire), and what they think about the growing Dallas startup scene:

Chad Williams, CEO of SurveyLocal

I’m a bit biased having grown up in the DFW area, but I wasn’t living here when I decided to start SurveyLocal. I came back because SurveyLocal is all about helping local businesses grow through online reviews, and what better place to put our roots than among the 100,000+ businesses that call DFW home. I feel like Dallas provides all the right ingredients for a successful startup to thrive. We raised our seed round here, we found all our key hires here, and over 70% of our customers are headquartered here!

Trey Gibson, CEO of SPOTIO

“Dallas has an emerging startup scene, a great talent pool and an unbeatable cost of living. Corporations are flocking here for that reason and the tax advantages. I might be a little biased because I grew up here but I see definite advantages to starting a technology company in the DFW metroplex.”

In making these kinds of connections, and taking the time to really learn from one another, it’s clear that Dallas is providing a solid base for growing This is Productivity, with many exciting developments that we’ll be talking about in future posts- stay tuned!

If you’re a CEO in a growth stage business in the Dallas area, be sure to get in touch with Claire to find out more about joining one of the monthly dinners, which offer a genuine platform for connecting and sharing lessons about growing a business.

Do you have any experiences you’d like to share about growing your business in Dallas? Share all your thoughts in the comments below!

About the author

Jenna Van Schoor

Jenna Van Schoor

Jenna is Chaos and Rocketfuel's researcher and writer on everything related to the future of work.

Passionate about travel and new ways of thinking, she believes there is so much to be discovered when it comes to new technologies, perspectives and design.

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