FORT WORTH STARTUP WHITE PAPER

TITLE: Building a Startup Metropolis in Fort Worth

SUMMER 2021

AUTHORS: Local Startup Community

1: Problem

2: Data

3: Actions

1: THE PROBLEM

There is currently minimal political, financial and institutional support for the local startup community. This reflects years of under investment by the city, the county, local philanthropy, the community and educational institutions around new company formation, entrepreneurship, innovation and research. As a result, Fort Worth is lagging behind peer cities in almost EVERY meaningful startup metric.

The Fort Worth population is growing quickly, but the startup economy is largely stagnant, inhibiting our ability to start and grow the next big innovators, job creators and wealth creators in Fort Worth. The area lacks an economic development plan for growing new companies and providing the resources they need to start and grow. This plan will focus on creating new companies and bolstering young companies that will drive the future of Fort Worth and make our city more competitive in the global race for talent, entrepreneurial-led economic growth and innovation.

2: THE DATA

JOBS CREATED BY STARTUPS: OVER 25,000 PER YEAR IN TARRANT COUNTY

Source: Data represents companies less than one year old, Sparkyard 2020 Fall Job Creation Report

JOBS CREATED BY STARTUPS: 2018

Source:Data represents companies less than one year old, Sparkyard 2020 Fall Job Creation Report

NEW COMPANY FORMATION: 2015 – 2019

Source: Texas Secretary of State Office, Companies registered with specific city addresses.

AVG EARLY STAGE CAPITAL RAISED (PER YEAR): 2015 – 2020

Source: Pitchbook, Data includes Seed, Angel, and Early Stage VC

FORT WORTH RANKINGS: TOTAL CAPITAL RAISED 2015 – 2020

3: ACTION ITEMS

THE CITY OF FORT WORTH

  • Make city government more innovative
    • Hire a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO)
    • Hire one of the nation’s first Chief Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Officer (CEEO).
    • Re-invigorate and better promote Fort Worth’s smart cities initiative
    • Make Fort Worth a Code for America city
  • Create a customer service culture
    • Improve and innovate the City permitting/inspection process
  • Hire Startup Companies
    • Dedicate 5% of government procurement dollars to businesses less than 5 years old
  • Drive support for new startup initiatives
    • Learn about the Near Southside’s initiative to bring an arts incubator to Fort Worth
    • Learn about the initiative to bring a Techstars accelerator program to Fort Worth
    • Form a public/private partnership to form an Eastside Entrepreneurship Center
  • Start new programs & end unproductive programs
    • Earmark a percentage of the economic development budget to create a modest startup initiative grants program.
    • Sunset the BAC Education Foundation/Accelerate DFW

Community Poll

Poll results will be displayed after you vote

Which item above do you feel the City of Fort Worth Officals should prioritized, having potential for the biggest and fastest impact on Fort Worth?

THE COMMUNITY

  • Chambers cannot be expected to do it all
    • Chambers can be great for main street startups, but that does not encompass all the startups being formed in Fort Worth.
    • Fort Worth needs to diversify the number of organizations supporting entrepreneurs. 
  • Establish a center for new firm formation
  • Start a seed accelerator program in Fort Worth
  • Form an advocacy organization that focuses on supporting and advocating for new companies
  • Advocate for Fort Worth to have an identity around our entrepreneurial community
  • Inspire additional philanthropy in the area of innovation, entrepreneurship, research and education
  • Start a matching (or sidecar) fund for investments in local startups
  • Start a mentoring program for entrepreneurs and aspiring startup founders

Community Poll

Poll results will be displayed after you vote

EDUCATION

  • Help Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Fort Worth become the SXSW for our city.
    • Get involved
    • Show up
    • Spread the word
    • Host an event in your district
  • Provide increased startup educational opportunities in under-served neighborhoods.
  • Bring the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac program back to Fort Worth
  • Create an informal coalition of researchers to continue current data gathering and analysis of the health of our local startup community.

Community Poll

Poll results will be displayed after you vote

Which item above do you feel has the potential to bring together the community and start to form a larger cadre of startup advocates?

Updates

*From July 23rd 2021 to August 2nd 2021 this list and attached document was updated several times to reflect small changes suggested by community members and organizations as initial feedback was provided.

**For details on each of the above action items please reference the full report. (Download Report)

SUPPORT THE CAUSE

Support our community to help transform Fort Worth and…

Build a Startup Metropolis

If you change your mind later;

Please remove my name from the Startup Fort Worth initiative.

Signatures

List of Supporters
38 Efrin Carrion Oct 08, 2021
37 Scott Blakewell Sep 01, 2021
36 Nathan Butorac Aug 26, 2021
35 Jordan Warner Aug 26, 2021
34 Felipe Lobon Aug 20, 2021
33 Chuck Bouligny Aug 20, 2021
32 Andreea Timberlake Aug 20, 2021
31 Shirley Martin Aug 18, 2021
30 Danielle Straus Aug 18, 2021
29 Jose Alfaro Aug 17, 2021
28 Carolyn Phillips Aug 16, 2021
27 Greg Carter Aug 09, 2021
26 Noah Labhart Aug 08, 2021
25 Carlos Turcios Aug 06, 2021
24 Brian Dixon, MD Aug 04, 2021
23 Stephen Chacko Aug 04, 2021
22 Pam Cannell Aug 04, 2021
21 Cody Cotten Aug 03, 2021
20 Julie Curtis Aug 03, 2021
19 Kell Curtis Aug 03, 2021
18 EcoPlex Aug 03, 2021
17 Nathan Lenahan Aug 03, 2021
16 Chris Botvidson Aug 03, 2021
15 Nathaniel Cho Aug 03, 2021
14 Henry Abuto Aug 03, 2021
13 Jeff Rattikin Aug 03, 2021
12 Cameron Cushman Aug 03, 2021
11 Hal Brown Aug 02, 2021
10 Walker Lutringer Aug 02, 2021
9 Jarratt Watkins Aug 02, 2021
8 Jonathan Black Aug 02, 2021
7 Greg Head (Gregslist Dallas-Fort Worth) Jul 29, 2021
6 Benjamin Vann Jul 29, 2021
5 Cortney Gumbleton Jul 29, 2021
4 Darlisa Diltz Jul 28, 2021
3 Eduardo Zaldivar Jul 27, 2021
2 Marco Johnson Jul 23, 2021
1 Startup Fort Worth Jul 23, 2021
Organizations that support this initiative

9 Comments

  1. Having lived in 10 cities (including Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and San Antonio) and being a working professional, I agree wholeheartedly that Fort Worth currently lags behind other major cities when it comes to the scale and volume of entrepreneurial/small business growth and establishment—but I also believe that FW has amazing potential to sustainably grow whilst maintaining its unique culture.

    1. Having lived in some cities that are known for strong startup communities, do you have any thoughts on things for Fort Worth to replicate and maybe more importantly things Fort Worth should NOT replicate?

  2. Having the infrastructure to support startups and entrepreneurs has been an ongoing need since I started my company in 2010. A few individuals in the city have put in tireless work and effort to improve our entrepreneurial ecosystem, and things are better. But a concerted public/private effort is needed to take us to the next level, and to become a city of innovation and forward thinking, and a true economic powerhouse.

    1. There seems to be some consensus around four types of companies that need various types of help in their journey. They are a main street business, a micro-enterprise AKA: side hustle, an innovation-based company & (not necessarily a startup at all) a company that has reached a second stage of exponential growth. Do we have what each of these types need? Do we need to re-think these types all together and classify a different way?

  3. I agree that Fort Worth is behind compared to other major cities. But I believe that the city has the potential to effectively grow while keeping its cowtown culture.

  4. We need to invest in people! The local economy of our communities is changing daily. Fort Worth needs to work in making entrepreneurship accessible, funded, and supported. We need to build a community where everyone is welcome with ideas to be able to navigate everyone through the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The traditional economic development forums don’t work for an economy that is changing everyday. We need to introduce new ways to support the people and business of Fort Worth.

  5. More seed accelerators, hackatons.
    Attract more young tech people .
    All great startup communities are built around Universities not cities.

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