“Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." --Vince Lombardi

In this last newsletter of 2015 and on the night of the State of Entrepreneurship, I thought I’d get a bit sentimental and also, share some big news.

As you’ve no doubt seen this year, Tech Wildcatters is in a serious growth spurt. But this is no less true for so much of our startup community right here in our hometown of Dallas, Texas. Some of you may be surprised to know that a bit more than six years ago, Tech Wildcatters was one of only a handful of ambitious entrepreneurial groups embarking upon the mission to turn this state into a major innovative hub. Today, we’re seeing this actually happen!

From this seat, it’s so fun to be part of and watch it unfold before our very eyes. There are others that watched it begin to unfold, and over the past several years, they’ve jumped in head first to build upon the momentum (or the “snowball” effect I reference in the Dallas Morning News this week). Those groups are our external partners. From local media, to the Dallas Entrepreneur Center all the way to our sponsors, they are priceless friends in this process — and they all play a very unique role in our ecosystem here at TW.

American Airlines is one such partner for us. They’ve been with us for awhile now (one of the gutsy early few that saw big promise and potential in getting involved with startups), but this year they decided to up the ante and blew us away with something I’m VERY excited to share with you all today.

If you're a startup that has applied or is considering applying for Tech Wildcatters, you'll want to hear this. 

Some background: The last step in our application process, and the last barrier to potentially becoming a member of the Class of 2016, is an in-person pitch. It’s held behind closed doors, but it’s a much-anticipated event each year, open to only our investors and a handful of key mentors. Startups from all over the world fly into Dallas to share their stories with our attendees, and we use their feedback to narrow down and select our class from this elite group.

Here’s the big news: 

This year, the selected few startups invited to pitch us in Dallas in February (there will be up to 40 of you), American Airlines will work with us and award Business Extra points for those startups to use as they wish! This has exceptions, of course which I promised to mention. For instance, international companies will need to have an office in the US before they can receive their points. But we’ll let you know those details when we notify you.

Even better, to the companies that are formally accepted into the Class of 2016, American will be giving you even more Business Extra points as a congratulations!

PS — You have to actually apply to our program to be in the running for this. And you also have to actually have a Business Extra account set up for us to be able to grant points to you, so there’s that. 

It’s corporations and partners like that who recognize what we’re doing and back us up with their resources, that will continue to put Dallas on the map. They’re also the ones that understand the needs our startups have (like the need to get on an airplane to conduct business, while also saving money!) that make them a perfect fit for companies like ours.

We’re so very proud to partner with American and I’m personally thrilled to offer a perk that only a few of the top accelerators are able to provide their finalists.

Where are we going in 2016? The sky's the limit.