As a first time visitor to Silicon Valley, aptly named for the large number of silicon microchips produced in the early years, I was beyond eager to see what’s considered the global hub of tech innovation and entrepreneurship. During our five day pilgrimage, the Tech Wildcatters team checked all the experiential boxes. And in an unexpected, but natural shift, we found ourselves advocating for Dallas among venture capitalists, founders, and community stakeholders to be the next hub for innovation. I’m pleased to write that it didn’t take much convincing.

Plane Photo

Our first day in the bay was undoubtedly the most fun. After a quick stop at Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, Ricky and I made our way over to the LinkedIn HQ for lunch. We chatted with employees about the benefits (free lunch, fitness stipends) and the disadvantages (long commutes, cost of housing) that make working in the Valley so unique.

LinkedIn

Later on we participated in what I consider the best team bonding experience, Sandbox VR. In short, you select your theme (we chose Zombie apocalypse), grab your VR headset, gear, and gun (I chose dual wield pistols similar to Laura Croft), and begin your gaming experience. That’s all the hints I’ll give as we’ll be doing a feature on this up and coming startup soon!

The rest of the trip we devoted to meeting with several VCs, founders, potential mentors, and startup champions - as is expected when one treks to San Francisco. What we didn’t fully expect, was the positive response we received regarding Dallas as a burgeoning startup ecosystem. I’d like to think it’s because of the enthusiasm and passion we exude for our city.

At Tech Wildcatters, we recognize that the startup ecosystem is broken. The recent trend toward mega-rounds for massive startups with established products and businesses has left less capital for smaller startups with greener teams and as-yet-unproven ideas. Continually rising costs of doing business in Silicon Valley exert further pressure on this ecosystem. It translates to lack of affordable resources available to startups, who are already unable to compete with larger, established tech companies in offering competitive salaries to attract talent. In this atmosphere, countless startups flail to survive, while the industry at large suffers a deficit of genuine innovation.

Insert Dallas. We’ve chosen to put our stakes in the ground for several reasons; affordable living, competitive wages, no state income tax, availability of workforce, concentration of Fortune 500 HQs, and a strong regional economy in addition to a strong local economy.

If there’s one thing I gleaned from our trip to Silicon Valley, it’s that Tech Wildcatters and the Dallas startup community are going to be necessary partners for the growth and expansion of startups, specifically in emerging technologies.

We hope to be influential in continuing to advocate the bridge between the Valley and Dallas.

Bonus explorations from our trip included a party inside the painted ladies and a trip to the OG of Silicon Valley, Intel. Can’t wait for our next visit out to SF!

Intel