For anyone who missed the vibrance and enthusiasm of Startup Week last April, my advice is to get involved NOW for Startup Week 2019! Slated for April 1st - 5th, 2019, planning is already well under way. Applications to participate as a track captain, speaker, volunteer, or official venue are -- click here to get started.
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.
We’re thrilled to welcome two new members of the Tech Wildcatters family: Vanessa Camones and Rachel Chang! Rachel will help energize and inspire our team in Dallas, while Vanessa will expand our reach into Silicon Valley, where we’re excited to bring our unique approach to mentorship-driven seed funds.
Here at Tech Wildcatters, our interns help us get amazing things done. (Seriously, a lot of things). And now it's time for you to meet them.
Q: What's the first thing you do in the morning?
Tech Wildcatters and CodeLaunch are symbiotic amenities in the North Texas entrepreneurism ecosystem, which is one reason why CodeLaunch is thrilled to be partnered with Tech Wildcatters. CodeLaunch is an annual seed accelerator which pairs embryonic stage software technology startups with software developers and entrepreneurs. CodeLaunch was created and is produced by Frisco, TX based Code Authority and a family of entrepreneurial minded sponsors and partners.
We are excited to be partnering with Tech Wildcatters to provide members with the kind of exceptional insight and guidance on intellectual property (IP) that only Dominion Harbor Group’s (DHG) singular experience in IP portfolio value optimization can provide. DHG is one of the most respected integrated patent advisory and optimization firms in the U.S., with decades of experience among its seasoned team of licensing, legal, technical, engineering and financial professionals.
It’s that time of the year again! If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you and your company are working on taxes. There’s also a good chance you’ve gotten confused or frustrated during the process. Good news, we have word directly from tax experts at Whitley Penn explaining what’s new this year. Here’s what you need to know.
On Friday, December 18, President Obama signed into the law the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016” including the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015” (“Act”, “law”). The new law ends months of uncertainty regarding “tax extender” provisions that Congress enacted only on a temporary basis in prior years. The Act makes several of these provisions permanent and also temporarily extends other provisions for a limited time period. Note that the effective date of the changes varies for each provision and the expiration period for each temporary provision also varies.
Some of the key provisions that were made permanent by the Act include:
- Deduction for state and local sales tax.
- Research and development credit.
- Increased Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 179 expense limitations.
- 100% exclusion for gain on qualified small business stock.
- Reduced built-in gain recognition period for S Corporations.
- 15-year recovery period for qualified leasehold improvements.
- 15-year recovery period for qualified restaurant buildings and improvements.
- 15-year recovery period for qualified retail improvements.
- Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes.
- Enhanced child tax credit.
- Enhanced education credits and expenses.
Various income tax, excise tax, and fee provisions that were modified or extended on a temporary basis by the Act include:
- Bonus depreciation on qualifying property. The applicable recovery percentages are 50% for property placed in service in 2015 through 2017, 40% in 2018, and 30% in 2019.
- Increased first-year depreciation limitation for automobiles and light trucks.
- Certain employer tax credits such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit are extended and modified on a temporary basis.
- Various energy and alternative energy credits and incentives are extended and modified on a temporary basis.
- The 40% “Cadillac” excise tax on high-cost employer health plans is delayed until tax years beginning after December 31, 2019.
- The medical device excise tax is delayed and will not apply to sales made in calendar years 2016 and 2017.
- The annual fee assessed to health insurance providers is delayed one year.
The passage of the new law eliminates much of the uncertainty that taxpayers encountered for several years while trying to develop a long-term tax plan. We recommend that you contact your Whitley Penn tax advisor to discuss how these new developments impact your tax position and to implement the provisions into your overall tax strategy.
Just yesterday, we brought in some of our key mentors and investors to help us take those precious second and third looks at the hundreds of startups who have applied to be part of the Class of 2016. It's a fun tradition for us to review applications with people who are smarter than us (and those who will ultimately invest and mentor the upcoming class). We walked away having identified the coveted list of startups that will be invited for Finals, the last step in the application process, which takes place in February.
“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” Molly Cain, Executive Director
Startup companies, and the entrepreneurs that lead them, quickly learn to celebrate successes as they come. Small companies are typically plagued with challenges and problems from day one, and the entrepreneurs at their helm learn to savor the triumphs that are sometimes few and far between.
Of course, these fledgeling companies stand a better chance if the ecosystem they grow in nurtures and supports them. At the State of Entrepreneurship address, held December 9th at the Hilton Anatole, the Dallas startup community gathered to review the data that has been compiled which indicates the growing robustness of the local startup ecosystem and to celebrate the successes that have come as a result. "This event was created to highlight all of the great work entrepreneurs are doing across North Texas. With more than 850 in attendance, I believe we are all getting the word out about all of the activity going on in our community.” said Trey Bowles, founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.
Since Tech Wildcatter's inception in 2009, we’ve seen firsthand the growth and positive changes our community has undergone. Each year we receive a record amount of applications to our 12-week long mentor-driven accelerator program. We’ve been able to raise more capital from investors who are turning from oil and real estate to try their hand at tech. We’ve seen the startups we’ve invested in since 2009 grow, receive additional funding and make profitable exits.
The successes we’ve seen local startups and entrepreneurs celebrate seemed to be greater and came along more frequently than they have in the past. Here’s to seeing more of what happened in 2015 this upcoming year. But in true entrepreneurial form -- rather than hoping for it, we’re working for it.