THE PARTNERSHIP WILL CULMINATE IN FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PITCH COMPETITION FOR STARTUPS
Dallas-based Comerica Bank (NYSE: CMA), The Dallas Entrepreneur Center, and Tech Wildcatters are joining together in a first-of-its-kind partnership to provide more small business solutions to entrepreneurs in North Texas, culminating with an unprecedented pitch competition.
Tech Wildcatters is one of the nation’s top accelerators, and Dallas Entrepreneur Center is a coworking space that offers resources, support and opportunities to Dallas-area entrepreneurs. Comerica is the largest U.S. banking company with its headquarters in Texas.
THIRD YEAR OF DEC, COMERICA PARTNERSHIP
“As a leader in banking for small businesses and entrepreneurs, Comerica knows that by partnering with The DEC and the top-five accelerator in the nation (according to Inc. Magazine, 2015), they will be able to more easily and efficiently offer their services to the burgeoning entrepreneurial communities forming throughout the North Texas area,” said Trey Bowles, CEO and co-founder of The DEC.
It is the third year the The DEC has partnered with Comerica Bank, but it’s the first time it has officially partnered with Tech Wildcatters, Bowles told me.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Comerica Bank again this year, and by adding Tech Wildcatters, we’re able to help even more established and worldwide startups take their development to the next level, right here in North Texas,” Bowles said.
“This year, the reward is the opportunity to get into Tech Wildcatters.” – Trey Bowles
He said the partnership is a first-of-a-kind arrangement in which Comerica will be well positioned to promote its banking services to entrepreneurs in DFW while the startups grow their staffs, businesses, and presences in the area.
Comerica will be able to offer in-person services to members of The DEC and startups that have obtained an investment from Tech Wildcatters. The partnership also will allow for branding opportunities, among other things.
The partnership will lead to an unprecedented pitch competition, with the winner receiving entry into the Tech Wildcatters accelerator — including an investment of up to $130,000 — as well as free office space for six months at The DEC. The pitch competition tentatively is planned for November, Bowles said.
He said in the past, the pitch competition has been tied to Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is Nov. 14-20.
HUNDREDS OF COMPANIES COULD BENEFIT
“This year, the reward is the opportunity to get into Tech Wildcatters,” Bowles said. He called that opportunity “priceless,” because of its potential impact on a startup.
Bowles said that there is no set number of startups targeted for the pitch, but that there are “hundreds and hundreds of companies that could benefit from this.”
He said the real benefit to the burgeoning companies is the access to the expertise, programs and education that The DEC, Tech Wildcatters, and Comerica Bank can offer to startups.
Bowles said, for example, that many startups are not familiar with the banking aspects of running a startup, making Comerica’s role very important.
James Weber, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Comerica, said the bank is pleased to partner with The DEC and Tech Wildcatters because of their national reputations for encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation in North Texas.
“We’re a relationship-driven organization.” – James Weber
“We’re a relationship-driven organization,” Weber said.
He said it’s important for the bank to get in front of high-growth entrepreneurs who could bring great opportunities for the bank.
“It’s a very competitive space, and we’re all looking for a competitive advantage and partnering with like-minded organizations is a form of competitive advantage,” Weber said.
“By engaging with these best-of-breed organizations, we will be able to more easily and effectively promote our banking services to the entrepreneurs they serve,” Weber said.
Clarisa Lindenmeyer, chief revenue officer for Tech Wildcatters, said the organization was excited about this “first-ever partnership with The DEC and Comerica Bank.”
“We’re constantly seeking to upgrade our game-changing approach to early-stage investing, and a key part of that model depends on powerful partners,” Lindenmeyer said.
“I think there are a number of reasons we want to partner with an organization like Comerica.” – Clarisa Lindenmeyer
“I think there are a number of reasons we want to partner with an organization like Comerica,” Lindenmeyer said. She said Comerica has “great integrity, reputation, and services.”
Lindenmeyer said Tech Wildcatters’ role is to give startups a leg up through introductions and opportunities, and that this partnership is a “huge win for us.”
Lindenmeyer said that this year’s pitch process will be rigorous.
“This year, we will engage with 1,000 applicants, whittle it down to about 100 startups to come to Dallas, and narrow that down to 40-50,” Lindenmeyer said.
She said that because of the growth in the Dallas startup community in recent years, it easy to get fragmented.
But Lindenmeyer said she loves the message that partnership sends “to align and do business together.”
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