For years, North Texas’ startup and venture capital scene has been growing. And for investors, founders, and other leaders interested in getting in on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, it can be hard to find a single entry point.
But next month, a conference presented by Venture Dallas will make that easy.
Venture Dallas aims to bring people together from across North Texas, the state, and the country. Equally important, it will give DFW the credit it deserves as a leading hub for decades to come, the organization says.
Venture Dallas’ signature event is key for building relationships and creating meaningful connections. With Venture Dallas 2022, the organization is bringing back its full-day conference.
Venture Dallas 2022 is the ‘best showcase of our region’s talent and venture ecosystem,” Aaron Pierce, co-founder and board chair of Venture Dallas and a venture partner at Perot Jain, told Dallas Innovates.
Pierce looks forward to sharing with the rest of the nation “what’s happening here and why they should be excited about investing in Dallas companies.”
Venture Dallas conference set for Nov. 3
Fall is the “best time of the year for investors to meet other like-minded investors from across the country who are interested in deploying capital in this region, as well as to meet founders and executives running high-growth companies,” the organization says.
The inaugural 2019 conference was held in person, generating momentum and excitement, Pierce said. After two years of virtual events, Venture Dallas 2022 aims to ignite even more momentum with the energy of a live crowd and all the networking it can muster.
Doors will open for the event at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on Southern Methodist University’s campus at 9:30 a.m. on November 3rd. The conference will feature numerous panels, fireside chats, and keynotes from some of the region’s and country’s largest players in the scene, intermixed with ample opportunities for networking.
A VIP reception will be held on November 2nd, described by Venture Dallas as an “opportunity to mingle with investors and key business leaders at an exclusive location.”
Venture Dallas says it’s looking for its audience to include founders or CEOs of startups that have raised at least $1 million in funding; individuals from venture capital and private equity firms looking to make deals in the area; high-net worth individuals; family office representatives; angel investors; and service providers bolstering the ecosystem.
Mark Cuban to deliver keynote
This year, the Venture Dallas conference is bringing in one of the most recognizable names in the North Texas ecosystem to deliver the keynote.
Participating in the event for the first time since it got started is local investor, billionaire, and serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Building upon the anticipation of the upcoming event, Pierce said prospective attendees should snag a ticket early to hear what the Dallas Mavericks owner will be talking about.
After moving to Dallas in the early 80s as a bartender, Cuban began his foray into tech and entrepreneurship. Now, The Mark Cuban Companies counts around 215 companies in its portfolio, ranging in industries from blockchain and apparel to media and biotech.
“Mark has been such a champion for entrepreneurship and early-stage companies,” Pierce said. “We’re lucky to have him give his perspective and share his experience with our attendees at Venture Dallas.”
A catalyst of connections
“We’ll be showcasing both investors and entrepreneurs who are proud to call Dallas home and who have left a serious mark on their respective industries,” Annabel Reeves, Venture Dallas chief of staff and an associate at Goldman Sachs, told Dallas Innovates. “People here truly want to help one another and continue to elevate our region for the benefit of us all.”
Reeves says Dallas has been on a tear—especially since 2020.
“Dallas has always been a great city for doing business, but 2020 really put us on the map in a new way, on a national level,” Reeves said. “Record numbers of people began moving here during the pandemic, and it hasn’t slowed down yet. Dallas’ affordability, business-friendly climate, central location, and hospitable people are among the many reasons newcomers can’t get enough, and why businesses continue to thrive here, despite macroeconomic forces that aren’t always so favorable.”
VC activity is on the rise, and the labor market is ‘on fire’
Reeves notes that VC activity has been on the rise in the region as well, citing an article by CB Insights. “Dallas saw an incredible $2.3 billion in funding in Q1 ’22 alone,” Reeves said.
“Our labor market is also on fire,” Reeves said. “We’ve all seen the headlines of just how many employers are moving their HQs to our region. We’re now the #3 metro area in the country, after NYC and LA, for tech job openings.
‘The premier venture capital conference in North Texas’
Co-founder Pierce calls Venture Dallas 2022 the “premier venture capital conference in North Texas,” and says its goal is to bring together investors from all over the U.S—from VCs to family offices and angels—with the “best founders in our region” in the hopes that “collisions” and “meaningful connections” will be made. That could help lead to potential fundings and eventually potential successful exits, he added.
“If there’s a dream for what this event can catalyze, it would be that we’re able to convene some of the brightest minds in our industry and forge meaningful connections that allow these companies to grow and scale and have the success that we’re all looking for, for our companies here in DFW,” Pierce said.
Vik Thapar—Venture Dallas co-founder and board member and managing director at Cypress Growth Capital—said he expects up to 400 investors and innovators will be in attendance this year.
Venture Dallas looks to grow along with the DFW ecosystem
Pierce said that since the first Venture Dallas conference was held, an increasing number of tech investors have reached out from all parts of the U.S. looking to get more connected to the North Texas ecosystem. Pierce and Reeves say that’s being driven by the amount of companies moving to the region, attracted by things like affordability, a business-friendly environment, a central geographic location, and hospitality.
54 deals raised around $23 billion
According to CB Insights, Dallas’ tech scene “has been quietly—but rapidly—growing.” In a report published earlier this year, it said the metro was just one of four to see quarter-over-quarter funding growth in Q1 of 2022, adding that its year-over-year growth is the highest of any U.S. city, with 54 deals raising around $2.3 billion. Crunchbase also said the Dallas is the No. 3 metro for tech job openings.
“It feels like there’s a lot more funding announcements happening in North Texas than years past. The ecosystem is just naturally growing and companies are starting. We have a very vibrant and a large tech pool here, so there’s a lot of tech talent,” Thapar told Dallas Innovates.
Thapar added that Venture Dallas is looking to grow along with the ecosystem, saying it has the potential to grow beyond an annual conference. An “end goal” would be to have full-time employees “advocating for technology entrepreneurs throughout the year.”
Created by nine North Texas dealmakers
Venture Dallas—a nonprofit enterprise created by nine North Texas dealmakers—was formed in 2019. Those leaders included Capital Factory’s Brian Chambers, Cypress Growth Capital’s Vik Thapar, the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Duane Dankesreiter and Natalie Pazera, Intelis Capital’s Jonathan Crowder, Pierce, Perot Jain’s Cindy Revol and Joe Beard, and Silicon Valley Bank’s Samantha Colletti.
The organization’s inaugural event hosted more than 300 local entrepreneurs and cross-country investors. The success of that invitation-only event led the committee to plan a year in advance for a September 2020 summit—but then the world went virtual.
In a pandemic pivot, Venture Dallas 2020 was reimagined as a 34-day mobile experience for founders and investors. The curated group of startups pitched investors via bite-sized videos in a “Tinder-meets-Instagram-stories“ format. The flagship event garnered 143 companies and 137 investors, Chambers said, with investors from across the country drawn to early-stage startups
2022 conference details
The conference speakers, the steering committee making it all happen, and the schedule for the upcoming Venture Dallas are all listed below. Venture Dallas notes that speakers and schedules are “in the works,” and recommends checking for updates on its website.
The Venture Dallas team has been working with DealRoom to create a custom app for the event. In addition to providing details about the conference, Reeves said the app connects to an attendee’s LinkedIn profile, allowing them to create a custom profile for the event, where they can list their specific areas of interest and state what they are “seeking” or “offering.”
“I feel like there’s a groundswell of momentum and it all culminates in this big event,” Pierce said. “If you just look at the people that are participating and the interest shown by attendees, founders, investors, and in the willingness for speakers to be a part of what we’re doing, it’s really remarkable,” Pierce said. “I feel like it’s just the culmination of everything that’s happening here in DFW,”
- Pialy Aditya, chief strategy officer at Republic
- Kenneth Hersh, president and CEO at the George W. Bush Presidential Center
- Anurag Jain, chairman and CEO at Access Healthcare and co-founder and managing partner at Perot Jain
- QuHarrison Terry, head of growth marketing at Mark Cuban Companies
- Christopher Calicott, managing director at Trammell Venture Partners
- Will Coleman, co-founder and CEO at Alto
- Ross Perot, Jr., chairman at The Perot Group
- Mike Kinder, co-founder and CEO at Veryable
- Troy Aikman, NFL Hall of Famer, sportscaster, and entrepreneur
- Travis Goff, president at Goff Capital
- John Olajide, founder and CEO at Axxess
- Allison Ball, investment partner at HNVR
- Lee Bratcher, president and founder at the Texas Blockchain Council
- Sabrina Chaudhury, VP at Kayne Partners
- Anthony Bassili, head of asset allocators at Coinbase Institutional Americas
- Brian Tochman, general partner and co-founder at Trust Ventures
- Ameeth Sankaran, CEO at Religion of Sports
Venture Dallas 2022 schedule for Tuesday, November 3:
“Through in-depth keynote and panel presentations, including from national VC’s who have invested in Dallas, attendees will learn more about early and growth stage investment climate in the region, how to capitalize on it, and what’s coming next,” Venture Dallas’ website states.
- Welcome: 9:30 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.
- Fireside Chat with Steve Winn, Former CEO of RealPage: 9:40 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.
- Fireside Chat with Hana Khouri, CEO of Drive Shack: 10:10 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.
- Fireside Chat with John Olajide, CEO of Axxess: 10:40 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.
- Networking Break: 11:10 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
- Current State of Web3 & Crypto: 11:40 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
- Lunch: 12:20 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
- Investor Perspectives: 1:30 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
- The Alto Story: 2:10 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.
- Building Veryable: 2:40 p.m. – 3:10 p.m.
- Networking Break: 3:10 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.
- Family Offices in VC: 3:40 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Special Guest, Troy Aikman: 4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
- Happy Hour: 5 p.m.
2022 Steering Committee
“Venture Dallas is a 501c6 non-profit, volunteer led organization dedicated to growing the innovation ecosystem in Dallas-Fort Worth,” the organization says on its website. “Committee and Board members are dedicated to leveraging their deep ties to the venture and tech community to Venture Dallas activities.” This year’s members join past steering committee members, including Beard, Revol, and Silicon Valley Bank’s Weston Betts.
- Marisa Bertha, senior VP of strategy at Liquid Death
- Bryan Chambers, president and co-founder at Capital Factory and Venture Dallas co-founder
- Samantha Colletti, managing director at Silicon Valley Bank and Venture Dallas co-founder
- Jonathan Crowder, partner at Intelis Capital and Venture Dallas co-founder
- Duane Dankesreiter, senior VP at the Dallas Regional Chamber and Venture Dallas co-founder
- David Evans, managing partner at Sentiero Ventures
- JR Garcia, principal at Green Park & Golf Ventures
- Shale Gulbas, principal at Guideboat Capital Partners
- Inobat Karras, principal at Interlock Partners
- Chase Murphy, partner at Baker Tilly
- Aaron Pierce, venture partner at Perot Jain and Venture Dallas co-founder and board chair
- John Simon, business development at Mark Cuban Companies
- Annabel Reeves, associate at Goldman Sachs and Venture Dallas chief of staff
- Vik Thapar, managing director at Cypress Growth Capital and Venture Dallas co-founder
- Benjamin Vann, founder and CEO at Impact Ventures
- Blake Wiley, co-founder at Access Capital
You can register for the upcoming Venture Dallas conference here.
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