Rising Tide Started in Fort Worth

Fort Worth is Where the West Begins. The Fort Worth Stockyards embody the Western heritage of the area. It's an incredible part of the city, and in 1917 the Stockyards were the most important horse and mule market in the world. Now, thousands of cattle sell by satellite. 

The rich heritage and perception over hundreds of years sometimes can prevent a full understanding of what the area has to offer. Some are unable to reconcile this image with one of innovation and opportunity. The community is connected, with over 820,000 estimated Facebook users. With a population of 854,113 based on the 2016 census: that's 96% of the city. 

Multiple rich layers of culture and creativity offer attractive opportunities for the business community. And, some deserve thoughtful consideration. Facebook chose Fort Worth for a 2.5 million square feet data center that will become one of the largest in the world. A recent 2.7 billion dollar acquisition of a Fort Worth founded startup, ZS Pharma. Or, the new 300-acre American Airlines campus that's currently under construction. 

The Rising Tide Initiative is a non-profit that has been working with the community to empower entrepreneurs. There’s diverse thought about the approach that will be taken to enable a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

What is your perspective on the state of the Fort Worth entrepreneurial ecosystem?

“Overall, my general thought is that it's the byproduct of a lot of smart people working in a lot of smart jobs and having ideas they are pursuing. Contrast that to Austin, where startups are a huge part of the economy. I get the impression that Fort Worth is still focused on traditional businesses, which isn't bad at all - just different.”
Chip Hanna, Dando Advisors 

Which ecosystem do you think exemplifies the closest to what you would like to see in our local ecosystem?

"About five years ago Kansas City declared itself "America's Most Entrepreneurial City" and has been hustling to live up to that claim ever since. Their community is always doing something organic and innovative to build their community. After Google Fiber arrived in 2011, they built an entire "startup village" around the first neighborhood to get the fastest internet in the world. They recently broke the world record for the largest number of people co-working in the same place. I think FW could learn a great deal from the way KC embraces, nurtures and champions its startups.”
Cameron Cushman, Previously Senior Advisor to Kaufmann Foundation

The characteristics of the region create an opportunity for entrepreneurs and businesses.

Median Age Advantage

It's interesting to note; Fort Worth is getting younger. That's enticing from an entrepreneurial perspective. Dallas is aware of the advantages of attracting Millennials. In fact, this is one of the primary goals for "Say Yes to Dallas." Fort Worth should be taking advantage of this strength. It creates the possibility that people within our community who already desire STEM careers will contribute reciprocally. Young entrepreneurs have the highest intentions to start a business, with 30.5% saying they intend to start one. 

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

The chamber is re-imagining how they can offer support to the small business and entrepreneurial community. The new 5-year strategy positions Fort Worth as an international city. In addition to providing entrepreneurial support as one of the five pillars of the strategy. In the next four years targeting to achieve top 20 status in national entrepreneur rankings in at least one category.

UNT Health Science Center

UNT Health Science Center and TECH Fort Worth have worked closely together to provide resources and guidance to biotechnology ventures through an Acceleration Lab, including access to laboratory space, administrative support, and research expertise. Companies benefitting from these resources include ZS Pharma and Encore Vision, both Fort Worth start-ups acquired by Big Pharma.

UNT Health Science Center has also established a drug safety project with Texas Health Resources, launched the nation’s largest study of cognitive disease in Mexican-Americans and worked with Texas Christian University to open a new medical school that could create hundreds of new residency slots in North Texas. A new research building is scheduled for completion next year that will house the MD school, as well as UNTHSC’s pharmacy college and eye research institute.

UTA Research Center

UTA is advancing towards a Tier 1 status, graduating more than 200 PH.Ds and increasing research expenditures by nearly 9 percent. UTA has developed a strong innovation pipeline, with more than 100 patents issued over the last five years and more than 25 technologies licensed to outside companies. Some 60 faculty and students are currently working on start-ups and more than 20 start-up companies are developing around UTA.

“UTA is committed to developing an environment and culture that eliminates obstacles to innovation and entrepreneurship so that results of research and creative activity can be moved from our studios and laboratories into the economy for the benefit of society,” UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said. 

Timely Initiative

The initiative has been thriving after the launch at the Fort Worth Science and History Museum. The team has spent the year touring and interacting with various organizations contributing to the ecosystem. It has heightened our excitement about the opportunity that the area has to start and sustain new entrepreneurs. We have a passion for adding value to the local community in the form of new, successful businesses. Rising Tide focuses on people, culture, and software that fill in the gaps of the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. 

To increase the odds of success, we're collaborating too close the gaps that exist between support organizations. Entrepreneurs should be guided to resources that best serve their needs. If we can learn to serve the needs of the builders, we will all have a little more opportunity.

People: Upcoming Event

For people, check-out out the happy hour hosted by Catalyst Partners every Thursday 5 PM at HG Sply Co. Check our Facebook for details on our next big event in November for collaborating with the areas best and brightest. We’re encouraging a culture of collaboration that is friendly and focused.

Written by

Kevin Grace