Dallas Festival Of Ideas Speaker Helps Entrepreneurs Build Dreams

By Anna Kuchment
The Dallas Morning News.

When Gabriella Draney had an idea for a technology startup several years ago, many business people advised her to move to Silicon Valley.

“I was told over and over again that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish the goals that I wanted to accomplish living in Dallas,” she said.

Instead of leaving the city where she grew up, Draney launched a business that has helped dozens of technology entrepreneurs build their dreams in North Texas.

Tech Wildcatters, which Draney co-founded in 2010, takes early-stage companies and helps them improve their products, build a customer base and secure investors. The company, known as a technology accelerator, has helped make Dallas one of the fastest-growing technology hubs in the U.S.

Draney will speak at the Dallas Festival of Ideas in the Arts District on Feb. 27 and 28. The event is presented by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, The Dallas Morning News and CrowdSource, the events arm of The News.

Dallas, Draney points out, has been a tech capital for decades. In 1958, engineer Jack Kilby invented the microchip while working at Texas Instruments, and he later won the Nobel Prize for his work. Today, numerous chip makers call Dallas home, as well as telecommunications giants like AT&T and Ericsson, which has its North American headquarters in Plano.

Since the late 1990s, the local tech economy has diversified and attracted companies that develop mobile apps, social networking tools, cloud computing solutions and more.

Tech Wildcatters has helped spur that change. Jeremy Vickers, vice president for innovation at the Dallas Regional Chamber, said Draney’s company was one of the first accelerators in the region. “Accelerators are a huge catalyst, because they not only foster the creation of companies but they provide fuel for them to grow,” he said.

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