Creating a Startup Community Requires Density

People seem surprised when I tell them Dallas-Ft Worth and Houston each have a ton more tech startup activity than San Antonio. These are huge economies, so it makes sense.

But, if you go to those cities, there is no sense of tech startups being real. They’re all spread out. There’s no answer to the question: “Where are the startups in Dallas (or Houston)?”

Houston does have a shot now with the creation of Station Houston.

So far, the press there is getting it wrong by thinking “We need more startup capital!” like this article:

This is a common misconception in govt/press: Creating venture capital doesn’t create a startup community.

— Michael Girdley (@mgirdley) February 24, 2017

Capital is important but density is what really matters.

If 3% of your city is only startup people, the only way to foster community is to put them all in one place. Magic can happen when they work together and perhaps your city can grow to have 10% or 15% being startup people. Or, they’ll leave and go to a Boulder, SF or Austin where it feels like 75% or more of the people are in startups.

It’ll be fun to watch Houston and Dallas in the coming years. The big question is whether they’ll do the hard work for the 20+ years it takes to create a startup community.

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