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Angel Investors Land In Dallas, Where Startups Are Booming

Lauren Silverman
/
KERA News
The National Angel Summit opening at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.

A group of angels is descending on Dallas this week -- angel investors. 

The angels were originally going to meet in Washington D.C., but Leslie Jump says that would have been a mistake. 

“What we wanted to do was to identify one of the great startup communities in the U.S., a city that’s really focused on growing its innovation economy," Jump says."Dallas came up to the top really quickly.”

Jump, who founded Startup Angels, worked with The Dallas Entrepreneur Center to pull together more than 100 angel investors and entrepreneurs for a two-day event downtown.

Angel Investors Taking Off In Texas

Nationwide, angel investors invested nearly $600 million in 200 startups in the second quarter, according to this report from Silicon Valley Bank.

North Texas angels accounted for 12 percent of those deals. That’s big news in a region where money tends to go traditional -- to oil and gas, real estate and health care.

There is no shortage of money in Dallas-Fort Worth. Trey Bowles, CEO of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, likes to point out the region has 25 billionaires. 

"There’s such an amazing resource of capital here that is not currently going into the startup community," he says. "So what a better place to come and have your first summit?"

Tips For Entrepreneurs 

After entrepreneurs have begged friends and family for funds, they need money to lift their idea from paper to reality. At that early stage, most venture capital firms aren’t ready to make a pledge. 

That’s when the angel investor swoops in.

“Angel investing to me is about two things: It’s investing in a person or team, and investing in their idea,” Chris Camillo says.

Camillo is a self-made millionaire and Dallas-based angel investor. He says before he throws money behind a startup, the entrepreneur needs to show there’s a market for the product.

“I want to see some sort of traction, that you’ve been able to presell that idea to your consumers through a crowdfunding campaign," he tells the crowd.

"The other thing I need to see is that you’re capable of executing on your idea.”

Angels, Earthlings Collide

There are now at least seven angel investing groups in North Texas. There are dozens of startups seeking capital. 

This week, as angels and earthlings collide in Dallas, the search for a deal, or at least a good tip, is on. 

[More from KERA News: Meet The Student Startups In Health Wildcatters 2014 Class]

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.