The Texas Entrepreneur Network started in 2008, after I finished starting the Central Texas Angel Network in the role of Executive Director. I saw many startups going through the CTAN process and not succeeding because they weren’t using the resources available in the city.
We originally called it the Austin Entrepreneur Network and later expanded to cover the state and renamed it the Texas Entrepreneur Network. We ran a citizen journalism website in the early which hosted over 50 bloggers. We cataloged all the resources in the city for startups of which there were over 120+. Our mantra was Networking, Mentoring, and Funding.
We provided programs that brought the entrepreneurs together with mentors such as the First Look Forum in which the entrepreneurs learned out to give a Fast pitch on their business to a group of mentors who provided coaching. We later decided to focus on fund raising since that was the greatest need by entrepreneurs.
In an effort to expand angel investing, we ran a funding forum series that ran across the state from Austin to Dallas to Houston to San Antonio, to El Paso. Ten entrepreneurs would pitch to a panel of ten investors. Initially, the investors liked the idea of seeing quality deals presenting, but later wanted to source the deals online. Entrepreneurs who participated in the funding forums raised over $100M in funding.
In 2013, we moved the dealflow to an online portal and called it the TEN Funding Portal. At that time, Williamson County commissioned us to build a portal exclusively for Williamson County companies.
Sensing a need for more training of angel investors, we launched the Texas Open Angel Network which provided educational sessions for potential investors. In trying to scale the program across the state, we decided to capture the content in a podcast series which we called AngelConnect.
Finding a need among later stage startups for Series B funding, we launched the Texas Venture Growth Forum to help those seeking Series B funding and beyond meet investors through a conference designed to foster 1:1 meetings.