Research Data

Why Topophilia is the Bedrock of Ecosystem Building

Topophilia means “the love of place.”  This is eloquently described in many texts, including “The Startup Community Way” by Ian Hathaway and Brad Feld. Near the end of the book, it states: “Given the absence of a blueprint [to build an ecosystem], the only path forward is a process of trial and error, learning from failures and building on a city’s unique strengths. Cultivating a deep love of place (called topophilia) helps startup community participants endure the inevitable ups and downs.” In this way, the enduring lifeblood of the ecosystem goes beyond measurables to a fundamental understanding and love of the...

A look at Sparkyard in 2022

Sparkyard held its grand opening during the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Week. We thought this would be a great opportunity to see how 2022 shook down with some general stats and entrepreneurial assistance.  Total number of website Users: 13,909 (22% increase from 2021) Fun Fact: With the exception of the United States, the top 3 countries that have  interacted with our website are the Philippines, United Kingdom and India.  Total Sparkyard Pageviews: 31,577 (3% increase from 2021) Fun Fact: Similar to last year, with the exception of the Sparkyard homepage, the top 3 most   viewed pages on the website are:  Business Entity Types  Resource Navigator   Calendar Total Published Blogs: 35 Sparkyard had the opportunity to have 7 guest authors in 2022 which included Women and Mentorship by Council...

Breaking Down Barriers to Business in Fort Worth

“Would you be interested in making Fort Worth your 21st city?”  Alex Montgomery from the Institute for Justice (IJ) replied with an excited but cautious tone and said, “I’ll have to check with a few folks, but yeah, I think we can do a deep dive in Fort Worth.”   We had just seen a presentation of IJ’s Barriers to Business Report, research that compared the processes, costs, steps and bureaucracy involved in starting small businesses in 20 US cities and then provided actionable recommendations on how to make it cheaper, faster and simpler to start a business. The only city in Texas...

Nashvegas vs. Funkytown Startup Scene

There are 16 cities that have raised at least one billion dollars in early-stage capital from 2015-2020. Of those 16 cities, nine of them have less than one million people. If we remove outliers like San Francisco, Boston, and Austin which are well-established hotbeds for startup activity, we are left with Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, Oakland, Washington DC, and Nashville. These six cities have an average population of 630,603: roughly 300,000 less than the estimated population of Fort Worth in 2022. This begs the question: What are these cities doing right from an entrepreneurial perspective that Fort Worth can learn from?...

The Fastest Growing Companies in Fort Worth

Inc. Magazine annually publishes a list of the top 5,000 fastest growing companies across the nation. As of March 2020, there were an estimated 11 million companies in the United States. That being said, the top 5,000 fastest growing companies only comprise the top .05% of companies. This list is the honor roll of all honor rolls. Arguably, the term ‘honor’ is an understatement.  To comprehend the metrics of the list, it’s important to delve into how the list is calculated. First, Inc. Magazine doesn’t take any company into account until it applies to be on the list. So hypothetically, the...

An Indicator of Innovation: SBIR Grants

Innovation can be hard to measure. One way to track it is through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the US government. The number of SBIR grants awarded in Fort Worth is far below the level it needs to be for our community to foster an innovation-led economy. Recommendations on how to address this issue are included.

A look at Sparkyard in 2021

Sparkyard held its grand opening during the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Week. We thought this would be a great opportunity to see how 2021 shook down with some general stats and entrepreneurial assistance.  Total number of off topic YouTube videos watched during meetings: 528  Total number of website Users: 10,812 (52% increase from 2020) Fun Fact: With the exception of the United States, the top 3 countries that have  interacted with our website are The Philippines, India and China.  Total Sparkyard Pageviews: 30,759 (27% increase from 2020) Fun Fact: With the exception of the Sparkyard homepage, the top 3 most   viewed pages on the website are:  Business Entity Types  Calendar  Resource Navigator   Total Published Blogs: 36 Sparkyard had the opportunity to have 4 guest authors in 2021. Number of blog views: 3,967 (33% increase from 2020) Fun Fact: Fort...

Texas Startup Indicators: 2020 Update

Early Stage Capital Slips Again Fort Worth-based startup companies raised $13 million in early stage capital in 2020. If that sounds low, it’s because it is, especially when compared to other large Texas cities and to the nation as a whole. In fact, while the United States set a 10 year high for most capital invested ($148B), Fort Worth actually slipped in its funding efforts, raising $4 million less than our previous five-year average of $17 million per year. In the past, we’ve looked at early-stage capital raised in Texas’s largest cities. This time we are taking a look at 2020’s updated...

Fort Worth is Coming for you, Albuquerque!

As we have discussed previously on this blog, Fort Worth is now the 13th largest city in the country, but it ranks 40th in early stage funding when compared to other US cities. In this post we will explore how Fort Worth compares to these cities in a variety of other metrics, plus we will discuss some reasonable targets we could set to move up in the rankings. Our team analyzed early stage funding using Pitchbook, the proprietary research tool that focuses on early stage investment data, to see where Fort Worth ranked compared to the top 50 largest cities (by...