Four Denton Tech Startups to Watch in 2015

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When I came into office in 2011, no one was talking about a “Denton tech scene.” I recall  pitching the idea of a Creative Tech Economy Initiative to the Denton Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Economic Development Office in 2012 as a way of moving our economy forward into the 21st century – at that point there was little interest. So I pitched the idea to the Denton citizens and we gathered together to see what we could do, knowing that Denton already had all the ingredients to make us a regional center for innovation.

You get Denton’s best and brightest together and things happen.

Today, downtown Denton is experiencing an innovation cluster of tech shops, creative firms, co-working spots, and startups. TechMill Denton has launched and serves, alongside the likes of UNT’s Innovation Greenhouse, The Factory at UNT, and The Forge at Denton’s North Branch Library, as a center of gravity for our emerging tech ecosystem. We’re now using tech to innovate local government and have recently announced Denton’s first Open Data initiative.

Now everyone is paying attention and everyone is talking about Denton’s tech scene. The Dallas Entrepreneur Center even highlighted “Denton’s Booming Startup Scene” during their 2014 “The State of Entrepreneurship” event.

The city is now including the tech industry as a major component of our updated Economic Development Strategy. The City Council voted this October to fund tech initiatives this year to the tune of $220,000 and plans are in the works for a city initiated coworking space in a major tech-centered redevelopment project downtown.

Here’s a glimpse of just some of the recent Denton startups who are helping lead Denton’s tech revolution:

premiumbeat_logo

Based in Montreal, Premium Beat boasts a growing satellite office in Denton thanks to the local presence of their Chief Marketing Officer, Danny Greer (UNT alum). They have revolutionized the way film, video, and media creatives are finding and using music and sound effects for their projects. So much so that they were recently acquired by Shutterstock this January.  This will allow Danny to significantly expand their Denton presence this year.

 

kubos_logoKubos is seeking to spread the word of Denton’s startup scene all the way to space. Their mission is to accelerate the New Space Race by making satellite creation and deployment as accessible as possible. They build small, custom satellites called CubeSats, and “near space” weather balloons for organizations that aren’t traditionally involved in space. They are also actively building a new open source operating system that will begin selling this year.  Their team is made up of TechMill Board members Marshall Culpepper and Tyler Browder along with UNT-based renaissance man Jesse Hamner.  Why Denton? “We are big believers in Denton’s startup community in this region, and as an early example, we hope to set an example for what other Denton startups can accomplish. If you’re on the fence about starting your business in Denton, ask yourself this — if a group of guys can build a space startup in Denton, why can’t I build mine?”

 

ReadyRosie_Logo[1]ReadyRosie is the first product from Denton-based Pascal Learning. This female-led company was founded by former teacher, former Pearson Education sales rep, UNT alum, and current mom of three, Emily Roden (along with Austin-based Luke Dodson, himself a former Dentonite and UNT alum). ReadyRosie is helping communities scale their PreK efforts by putting high quality tools directly into the hands of their parents every day. Emily puts it this way, “We believe we can unlock the potential of our nation’s youngest citizens by unlocking the potential of their first and best teacher – their parent.”  They contract with school districts, cities, or nonprofits to provide daily videos, in English and Spanish, modeling everyday activities they can do with their child. Started out of a home, ReadyRosie is now in over 50 communities throughout the nation and growing every day. Based in downtown Denton, the ReadyRosie team is now 20 strong with a sales team in Dallas, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

 

downloadPerhaps the latest and greatest stories of a true bootstrapped Denton startup comes from long-time startup evangelists Kyle Taylor and Eric Swayne. You might recall that Kyle, recent UNT grad, is the guy that brought Denton its very first Startup Weekend.  And though these guys are most certainly tech giants, their product is very decidedly analog. Draw Attention creates quality whiteboards designed to fit your laptop so that you can you say whatever you want to the world of workers around you. Conceived and launched in the course of one day, Draw Attention is taking the tech world by storm and orders are rolling in from such notable places as Google, ATT, and Microsoft.  Tech.co recently caught up with them at SXSW and posted this great video about their company and how they got started.

One Comment
  1. Adela Francis says:

    Hello Mr. Roden,

    Did you write this article? I was just talking about this very thing today – there is so much opportunity in this industry in Denton. I work with local businesses everyday. Incredibly, I encounter small businesses who do not have websites, logos and do know how to manage their social media accounts. The UNT community accounts for 41% of Denton’s population. Many small businesses are not equipped to connect with such mobile-interactive consumers.

    I want to be apart of it. How can I get involved of the Denton Tech Scene?

    All the best,

    Adela Francis
    469.441.3966

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