M-Crew Mentorship Program is Helping Founders Get ahead

Behind every successful company is a team of mentors, advisers, supporters and champions. A good support system can help guide an entrepreneur through some of the most difficult times and overcome some big obstacles. At TechFW, we champion the power of mentorship and started M-Crew, a program designed around a team of mentors with diverse experiences working with one company over a six-month period and focusing on their central barriers to growth and success.

Since the 2017 inception of M-Crew, our mentors voluntarily have given 480 hours of time, which doesn't include private sessions our mentors might have offered. Giving before you get is a core value of our organization and all of the mentors in this program exemplify that value. You would think that it would be hard to find professionals who share that belief, but it really hasn’t been. Ours is a community of people who have found success in their lives and are willing and able to give their time to help others succeed.


Now to meet the companies and mentors of the fourth cohort of the M-Crew program.

Mentoring is all about sharing your experience and giving honest feedback but being very supportive of what an entrepreneur is going through. It’s trying to help them solve their challenges without taking too much control or trying to manage the outcome for them.
— Hope Kahan, Independent Consultant

Up first, Nanoscope Technologies. Pictured here with the Nanoscope team members are mentors Sunny Lowe, Hope Kahan, Al Guillem and Ab DeWeese. This M-Crew has a diverse background of experience from biotech to talent development to IT. Nanoscope has developed a range of bio-medical technologies that include diagnostics and therapeutic devices and molecules so this M-Crew is perfectly poised to help them make progress.

Mentoring is being a sounding board. It’s not being overbearing or overwhelming. It’s being someone with whom you can share your concerns with and look for guidance when you are at a crossroads and you need to make some heavy decisions.
— Al Guillem, CEO of Renibus Therapeutics

Our second M-Crew team is working with Clarity Chair, a non-invasive, FDA-cleared treatment for brain function problems. The M-Crew team pictured here from left to right is Clint Reese, John Burt, Nikole Dickman, Logan Speights and Andrew Chalk. This M-Crew is filled with entrepreneurs, technology leaders, consultants and even a stand-up comedian! Imagine the progress this team is going to make, and not to mention the laughs that’ll be had.

We get just as much out of these meetings as the entrepreneurs do. I’m better at what I do because of M-Crew.
— Logan Speights, Founder & CTO at Triple Eights

Our third M-Crew team is working with Smart Counseling, an online platform that connects patients to therapists. The M-Crew team consists of Tim Pileggi, Randy Roberson, Caroline Harrisonand Chuck Bouligny. This diverse group of mentors has expertise in marketing, sales, finance and law. It’s safe to say that Smart Counseling is in good hands.

I learn every time I come into the room. We start talking about these problems the entrepreneurs are having and we have to sit there and figure it out. And that helps us, too.
— Randy Roberson, President of Sandler Training of Fort Worth

There is power in a network and we believe in making advantageous connections. M-Crew is the ultimate connector. Everybody wins. The entrepreneurs receive the help they need to further their businesses and the mentors get a chance to give back and at the same time learn from the entrepreneurs and each other. TechFW strives to create an environment and program for “a-ha” moments,  but know that people are where it starts when it comes to helping.

Here are our most up-to-date M-Crew stats:

M-Crew has had a substantial impact upon SolGro and myself personally. The wide range of expertise and skill sets offered has enabled SolGro to look deeper at all aspects of our business practices including our pricing model, sales process, marketing strategy and operations. M-Crew has also greatly improved my personal growth as a founder, helping to focus where I bring the greatest value to the company and how to implement processes to make the limited time in a day as effective as possible.
— Tyler Sickels, CEO of SolGro, M-Crew Cohort 3

Do you know a high-level thinker who's a mentor to you or someone you feel would be a great addition to our M-Crew? Maybe that's you! We want to meet our next mentors.

Click here to learn more about our M-Crew program and team and apply to get involved. We look forward to growing our network of those that are passionate about growing our startup ecosystem.

TechFW & Its Network Have A Growing Influence in Fort Worth

We were so excited to receive a copy of Fort Worth Inc’s 400 Most Influential People in 2019. Familiar faces popped up in many industries, including finance, economic development, life sciences and more… people that are directly connected to the mission of TechFW.

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have visionary leaders paving the way at TechFW. Two that come to everyone’s mind are our current Executive Director Hayden Blackburn and former ED, Darlene Boudreaux. Check out their features:


Then there are our Cowtown Angels, a group of local angel investors that are dedicated to growing the startup ecosystem. This program of TechFW has been around since 2012, and has grown to 54 members and invested $18.5 mil into 37 startups. Our angels have had so much influence in Fort Worth that they couldn’t fit them all into one page. Check them out:

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Also featured is one of our star clients, Elyse Dickerson, co-founder of Eosera, a biotech company that develops health care products focusing primarily on ear care health.


Fun Fact: Did you know Elyse is working with TechFW supporter Bruce Conti and will be moving into one of his properties in the Fall?

With all that Bruce has done in the community as an entrepreneur and a supporter of others, he definitely deserves recognition as a Fort Worth influencer:


How about our first TechFW graduate, Red Sanders, CEO of Red Productions, a Fort Worth-based production company. Red recently opened the Backlot Studio and Workspace, a Media Production Development Zone designed by Texas to encourage development of permanent sites for moving image production. Red’s is only the second of its kind in the state. Talk about influence!


We can’t forget about our wonderful mentors. Our M-Crew program has supported three cohorts of startups and has mentored and helped our entrepreneurs navigate the ups and downs of building their businesses. Julie Wilson, an entrepreneur herself, always has been a standout mentor so it’s no wonder to us that she gets to be called a Fort Worth influencer:


As you may have noticed, it takes a village to make an impact. And it’d be remiss of us to say we could have done it without the support of our partners. These Fort Worth influencers have been long-time supporters of TechFW’s mission and we couldn’t be more thankful.

Check out Robert Sturns from the City of Fort Worth, Michael Williams, President at UNTHSC, Richard Connor, Publisher at the Fort Worth Business Press, Steven Colwick, FW Market President at Comerica Bank, and Vistasp Karbhari, President of UTA:


Thank you to Fort Worth, Inc. magazine for highlighting the influencers and leaders in our community. We’re proud of their vision, direction and guidance. Influence is earned, not easy and burdened with responsibility. We are fortunate and thankful to have 400 people such as these leading us into the next chapter of evolution in Fort Worth.

Check out the other movers and shakers that made it to this year’s list here!

Capital Factory Makes A Stop In Fort Worth & Brings Texas Startup Ecosystems Together

Texas cities traditionally have been competitive, but thanks to the Texas Startup Manifesto, the team at Capital Factory is looking to change that.

With the goal of connecting all major Texas ecosystems through roadshows, Capital Factory stopped in Fort Worth and brought together entrepreneurs, investors and mentors from Austin, Dallas and Houston under one roof at WeWork in Sundance Square Plaza. We were so excited to collaborate with the team to put together a memorable and exciting event.

Founder & CEO of Capital Factory, Joshua Baer, says,

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If you were at the event, you could definitely feel that goal resonating. Texas cities are finally looking at each other and realizing the potential we have as a state to be one of the best places for startups to grow and thrive.

One of the most exciting parts of the day was the Epic Office Hours. It brought together a diverse group of high potential, high growth companies to meet with some of the most active angel investors and VC’s in the region.

Each startup had 15 minute rotations to pitch their startups and receive feedback. It was a great opportunity to get connected.

Founder of local startup Kanna, Farhaj Mayan, recalls his experience, “We got to connect with 5 investors from all over Texas in three hours and two were directly connected to people in our industry. It was awesome, fast-paced and it really allowed us to make meaningful connections.“


Check out some of these local startups that got the chance to participate: Neuro Rehab VR, SolGro, Cache, Bloodscore, Kanna, Adaptafit, Securing Life Today, Sidekick, Legacy of Love, Homebody, Modern Lantern


Next up, Bryan Chambers, VP of the Investment Fund at Capital Factory, sat down with CEO of Linear Labs, Brad Hunstable, to hear how Brad has been able to build his second thriving business.

It was a fruitful discussion on the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and also on why he chose the wonderful city of Fort Worth to grow his business.

Fun Fact: Linear Labs is a former TechFW graduate!


Another exciting part of the roadshow was a panel that featured Tyler Godoff, VP of Fine Line, Jessica Miller, co-founder of M2G Ventures and our Executive Director Hayden Blackburn. The topic was "Investing in Fort Worth Startups".

They each shared their excitement and perspective on the current state of entrepreneurship in our city and where it’s headed. Watch this snippet of Hayden Blackburn sharing his thoughts on the future of innovation in Fort Worth.

For closing remarks, we were fortunate to have Fort Worth Council member Ann Zadeh share a message from Mayor Betsy Price. “Small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs are the backbones of our community. FW has put a lot of renewed focus on better access, networking and stronger connections within the city for the startup community."

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Fort Worth is rapidly growing its entrepreneur ecosystem and we are so happy to collaborate with those in Austin, Houston and Dallas to grow the Texas ecosystem as a whole.

Thank you to WeWork for being an excellent host in its new Sundance Plaza South location and to all those who joined for a day of building connections across the state.

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Thank you again to Joshua Baer and the entire Capital Factory team for bringing their energy and enthusiasm for collaboration to Fort Worth.

We look forward to many more events together as we set out to make Texas the greatest place in the country for startup innovation.

Let's keep connecting and building. Innovation is bigger in Texas!