Updated: Jun 14
TechFW is nothing without the people connected to it. We are honored to see so many of our staff, clients (past and current) and Cowtown Angels members in Fort Worth Inc.'s 'The 400', Fort Worth's Most Influential People 2021.
1. Hayden Blackburn
Executive Director, TechFW
Hayden Blackburn has been executive director of the nonprofit, 23-year-old TechFW incubator and accelerator, and director of the Cowtown Angels angel investing group, since 2016. Blackburn moved to TechFW from the Idea Works collaborative. TechFW's programs include ThinkLab, Cowtown Angels, EpICMavs at the University of Texas at Arlington, Tech-Nest, and MCrew, a mentor match that brings in outside volunteer talent. TechFW has ambitious goals, moving to increase participation in its incubator programs and the Cowtown Angels and to potentially rebrand to acknowledge its geographical reach, including the UT-Arlington partnership and a new cohort that ThinkLab has launched in Dallas. Blackburn has been a founder or leading contributor to the major annual Fort Worth Business Plan competition, 1 Million Cups, Startup Weekend, and Entrepreneur Summit. Blackburn has a BBA from Texas Tech.
2. Brandy O'Quinn
Assistant Director, TechFW
Longtime development executive Brandy O'Quinn has her next charge: assistant director of the TechFW incubator and accelerator, where she's building support for ambitious goals. Previously, for several years, senior manager for public affairs, Blue Zones Project Fort Worth, helped obtain Blue Zones healthy city certification. Spearheaded fundraising for Dash circulator connecting downtown to Cultural District. B.A., political science, the University of Texas at Austin; master's, real estate sustain-ability, the University of Texas at Arlington
3. Darlene Boudreaux
Darlene Boudreaux, a pharma entrepreneur who came out of retirement to run the TechFW incubator for 12 years, continues to coach budding entrepreneurs through TechFW since she handed over the reins to successor Hayden Blackburn. Boudreaux founded the Cowtown Angels angel investing group within TechFW in 2016. Angel investors secured their first exit, with the $465 million sale of Encore Vision — a TechFW client and incubator tenant nurtured by Boudreaux — to Novartis in 2016. Boudreaux co-founded and was CEO of PharmaFab, a Grand Prairie third-party pharma manufacturer, from 1994 to 2006. She grew revenues to $28 million before selling the company.
4. Bruce Raben
Bruce Raben is highly visible on Fort Worth's startup and entrepreneurial scene, offering "targeted networking" and introductions, marketing and public relations, business development, and advertising and sponsorship creation. "Third best networker in area and can intro you to top two." Clients include banks, law and accounting firms, startups, real estate developers, venture capitalists, nonprofits and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. A longtime ex-newspaper executive, Raben formerly co-wrote the weekly B2B insider column "Mr. B" for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
TechFW Board of Directors
5. Stella Robertson
Co-Founder and Partner, Bios Partners
Stella Robertson is co-founder of Bios Partners, a Fort Worth private equity firm. She’s a member of the Cowtown Angels investing group in Fort Worth and serves on its Steering Council. Robertson is known in the Fort Worth tech startup and angel community for her guidance on prospective health care investments. Robertson has over 25 years in pharmaceutical research and development, including R&D strategies, project management, clinical trials, regulatory filings for U.S. and international registrations, product launch, market support, translational medicine and medical communication. Robertson was a vice president in research and development at Alcon Laboratories. She received a PhD in biology- immunology from Johns Hopkins University. She holds a number of patents and is the author or co-author of over 50 publications.
6. Rodney D'Souza
Managing Director, The Davis Family Entrepreneur-in-Residence at TCU
A leader in entrepreneurship education and research and successful business owner and angel fund manager in his own right. He joined TCU Neeley as managing director of the institute and the Davis Family Entrepreneur-In-Residence.
D’Souza was formerly the Fifth Third Bank Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship and director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Northern Kentucky University.
“I ran the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in rural Kentucky,” D’Souza said. “We started that in 2014, so I went back for a few years before I came here. I also started an accelerator on campus which was called The Inkubator. The reason we called it The Inkubator was because it had NKU in it, so we just spelt it INKU, The Inkubator.”
Inkubator grew to be one of the top five university business accelerators in North America.
D’Souza also helped start an angel group there called the Cherub Angels. He also worked with a variety of different companies in the area, including Whisper Pet, a company that had an odor eliminator for pet odors. The company got in Amazon’s Launchpad program and a couple of retail locations.
7. Laura Baldwin
Managing Director, Golden Seeds
Laura Baldwin is the chapter lead for the Dallas chapter of Golden Seeds. She currently serves as President of Waco Bend Asset Management Ltd.; she previously served as Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations at Triad Hospitals, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, and also worked in equity research and investment banking. She received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and her MBA from Southern Methodist University.
Cowtown Angels Members
8. Bill Buechele
Managing Director, Business Development Capital CFO Partners
Bill Buechele is chairman of Fort Worth’s Cowtown Angels investment group, run by the TechFW incubator. He is a longtime business advisor and investor with diverse experience, including private equity, technology, health care, manufacturing and energy exposure. Buechele was formerly a leader of Deloitte’s Growth Enterprise Services practice in North Texas. He has a bachelor’s and MBA, both from Indiana University.
9. Carolyn Cason
Carolyn Cason, retired professor and associate dean for research in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at the University of Texas at Arlington, serves on the steering council of the Cowtown Angels investing group in Fort Worth. In 1997, she joined the College of Nursing, where she led in creating the research infrastructure needed to support the Ph.D. program, and was instrumental in defining and implementing the program focus on health care for diverse and vulnerable populations. She developed the model for the SMART Hospital, a virtual hospital in which high-fidelity interactive mannequins serve as patients. And as co-founder, she acquired private and governmental funding for it. Cason holds a bachelor’s, master’s and a Ph.D. in educational psychology.