We are celebrating the visionaries who helped guide TechFW through 25 years of innovation as Executive Director. The first leader of the organization after it was founded in 1998 was Warren Webb. With a wealth of experience spanning his career, Webb is renowned for his innovative solutions and adept leadership in sales and technology. His role extended beyond mere leadership; it was a commitment to locating and nurturing viable businesses with the potential to shape the future. Over the years, this commitment translated into providing business development and consulting services while connecting the initial portfolio companies with a robust network of support. How It Began: A Journey into the Origins of TechFW
TechFW: Today, we delve into the fascinating narrative of TechFW's inception with the person who laid its foundational stones. Can you share the story of how TechFW got started?
Webb: During the early 2000s, the term "business incubator" was generating significant buzz within the business communities throughout major cities in the US. Fort Worth was one of those cities. Influential figures from Fort Worth, including representatives from UNTHSC, the City of Fort Worth, and the private sector, came together in a collaborative effort to establish, at that time, the Fort Worth MedTech Center.
TechFW: That's quite an intriguing beginning. Why did the city decide to support TechFW's mission, and how did this collaboration begin?
Webb: The city decided to support the creation of a business incubator because of what it could bring and has brought to our community. Although the list of lengthy, the top reasons behind their decision were:
• Supporting Entrepreneurship
• Access to Resources
• Mentorship and Networking
• Funding Opportunities
• Economic Growth & Job Creation
Reflecting on Leadership: A Conversation with TechFW's Inaugural Leader
TechFW: Shifting gears, let's reflect on your time diectingTechFW. What inspired you to take on this role, and what goals did you set for the organization when you started? Webb: I take great pride in serving as the inaugural President of the Fort Worth MedTech Center, a role I undertook in February 1998. My tenure with the organization extended for a little over five years, during which my primary focus was to lay the foundation for this transformative endeavor. This involved securing a suitable location, specifically the former Ben Hogan Corporate office on Pafford, which served as the dedicated space for program participants. I worked diligently to organize a network of experienced business mentors who generously volunteered their time to guide and assist the program participants. Moreover, I established a network of investors within the DFW area, co-founding the Fort Worth Angels, which significantly contributed to our mission. TechFW: Building an incubator from scratch must have been quite a journey. What were the key steps in this process?
Webb: Maintaining an extensive network and consistently seeking assistance were crucial steps. Whether securing sponsorships, recruiting mentors, or obtaining facilities and resources, building awareness and support within the local community was a constant effort.
TechFW: And milestones were achieved. Could you highlight some of the most significant ones during your time leading TechFW? Webb: During my tenure, we achieved notable milestones that significantly contributed to the growth of the Fort Worth MedTech Center. Among these milestones, the successful enrollment and support of 14 program participants stood out as a crucial achievement. The establishment of the mentor program, the creation of the Fort Worth Angel Network, and the provision of a temporary location for incubator participants to have a place they could call 'home.' Additionally, we worked tirelessly alongside Karl Komatsu and his team at Komatsu Architecture to develop the floor plan and secure funding for the current incubator location at the James Guinn Complex.
TechFW: Your journey with TechFW is filled with milestones. Is there a particular company or founder that has stayed with you over the years?
Webb: Inter-Images, Inc. (dba: Visual Fitness Planner) stands out as a memorable and impactful venture.
TechFW: Reflecting on your tenure, what advice would you give to future startup members?
Webb: Be patient and remember, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you that will make you successful in business!” Network until you drop!