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Dallas Entrepreneur Center Reports Economic Impact of at Least $130M on DFW

The data comes from an independent study that surveyed current and former members.
The DEC's Innovation Hub is on the third floor at 311 N. Market St., one floor above the DEC.
The DEC’s Innovation Hub is on the third floor at 311 N. Market St., one floor above the DEC.

The Dallas Entrepreneur Center had an economic impact of at least $130 million on Dallas-Fort Worth in 2015 as its member companies continue to create jobs, raise capital, and generate revenue.

CEO Trey Bowles released the news Wednesday night at the DEC’s Re-Launch party, when the center officially launched its Innovation Hub, a dedicated space for maturing startups and advocates who need their own small offices. The data, based off an independent study conducted by Dallas-based Axianomics LLC. The DEC also released its own data that shows its companies have created 960 jobs, raised more than $155 million in funding, and generated an average total of more than $87.7 million in revenue.

The study was based on a survey completed by 66 of 270 companies that have been or are currently members of the DEC since its inception in 2013. Axianomics is led by Daniel Oney, former business ecosystem manager for the city of Dallas. The $130 million economic impact value was determined using a five-step methodology that takes into account factors including revenue and employees.

“What it shows is that organizations like the DEC concept are working,” Bowles said, adding that early-stage startups are often pushed aside as companies with no real value. “They’re actually providing formidable economic outputs.”

The survey showed that some companies that have been based at the DEC are still growing. Surveyed companies expect to hire 232 full-time employees and 235 part-time employees in the near future.

The DEC’s membership has been comprised mostly of technology companies, followed by healthcare and software-as-a-service firms. The average salary of a full-time employee of those surveyed was $60,000. Part-time employees, on average, made $40,000. Most companies surveyed reported annual revenue under $50,000, with the second largest group generating between $250,000 and $500,000. A few have cracked the $10 million milestone.

Meanwhile, about 47,717 people have visited the DEC for one of its events. The DEC, a co-working space with programming and entrepreneur resources, regularly hosts 1 Million Cups and Startup Grind, as well as special events and programming.

The results were surprising to Bowles, who said he has been keeping a mental tally of what he expected the DEC’s impact to be. The numbers were more than four times higher than Bowles’ predictions. And this is only a slice of the bigger pie that is the DFW startup community, which includes multiple accelerators and incubators, venture capital funds, and co-working spaces.

“This should be indicative of what’s going on across the region,” he said. “It’s going to continue to add proof for the municipal [economic] development groups, that the prioritization of the early-stage entrepreneur is important because the ROI is there.”

Along with providing its economic impact numbers, the center revealed its Innovation Hub, a 10,500-square-foot space comprising individual offices and collaboration spaces one floor above the DEC. The hub, which already is home to the Dallas Innovation Alliance, Zipcar, Glass Media, Mend, Trailblazer Capital, Pivotal Labs, and Digital Intent, is aiming to provide a collaboration space for growing startups and advocates that are generating revenue and doing deals. Companies have been moving into the space since late last year. The hub only has two vacant offices left.

The DEC operates five locations offering co-working space plus resources for early-stage companies. In addition to the Innovation Hub and the DEC, the center also operates the Addison TreeHouse, the San Antonio Entrepreneur Center, and Stoke, which opened Monday in Denton.

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