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Here's what Dallas Startup Week events Houston entrepreneurs should attend

Dallas Startup Week has pivoted to online panels and chats. Here's which ones Houston innovators shouldn't miss. Getty Images

While a 4-hour trip up Interstate 45 might, in years prior, could have caused Houston entrepreneurs pause from attending the annual Dallas Startup Week, this year there's no excuse.

DSW is taking place online this year, and there are more than a couple virtual events Houston entrepreneurs need to attend. Here's which virtual events Houstonians should log on to.

Monday - The State of Fundraising in Texas

A panel of Texas-based venture experts will discuss the state of fundraising in Dallas and Texas as a whole. The panel includes:

  • Bryan Chambers, vice president of Accelerator & Investment Fund at Capital Factory
  • Cindy Revol, principal at Perot Jain
  • Laura Baldwin, managing director at Golden Seeds
  • Mike Marcantonio, principal at Live Oak Venture Partners

The virtual panel is at 9 am on Monday, August 31. More information.

Monday - Women Investing in Women

Two Houston women — Leslie Goldman, co-founder and general partner of The Artemis Fund, and Kim Raath, co-founder and CEO of Topl — are taking the virtual stage to discuss women in investing.

The virtual fireside chat is at 11 am on Monday, August 31. More information.

Monday - Innovating in co-working in a COVID-19 world

Trey Bowles and Delanie Majors from The DEC Network will host CEO and founder of Common Desk, Nick Clark, for a discussion on how COVID-19 affected co-working spaces and the entrepreneurs that used to work out of them.

The virtual panel is at 11:30 am on Monday, August 31. More information.

Tuesday - The Future of Marketing Post COVID-19

In 2020, the world changed as we know it. Hear from these marketing leaders about how the landscape will continue to change, and how you can be equipped to market your business during and after a pandemic. Panelists include:
  • Ramon Mendez, co-founder of Brand Army
  • Phil Lockhart, partner & chief digital officer of Credera
  • Michael Pratt, founder of Digital Fight Club
  • Laci McKinney, founder of The People's Voice Creative Agency
  • Jennifer Cho, executive vice president and general manager if Weber Shandwick

The virtual fireside chat is at 3:15 pm on Tuesday, September 1. More information.

Wednesday - Do You Really Know Your Customer: Customer Segmentation is Key to Success

Learn to keys to customer success from a panel of seven businesswomen, including:

  • Tracey Altman, principal, Altman Consulting
  • Sophia Johnson, founder & president at Alpha Business Images
  • Anjie Vichayanonda, founder & CEO of Leg Up Legal
  • Karen Jenkins, senior director and regional sales executive of Capital One
  • Kristy Alballero, co-founder & COO, IOOGO
  • Kristy Alballero is the co-founder and COO of IOOGO
  • Marty McDonald, CEO of Boss Women Media

The virtual fireside chat is at 10:15 am on Wednesday, September 2. More information.

Wednesday - How Smalls Can Win Big with Department of Defense

Learning to win government contracts can be a challenging task, yet millions of startups in the United States are thriving because of them. As a founder, entrepreneur, or just a curious individual, check out this session to learn about the keys to success in government contracting. Panelists include:

  • David Shaw, co-founder and chief commercialization officer at Astrapi
  • Steve Guengerich, senior adviser at the University of Texas at Dallas
  • Dave Copps, CEO of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences
  • Sam Riehn, business development at Long Capture & Contract Management

The virtual fireside chat is at 11 am on Wednesday, September 2. More information.

Thursday - The State of Corporate Venture

A panel of experts from some of the largest corporations in the world discuss how their companies work with and invest in startups. They will discuss ways to engage with them, what kinds of companies they look to invest in, and how investing has changed during a tumultuous 2020.

  • Duane Dankesreiter, senior vice president of Research and Innovation of Dallas Regional Chamber
  • Aman Sharma, partner of Capital One Ventures
  • Marisa Bertha, senior director at New Business Development & 7-Ventures, 7-Eleven
  • Jim Adler, founding managing director at Toyota Ventures

The virtual fireside chat is at 1:05 pm on Thursday, September 3. More information.

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Emily Cisek, CEO and co-founder of The Postage, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss tech optimizing after-life planning, B-to-C startup challenges, and a national expansion. Photo courtesy of The Postage

Anyone who's ever lost a loved one knows how stressful the process can be. Not only are you navigating your own grief, but you're bombarded with decisions you have to make. And if that loved one wasn't prepared — as most aren't — then the process is more overwhelming than it needs to be.

On top of that, Emily Cisek realized — through navigating three family deaths back to back — how archaic of a process it was. Rather than wait and see if anything changed, Cisek jumped on the market opportunity.

"I just knew there had to be a better way, and that's why I started The Postage," Cisek, co-founder and CEO of the Houston-based company, says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "My background had historically been in bringing offline businesses online, and I started doing some research on how I could make this space better. At the time, there really wasn't anything out there."

The tech-enabled platform allows users of all ages to plan for their demise in every way — from saving and sharing memories when the time comes to organizing pertinent information for the loved ones left behind. And, as of last month, users can no generate their own last will and testament.

"We launched the online will maker — it wasn't in my roadmap for another six months or so — because every single person that was coming in was looking at something else on our platform, but then going to the will part and asking, 'Hey is this something I can create here?'" Cisek says.

Recognizing that this was a good opportunity to generate new users, Cisek quickly added on the feature for a flat $75 fee. Then, members pay $3.99 a month to be able to edit their will whenever they need to and also receive access to everything else on the platform.

Cisek saw a huge opportunity to grow with the pandemic, which put a spotlight after-life planning. The silver lining of it all was that more people were discussing after-life planning with their family members.

"We're having more open dialogue about life and end-of-life planning that I don't see any other scenario really bringing that to light," she explains. "In some ways, it's been positive because having the conversation with people has been easier than it had been before."

While anyone can access The Postage's platform, Cisek says she's focused on getting the word out nationally. Following some imminent funding and partnerships, national marketing and growth campaigns are on the horizon.

Cisek shares more on her career and he unique challenges she faces as a B-to-C entrepreneur on the podcast. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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