SHAPING DFW: GABRIELLA DRANEY ZIELKE
TECH WILDCATTERS CO-FOUNDER: TECHNOLOGY GROWER
In a world dominated by men, it’s no small feat that a Dallas based, highly successful tech accelerator was not only co-founded by a woman, but also counts 2 other women as top executives.
It’s also no small feat that when Gabriella Zielke co-founded her company in 2009, there were only 10 tech accelerators in existence worldwide; now there are more than 5000.
Zielke, raised in Rockwall and Mexico by her missionary dad, says her entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance has always been her guiding light. Even before graduation from SMU’s Cox School of Business, Zielke was lured with offers at top firms.
After a brief stint in venture capital, Zielke, ever the entrepreneur, decided to forego the stability of a steady—and generous-- paycheck (even more daring since Ziekle was also a single parent) to instead develop an online game.
Finding local designers and capital proved a challenge, but rather than taking everyone’s advice to relocate to Silicon Valley, Zielke instead chose to start a company intended to fill the void of a solid, local support system for tech startups in Dallas.
Tech Wildcatters, a mentoring and networking B2B business, helps startups connect with mentors, capital, and most importantly, businesses needing fresh ideas and creativity. TW hosts networking events, offers education and connections to start-up businesses in north Texas.
In 6 years, Ziekle and her team have invested $7 million in 105 portfolio companies, translating to 300-400 new jobs, and an estimated $500,000,000 in total valuation. (FanPrint, the other company in this pitch, is a by-product of Tech Wildcatters.)
Without a doubt, this firm is achieving their goal of positively disrupting the tech industry here in north Texas, and helping Texas to become one of the top 3 innovation ecosystems nationally, and beyond.
Tech Wildcatters has been named on the Forbes Top 10 list and mentioned in Inc. magazine; Tech Crunch, and MIT.
At Cadillac, we celebrate those whose passion and vision have reshaped our city, our lives and our culture.