“David Sym-Smith: Former Entrepreneur is helping DFW startups become the next big thing in technology”
David Sym-Smith recognizes that North Texas doesn’t have the same population of experienced workers and startups as a technology hub like Silicon Valley.
Still, he sees a deep pool of aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make a mark on the tech industry. That’s why the serial entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist is using his expertise to get behind local startups, in the hopes that they might turn out to be the next Uber or Bitcoin.
Sym-Smith is a partner at Mobility Ventures, a venture capital firm that focuses on the mobile space. A 25-year veteran of the mobile industry, he’s also held leadership positions with companies like Indo Traq, Tele Atlas, InnoPath, CellularOne, GTE, Saint-Gobain, Sprint Spectrum and AT&T.
Additionally, his resume includes helping launch Command Audio Corp., and he was a member of the founding core management team of Aerial Communications, which was later sold to T-Mobile for more than $3 billion.
Today, he’s passing on his experience by serving with local startup incubators like Health Wildcatters and RevTech, mentoring entrepreneurs and making sure they’re on the path to success.
He discussed his involvement in North Texas’ technology scene and what challenges local startups face.
Why is it important for you to help the next generation of tech startups?
Everything we’re doing is constantly evolving. There are industries that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. We forget even how young the iPhone is. Bitcoin and Uber were all once at the startup stage and needed advice and funding, some help to get to the next level.
What are your goals as you help entrepreneurs and their companies?
Teaching, inspiring, making sure that they stay motivated, trying to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes I might have learned from the school of hard knocks. It’s making sure they’re on the right path and helping them to the next steps in the process. It’s being a trusted adviser.
Could North Texas be the birthplace of the next big tech innovation?
I hope so. I think there are some exciting things coming out of our universities. We’ve attracted companies that are doing very innovative things. I think we’ve been challenged in that we’re not as big a venture capital area as New York or Silicon Valley. We need to make sure (startups) have the money to move forward.
What other challenges are startups facing in North Texas?
One of the big things that Silicon Valley has going for it is, when you put together a startup there, you’re able to pull from a pool of potential employees who may have done five or six startups before. In Dallas, we don’t have as many seasoned startup veterans, so it makes it hard to pull together those key workers. But we’re getting there. That pool of potential folks is growing every day.