By Danielle Longueville
TechMill, a Denton non-profit group assembled to help create and launch technology-related businesses in Denton, had an open house last night to roll out their collaborative workspace concept in collaboration with Square 205. We hung out and tried to have a conversation with some people but we aren't sure if Pascal is a computer language or a binary code so we just drank off the keg of Greenbelt, nodded and laughed when we thought it seemed appropriate. 010010111001, right? The following is an interview we had with one of TechMill's superstars (and all around cool person, Clarissa Redwine). Read on for more.
WDDI: Tell us how TechMill started.
Well, first there were doers. About a year ago, the community had several tech startup advocates pop up and start putting on events, looking for other like-minded folks. The organizers of OpenHack, LittleDOCC, Startup Weekend, DentonJelly, and a few other initiatives started hanging out and soon decided we could do a lot more for the community as a collective. And that’s what we are today, simply a collective of movers and shakers, all working on different initiatives, toward the ultimate goal of growing the Denton tech startup community.
Who are some prominent figures responsible for the creation and establishment of the organization?
Every single person on our Board of Directors has made a significant impact in the tech startup community in some way, and that’s precisely why we work together. We have a shared vision. Here’s our team: Daniel Abasolo, Tyler Browder, Marshall Culpepper, Patrick Peters, Clarissa Redwine, Dave Sims, & Kyle Taylor.
What’s the coolest thing to come out of TechMill so far?
The coolest thing to come out of TechMill is the critical mass of the community network. Depth of skill and collective fervor is magnified when brought together. Now, when someone wants to build something or learn something, there’s a good chance they can find an intersection in the community that will provide the contacts and tools they need.
How do you envision TechMill growing?
We subscribe to the bootstrap mentality where validation comes before growth. So, we will continue to grow sustainably, only pushing forward after we’ve verified that the direction is supported by the larger community. I guess, to put it simply, TechMill will grow as the community grows, in whatever direction that is.
Do you guys have any long term goals about involvement with the city?
We sure do! We see the city taking big steps to support our tech startup scene. We want to help them do it. One major initiative we will announce at the open house event is the Open iBeacon Network. I have been pulling together the resources to make Denton the first open beacon enabled city in the world. We’re starting with the Square and working outward, building a network of beacons that is open to developers and startups. This will define Denton as a city for innovative tech startups working with the latest technology.
Can anyone become a member of TechMill, or what’s the process like in how to get involved?
Absolutely. We look for community minded people who are interested in working in a social environment. Tech startups can really benefit from the network.
Aside from this new coworking space you guys have opened up, where else can we find y’all?
Our original location at Banter is staying open as a free coworking space for the community. We’re also at Banter every other Tuesday from 8-9am for LittleDOCC, a chat about the latest in tech. Every third Wednesday of the month we’re at Banter for OpenHack. All tech startup community events- including events from the Innovation Greenhouse, UNT’s the Factory, and the library’s The Forge- can be found on the Startup Denton Tech Meetup Page.
What’s your greatest memory so far on the journey to making this shared dream happen?
My favorite memory is of the very first meeting we had as a community. About a year ago, I asked Kevin Roden if he could invite all the tech people he knew in Denton to his house so I could meet them. It was super cold and late at night but about a dozen of us showed up, drank beer, and collaborated about building the denton tech startup community. That was the first glimmer of what the denton tech scene could be- altruistic, dedicated, and ready to build.
Fun Fact: It was also super icy and our TechMill cofounder Kyle ended up totaling his car that night.
So we know that as tried-and-true Dentonites, everyone has their favorite coffee spot. So tell us where your allegiance lies...
Haha- I think I have to say Banter- not because of the coffee- but because of the community. Banter supports the maker culture of Denton brilliantly. If anyone has a meetup and needs a space, they will hook you up!
Where can we find more information about TechMill and other coworking spaces? Have any good recommendations?
Clarissa: The best way to learn more about the Denton tech startup community is to come to an event. All events are posted on the Startup Denton Tech meetup page.