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BOARD MEMBER FEATURE: Abid neemuchwala

 

Abid NeemuchwalaWhat do you think “international” means to the DFW economy?

International is key because we are a melting pot of people and cultures from around the world with a world-class talent pool, diverse workforce, and a knowledge-rich environment. DFW is home to small and large businesses that sell to and buy from international markets. More importantly, our economy today is more interconnected with the global economy. Things that happen around the world impact our lives – gas and commodity prices are a great example.

Sometimes we see listings of the planet’s “global cities” and Dallas is not among them. What kind of things need to happen in DFW for it to achieve its highest global potential?

Dallas needs to be the Mecca of a certain domain, like Houston is for oil & gas, or San Francisco is for technology, or Paris is for fashion, etc. We have potential in many areas like telecom, aviation (two of the world’s biggest airlines are HQ’ed here), financial services, and more. One big thing - such as NASDAQ relocating the exchanges to Dallas - can put us in the comity of the planet’s “global cities.” Enhancing international connectivity, expanding sister-city relationships, developing knowledge-clusters, and catalysing a vibrant startup ecosystem can further help us.                      

Is there a global issue or event that keeps you up at night? 

Cyber warfare and cyber security, which can flare up unimaginable consequences and bring the world to its knees - be it an attack on a power grid or hacking connected cars or cyberattacks in aviation industry. The future of global peace and global economy will require cyber resilience, prevention, and protection. WACDFW has enabled awareness quite effectively through events such as Emerging Technologies and Great Power Competition which discussed security and economic policy play in cyber-defense.

What’s been your favorite Council event so far?

The Mallon Dinner 2021 was my favorite Council event. It positioned DFW as the city of diplomats. Woman power in international affairs was demonstrated, and the participation of Secretary Madeleine Albright just before her passing away is still fresh in my memory.

At the board retreat, you talked about the importance of “reverse mentorship.” Can you explain what that is and why it’s important?

At Dallas Venture Capital (DVC) where we routinely deal with young entrepreneurs, I have developed an appreciation for reverse mentorship, where a senior executive with a lot of world experiences can mentor a young professional while being mentored by the young professional on new age technology and consumer behavior. Apart from adding value for both sides (which addresses the question of what is in it for the senior exec?), it creates a mutual vulnerability which enables a safe and open space for good conversations to happen.

Where would you like to see the Council go in the future, and what kind of projects are you pursuing in your business? 

I would like the Council to focus more on technology & innovation. When I came here I was inspired by Richardson - then the telecom corridor of the world - and for me DFW was the real Silicon Valley. I co-founded DVC, a cross-border VC operating in Dallas and India, connecting two of the world’s vibrant economies and start-up ecosystems. DVC invests in cloud infrastructure, B2B SaaS, AI/ML, mobile, XR, and other emerging technologies. We bring domain and operational expertise to enhance our portfolio companies’ excellence through our DVC Advantage program. DVC is a bridge between innovation and entrepreneurship, between DFW and Silicon Valley.

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