How Startup Waco Came To Be

Startup Waco was formed when a team of independent thinkers, spanning all sectors of the Waco community, came together around one belief: If Waco, Texas would continue its pioneering legacy and transform into the next premier Texas city, we needed to formalize an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Through a strategic partnership between the public and private sectors, Startup Waco was born. Now, as a 501c3, Startup Waco serves the Greater Waco community by creating a thriving culture of entrepreneurship. Designed with an inclusion mindset, Startup Waco champions entrepreneurs of all types by breaking down traditional barriers, collaborating with like minded institutions and filling gaps. Out of a physical space in downtown Waco, Startup Waco hosts a coworking environment, runs meaningful programs designed to support local businesses and operates as a hub for the Waco business community.

Meet the
Waco Team

Our team is eager to meet you and find out how we can better serve you.


Ashley Olivarez

Membership and Events Manager
Habla Español

Cody Carlson

Development Partner

Victoria Bingaman

Capital Access and Business Development Manager

Jon Passavant


Jacob Kehoe

Assistant Director of Development

Elaine Botello

Operations and Human Resources

Kailey Towns

Executive Communications Partner

Emily Miller

Principal Events Partner

Our Board of Directors

Ashley Allison

Ashley Allison is the Executive Director of Waco Foundation, where she manages all aspects of a $95 million community foundation with the mission of improving the quality of life in McLennan County.

Weldon Ratliff

Weldon Ratliff is a local businessman and philanthropist with an interest in business development and entrepreneurship.

Fernando Arroyo

Fernando Arroyo serves as the Chief of Staff of Waco Family Medicine, a fourteen-site federally-qualified health center serving nearly 60,000 patients in the Heart of Texas.

Mark Reynolds

Mark Reynolds is the North Regional President of Extraco Banks and served as the 2017 Chairman of the Board for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.

Sherman Ayres

Sherman Ayres is a retired Mars, Inc. corporate executive and currently the CEO of S.R. Ayres & Associates, a private business consultancy.

Sarah Roberts

Sarah Roberts is the president of KSR Capital, which specializes in incentive negotiation and development consulting to corporate clients.

Andrea Barefield

Andrea Barefield is the Waco City Council member representing District 1. Andrea also serves as the Executive Director of the Texas Brazos Trail Region.

Alfred Solano

Alfred Solano serves as Vice-President of Waco Family Medicine, an organization that exists o improve the wellness of the underserved and vulnerable residents of the Heart of Texas by providing effective access to high quality, comprehensive primary healthcare.

Kris Collins

Kris Collins is SVP of Economic Development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and a certified Business Retention and Expansion Project Coordinator.

Leah Teague

Leah Teague is the Associate Dean for Baylor Law School and teaches Taxation Principles and Leadership Development.

LaDainian Tomlinson

LaDainian Tomlinson is a retired Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee, NFL Network Analyst & Special Assistant to the LA Chargers owner. He is also the Co-Founder of Tomlinson Ventures a private equity firm, Chairman of the Team America Foundation & Co-Founder of the Tomlinson Center for Leadership.

Rachel Pate

Rachel Pate is the Director of Public Relations at the Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce and the Coordinator for Esther’s Closet, an initiative that helps unemployed women find success in the workplace.

Jeremy Vickers

Jeremy Vickers is Baylor’s Associate Vice President for External Affairs and previously served as the Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas.


Let’s start
Something Great

If you’re an entrepreneur, you have come to the right place. From business formation and planning, to tactical support, to raising capital, we’re here for you.

Let’s Go


Our Partners
Give Back

We work collaboratively with like-minded corporations, institutions and organizations who share our vision.

Let’s work together

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