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2019 EDITION D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

A BREAKOUT MOMENT NOW IS THE TIME FOR NORTH TEXAS TO GRAB ITS PLACE IN THE TECH UNIVERSE

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FROM LOCAL ORIGINS TO GLOBAL EXPERIENCE.

H O M E TOW N CO N N E C T I O N S . WO R L DW I D E P E R S P E C T I V E .

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Our entrepreneurs are

blazing a trail.

Every day, the entrepreneurs of Fort Worth are pushing boundaries in exciting, innovative ways. The city is growing by the day, and there are plenty of opportunities for those who come to Fort Worth to pursue dreams as big as the Texas sky. If you’re looking to turn those dreams into a reality – whether by starting your own business, developing an idea, or partnering with others to help achieve your vision – the City of Fort Worth wants to help.

Small business support:

Technology and innovation:

Growing together:

The Business Assistance Center (BAC) and its partners at the Guinn Entrepreneurial Campus specialize in helping entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of starting a new business. Whether you need assistance with finances, start-up counseling, business planning or access to capital, the BAC is a resource dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.

The City of Fort Worth has a proven track record of providing tools and expertise to guide entrepreneurs through growth and expansion strategies. From established biopharmaceutical companies like Encore Vision, to new firms like Eosera Inc., organizations of all sizes are working with the City of Fort Worth and its partners to devise strategies – like a new Medical Innovation District – that can help new businesses meet their potential.

Whether it’s the city’s Historic Southside or its newer Foundry District, small businesses are celebrated and supported by Fort Worth’s growing community. From entertainment to aerospace, from medical to technology, the City of Fort Worth can help you set up shop and find your niche in one of the area’s many different industries.

Learn more about the ways that the City of Fort Worth is becoming a hub for creative businesses: fortworthtexas.gov/edplan


N I NTH AN N UAL

EXPO APRIL 26-28 CONFERENCE APRIL 25-28 FILM APRIL 19-28

EarthxConference Earthx2019 will debut the EarthxConference to convene global leaders and change makers representing businesses, nonprofits, academic institutions and government entities to showcase important environmental issues. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of tracks including workshops and panel discussions, as well as enjoy our Green Speaker Series and Expo. Ocean • Water • Military • Law • Policy • University • Energy Cities • Transportation • Wildlife Conservation

For more information, visit EarthX.org.


“We’re excited about the future of downtown Cedar Hill. The area has this great grid that’s been built over a long period of time when the city was formed, but there’s still vacant land available for new development. The project will bring massive square footage for dining, retail & office, with a unique worklive component that’ll bring opportunity for smaller entrepreneurs to do business and work in the same place. Construction will begin in Mid2019. We’re looking forward to being an addition to what already exists in beautiful Cedar Hill, Texas.” Jim & Amanda Lake Lake Moreno Partners

L E A R N A B O U T D E V E L O P M E N T O P P O RT U N I T I E S F O R Y O U R B U S I N E S S 9 7 2 . 2 9 1 . 5 1 3 2 • C H E D C @ C E D A R H I L LT X . C O M • C E D A R H I L L E D C . C O M L A N D O F O P P O R T U NI T Y Just 20 minutes from Downtown Dallas sits the beautiful, family-friendly city of Cedar Hill, where opportunities grow naturally. A bustling, and diverse community of just over 45,000 people, Cedar Hill combines the best of big city living with natural beauty and outdoor recreation found nowhere else in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro-area. In Cedar Hill, we are serious about doing business, which is why we offer aggressive economic development incentives. Come take a look for yourself at why there’s greener pastures in the City of Cedar Hill, Texas.


INSIDE INNOVATORS: Clockwise from left: Andrew Schulz (Page 21); Claudia Mirza (Page 24); Nik Kitson, Youyi Kitson (Page 14); and Salah Boukadoum (Page 68)

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CONTENTS 2019 EDITION

63

7 FOREWORD

THE KICKSTARTER 11 Live and Learn Hypergiant Sensory Services is using artificial intelligence to teach machines to sense and alert more like humans do at a scale that’s never been possible before.

P H OTO G R A P H Y B Y M I C H A E L S A M P L E S

20 26 Innovators Who Are the Future Today Renegades, visionaries, and people who don’t take no for an answer, meet the men and women forging the future of tech in Dallas. Plus, innovation spaces.

IDEAS 31 Team Players Emerging technologies—AR/ VR, blockchain, IoT, robotics, and more—are spearheading innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth. Here’s the companies behind it all.

DreamHack lands in Dallas in May 2019.

64 Ripple Effect The tech breakthroughs happening here are going to change lives in ways we cannot comprehend. Plus, cybersecurity and social innovators.

43 32 The X Factor North Texas has the four key ingredients to break through as a tech superpower right now. Plus, resources for the UX community and high-tech health care.

INVESTMENT 43 Retail Evolution At the end of 2018, funding for Matt Alexander’s brick-andmortar retail store was nearly $14 million. Even Serena Williams pitched in. 44 Quest for Capital Dallas often gets a bad rap for VC funding—but that’s not the whole story. Meet the next wave of funded

16

THE EXIT

innovators and 2018’s best exits.

96 A Founder’s Story StackPath founder Lance Crosby shares why innovating in Dallas is one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

CONNECTION 53 Easy Rider Four regional cities are working with Ericsson to solve traffic congestion and make roads safer. 54 Rising of the Rest Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Lucky for us, we’ve got both the people and the places to accelerate a breakout moment. 60 Innovation Corridor Our vast geography allows for many pockets of progress.

ON THE

COVER Clockwise from left: Matt Alexander (Page 43), Stephen Ellis (Page 25), Dale Carman (Page 25), Ali Agha (Page 21), Lucas Rodriguez (Page 26), Veena Somareddy (Page 22). Photography by Michael Samples.

IMPACT

A special thanks to Tyler Station.

63 Ocean’s Salvation AI and blockchain have the power to protect marine life, and cryptocurrency could fuel a new collaborative ocean economy.

CHECK OUT THE COVER IN AUGMENTED REALITY Visit dallasinnovates/AR on your smartphone and follow the instructions to activate our virtual cover, courtesy of Groove Jones.

D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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DISCOVER WHAT’S NEW + NEXT IN DALLAS-FORT WORTH DALLASINNOVATES.COM

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FOREWORD

OUR BREAKOUT MOMENT

The next chapter of innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth is being written.

D

A L L A S - F O R T W O R T H I S A G L O B A L I N N O VAT I O N H U B F U E L E D B Y

our status as a longtime leader in technology. Our past is ever present in who we are, but it does not define us. We are a young region, a living lab of innovation made up of a diversity of industry and people with breakthrough ideas. We have been built on the shoulders of giants such as Texas Instruments and EDS, but we are forging a new path led by a critical mass of emerging technology companies that are changing the world. We have all the core assets to drive an innovation economy—central location, densely populated and walkable communities, a great business environment, a growing and talented population, tier 1 universities, and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. But, more importantly, we are fostering the environment where disparate ideas, technologies, and industries can collide. It’s the meeting of the suits (corporate types) and sandals (startup founders) at the local coffee shop, a coworking space, or perhaps in the hallways of a corporate innovation center. In fact, Dallas-Fort Worth doesn’t have just one innovation district, but many centers of innovation. Some have been grown organically over time and are loosely defined, for example in and around downtown Dallas; others are being created from scratch and are purposely built to encourage the collision of ideas. The end product remains the same: great companies with bold ideas. Today, emerging tech companies such as StackPath, Hypergiant, Bestow, and Hedera are staking their claim as technology leaders, ushering a new breakout moment for Dallas-Fort Worth. Blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data, internet of things, and augmented/virtual reality are critical to the future of business, regardless of industry. And, because of our diversity of industry, these technologies will touch almost all aspects of our economy, opening the doors for even more advancements and creating a virtuous cycle of breakthrough moments right here in Dallas-Fort Worth. Leading global change through technology is nothing new for us; this is our history. Nearly 90 years ago, Geophysical Service Inc. opened in Dallas. Built on an emerging technology of the period called reflection seismography, the company helped unearth new oil and gas fields and quite literally brought Dallas-Fort Worth headfirst into the technological age. While its mission and name has since changed over the years, the company still holds true to the founders’ entrepreneurial spirit and innovative drive. Today, Geophysical Service Inc. is known to the world as Texas Instruments, one of the most respected of global technology companies, with tens of thousands of employees and over 41,000 patents to its name. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible led TI to be one of the most influential companies in the world. This ethos is embedded in our culture. We are a region of risk-takers, visionaries, and influencers building the technologies of tomorrow. The next chapter of innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth is being written now. Dallas Innovates is built to tell our story. It dives deep into who we are. We invite you to read the stories here in our second annual print edition, go to dallasinnovates.com and sign up for our daily newsletter, and learn how Dallas Innovates Every Day.

Duane Dankesreiter

Quincy Preston Publisher Dallas Innovates

Duane Dankesreiter Senior Vice President, Research and Innovation Dallas Regional Chamber

Quincy Preston

D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

7


FARMERS

BRANCH COMMITTED TO SMART-CITY DESIGN & INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT

PUBLISHED BY

D M AG A ZI N E PA R T N E R S

DALLASINNOVATES.COM BUSINESS GROUP PUBLISHER Josh Schimmels PUBLISHER & DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL

Quincy Curé Preston quincy.preston@dmagazine.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Michael Samples PROJECT EDITOR Allison Hatfield ART DIRECTOR Hamilton Hedrick MANAGING EDITOR Lance Murray ASSOCIATE EDITOR Alex Edwards CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jonathan Auping Jeff Bounds David Kirkpatrick Will Maddox Nicholas Sakelaris PHOTOGRAPHY Merissa De Falcis Skyler Fike Jeremy McKane Rebeca Posadas-Nava Brad Smith PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Chris Augustine BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Stephanie Mojonnet stephanie@dmagazine.com RESEARCH AND CONTENT STRATEGIST Payton Potter INTERNS Lauren Hawkins Dana McCurdy Michelle Quiroz Blair Welch

Dallas Innovates is a collaboration of D Magazine Partners and the Dallas Regional Chamber

PRESIDENT & CEO Dale Petroskey RESEARCH AND INNOVATION SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Duane Dankesreiter DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION Natalie Fletcher

CONCEPTUAL RENDERING, NOT A CURRENT DEVELOPMENT

To learn more about our generous incentive packages contact the FARMERS BRANCH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT Allison Cook, Economic Development Director, 972.919.2507

MANAGING DIRECTOR, RESEARCH AND INNOVATION Eric Griffin Dallas Innovates is published by D Magazine Partners, 750 N. St. Paul St., Ste. 2100, Dallas, TX 75201; www.dallasinnovates.com, 214.523.0300. ©2019 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted without written permission. Neither the Dallas Regional Chamber nor D Magazine Partners is a sponsor of, or committed to, the views expressed in these articles. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited contributions.


SPONSOR LETTER

CHANGING THE WORLD

EarthX wants to change the world. One person at a time, one idea at a time. by TO N Y K E A N E , E A R T H X C EO

C O U R T E S Y O F E A RT H X

W

E C A N A L L M A K E S M A L L C H A N G E S I N O U R L I V E S T H AT W I L L H AV E A N I M PA C T

on improving the environment. That message is at the core of our Dallas-based nonprofit, EarthX. In 2011, Trammell S. Crow founded Earth Day Dallas. It started out as an outdoor event spanning five blocks of Flora Street in Dallas’ Arts District. The second year, the event grew to Fair Park as Earth Day Texas, which has grown into EarthX. With the launch of EarthxMexico in November, EarthX has become a global platform for environmental knowledge. Each year we bring together people and companies from all aspects of the environmental sectors to exchange ideas and highlight new innovations. Currently, EarthX is launching a social enterprise marketing platform called EarthxImpact. The platform connects people and organizations to share breakthrough solutions and fascinating innovations 365 days a year, empowering advocates for the earth to make a difference in their communities and the world. The platform was developed by Sharemeister to build the future of community engagement with audience integration and segmentation occurring at every touchpoint. EarthxImpact allows our community and its nonprofit partners to distribute content with like-minded individuals and amplify their environmental messages. Ultimately, the platform turns audiences into “earth advocates,” creating new voices of outreach. Collectively, we can make a big impact on the environment. D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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THE KICKSTARTER

C O O L P E O P L E , F U N FAC T S , A N D THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF T E C H I N DA L L A S - F O RT W O RT H .

GAME CHANGER

COURTESY OF HYPERGIANT INDUSTRIES

LIVE AND LEARN

ON THE LAMM: Hypergiant Industries CEO Ben Lamm says, “AI isn’t magic; it’s just work.”

A

RTIFICIAL

INTELLIGENCE

C O M PA N Y

HYPERGIANT

INDUSTRIES

has plenty of experience with breakout moments. Add to the list: teaching machines to see and sense the world more like we do. As co-founders of newly formed Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, an independent organization within Hypergiant Industries, Dave Copps, Chris Rohde, and Ben Lamm intend to use AI to enable computers to simulate human perception at a scale that’s never been possible before. By combining the advancements of cameras, sensors, deep learning, and modeling technology, software can create digital copies of real-world scenes. Machines then use those scenes to sense, learn, and alert when important things happen in physical environments. “Machine perception and sensory search are still green pastures,” Rohde says. —David Kirkpatrick D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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T H E K I C K S TA R T E R

TRENDS

Retail Evolution

Project Runway Dallas Fort Worth International Airport flies into future technology under the leadership of a new chief innovation officer.

I

I S A M AT T E R O F S T R A tegy, says Paul Puopolo, chief innovation officer at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. A 13-year veteran of the innovation trade, Puopolo joined the DFW team in August 2018 to help move the airport forward in the evolving technology market and create a travel experience for airline passengers that is second to none. Innovation is “not just about coming up with some cool things,” Puopolo says. “It has to be things that solve a problem and have a business model around them.” When it comes to tackling DFW’s problems, tech like VR, AR, and biometric scanning are the tip of the iceberg. “There are a lot of things I think DFW Airport represents, much like a city. … We have the same challenges, the same issues, the same things cities are trying to solve,” he says. “The technology that can be applied to the city can be apDallas retail guru STEVE DENNIS plied at the airport.” Among the technologies already deN N O VAT I O N

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ployed at DFW are dynamic-glass windows, which use IoT to control room temperature and brightness, display messages, and monitor for break-ins; and VR and AR for training firefighters on airplane fires. Puopolo says the airport is a “hotbed of use cases for VR and AR.” He’s also thinking about improving transit with autonomous vehicles, offering reliable Wi-Fi, lighting the facility using IoT, and accommodating eVTOL aircraft. Frequent flyers will be glad to know that the airport plans to roll out passenger wait time tech to make security checkpoints more efficient in 2019. To do this, Puopolo is looking into AI technologies that can distill data and create proactive solutions for passengers in real-time. Progress comes with the promise of easing the airport experience for travelers passing through Dallas, Puopolo says. “We have to be able to provide stress-free travel experiences and an exceptional consumer experience. And we know we still want to be the front door to the communities that we serve. And that’s an important role to have—because we might be the first view that they get into Dallas and Fort Worth.”

A I R P L A N E : G U V E N D E M I R / I S TO C K P H OTO

Dallas-Fort Worth has seen its fair share of retail evolution this year, Steve Dennis, founder of SageBerry Consulting, says. Four standouts? In Plano’s Legacy West, Neighborhood Goods took a futuristically fresh take on the department store. In Irving, 7-Eleven started testing its convenience-based Scan & Pay service near its Irving headquarters. In Dallas, The Container Store got a 24,500-squarefoot technologyinfused Next Generation Store, and Sam’s Club opened an “epicenter of innovation” prototype on Lower Greenville. Between the corporate giants and the influx of technology-driven openings, North Texas is becoming a hub for retail


T H E K I C K S TA R T E R

S W I M M I N G WITH S H A R K S

DMITRI LOVE

A L L S TAT S A R E D A L L A S - F O R T W O R T H A N D L AT E S T A VA I L A B L E D ATA . S O U R C E : D A L L A S R E G I O N A L C H A M B E R . L O V E : S K Y L E R F I K E

Co-founder Bundil

Dmitri Love’s crypto startup, Bundil, caught the attention of Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) in late 2018. During an episode of the TV show that aired in October, O’Leary gave the 24-yearold $100,000 in exchange for 50 percent of the company Love co-founded in 2017. The Bundil app allows users to automatically invest spare change from debit card or credit card purchases into bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. “I’m a web developer myself, and I wanted to invest in cryptocurrency, and my family also wanted to invest,” Love told the sharks during his episode. “So I thought, ‘Man, you know, anyone that’s trying to invest in cryptocurrency has to go through all these steps to try to figure out how to buy it. And I thought there could be an easier way for it to be done.”

POWER COUPLE CRAIG AND KATHRYN HALL Craig and Kathryn Hall are one of Dallas’ original power couples. Longtime entrepreneurs, the pair bounce between Dallas and California, managing their respective businesses.

Thinking Outside the Blockchain Box

M

AKING

THE WORLD

A

BETTER

INNOVATION BY THE NUMBERS

PLACE

IS

NO

easy feat, but researchers, engineers, academics, social impact professionals, and students at SMU are teaming up to lower the entry barrier for blockchain and make the technology available to communities that need it most. Led by Eva Szalkai Csaky, the university’s Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity joined forces with Blockchain Frontier Group and Fintech4Good to found the Blockchain Hub, a cohort that studies uses of blockchain that could help end poverty and solve environmental issues. Among the institute’s areas of study is bringing to Dallas a blockchain-based identification system that could be used to track and store the medical records and identification documents of refugees and the homeless, a technology that has already been used by the United Nations and is being tested in Austin. The institute is also studying the work of Brooklyn Microgrid, a blockchain-based decentralized energy system reported to drive down costs, benefit the environment, and withstand natural disasters. “We are trying to see how we could create a similar project here in Dallas and bring it to the potential communities in South Dallas that may be interested,” Csaky says. The hub, and its student-run Blockchain Society, are interdisciplinary, meaning students and academics from all fields are welcome to team up to solve systemic problems with the help of blockchain. Csaky says SMU shines when it comes to deploying blockchain for good because the university system is positioned to unite professionals from all areas of study for a common goal. “You need the lawyers, the economists, the business people, the sciences, the tech guys,” she says. “The Hunt Institute is an ecosystem that is just positive and optimistic and entrepreneurial and willing to try new things.” Csaky sees Dallas as a hotbed of innovation and multidisciplinary progress. “I am constantly amazed what an entrepreneurial city this is. The can-do attitude that Dallasites and Texans have is really unique.” It just makes sense, she says, that this is where outside-the-box thinking is producing innovation.

From making his first investment at age 18 to developing downtown Dallas’ newest high-rise, KPMG Plaza, Craig Hall has literally written the book on entrepreneurship. A millionaire at 21 years old, Craig is CEO of Hall Group, a lending, investing, and develop-

ment organization, and he’s the author behind books like The Responsible Entrepreneur and Timing the Real Estate Market. Craig founded Hall Group in 1968 and met Kathryn in 1991, while she was running for mayor of Dallas. The couple married in 1993

and founded the first of three wineries in 1995. Kathryn is a lawyerturned-award-winningvintner who has deep roots in the wine business. She is the proprietor of HALL, WALT, and BACA wines. When they aren’t flying to and from their Napa wineries, running their

27,536

high-tech workers added 2014-18 (4th behind SF, NY, and San Jose)

13,884

patents generated 2011-15

Nearly 60% patents related to advanced communications

Top 10

producers of patents annually

1,746

science and engineering Ph.D. grads in 2017

40

incubators and accelerators

25+

corporate innovation centers

3

top-tier research universities (UNT, UTA, UTD)

3rd

net new small businesses (behind LA and Miami)

businesses, or spending quality time with their grandchildren, Craig and Kathryn bond over art collecting, golfing, and traveling to Hawaii. “The joy of looking for art and collecting, it has been something that is outside of business and something that we love to do together,” she says.

D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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T H E K I C K S TA R T E R

Startup Couples Success, challenges, family, and business—entrepreneurial couples take it all in stride.

rewardStyle Amber Venn Box and Baxter Box

Dialexa & Rosy Dr. Lyndsey Harper and Scott Harper

Working Together

Challenges

Getaway/ Unwind

Dog / Cat

Launched in 2010, RewardStyle evolved into a social media monetization platform in 2012. LIKEtoKNOW. it launched in 2017, puts shopping in users’ hands.

“We respect each other’s expertise, and together we are quite like yin and yang. I believe our matching skillsets are the secret to our success,” Amber says.

Early on, “we shared a desk and were hovering over one another 24/7, and our relationship was not mature enough to set boundaries,” Amber says.

“Time matters, so we are intentional with our children and each other,” Baxter says. The couple prioritizes time with their children and schedules frequent getaways.

“Definitely dog people!” Amber says. “We have two big Rottweilers.”

Scott founded Dialexa eight years ago. Lyndsey, an OB/GYN, noticed a common complaint among her patients— decreased sexual desire.

Lyndsey says, “You know that your spouse isn’t at work wasting time, but that they’re investing their time and their intellectual and emotional energy into changing the world.”

The pair “overly communicates” to make sure they get enough time, not only with their children but also together, Lyndsey says.

They maintain normalcy by prioritizing time with their children, be it dedicating Friday nights to movie nights, spontaneous dinner outings, or simply listening to them.

“Dogs, for sure. There’s no question,” Lyndsey says.

Haxiot is an IoT company that provides wireless, connected solutions for commercial and industrial customers.

Youyi and Nik rolled out Haxiot’s first hardware in 2015. The company expanded to IoT software in early 2017.

After starting some six previous companies together, they knew there “wouldn’t be huge issues from a personality point of view,” Youyi says.

Entrepreneurs can work around the clock, and the Kitsons are no exception. “We flew overseas and built a threemonth project in 10 days [during Christmas],” he says.

“It’s hard to switch off. You can’t compartmentalize,” Nik says. “The one compartment we keep completely off work is when we’re asleep.”

Nik is a dog person but says cats like him more than dogs. Youyi isn’t a pet person, but instead prefers to unwind with a food-themed TV show.

ShearShare is an on-demand, B2B app that lets stylists rent salon space by the day. It saves stylists money in overhead costs and offers flexibility.

Tye and Courtney launched ShearShare in 2012 after a stylist asked to rent a chair in their salon on a part-time basis.

Courtney says Tye encourages her to take risks. “Every day this man grabs my hand and he’s like ‘let’s run off that cliff today,’” she says.

Courtney says she left behind her “golden handcuffs” when she left the corporate world to join Tye in a life of entrepreneurship.

They focus on five things they believe make them their best selves: eating well, remaining hydrated, sleeping well, socializing, and exercising. And they meditate every morning.

Both are dog people.

Startup(s)

Timeline

RewardStyle is a tech platform that allows social media influencers to monetize their reach through grassroots partnerships with retailers.

Dialexa is a tech services firm that designs custom technology solutions. Rosy is an app (still in beta) for women with low sexual desire.

Haxiot Youyi Kitson and Nik Kitson

ShearShare Courtney Caldwell and Dr. Tye Caldwell

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T H E K I C K S TA R T E R

SLAM DUNK Groove Jones created an AR experience that the Dallas Mavericks are using to connect with fans. A giant mural of Mavs point guard Dennis Smith Jr. stretches across the YMCA building and runs an entire city block. The company uses image recognition technology to bring the mural to life, creating a dramatic and shareable moment for Mavs fans.

Training Days Accessible education keeps Dallas on the cutting edge of innovation.

N

ORTH TEXAS IS HOME TO MORE THAN

230,000 high-tech workers. Moreover, the region is home to 32 percent of Texas’ high-tech jobs. But while tech innovation is booming in the area, underprivileged communities struggle to overcome the high-entry barrier into the market. To remedy the problem, a number of organizations in Dallas are providing free or affordable training to students, women, and minorities.

Per Scholas The organization launched in 2015 in Dallas to “open doors to transformative technology careers for individuals from often overlooked communities.” Per Scholas curates job-specific courses based on employers’ needs and trains overlooked talent pools in industry-standard IT practices.

in STEAM education. The Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) and Solar Preparatory School for Girls at James B. Bonham offer personalized learning for college readiness. Solar offers four areas of study: science and engineering, music and theater, tech and coding, and makerspace and art.

Dallas Independent School District Two DISD specialty schools are working to immerse students

Bold Idea The nonprofit aims to teach students critical thinking, problem solving, and collab-

oration skills with a focus in coding concepts and computation. DevelopHer Founded by technology professional-turnedentrepreneur Lauren Hasson, the career development platform DevelopHer teaches women in technology to negotiate their salaries and earn their worth. Marcus Graham Project The national nonprofit network trains diverse professionals and teaches long-term leadership skills in advertising, media, and marketing. iCode The proprietary curriculum gives students a variety of experiences and skills across the arts and sciences.

—Payton Potter

Med School Reimagined The new program at TCU and UNTHSC is changing the game

For generations, medical school has meant two years of lectures and memorization for tests, with little connection to the practice of health care or interacting with patients, followed by two years of grueling hours in the hospital. TCU and UNT Health Science Center’s new medical school in Fort Worth is hoping to turn that tradition on its head. The first class of 60 students will begin this summer, and they will experience a curriculum whose goals and methods differ from the traditional model. Efficiency, holistic learning, and real-world application are top of mind for the new school. While there is already a medical school in Dallas and an osteopathic medicine school in Fort Worth, Dean Dr. Stuart Flynn says that more physicians are needed with Texas’ physician shortage. He also hopes the school will be a boon to the local economy, attracting biotech, pharmaceuticals, and other industries to grow business in the nation’s 15th largest city. What really stands out about the new school is its curriculum. The Fort Worth school will flip the classroom. Rather than have lecturers speaking to empty auditoriums, the school will provide videos and readings to be studied at home, and students will come to class for discussions, collaboration, and application of what they’ve learned. —Will Maddox

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T H E K I C K S TA R T E R

Notable North Texas Esports Industry Drivers Esports is a growing industry projected to reach $1.65 billion in market revenue by 2021. North Texas is making a splash in the rising tide. “[Dallas is] second only to Los Angeles as the country’s capital of esports.” —Jacob Wolf, staff writer for ESPN

DEVELOPERS

ID is the creator of DOOM, the most influential first-person shooter game in history. Quake helped launch the esports industry.

Gearbox is the creator of the highly successful Borderlands series.

There are nearly 100 game studios, app developers, and digital tech firms in the gaming space located in the region.

BRANDING & MANAGEMENT eGency Global The leading North American esports branding and events adviser is affiliated with former Dallas Cowboys superstar Roger Staubach’s LST Marketing Firm. Ngage Esports Ngage is a subsidiary of Infinite Esports and Entertainment and manager of the largest esports stadium in North America in Arlington. Trade Group Trade Group is a full-service, awardwinning design, event marketing, and exhibit management firm with major gaming clients: Twitch, Facebook Gaming, and more.

EVENTS & VENUES

The 100K-square-foot stadium in Arlington is the largest dedicated esports facility in North America.

In May 2019, Dallas will become the third U.S. city to host the internationally renowned digital and gaming lifestyle festival, DreamHack. For the first time, DreamHack will be held in conjunction with a major CS:GO Masters Tournament.

CORPORATE

At No. 322 on the Fortune 500 list, GameStop, located in Grapevine, is a premier deliverer of multichannel video game software, hardware, and information to consumers.

At No. 426 on the Forbes Best Large Employers list, Topgolf, based in Dallas, is a global sports and entertainment company embracing tech with next-gen simulator lounges, pop-up social experiences like Toptracer technology, and the world’s largest digital golf audience.

The shared space model might just be the new cubicle, says Trey Bowles, chairman of the board at the DEC. From locally born Common Desk to national giant WeWork, Dallas-Fort Worth has lots of options. Many new spaces offer a unique identifier, such as GoodWork, which is called “the first coworking space in the nation focused on inclusive sustainability and wellness,” by its co-founder Amy King. Next year, The Slate is opening specifically armed with everything a working mom might need. Some serve a sector, such as Fort Worth’s Locavore that offers a commercial kitchen for budding food entrepreneurs. In Oak Cliff, Tyler Station is a manufacturing plant-turned-entrepreneurial hub for creatives to work.

Coworking has become a mainstay in the modern marketplace. With more than 1 million square feet of space in play, DFW has seen its fair share of companies staking their claim, each different from the last.

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STARTUP SUPPORT

EDUCATORS

Stadia is a global sports innovation hub for entrepreneurs, industry partners, and investors with an esports business accelerator program based in Frisco.

SMU’s Guildhall is ranked as the No. 1 grad school for game design in the world.

A venture capital firm headquartered in Frisco, Scoreboard Ventures specializes in creating, building, and investing in early-stage sports, esports, technology, and digital content companies.

Collegiate varsity esports squads and programs are growing: Texas Wesleyan offers scholarships to esports athletes. UNT is home of the Nest esports design space. UTA has the first esports club, founded in 2010. UTD took 1st and 2nd place in the inaugural League of Legends tournament.

HOW ABOUT HACKING? A Popular Mechanics feature highlighted North Texas as an “unexpected haven” with a sustainable ecosystem for hackers. The report pointed out that DFW has the most available cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., and area community colleges and universities are creating cybersecurity institutions. The entire piece is a fun dive into the Dallas Hackers Association and some of its personalities.


T H E K I C K S TA R T E R

Esports Organizations in North Texas Play Big North Texas’ biggest names in sports are investing not only in stadiums and teams, but also in technology and screens. “Literally, like oil and gas was a big industry for the region 50 years ago, 100 years ago, esports can be a fueling industry for this region.” —Mark Cuban

OpTic Gaming

Team Envy

Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez Co-founder & Owner

Mike “hastr0” Rufail Co-owner & CEO

5 QUESTIONS WITH ALYCE ALSTON CEO, Dallas Entrepreneur Center

Year founded: 2006 Headquarters: Frisco Number of esports division teams: 7 Esports earnings estimate: $7.13M Forbes rank of most valuable esports companies: 5th

Year founded: 2007 Headquarters: Dallas Number of esports division teams: 8 Esports earnings estimate: $5.96M Forbes rank of most valuable esports companies: 10th

In 2017, Neil Leibman, owner of MLB’s Texas Rangers, co-founded Infinite Esports & Entertainment, investing $33M in OpTic Gaming. This investment secured a slot in the first geo-based esports league, Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, where OpTic competes under the Houston Outlaws brand. OpTic maintains an enormous and loyal fan base due to constant social media content.

In 2017, Ken Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and board member of MLB’s Texas Rangers, founded Hersh Interactive Group, investing $35M in Team Envy. The investment secured a slot in the first geo-based esports league, Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League, where Envy competes under the Dallas Fuel brand. In 2018, former NHL Dallas Stars executive, Geoff Moore, became COO of Team Envy.

compLexity Gaming

Mavs Gaming

Jason “1” Lake Founder & CEO

Mark Cuban Owner

Year founded: 2003 Headquarters: Frisco Number of esports division teams: 9 Esports earnings estimate: $3.13M Forbes rank of most valuable esports companies: N/A

Year founded: 2017 Headquarters: Dallas Number of esports division teams: 1 Esports earnings estimate: N/A Forbes rank of most valuable esports companies: N/A

In 2017, Jerry Jones, owner of NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, and John Goff, CEO of Crescent Real Estate, invested $50M to become majority owners of compLexity Gaming. This investment included the construction of a state-of-the-art training facility at the Cowboys headquarters complex, The Star. CompLexity also recently secured the first-ever esports casino partnership with Winstar World Casino.

In 2017, Mark Cuban’s Mavs Gaming became one of 17 teams created to join the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League. Investment in the team included the build-out of a 20,000-squarefoot esports facility in Deep Ellum that includes a private practice area, player’s lounge, locker rooms, offices, production studios, and esports stage. Mavs Gaming also secured the number one draft pick in the 2018 season.

As she wrapped up her first six months as head of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, we asked Alyce Alston to give us the view from her office. Why is now the time for Dallas-Fort Worth’s breakout moment? DFW has been delivering for decades. The exciting thing about where we are now is that we are taking the data/ statistics/evidence of why DFW is great and connecting it to the emerging companies being launched here. Now is the time when we bring together all the potential and opportunity with the reality of what is happening around entrepreneurship. What’s a recent breakthrough you’re excited about? Whether it’s blockchain, AI, cybersecurity, real estate technology, health care, or Smart Cities, DFW is a hub for innovation of all types. It is the breadth and depth of our businesses, innovations, and opportunities that I’m excited about. What advice do you have for someone trying to break through in tech right now? Surround yourself with

a good team, good mentors, good board members, and strategic investors. The key to success in tech is putting together a package, a narrative, and a plan that is both sustainable and scalable. Looking back on the last six months at the DEC, what are you most proud of? I am most proud of taking the success of the DEC and solidifying that in mission and vision in the community while also developing a strong plan for the future. By focusing on building a strong early-stage community, we continue to enlarge the funnel of entrepreneurs who are trying to start companies while also helping those entrepreneurs launch and grow those businesses. Looking forward to 2019, what’s planned for the DEC? We will continue the work we have been doing the past five years, while also expanding our focus on women entrepreneurs, minority entrepreneurs, and a concerted plan to support companies at the Series A and Series B levels.

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T R A N S F O R M AT I V E

TECHNOLOGY Bright Realty Brings a Realm of Possibilities Most long-time Dallasites are familiar with the Bright family name. H.R. “Bum” Bright initially made his name in the oil and gas business but is best known as the former owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Today, his sons Chris and Clay carry on the family legacy with a number of business initiatives. One that is particularly close to their hearts is the development of the Bright family farm into the mega-development Castle Hills, located in the booming State Highway 121/Grandscape area and winner of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2012 “Community of the Year” Gold award. The Realm at Castle Hills, a 1.4 million-square-foot multi-use project with retail, office, multi-family and restaurant space, currently under construction, is incorporating the latest in technology in its multiple phases for office, multi-family and condominium living.

“Technology has fundamentally changed the way we live but our work and living spaces are often lagging behind.” - Chris Bright, CEO Offices at The Realm, which offers 235,000 square feet of Class A office space, is one of the leading Dallas-area developments incorporating Wired Certification from WiredScore into its properties. WiredScore is an international system that rates and certifies commercial buildings on infrastructure, technology and connectivity capacity.

"As one of the first developments in North Texas to design against Wired Certification standards, The Realm is focused on delivering space that supports tenants that thrive in a fast-paced digital environment”, notes Mark Dowdle, newly appointed Head of Dallas for WiredScore. The WiredScore announcement is not the first time the Bright team of developers has been recognized for its forward thinking. Discovery at The Realm, Bright Realty’s luxury multi-family development located in Castle Hills, was awarded with a Best in American Living (BALA) Award by the NAHB for its use of game-changing technology in its cooling and heating systems. Bright Realty has also been lauded for its innovative Cottages at The Realm, the first all-rental, gated home community in the area. “We are creating experiences and environments in Castle Hills for every phase of life and work,” said Bright. “Places where generations of families want to live, work, play and stay.”


C R E AT E D W I T H

LIFE IN MIND Located just 4 minutes West of the Dallas North Tollway, the Realm at Castle Hills is a master-planned, 324-acre, community offering office, retail and luxury living. Just 15 minutes from DFW airport with exceptional Sam Rayburn/121 visibility, the Realm has something for everyone.

NOW LEASING:

FRISCO

Offices at The Realm • Class A 9-Story, 236,000 Square Foot Building

PLANO

• Ground Floor Restaurants with Upper-Deck Outdoor Seating

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Retail at The Realm • 15,000 Square Feet Restaurant Space Under Office • 35,000 Square Feet Retail Space

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DOWNTOWN DALLAS


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INNOVATORS WHO ARE THE FUTURE TODAY by A L L I S O N H AT F I E L D, A L E X E DWA R D S , A N D DAV I D K I R K PAT R I C K portraits by S K Y L E R F I K E

They are renegades, visionaries, and people who don’t take no for an answer. They work in fields ranging from biotech to blockchain, artificial intelligence to the internet of things. With big ideas, solid investments, and the right connections, these men and women are forging the future of tech in North Texas— and have the potential to change the world.

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ALI AGHA

Texas Instruments

Associate Vice President, Design + Planning and Economics

CEO and Co-founder

NoiseAware

Olypsis Technologies Steven Duong had his first major moment in 2017, when he was one of 10 to win the HyperloopONE Global Challenge—a win that kicked off the movement to connect Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Laredo with hyperloop, which can provide fast, sustainable, on-demand travel cross-state in a matter of minutes. More recently, Duong won a contract to create Dallas’s first-ever climate action plan to help the city meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Duong’s day job is as an urban planner and designer at AECOM; he is also an adjunct professor at UTA, where he will teach a new course in the spring on designing future cities. “Cities are very often designed around transportation,” he says, “so breakthroughs in that sector have dramatic implications on the future design of our cities and the way we interact with our environment.”

learned about the blockchain-based platform Ethereum. It was love at first sight. “I knew immediately it was what I wanted to dedicate my life to,” says the 26-year-old son of Pakistani immigrants. Agha began buying all the Ether coins (the monetary unit of Ethereum) he could afford for $10 each. “By the time January 2017 comes around, it’s $1,200,” he says. He used the windfall to start a blockchain innovation firm called Olypsis Technologies, which is now the most prominent blockchain services provider in Texas. The company’s clients include IBM and Thomson Reuters, but building custom solutions for large corporations is only part of the business, Agha says. Olypsis is dedicated to creating cutting-edge decentralized technology solutions that will make the world a more fair and equitable place. To that end, in January 2018, the company will release Dawn, a product that facilitates trustless peer-to-peer transfer of data—“a portal to the decentralized web,” Agha says. No one can censor it, and it’s essentially unhackable. “It provides the equivalent of person-to-person interaction while being totally anonymous and trustless,” he says.

TI Fellow and R&D Manager

ANDREW SCHULZ

AECOM

Founder and CEO

A L I AG H A WA N TS TO STA RT A R E VO LU T I O N . I N 2016 , AG H A

XIAOLIN LU

STEVEN DUONG

From her work with the first generations of DSL broadband internet to sensing networks to the IoT to the smart grid, Xiaolin Lu has done it all in her 20-plus years at TI. At Kilby Labs, the semiconductor, system, and technology innovation research and development arm of TI, she is currently “solving problems related to low-power or battery-powered devices and the robustness of wireless communication in harsh industrial and automotive environments.”

CHRISTOPHER BROWN Co-founder and CEO

Modular

NoiseAware began when Andrew Schulz’s co-founder, Dave Krauss, rented his apartment to vacationers. What began as a typical Airbnb rental became a nightmare when guests threw a raging party and Krauss was held responsible for thousands in damages. Schulz responded to his friend’s experience by building the technology behind the NoiseAware platform, which alerts homeowners via mobile app anytime guests are potentially causing a disturbance. Today, more than 350 apartments within a 5-mile radius of downtown Dallas use the technology. “Our key differentiator is that with all the benefits we provide, we don’t record any content, and the end result is a privacy-safe quantification of noise within any property, even outdoors,” Schulz says. Recently, the team developed an outdoor, weatherproof sensor to serve the vacation rental market.

Christopher Brown starts his day at 4 a.m. with meditation. He then moves on to reviewing code, checking financials, and making customer and partner calls for Modular, a technology company building a fully digital bank providing access to traditional checking, savings, lending, and cryptocurrency all in one. Called Zabo, it will launch mid-2019. “We’d like to be that bank you trust that also provides access to things like global currency,” he says.

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RAY BAJAJ Managing Vice President of Technology and Head of the Garage

Capital One Three years into his Capital One career, Ray Bajaj was tapped by the CIO to oversee the creation of a state-of-the-art innovation hub now known as the Garage. As head of the Garage, Bajaj created a blueprint for converting resources into innovative products, organized new ways of working, and implemented talent-retention practices. “This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has allowed me to create an engine of innovation and made me a better change leader,” he says. “I do this because I believe talent is the most precious resource that any organization has, and leaders are born when they are empowered to make their own decisions.”

STEVE HEBERT

EMILIE RAY

Co-founder and CEO

President of Transformative Initiatives

Nimbix

“We pioneered the field known as ‘cloud supercomputing,’ or high-performance computing in the cloud,” says Steve Hebert about Nimbix, which he co-founded in 2010. Hundreds of customers, including Fortune 500 firms the world over, now rely on Nimbix to help them invent new technologies, develop products, or process data. “One great example is a team of rocket engine developers who required massive amounts of computational horsepower to run simulations to design and build 3D-printed, lightweight rocket engines that run on liquid bipropellant,” Hebert says.

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McKesson

Health care is changing at an unprecedented speed, says Emilie Ray, who leads McKesson’s multiyear transformation initiative supporting innovation, accelerating growth, and investing in the future. She cites the “energy and motivation that is derived from the new and disruptive entrants in the market” as something that’s pushing her to new levels. “It helps you see past the status quo,” she says. Rather than settling for the norm, Ray is challenged to think in terms of ‘what if’ and ‘what could be.’ True innovation comes in many different shapes and sizes, she says.

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Co-founder, President, and CTO

Neuro Rehab VR

VEENA SOMAREDDY E AC H Y E A R M O R E T H A N 800,000 P EO P L E I N T H E U N I T E D

States suffer a stroke or other traumatic brain injury. Thousands more are diagnosed with spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s. “There is no cure for brain damage, but [people] can get better with extensive physical and cognitive training,” says Veena Somareddy, who co-founded Fort Worth-based Neuro Rehab VR. The 29-year-old heads up the company that launched in 2017 to create engaging, fun, motivating, and customized VR/AR exercises that strengthen and form new neural pathways in the brain. “Patients immersed in the virtual 3D environment tend to forget about their limitations in the real world, since they are not influenced by the bias of their diagnosis,” she says. Somareddy studied computer science and game design at UTD and held internships in Silicon Valley before she began developing virtual and augmented reality games and experiences for medical training and simulation. In December, Neuro Rehab VR was waiting to hear about a $225,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation, which would fund the development of new products in 2019.


CRAIG LEE Director, AT&T Foundry

AT&T

Craig Lee helped launch AT&T’s Foundry in 2013 and the Foundry for Connected Health at Texas Medical Center in Houston in 2016. Dedicated to IoT, the Foundry innovates for AT&T customers using tools such as rapid prototyping. Lee led AT&T’s expansion of the Foundry to align with the company’s effort to drive digital transformation in five industry verticals: manufacturing, health care, finance, retail, and the public sector.

DOUG PECKOVER Founder and Chief Scientist

VaultChain Security “You can’t steal what you can’t find,” says Doug Peckover, who created the quantum-proof and GDPR-compliant security solution VaultChain. “Encryption is based on how data is stored; VaultChain is based on where data is stored,” he says. The first release of the agnostic technology protects cryptowallets and exchanges. Future applications will secure blockchain, enterprise databases, the cloud, and social media.

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JEFF SMITH CTO

Catapult Health

Jeff Smith calls himself “an idea hamster.� With a Ph.D. in AI and robotics and more than 20 U.S. patents, he has a long history of entrepreneurship around emerging technologies. As CTO of Catapult Health, he helps facilitate remote medical checkups at worksites. Revenues doubled last year at the telemedicine company, which can handle more than 1,000 video checkups complete with lab-quality bloodwork in a single day.

CLAUDIA MIRZA Co-founder and CEO

Akorbi Claudia Mirza co-founded Akorbi as a home-based translation business in 2002. Today, the provider of translation, interpretation, staffing, call centers, learning services, and localization is the 13th fastest-growing woman-owned business in the world and the fifth fastest-growing language services company in the United States. It currently has three patents pending for Adapt, a multimodal language services technology platform.

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Co-founder and CTO

Plymouth AI

STEPHEN ELLIS ST E P H E N E L L I S H AS A PAS S I O N F O R G O O D C O F F E E . H I S J AVA

pedigree includes stints at Pearl Cup and Urban Blend. He also has a passion for R&D in the field of artificial intelligence. As co-founder and chief technology officer at Plymouth Artificial Intelligence, he’s doing more than drinking lattes. Former director of the North Texas Blockchain Alliance, Ellis formed the company with two others in 2016. Until mid-2018 it operated in stealth mode, focusing on the intersection of AI and other emerging technologies such as blockchain, DNA sequencing, and robotics. Now, says Ellis, the startup is ready for prime time. In late 2018, it announced its first product, a lead-to-revenue platform called Johan.ai. “Most of the applications of AI today are focused on helping humans handle more and more data, but it’s time for a new set of platforms aimed at enabling highly accurate actions effortlessly,” Ellis says. Johan.ai aims to reduce the work of qualifying prospects and refining sales channels, helping businesses hone in on the most likely customers, maximize marketing, and optimize revenue.

MICHAEL MILLER CEO

Viziv Technologies

DALE CARMAN

THIERRY HUBERT

Partner and Executive Creative Director

CEO

Groove Jones

Darwin Ecosystem

“The moment I put on a VR headset, I realized that the world was changing,” says Dale Carman, creative director and partner at Groove Jones. Carman is one of four who in 2015 founded the next-generation creative agency, which uses virtual reality and augmented reality to bring imagination to life for clients such as Toyota and the Dallas Mavericks. The advent of blockchain rendering upped the game at the company, Carman says. “We are now part of the OTOY Render Network, which enables us to tap into the largest cloud-based network in the world to deliver unparalleled digital content for our clients.” Next up: volumetric media. “[It’s] going to fundamentally change the world,” he says. Carman sees a near future when it will be available on your personal device—and flat media will become as quaint as black and white photography.

Since relocating Darwin Ecosystem from Boston and Montreal to Dallas in 2017, Thierry Hubert has been busy. His AI company has evolved its EEGbased machine learning system, which helps people with brain injuries or disabilities communicate, to a place where it can be pre-trained by someone close to a disabled person or even a person with a degenerative brain disorder. It has also broken ground with machine learning and AI-based personality analytics that can be used by companies for pre- and post-employment testing and schools that want to identify at-risk students. The Projected Personality Interpreter leverages Darwin Ecosystem’s partnership with IBM Watson’s advanced artificial intelligence psychology algorithm to extract the thinking style, personality, social connections, and emotional state buried naturally in human language.

If you’ve noticed the unique-looking tower off I-35 East just outside Waxahachie and wondered, What the what?, you’re not alone. The structure belongs to Viziv Technologies, which is the culmination of more than four decades of research in the field of electromagnetic surface waves, says CEO Michael Miller. “Our research focuses mainly on methods to propagate the electromagnetic phenomenon known as the Zenneck surface wave,” he says. “Unlike traditional radio waves (i.e., television, Wi-Fi, cellular, etc.), Zenneck surface waves are guided along the earth’s surface. Viziv’s primary engineering focus is development of a means to synthesize this surface wave in real-world conditions.” This would solve several problems, Miller says. One of them: the lack of basic resources in developing nations. According to The World Bank Annual Report, in 2013, 1.06 billion people did not have access to reliable electricity. “Our technology will be a global economic catalyst, especially in developing countries,” he says. “Our clean, safe, reliable, and affordable wireless power systems will bring hot meals, clean drinking water, advanced medical treatment, and greater access to educational resources to the billion plus people around the world without power.” The company is currently deep in experimentation engineering and getting ready to undergo a next phase of large-scale testing.

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Co-founder and CEO

CerSci Therapeutics

RAM DANTU

LUDOVIC SAUVAGE

Professor and Director of the Center for Information and Cyber Security

Head of High-Performance Computing and Quantum Computing for North America

University of North Texas

If you were to suffer a heart attack while out shopping or dining, you’d have only around a 10 percent chance of seeing the next day, says Ram Dantu. “CPR can make a big difference in the survival rate,” he says. That’s why he created a smartphone-based platform to help bystanders perform resuscitation. Aided by a phone secured to the arm or hand by any available method—a plastic bag or scarf, for example—a bystander with no prior CPR training can administer high-quality CPR and send real-time data to a hospital or physician. The first of its kind, Dantu’s innovation has the potential to increase survival rates by more than 40 percent and limit injuries stemming from improper CPR. Additionally, the app could help nursing home staff in remote and suburban areas, as well as underserved populations with limited access to specialists.

MELBOURNE O’BANION CEO and Co-founder

Bestow

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Atos At the moment, quantum computers are incredibly expensive and rare. So how does a quantum software developer test its ideas? One way is with an Atos Quantum Learning Machine. At Atos’ North American headquarters in Irving, Ludovic Sauvage leads business development for the company and works with enterprise, educational institutions, and government agencies that want to work with the simulators, which are located in Tennessee and Illinois. “Our company is enabling access to quantum technologies so scientists can start developing algorithms and applications with affordable and easy-to-use simulators— without having to wait for quantum machines to be widely available,” Sauvage says. Plans to push the envelope include an R&D center and innovation lab to focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence in Irving.

Melbourne O’Banion co-founded Bestow as a “smarter way to buy life insurance.” The Bestow technology offers term life plans that are affordable, customizable, and fast to people in 48 states. Soon to launch: the Bestow Foundation, which will assist families struggling after the loss of a loved one. “We are a mission-driven company, bringing technology to an antiquated industry, all to empower families to prepare for a better financial future,” O’Banion says.

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LUCAS RODRIGUEZ LU CAS R O D R I G U E Z WAS WO R K I N G O N H I S P H . D . I N B I O M E D I CA L

engineering and taking business classes at UT Dallas when he met a couple of faculty members who were researching non-opioid pain relief. Rodriguez was intrigued. It took the men just three hours to decide to work together. Today, 31-year-old Rodriguez runs CerSci Therapeutics, a company focused on developing the next wave of drugs for the treatment and prevention of acute and chronic pain. He has raised $20 million in investments and grants since 2015. CerSci used its early funding to acquire a molecular compound called CT-044, invented by Scott Dax, who is now CerSci’s chief scientific officer, in August 2016—just weeks before the U.S. surgeon general declared opioid abuse a public health crisis. CT-044 “works at the source of pain, unlike opioid and other analgesic painkillers,” Rodriguez says, “which work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain.” In practical terms: CerSci’s pain drug does not affect the central nervous system, so no high and no addiction. What’s more, the mechanism by which the compound works makes it a possibility for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The company expects to enter human safety trials with CT-044 in early 2019 and to have results by the end of the year.

CHERYL L. BEVELLE-ORANGE Director, Information Technology

FedEx Services

As FedEx Services moves from a Waterfall world to the more collaborative methodology of Agile, Cheryl Bevelle-Orange, director of IT at the company’s Plano headquarters, is tasked with helping more than 300 team members evolve, too. “The transformation started as an IT-only initiative. When the business began to realize this change is hard and massive but it will get us to business agility, it was like magic. Everything began to fall into place,” she says.


COREY CLARK CTO

BALANCED Media | Technology

With the mission of bringing purpose to play, Corey Clark is using video games to advance medicine. His company, Balanced, combines human intelligence and machine learning that allows people and computers to work together to solve problems. The company’s first product, a gaming platform called Hewmen, combines the processing power of gaming computers with the intuition of gamers themselves to allow humans and machines to work together to solve problems in new and innovative ways. It has already been used to analyze medical imagery to locate disease and process data to help fight cancer, but what really excites Clark is what lies ahead. “We can already see how much impact Hewmen has on the ability to advance research, but where I believe we will have the most impact is when communities playing Hewmen-powered video games are an active part of the patient treatment process,” he says. “Whether that is happening as part of our pilot study looking at how our games improve outcomes of children receiving chemotherapy or parsing genomic data to help doctors find the best treatments for patients, empowering communities of gamers and influencers can have real impact on people’s lives.”

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TERESA ANAYA Director of Financial Institutional Strategy

Blockchain Intelligence Group Teresa Anaya is passionate about fighting crime. From her office in Flower Mound, she leads a team that creates investigation software that tracks, traces, and monitors illicit activity associated with cryptocurrency. That means she’s on the forefront of halting the sale of illegal drugs, weapons, and child pornography, as well as shutting down assassinations and human trafficking around the world. “Cryptocurrencies have a justified bad reputation for being used in illicit activities,” she says. “They’ve previously been utilized because they are thought to be anonymous, but by utilizing human intelligence, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, transactions can be tracked and traced to within the last 10 minutes.”

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Founder & CEO

SPACEE

Innovation Spaces

SKIP HOWARD

G R OW I N G U P , S K I P H OWA R D ’ S DYS L E X I A M A D E S C H O O L -

work difficult. His high school guidance counselor recommended he bypass college and find a minimum wage job instead. But Howard didn’t listen—and he’s now the CEO and founder of a post-mobile augmented reality startup revolutionizing the retail industry. With its patented virtual touch technology, Spacee uses light only to make any 2D or 3D surface an interactive and unbreakable touch screen. No installments, phones, helmets, eyeglasses, or tablets required. “Every Spacee solution is designed to be a powerful communal story that also delivers a deep personal connection,” Howard says. Whether it’s turning a store window into an interactive screen for customers to tailor their own suit, or creating interactive digital responses when someone picks up a product in a shoe store, Spacee has been referred to as the future of shopping. Howard has taken his company global, is in the process of signing Fortune 500 brands, has inventions in the works, and is currently taking off with a new robotics and sensor division. “I love technology that has the potential to change the world for the better,” Howard says. “Breakthroughs are the result of solving the right problems the right way with the right people.”

GURMEET SINGH Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer

7-Eleven

Research and development is the heartbeat of innovation, and North Texas companies operate more than 26 spaces where the seeds of innovation can germinate, develop, and come to fruition. Companies such as AT&T, Mary Kay, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Alcon, IBM, and others have innovation centers in Dallas-Fort Worth. Whether they are hubs, incubators, or research labs, new products and ideas are blossoming every day. Here are a few of the places taking us into the future. The Garage The Garage, the innovation center at Capital One’s Plano campus is designed to be a place where the company fosters innovation. The incubator brings cross-functional teams together to create new services and products, with a focus on Capital One’s core businesses. BlueCross BlueShield The C1 Innovation Lab, located in the heart of Dallas where Blue Cross Blue Shield was founded in 1921, is ground zero for outsidethe-box company problem solving. The lab is located in a 114-year-old former cracker and candy manufacturing building in the Historic West End neighborhood of downtown Dallas. Mary Kay R3 Addison-based makeup giant Mary Kay officially opened the doors to its new Richard R. Rogers Manufacturing/R&D Center (R3) in Lewisville. The $100 million facility is intended to support the future growth for made-in-America cosmetics, and it houses global manufacturing and research

and development operations. The 453,000-squarefoot building also has stateof-the-art research and development facilities and cutting-edge manufacturing technology. AT&T Foundry The AT&T Foundry in Plano is one of six Foundry innovation centers around the world, with others in Palo Alto, Ra’anana, Israel, Atlanta, Houston, and Mexico City. Dallas-based AT&T Inc. created the Foundry as a collaborative environment where technology providers, developers, and startups can move their ideas more quickly to market. Atos Business Technology & Innovation Center The Atos Business Technology & Innovation Center in Irving is one of nine around the world. It allows innovators to meet with top business technologists in state-ofthe-art technology labs. The France-based digital transformation company offers hands-on experience with technologies that aid in a digital transformation.

As technology becomes omnipresent in peoples’ lives, Gurmeet Singh says the key is to “innovate for the customer and look at all the trends in terms of how things are shaping up in the industry and the intersection of technology.” Irving-headquartered 7-Eleven is no stranger to historic firsts in the name of convenience. The 91-year-old retailer is undergoing a digital transformation, turning to emerging tech like AI, IoT, AR, machine learning, and more to improve the customer experience. Mary Kay R3

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EYE SPY: AT&T is helping vision-impaired sports fans “watch” Dallas Cowboys games with smart glasses.

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from Dallas-based communications giant AT&T. Among them: making it possible for blind and low-vision Cowboys fans to “watch” games at the NFL stadium in Arlington and more. Powered by AT&T IoT, Aira—a service for blind and low-vision people—connects smart glasses and a mobile app to a remote agent. Watching from a camera on the glasses, an agent narrates what’s in the user’s field of vision. Also, in September, AT&T completed the world’s first millimeter wave mobile 5G browsing session with a standards-based device. The company will offer its first 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019, when it expects to have mobile 5G service in 19 U.S. cities, including Dallas. This year should also see the completion of the AT&T Discovery District downtown. —Allison Hatfield D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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FACTOR Four ingredients are turning North Texas into a rising tech power by DAV I D K I R K PAT R I C K

E V E RY A M E R I CA N C I T Y I S H U N T I N G T H E SA M E B I G P R E Y:

Artificial intelligence. Blockchain technologies. The internet of things. Virtual and augmented reality. So why will North Texas put these trophies on the wall and take its place in the pantheon of tech hubs? The answer lies in the “X” factor, says Anurag Jain, managing partner, Perot Jain, and chairman, Access Healthcare. Jain believes four elements are brewing a breakout moment: the marketplace in big enterprise companies moving to North Texas; top talent moving here from the coasts and around the world; and abundant capital from local family offices and other VCs. The fourth element? A catalyzing force that fuels a breakout moment. “Alchemy doesn’t happen until you have a spark,” he says.

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And that’s the “X” factor. Jain says it’s time sensitive. Putting the ingredients— the elements—together slowly may not pay off. But if things happen rapidly—in the right place, at the right time—that’s the spark to go to the next level. Dave Copps senses the same momentum. As CEO and co-founder of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s newest AI launches, Copps believes “North Texas is rising as a national center for emerging technologies. Our universities, companies, and startups are more closely connected than ever before—and [they’re] creating an energy that’s attracting more and more talent to our area.” That energy is also fueling ideas and investment. If “X” marks the spot, North Texas may be the ideal environment for growth and opportunity in tech.

The Groundwork: Already Laid

North Texas already has a roster of innovation-focused, global company headquarters across a diverse set of industries. We have top-notch universities producing highly skilled graduates. Add in our growing community of cutting-edge entrepreneurs, and you have a recipe for success. Advanced communications companies total almost 1,500 in the region, employing around 80,000 workers. We’re home to major telecom players, including Ericsson and AT&T; we host operations for some of the world’s largest IT companies; and we boast the second-largest concentration of data centers in the United States, according to George Brody, CEO and founder of InfoNet of Things. A new trend for North Texas? Hardly. Technology and innovation are part of our region’s DNA. “Revolution and disruption are in our heritage,” says Cody Marx Bailey, managing partner at XRAM Capital and founder of the North Texas Blockchain

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Alliance. “Our forefathers built the underlying infrastructure for world-changing industries, such as telecom, banking, insurance, and semiconductors. And now our generation has the chance to continue that tradition.” Our history and enterprise support alone could boost any place toward success. But today North Texas has a confluence of elements—enterprise, education, and entrepreneurship—that are working together to take us to the next level. The region is home to eight nationally ranked universities. From SMU to TCU, UTD to UNT, courses are offered in areas such as AI and digital transformation. Not to mention the emphasis on STEAM education starting in elementary school. In addition, a startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem is thriving across the area, featuring accelerator and incubator programs, coworking spaces, and more. Steve Guengerich, executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas, lauds three hot startup programs: Blackstone LaunchPad opening at UTD; Austin’s Mass Challenge (a significant recruiting footprint in the area, with Southwest Airlines as the lead program sponsor); and Capital Factory, fueled by its Texas Startup Manifesto. “Even the legal community here is rolling their sleeves up and getting into the mix,” Bailey says. Another big impact on tech’s growth in Dallas-Fort Worth: the 2016 opening of a regional United States Patent and Trademark Office in downtown Dallas. Romelia Flores, IBM distinguished engineer and master inventor, describes the patent office as having “a huge impact from an intellectual capital perspective” that has fueled entrepreneurial groups across the region. According to Jain, leadership is key to making all this happen. Community leaders, city mayors, and local investors like the Ross Perots of the area LYMPO RUN: are standing up and saying, “Our time has come.” Jain believes Mark Cuban and one reason North Texas is so attractive for enterprise is that it’s ‘Tony G’ launched the first blockchain fitnimble: Community leaders come together to make quick deciness app, Lympo Run, sions. Jain says our “innovation engine” is built through leaderwhich lets users earn ship efforts like encouraging migration to the area, investing in cryptocurrency.

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infrastructure, and enticing businesses with tax breaks. Throw in a favorable regulatory environment, and it’s not surprising that North Texas is a tech success. But what really makes this moment a breakout is that everything’s working together. Enterprise companies are partnering with education for high-tech programs and joining forces with entrepreneurs in open-source initiatives. North Texas has created a self-sustaining system. The business climate draws in companies of all sizes; the talent fuels more educational opportunities; which create even more talented people; and which naturally draws even more businesses and supports the launching of new ones. That’s created an environment that encourages and Begin With thrives on innovation.

interacting with without realizing it. Every smart device in your home—your Nest thermostat, Ring doorbell, Sonos speaker system—is connected through IoT. Augmented and virtual reality have been just over the horizon for some 30 years. But as computing power has ris-

the End (User) in Mind

Hot Tech Tickets

Our environment is ripe for innovation. But what’s truly driving this moment can be summed up in one word: data. “It’s all about data,” Flores says. “You have AI. You have cloud. You have all these cool technologies. But it’s really harnessing the power of data that takes technology to the next level. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty always talks about data as the next natural resource of our time, and she’s right. All these technologies—whether AI, cloud, security, high-speed networks and infrastructure, robotics, augmented reality, IoT—all of that is very much focused on answering the question, How do we take data in different formats and make useful things for our consumers and our end users and enterprises that are using this information?” It’s a great question, but it can’t answer itself. Innovation doesn’t live on data alone. It needs connectivity. “None of these technologies would matter without the cheap, secure, reliable, high-speed communications infrastructure that exists underlying them all,” says UTD’s Guengerich. “Without train tracks, highways, and flight paths, there’d be no physical commerce. The same is true in digital.” Much of what happens in the near future will depend on 5G. Lucky for us, AT&T is at the forefront of 5G development. Look at just a handful of emerging techs, and you’ll see the impact, he says. AI has more direct impact on people’s lives than they realize. If you’ve interacted with Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, you’ve used an AI-powered interface. There are two flavors of AI, Bailey says: “narrow” or “weak,” which we’re used to right now and “wide” or “strong”—the self-aware AI of science fiction. AI continues to improve daily and is transforming life. “What’s most interesting about AI is that the more successful we are with it, the more it disappears into the background,” Copps says. “Most people are interacting with AI every day, and they don’t even know it.” The Internet of Things is another technology you may be

Emerging technologies are big, sexy, and fun to talk about. But eventually that tech must be usable by people. This requires a design emphasis on the end user. All emerging techs, such as AI, cloud, and high-speed networks and infrastructure, have a focus on taking data and making useful things for both consumer and enterprise end users, says IBM engineer Romelia Flores. The future needs UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience). Luckily, North Texas is good at both. Supporting this community are a wide range of creative groups and institutions that connect UX/CX professionals across the region. Local resources for the UX community include: Experience-Driven Dallas (XD Alliance Group): part of the XD Leadership Alliance, it has a mission to encourage company leaders to incorporate experience into every aspect of operations and board leadership that includes corporations with a strong Dallas region presence. ProjectUX: a web-based show that launched on YouTube in 2017 brings in UX experts to help startups improve their products by putting them through a review and usability testing.

PROJECTUX: Brandon Ward hosts the web series.

The Dallas-based production has filmed here and in Austin, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. The Dallas User Experience Group (UXPA Group): the local chapter of UXPA International has more than 2,800 DFW members; it hosts monthly networking meetings with informative speakers. Flores says IBM and other companies now approach innovation from an end-user-first perspective. Called “Design Thinking,” it’s a perspective intended to

ROMELIA FLORES

create systems that are respectful of and delightful for the end user. Dave Copps, CEO and co-founder of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, knows that’s a good thing. “UX is critical. The best technology in the world is useless if it’s not accessible to people. UX is about more than just access,” he says. “UX is about creating experiences of technology that are beautiful, joyful, and natural for people. The days of buttons, sliders, and mice are numbered.”

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Copps’ Sensory Sciences is part of) came out of stealth in 2018 to become a player in AI with divisions addressing commercial and scientific uses of the technology as well as a funding arm; and Andrew Ng, a globally regarded data scientist and co-founder of Coursera, chose North Texas for a new office for Drive.ai, a company creating self-driving cars. Bailey’s Rawhide is among area’s newer blockchain companies. Its solution lets livestock producers manage their herds down to individual cattle, even allowing for fractional ownership of a specific cow. And startup Hedera Hashgraph raised $100 million for its distributed ledger technology, a post-blockchain tech. IoT encompasses a wide range, including Brody’s InfoNet of Things, which builds information networks that work with IoT deployments. Plano-based Haxiot has a platform that provides industrial IoT customers edge computing capabilities with its device-to-cloud hardware and software solution. Two emerging companies in AR/VR include Aireal, which places content dimensionally in real-world environments, and Roomored, with its VR platform for residential real estate.

Power, Combined

What makes these technologies truly interesting is that they work together. Either in stand-alone mode or in combination, they will enable even more powerful network-based platforms in the future—and business models we can’t yet contemplate or comprehend. Already, with AR going mainstream and wireless bandwidth getting a 5G boost, Brody says a real-time virtual pop-up store can be created anywhere people gather (e.g., in a stadium, at a park). Autonomous vehicles are another place where advances in AI, IoT, and AR/VR will come together in a long-promised reality. These technologies are already impacting all business sectors and will continue to be integrated into every level of society. Everything from financial services to logistics to manufacturing to health care is feeling the rush of the ongoing tech evolution. “Advancements are going to come with greater change and at a faster velocity than their predecessors,” Bailey says. “There’s a compounding of time and impact happening. It took the IndustriExperiential marketing agency 900lbs al Age nearly four generations to designed an augmented fully implement. Aerospace took reality tool for Interstate one generation to become a new Batteries that communicates the brand’s standard. Now we’re seeing mulfull ecosystem. Users tiple, concurrent leaps in the span navigate in two ways: of decades. This will continue to an exploration mode that emphasizes natural accelerate, as it has since the dawn interaction and a story of the universe.” mode that tells a more As this happens, DFW will be linear story. very much at the epicenter.

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en and costs have dropped, they’ve become a consumer reality. Many had their first introduction via the viral game app Pokémon Go in the summer of 2016. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a millennial who isn’t a pro with Snapchat filters. Experts maintain that the next two years will bring bigger things in AR. But blockchain is, without a doubt, the emerging tech that people find most difficult to understand. Created using cryptography as the foundation of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the technology has uses far beyond cryptocurrencies as a transparent and secure way to keep public ledgers. “Blockchain aims to solve, arguably, the largest problem that has faced humanity—trust,” Bailey says. Every major tech enterprise in the region is working on some or all of these technologies in some capacity. Some of the efforts are very public, such as IBM’s Watson initiative. North Texas is also highly represented in these emerging spaces with startups based in the region. A couple of examples: Hypergiant Industries (which


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Fueling the Future In business today every company is a tech company on some level, especially enterprise-class companies. Anurag Jain, managing partner, Perot Jain, says area talent is one reason Fortune 50 and 100 companies are moving to North Texas. Enterprise also has a constant need for internal innovation. One way to bridge that gap is to purchase innovation by acquiring innovative companies or bringing in new talent. Luckily, our area has a booming entrepreneurial community brimming with talent and innovation-rich startups. Here are a few to watch.

Artificial Intelligence

Internet of Things

Distributed Ledger Technology

KinTrans Originally created to revolutionize the lives of deaf and mute people, KinTrans technology translates body movements into text and voice.

Haxiot Haxiot, a Plano-based startup founded in 2016, launched its X-ON platform in September 2018. As the first complete device-to-cloud solution, the technology gives industrial IoT customers edge computing capabilities for real-time process control. An early adopter was engineering consultant Imaatech, which used the platform for its electric bike.

Learning Machine Founded from inside Dallas-based enterprise SaaS company SlideRoom, Learning Machine built the world’s first (and only) blockchain certificates open standard: Blockcerts. The system revolutionizes the way organizations issue and verify records, allowing institutions to anchor official records to any blockchain they choose.

EdgeTensor Dallas-headquartered EdgeTensor was founded in February 2018 to bring AI out of the cloud and behind the steering wheel. The technology, developed for autonomous vehicles, uses facial tracking via any camera—even the one in your phone—to detect and alert distracted drivers in real time. Simpli.fi Since 2010, Simpli.fi has pioneered geolocation-based advertising, using its AI platform to target and track custom audiences based on the users’ location and demographics. The programmatic ad agency has seen rapid growth, with a 75 percent increase in geofencing campaigns this year.

Rawhide When a team of primarily North Texans won first prize in the WyoHackathon 2018 in September, they were so inspired they created their own startup. Rawhide technology enables livestock producers to maintain genetic profiles of cattle on the blockchain, allowing for improved herd management and fractional cattle ownership. SpotSee In November 2018, Dallas-based SpotSee, a global solutions provider that enables customers to see realtime operational damages, added temperature-threshold monitoring to its impact monitor, SpotBot Cellular. Via the SpotSee Cloud, the device can be used by quality, plant, and supply chain managers to detect temperature deviations. The utility will be particularly valuable to the food and beverage industry.

DexFreight Decentralized, blockchain-based logistics platform startup DexFreight launched in January 2018. The technology helps connect shippers with the trucks they need to move merchandise. The company’s Dallas-based CEO plans to establish a formal presence in North Texas, citing DFW as a major logistics hub.

Modular Founded in 2017, Modular provides cloud-based digital assets for the banking sector. The intent is to disrupt the way people access the blockchain universe—pushing bytecode to the next level, and using Ethereum’s platform to build applications that will pass the “grandparent test” for usability.

Swirlds Blockchain-adjacent Swirlds uses distributed ledger technology hashgraph to solve performance and security issues. The Richardson-based software company has a platform designed to build applications that use the power of the cloud without any servers.

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care market’s constant innovation brings original ideas, techniques, and technology to patients in the region. We checked in with a variety of health innovators to learn about the latest technologies making a difference for their patients. Bespoke Hip Joints Earlier this year, Dr. Donald Hohman performed our region’s first-ever custom hip replacement surgery at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery, Plano. Rather than the prosthetic from a variety of premade sizes, high-definition 3D imaging allows Conformis to make custom hip joints without cost increases. Just as a tailored suit or dress is superior to one off the rack, these joints fit better and help mitigate risk.

DR. ROBERT TIMMERMAN: There’s been a dramatic shift in how radiotherapy is used to get rid of tumors, he says. “Treatment used to look more like a shotgun, but now it’s more like a bullet.”

Hohman, who is part of Texas Orthopedic Associates, is in an early release group of surgeons who are testing new technologies; he received training on how to perform the custom hip replacement surgery. “The future of joint replacement is going to involve more and more of these these technological advances,” he says. “It better accommodates unique anatomy.” VR Pain Relief Imagine being pregnant and in the beginning stages of labor. Not only are you in pain, you are surrounded by medical professionals, clad in scrubs and holding sterile equipment. The florescent lights, hard hospital bed, and awkward body positioning do not help you find the peaceful place you practiced finding in your birthing classes. At Medical City, virtual reality is being used to distract laboring mothers from their pain. Chief innovation officer Leah Miller says patients have the option of replacing pain medication with a VR headset with calming scenes. According to Miller, 30 percent of patients say it helps their pain, while 70 percent say it reduces anxiety. Miller says the technology will expand to Medical City’s children’s hospital later this year. Targeted Radiotherapy For nearly 100 years, radiation has been used to treat cancer. It kills cancer cells, but it also destroys healthy cells. Technology progressed and led to small amounts of radiation being delivered over a series of weeks, but the side effects are significant. In the 1990s, digital imaging improved and allowed physicians to better target tumors and see how they move and change over time. Radiation was often used to take care HIGH-TECH PROSTHETICS: Improved imaging has allowed prosthetic manufacturers to make custom hip joints without cost increases.

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of the more difficult-to-see bits of cancer cells after surgery removed the easy-tofind tumors. Now, at UT Southwestern, targeted radiation is used in place of surgery. Dr. Robert Timmerman, in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, says that for patients who are too frail for cancer surgery, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy reduces side effects and the number of hospital visits for cancer treatment. What was once six or seven weeks of treatment can now be five or so outpatient visits. Because there are fewer visits, the treatment costs less than traditional radiotherapy. DNA-based Infection Fighter The immune systems of hospital patients are often compromised, and patients can develop sepsis or another deadly fungal infection. The current practice is to test blood for the presence of a fungus in general and treat that patient with a broad-spectrum antifungal—and hope it works. MycoDART, developed here in Dallas, is a DNA test that identifies precisely six common types of fungus, so a patient can be given a more targeted drug protocol. A Network of Shared Health Data Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, a nonprofit health care analytics research and development organization, is using data to coordinate services in the community and improve outcomes for patients. The Connected Communities of Care program uses predictive and prescriptive analytics and artificial intelligence to connect and align health care and community services to interrupt frequent flyers at the hospital and better serve patients once they go home. For instance, if a food-insecure individual who is often at the hospital due to his diabetes heads to the food bank when he goes home, relevant medical information is shared with the food bank so they can tailor meals to the patient’s condition.

Explore The same landscape that fosters our largest companies also spurs explosive growth in our smallest. It’s easy to find support through one of our many coworking spaces, incubators and accelerators, makerspaces, and innovation centers.

Meet + Learn Our region is abuzz with a wealth of organizations, events, and resources that foster innovation and support entrepreneurial endeavors.

Follow the Money Texas is home to every stage of capital that a growing company may need. Angel investors, family offices, venture capital, and private equity firms are looking to find and invest in great companies.

Successes Hard work is rewarded here, and we celebrate our wins. Who are those companies that are finding funding or having a big exit? We’re tracking what’s happening in DFW so you can join the party.

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GRAND SLAM: Tennis champion Serena Williams has invested in Neighborhood Goods, where she unveiled her new size-inclusive clothing line.

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T H E C O W O R K I N G C O N C E P T , A D D A B U N C H O F R E TA I L P O P ups, and throw in a restaurant and bar, and you’ve got Neighborhood Goods, co-founded by Matt Alexander and Mark Masinter. With investment at the end of 2018 reaching $13.85 million, the nearly 14,000-square-foot store opened in November in Plano’s Legacy West. The new-fangled department store features an ever-changing selection of short- and longer-term products, experiential events, and an app that summons a sales associate when you need one. Neighborhood Goods bills itself as a community space, which means you’re welcome to hang and grab a cocktail, even if you’re not in the shopping mood. Market analysts have in recent years declared curtains for retail, “but I think all that’s really happening is that dull retail is dying,” Alexander says. —Alex Edwards AKE

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QUANTUM REALITY Early-stage funding works differently in DFW. Successfully finding startup capital takes knowing where—and how—to look. by J E F F B O U N D S H E N D AYA K A R P U S KO O R WA S L O O K I N G F O R

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early-stage funding in the mid-1990s for JP Mobile, the Farmers Branch startup he co-founded, he didn’t have to travel far to talk to big names about investing. A group of venture capital firms had offices on the 16th floor of a Galleria office tower in North Dallas. The biggest of the bunch, Sevin Rosen Funds, had in the 1980s helped bring personal computers to consumers by backing Houston’s Compaq Computers. Sevin’s sometime rival, Austin Ventures, was active in North Texas, having pioneered PC retailing through investing in Dallas-based CompUSA. “Dallas-Fort Worth was known for [Richardson’s] Telecom Corridor, and we had big VCs on the 16th floor,” says Puskoor, who sold JP Mobile in 2005 after raising $55 million. “Most of them are not in Dallas now.” Indeed, Sevin and Austin Ventures are no longer making new investments in startups. After the tech bust in 2001, most East and West Coast venture firms closed their offices in the middle of the country to focus on deals closer to home. But while the institutional herd may have largely stampeded out, young companies can still find seed and first-round infusions in the region. “The big shift is from professional to amateur investments,” says Alexander Muse, who has been doing startups locally since the late 1990s. “Entrepreneurs across the state are raising capital each day for their early-stage startups from Texas-based investors.” Unlike when Puskoor first started raising money, North Texas now has a number of angel groups—bands of wealthy individuals who invest anywhere from $10,000 to a few million dollars D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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DALLAS IS ONE OF THE GREAT CITIES FOR YOUNG BUSINESSES LOOKING FOR ENTERPRISE CLIENTS. — DAYA K A R PUS KO O R , N AYA V E N T U R ES

lionaires (per Forbes) prefer to keep details of their business operations quiet, starting with who runs them. That is primarily to avoid a flood of investment proposals which are either outside their areas of interest or simply aren’t viable. Like many investors with large cash hoards, people who run family offices generally rely on their networks of contacts to refer deals. Be they lawyers, investment bankers or friends, those referral sources know what opportunities a given family wants to see. They also act as preliminary screeners, filtering out problematic deals. Still, the coastal concentration of startup funding in the United States means a better investing landscape for local VCs like Puskoor, who now runs Irving-based Naya Ventures. “Early-stage businesses here run efficiently, and the ones with experienced founders tend to be more efficiently priced in comparison to their

in early-stage deals. In 2011, for instance, Golden Seeds, which invests in women-owned and -run companies, opened a Dallas chapter. With fewer venture capital firms operating between the coasts, the slack has also been picked up by family offices, which run the business affairs and investments for the wealthy. “They are unrestricted in check size, have infinite time horizons and aren’t limited to a particular type of investment strategy or focus,” says Aaron Pierce, managing director of JF2 Capital. The Dallas firm is the family office and venture investment vehicle for Jon Frankel, a wealthy Dallas based serial-entrepreneur. INSURANCE The relative operating freedom of family offices alPOLICY: lows them to be creative in handling the terms and In August, Melbourne structure of their investments, Pierce says. “Their 0’Banion’s Bestow received $15 million principals can change the trajectory of early-stage in Series A funding, businesses with their expertise and networks,” he adds. allowing the platform JF2 is somewhat unusual among family offices to expand to 48 states in that it keeps a relatively high profile, including in 2018. The platform allows consumers to a website. purchase coverage With a few exceptions, most of DFW’s 23 bilonline without a medical exam.

The Difference With fewer venture firms in DFW, local institutional investors—those whose business is putting other people’s money into deals—have

GRAND SLAM: Tennis champion Serena Williams (right) partnered with Plano’s Neighborhood Goods—where she’s also an investor—to unveil her line, Serena Great, in December. “There’s no better way to express your belief in something than actually putting your brand in it and showing up,” she says.

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West Coast counterparts,” he says. “In that sense, Dallas is a hidden gem for business-to-business startups.”


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increasingly shifted to bigger transactions involving more established companies, according to Brandon Allen, a partner in TXV Partners. “Most of the financial institutions here are in private equity, growth equity, and hedge funds,” says Allen, whose Dallas-based firm supports millennial-targeted startups. Compared to the East and West coasts, startups have to work harder to get in front of investors in North Texas. He adds, “And they often must compete against investing in different asset classes.” But while DFW may have fewer early-stage investors than it did during the 1990s tech boom, it also has a plethora of new organizations that help people create both inventions and the businesses to commercialize them. Aside from the 40+ incubators and accelerators and makerspaces, like Dallas Makerspace, Dallas-Fort Worth now has corporate innovation centers where inventors can leverage big companies’ technology. Those innovation centers range from traditional powerhouses like IBM and Microsoft to industry-focused incubators such as Hunt Energy Enterprises, an arm of Dallas-based Hunt Enterprises. In addition to helping entrepreneurs get their dreams into fundable form, these organizations can be conduits to corporate venture groups for North Texas-based corporations such as 7-Eleven and AT&T. “Capital is structured differently than before,” says Vanessa Camones, venture principal at Tech Wildcatters. Camones, a Silicon Valley-based executive who tells North Texas’ entrepreneurial story in other cities, says, “There are more power angels, more corporates that have venture funds that didn’t before.” Another difference in the local early-stage capital flow is the region’s interplay between wealthy residents and what USA Today reports is its 22 Fortune 500 headquarters. “We’ve got an immense amount of capital here, with a large portion residing in the established family office community,” says Pierce of JF2. “Our region provides a great opportunity for companies in enterprise software and business-to-business models looking for large corporations to use their solutions or become their first customers.” Dallas-Fort Worth’s strength in distribution and logistics has historically provided opportunities for Dallas-based Deason Capital Services, as have manufacturing and processing companies that rely on those industries. Deason Capital is the family office of Darwin Deason, who founded Affiliated Computer Services before selling the Dallas business to Xerox in 2010 for what Forbes reports was $6.4 billion. Doug Deason, Darwin’s son and president of Deason Capital, says, “There is no other city on the planet with

more opportunities to invest in quality ventures than Dallas.” The Players Once entrepreneurs have tapped out their credit cards, and friends and family, they usually look for angel investors. But

Four Rules for Finding Dough in DFW There are rules to raising money. There are laws and regulations, yes. And admonitions on websites about how particular investors prefer to be pitched. But there are plenty of unwritten rules. To boost the odds of landing early-stage funding, you’ll need to know those, too.

Rule No. 1: Assemble Your Team Every business needs three things: a banker, an accountant, and a lawyer. This is especially true at its genesis. Professional guidance can help entrepreneurs avoid less-than-obvious mistakes that can become major issues down the road. It’s easy to view these professionals as too expensive in a company’s early days, but hindsight often shows that spending money on the right advice at the get-go could have saved money—and heartache.

Rule No. 2: Cast a Wide Net Finding an investor is much like finding any kind of partner—consider all the many types. “The conversation will be different depending on whether you’re talking to an angel investor, family office, or venture capitalist,” says Alexander Muse, a North Texas entrepreneur and author of Startup Muse, a book meant to demystify the venture capital funding process for first-time founders. The trick, he notes, is determining what each type of investor needs

and wants. “Remember, institutional investors are looking for 10X returns based on typical fund dynamics. Non-institutional investors are often satisfied with 2-3X returns.”

Rule No. 3: Make Friends Along the Way “Treat every investor you pitch as if you will see them again in the future,” says Joe Beard, partner at Perot Jain, a Dallas-based venture capital firm. “The investor community is connected. A firm that tells you no may be the same firm that introduces you to a firm that says yes.” Likewise, both institutional investors and wealthy individuals rely on networks of confidantes to refer deals they might cotton to. Family offices—the business arms of wellto-do clans—can be especially hard to find for the uninitiated, says Aaron Pierce, managing director of JF2 Capital, which handles the financial affairs of Jon Frankel, who did well selling a pair of startups in credit-card processing. “My advice is to find an insider who is well

connected in the family office community and allow them to guide your efforts,” Pierce says.

Rule No. 4: Look Beyond Investors In the last decade or so, Dallas-Fort Worth has seen the emergence of a number of organizations that don’t invest in startups but may help point entrepreneurs toward people inclined to support development of various things. “More than two dozen corporate innovation centers have opened here, many of which have a presence in Silicon Valley,” says Vanessa Camones, venture principal at TechWildcatters, a Dallas accelerator that serves as a capital source. In addition to the incubators and accelerators sprinkled across North Texas, the region is also home to coworking spaces, executive offices, and makerspaces. So even if, for example, Plano’s AT&T Foundry can’t refer an inventor to funding sources, working with the telecom giant’s development center could lead to a meeting with a venture capitalist, Camones says. —JEFF BOUNDS

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even among the 23 or so billionaires in DFW, few have the startup cachet of Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank cast member Mark Cuban. Cuban reportedly cleared $1.7 billion by selling the Dallas startup he co-founded, Broadcast.com, in 1999. His Dallas-based group of businesses today spans dozens of companies. “I think there are great deals here in Texas,” Cuban says.

Diversity Takes Hold in Startup Funding Entrepreneurs may feel more comfortable working with investors who look like them, says Clarisa Lindenmeyer, founder and president of Dallas-based Proximity to Power. From angels to family offices to venture capital firms, women and people of color are emerging in North Texas both as decision makers on who gets capital and as the writers of checks. “Women are starting businesses at record levels, with the ideas, skills, and talents to build great companies,” says Laura Baldwin, co-leader of the Dallas chapter of Golden Seeds, an angel investment group that backs businesses with at least one woman in a C-suite operating role. “But like all early-stage entrepreneurs, they need capital to fuel their growth, and Golden Seeds is committed to helping them raise that capital,” says Baldwin, who runs the 20-member chapter with Louise Kee. Beyond angels, women are now principals in

the North Texas offices of venture firms like Interlock Partners (Partner Inobat Igamberdieva). People of color lead local venture firms (such as Naya Ventures and TXV Partners) and family offices that do venture-style investing (Perot Jain). Beyond the numbers game, the business value of diversity is that groups make better decisions when their members have different backgrounds and perspectives, studies show. “If you want the best solution and the best people solving a problem, you need them to be experienced in handling different kinds of challenges,” says Clarisa Lindenmeyer of Proximity to Power, which helps C-level executives tackle growth-related questions in early-stage companies. People can

take inspiration from the success of those with whom they share similar backgrounds, she adds. To be sure, at a broad level the startup-funding world is similar to when Sevin Rosen Funds helped pioneer venture capital in Dallas with its 1980 launch. A 2011 survey by the National Venture Capital Association found 89 percent of investors were male and 87 percent were Caucasian. The industry in 2017 invested $68.2 billion in companies that men founded but only $1.9 billion in those started by women, according to PitchBook data (via Bloomberg). But experts like Lindenmeyer see changes happening in the world of North Texas startups. “We have a diversity of ideas and people who want big things in this city,” she says. “We’re on to a second wave of what our innovation ecosystem looks like.” —JEFF BOUNDS

DIVERSE TEAM: The Perot Jain team consists of co-founders Ross Perot, Jr., principal Cindy Revol, partners Joe Beard and and Anurag Jain.

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But he isn’t the only local angel to see success. Green Park & Golf Ventures, which compiles individual investors’ money into infusions for health care- and life sciences-related businesses, got a payday with the 2017 sale of another Dallas organization, CancerGene Connect. Green Park and Tech Wildcatters were among investors whose combined $1 million gamble on the UT Southwestern spinout turned into a $6 million exit via California’s Invitae Corp., according to PitchBook, a supplier of data on funding and mergers and acquisitions. (A Green Park official did not respond to a request for comment.) Meanwhile, Tech Fort Worth, a nonprofit that in 2018 celebrated its 20th anniversary of helping grow startups, has helped create some of the best exits since 2015 among area investors that PitchBook tracks. Tech Fort Worth and participants in one of its programs, the Cowtown Angels, helped turn the combined $12.3 million raised by one of the incubator’s portfolio companies, Encore Vision, into a $465 million sale in January 2017 to eyecare giant Novartis AG, according to PitchBook and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. And in November, a California business that Tech Fort Worth incubated, ZS Pharma, was acquired for $2.7 billion by AstraZeneca, a large drug maker. In addition to Tech Fort Worth’s role in getting ZS off the ground in 2009, the company also received funding from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, which invested taxpayer money in promising startups, according to the nonprofit’s website. Beyond angels, some members of the usually low-key family office community have adopted higher profiles— and importance. “The opportunity to play a role in the Dallas startup ecosystem is a great way to reinvest in the community and help the next generation of area entrepreneurs,” says Joe Beard, partner at Dallas-based Perot Jain. Founded by a pair of prominent North Texas businessmen, Ross Perot Jr. and Anurag Jain, the firm has invested in 35-plus early stage companies, including DFW notables PICKUP, Shiftsmart, Spacee and Noiseaware. Though Perot Jain does not typically lead deals— meaning they aren’t the first money in a deal—the firm now plays a key role in providing seed funding for area startups. Beard praises area organizations that help educate founders of early-stage companies, such as Capital Factory, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, and UTD. “This is a great trend that needs to continue,” he says. Deason Capital has also evolved into a player with pull, given its willingness to tackle investments of different sizes and industries. For instance, Doug Deason was the


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P H OTO S C O U R T E S Y O F V I Z I V, P E ROT J A I N

lead investor in Flower Mound’s Funimation Productions, a distributor of Japanese anime that sold to Sony Pictures Television Networks in 2017 for $143 million, according to Variety. Emerging venture firms such as TXV and Naya, meanwhile, are carving out niches in growth areas. TXV recently led a seed round in Austin’s Matter Music, according to Crunchbase, while a pair of Naya portfolio companies, GlobalOutlook and Motivity Labs, have locations in both DFW and India. “Like anywhere, startups in India need help in getting customers,” Puskoor says. “Dallas is one of the great cities for young businesses looking for enterprise clients. Our location and relationships with many of these large firms is helping our companies gain traction quickly.” And though they may not get as much press as generalist venture capital, industry-focused investors in North Texas are hitting some of the longest home runs. A Dallas business that Hunt Energy Enterprises incubated, Motive Drilling Technologies, turned $10.5 million from a group of investors into a nearly $100 million sale to Helmerich & Payne in 2017, according to PitchBook and a press release. One of the most successful niche investors in these parts is Ray Hemmig of Retail & Restaurant Growth Capital, or RRGC, a 20-plus-year-old entity that invested growth capital in the likes of Quiznos, Uncle Julio’s Restaurant, and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salons. “I invested in Snappy Salads, a fast-casual restaurant business created by a former associate of Brinker International,” says Ray Hemmig, RRGC’s chairman. Having launched the Dallas-based concept in 2006 as a healthier alternative for time-pressed locals, Chris Dahlander has just opened an Allen location, the chain’s 18th. The Future Despite the operating advantages startups have in DFW, it can be easy to feel envious when reading of mega deals taking place elsewhere. In 2018, more than 80 companies worldwide received valuations of at least $1 billion in private funding rounds, according to PitchBook. None of those unicorns were based in Texas. Nor were any of the 50plus in the 2017 class, PitchBook data show. Since 2015, the largest venture capital deal in North Texas was the $180 million first round that Dallas security company StackPath raised in 2016, per PitchBook. Through early December, 2018’s largest VC infusion locally was a $100.5 million early-stage investment in Hedera Hashgraph, a Richardson-based firm whose website says its technology allows people who don’t know or trust each other to securely

collaborate and transact business. As veterans of the last decade’s tech bust can attest, other cities’ unicorns may seem less mythical when the next downturn inevitably hits and valuations shrink. “Funding sizes can be smaller here because the cost to run a company is less,” Camones says. “A $1 million to $2 million round can give a business here a twoyear runway. That’s impossible in Silicon Valley.” Still, experts like Camones say the DFW business community must come together to build infrastructure that cutting-edge startups need to grow. Beyond adding funding sources, the region also needs more service providers, such as lawyers and bankers, who can guide entrepreneurs who seek to change how the world works, experts say. “The fragmented Dallas startup ecosystem must take on an identity, with market leaders working together,” says Beard. “The region must consistently produce and highlight notable exits. Success will drive interest and capital from outside Dallas-Fort Worth.” Texas and DFW are well-suited for startups in technology, including in medical and life science areas, according to Scott Letier, managing director at Deason Capital Services. “But these industries need the most help—early-stage capital being the No. 1 need,” he says. In keeping with North Texas’ can-do attitude, efforts are underway to improve the lot of locals who start moonshot businesses. Though details are largely under wraps, Tech Wildcatters in 2019 will launch a pilot program aimed at connecting entrepreneurs with resources they need, both in North Texas and in other cities, Camones says. Corporate alliances will be what helps them get to the next level, she says.

LIGHT AND BRIGHT: According to Crunchbase, Viziv Technologies has raised a total of $38.3 million in funding over five rounds. CEO Michael Miller hopes his surface wave technology brings electricity to people currently living in darkness.

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Who Got the Money? Scores of startups and established businesses in technology and other sectors are developing products, expanding, and hiring in North Texas. All those activities require money, and funding rounds—seed, venture capital, angel, and even corporate—are helping fuel entrepreneurial ventures in Dallas-Fort Worth. Here are some notable funding reports from 2018. Alto

Gig Wage

Alkami Technology

Bestow

ROKA

Dallas-based ride-hailing service Alto launched in November after raising $13 million from two rounds of funding, primarily from Road Ventures. Alto runs something of a middle ground between familiar rideshare apps and more traditional black car services with its own fleet of cars. Its business model revolves around both a monthly membership and single-ride fees. CEO Will Coleman says he’s “creating a new culture and a new standard in the ride-hailing space.”

Gig Wage, a Dallas-based payments tool that helps businesses recruit and retain world-class contractor talent, closed $1 million of a $2 million seed round. Gig Wage says the funding from Revolution’s $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, shows that a growing on-demand workforce expects an on-demand paycheck. “The gig economy is the biggest macro shift in the workforce in over 100 years,” Gig Wage CEO and founder Craig J. Lewis says. The company plans to roll out a new API in 2019.

Plano-based digital banking solutions company Alkami Technology completed a Series D funding round early in 2018 totaling $70 million. The round was led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic, which joined Alkami’s existing investors, including S3 Ventures, Argonaut Private Equity, and other strategic investors in the fintech space. Alkami is expanding across the company, including in sales, development, implementation, support, human resources, legal, and finance.

Dallas-based Bestow closed $15 million in funding ahead of the national launch of its life insurance platform. The Series A raise was led by New York City-based Valar Ventures, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Core Innovation Capital, 8VC, and Morpheus Ventures. It brought Bestow’s to-date capital raise to $18 million. Bestow launched its fullstack platform in Texas in 2017, giving Texans the ability to quickly learn their options, apply for, and buy insurance coverage.

In April, Dallas-based ROKA sports raised $17.75 million of a $21.32 million offering. The company designs high-performance swimwear and biking suits for competitive athletes, including Olympians.

ModoPayments

Phynd Technologies

defi SOLUTIONS

OrderMyGear

CollBOX

Richardson-based payments technology startup ModoPayments completed a Series A funding round of more than $13 million. According to Finsmes, the round brought the total funding raised by ModoPayments to more than $16 million. The round included Deutsche Bank and other strategic and angel investors. ModoPayments was founded by Bruce Parker, and it plans to use the money to grow its team and expand its offerings. In September, ModoPayments announced that Deustche Bank had taken an equity interest in the company.

Phynd Technologies, a Dallas-based health care information SaaS solution provider, raised $4 million in an October venture funding round, bringing its total to $7.3 million over fund rounds beginning in 2013.

Grapevine-based defi SOLUTIONS, a provider of lending industry software, raised $55 million in Series C funding with an investment of primary and secondary capital from Bain Capital Ventures. defi SOLUTIONS said it would use the capital to accelerate development of existing and emerging products, expand facilities and resources, and increase the number of employees by almost 50 percent. Employees will be added in the areas of technology services, client support, and sales and marketing.

OrderMyGear, a Dallas developer of an online ordering platform targeting group orders of sporting goods and apparel, raised $35 million in a funding round from Susquehanna Growth Equity. OrderMyGear said it would use the funding to accelerate product development, expand its hiring, and strengthen channels to market. The platform is used for merchandising, ordering, and fulfillment of team gear and group apparel by dealers, decorators, and other organizations that sell to large groups.

CollBOX, an online collections tool that helps companies using cloud-based accounting software that was created by co-founders Cameron Desautels and Matthew Darner, was the spring 2018 UT Dallas Seed Fund recipient of $25,000. The UT Dallas Seed Fund is part of the graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship Seed Fund Support classes, ENTP6V99 and ENTP-4V00, in the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Startups from students, alumni, faculty, and staff are eligible to submit their business concepts to the fund.

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Phynd founder Tom White

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2018 Exits From entrepreneurs exiting startup ventures to major companies being bought and sold, the mergers and acquisitions activity in North Texas was bustling throughout the year. While the tech sector recorded many transactions, other sectors such as health care, marketing, and real estate also were active. Here are some of the notable deals from last year.

Meritize, the Frisco-based educational lender, raised $13.2 million in a Series A funding round led by Colchis Capital, with participation from Chicago Ventures. Other investors included CLC, Cube Financial Holdings, ZZ Ventures, Socratic Ventures, ECMC Group, University Ventures, PC Squared, and Meritize management. In February, Meritize says that it had raised $6.8 million in seed funding. Meritize uses academic, military, and work achievements to enhance credit evaluations.

Caris Life Sciences Irving-based Caris Life Sciences, an innovator in molecular science, raised $150 million in growth capital. The backing came from TPG Sixth Street Partners in the form of senior secured debt and convertible notes. Caris says the funding would be used, in part, to continue developing Next Generation Profiling to analyze whole genome, whole transcriptome, and the complete cancer proteome, with mature clinical outcomes used to deliver more precise treatment recommendations.

Door

Preciate

Door, the Dallas-based tech-enabled residential real estate brokerage firm, sold nearly $8.7 million of a $10 million equity offering in March. Door said it enables homebuyers and sellers to benefit from agent specialization and a lower fees. The firm’s services are available for a fixed fee of $5,000 that is paid at closing.

Dallas-based Preciate, a new recognition app designed to help working professionals boost their relational wealth, raised $869,400 in a seed funding round in April. Preciate was founded in 2017 by Ed Stevens and Dave Morrison, a senior finance executive. “Preciate is an app that allows you to build a story of your most valuable accomplishments, told by those who know you best,” Stevens, CEO of the company, says.

Phazr, the Allen-based 5G radio solutions developer, was acquired by JMA Wireless, a global innovator in mobile network edge solutions. According to JMA, PHAZR complements its XRAN all-software radioaccess platform, and the deal created the first company in the United States with complete LTE and 5G technologies to address the full range of spectrum, from 600MHz to 47GHz. Conversable, an AI company with a conversational intelligence platform with offices in Dallas and Austin was acquired in October by LivePerson, a New York conversational commerce company. Conversable was co-founded by Dallas entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Andrew Busey of Austin. Defakto, an Adobe solutions provider based in Dallas, was acquired by Ansira partners, one of the largest independent marketing agencies in North America. It is headquartered in both Dallas and St. Louis. Invertex became Dallasbased health care seed fund accelerator Health Wildcatters’ second exit in five years. Shoe maker Nike acquired the company. Tel Aviv, Israel-based Invertex

Farooq Khan founded Phazr in February 2016,

COURTESY OF MERISSA DE FALCIS

Meritize

uses computer vision to create 3D scans of feet. Terms of the acquisition were not released by the companies. Health Wildcatters has 51 startups in its portfolio that have cumulatively raised more than $50 million. Ignis Studios, a Fort Worth-based game studio, was acquired by Momentous Entertainment Group for $21.5 million. The transaction was made up of cash, performance payments, and stock, the companies said. Ignis has created games for some of the most notable game companies in the world, including Sony, LucasFilm, Tencent, Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and others. Priority Technology Holdings acquired and capitalized LandlordStation and RadPad in an effort to lay the foundation for a real estate payments marketplace that is centered around tenants. Combined,

LandlordStation and RadPad made up a privately held subsidiary of Priority Technology Holdings called Priority Real Estate Technology. M Science, a leader in data-driven research and analytics that has a team in Dallas, acquired Dallasbased contextualized data mapping company TickerTags. TickerTags converts real-time conversation activity into data that is useful for investment. M Science describes itself as a data-driven research and analytics firm that uncovers new insights for leading financial institutions and corporations. Non-asset third-party logistics company Mode Transportation of Dallas was bought by an affiliate of York Capital Management in a deal valued at roughly $238.5 million. Oak Park, Illinois-based Hub Group, which sold Mode Transportation, retained the company’s Temstar business.

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Health Innovation Happens Here A nationally-ranked seed accelerator bringing together innovators to future-proof healthcare.

Visit healthwildcatters.com Accelerator Ready to take your healthcare startup to the next level? Health Wildcatters is your next step. With over 57 health startups in our portfolio and a cumulative $50+ million raised our program continues to be ranked among the top health accelerators in the U.S. 52

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OfďŹ ce Space A place to call your own. Health Wildcatters offers 17,000 square feet of leasable executive ofďŹ ce and desk space to health startups on a month-tomonth basis making our headquarters the perfect place to grow and scale.

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DRIVE TIME: IoT-enabled traffic management solutions move people and goods more efficiently.

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N U M B E R O F N E W H I G H W AYS I N N O R T H T E X A S , T R A F F I C seems to worsen each year. That’s one reason Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, and Richardson asked Ericsson to propose a system that would allow them to share information to ease congestion and make roads safer. The Connected Urban Transport solution will aggregate and analyze street-level data from traffic sensors and cameras to dynamically control traffic lights, school flashers, and message signs keeping vehicles moving comfortably and safely. In addition to improving the lives of the people who live and work here, “the quality of a community’s transportation infrastructure is a major factor in business and industry investment decisions,” says Jeff Travers, Ericsson Head of IoT Connectivity Management. The system should be complete in Dallas by 2020. —Allison Hatfield ESPITE THE

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MEET AND GREET: Josh Baer’s Capital Factory hosts coworking and tech-focused events for learning and networking.

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RISING OF THE REST

When individuals, corporations, startups, and educational and research institutions work together, North Texas presents an exciting ecosystem for the growth of technology

C O U R T E S Y O F C A P I TA L F A C TO RY

by J O N AT H A N A U P I N G

In 2019 you won’t find anyone denying that Dallas-Fort Worth, from the two cities that make up its name to the suburbs and cities that help constitute the region’s nearly 8 million residents, has a thriving economy that has been terrific for individual success across myriad industries. In some ways, its identity still maintains a modern take on the alluring frontier land, where savvy dealmakers set out to strike it big on their own. Space, resources, and enterprising mavericks have always made it a flourishing land of opportunity. But the flip side of that coin is that it hasn’t always enjoyed the reputation as a hub for collaboration, partly thanks to our sprawling geography. Dallas Fort Worth is filled with unique cities and neighborhoods, while places with dense populations in smaller regions—like Silicon Valley, for example—are thought to be great for innovative ideas that have no choice but to bounce off one another. There’s certainly some truth to this line of thinking, but there can also be an eventual payoff to individualized clusters of industry or research existing in different

points of a larger region: Once enough of them reach a critical mass of success or innovation, they can begin to rely on each other for resources and ideas with cascading results. Some believe that throughout the region that point is being reached— and it’s time to start connecting the dots.

The Promise of North Texas When space and money collide they usually result in growth and industry. It’s an equation that Dallas-Fort Worth has enjoyed for decades. The reasons a promising young startup would want to be based in Dallas are practical and relatively obvious. The low cost of living compared to the nation’s more recognizable startup-centric cities is an immediate advantage. Relative to the other startup hubs and the technology hubs that exist in the United States, Dallas-Fort Worth is affordable, says Bryan Chambers, a director at Capital Factory, an accelerator that calls itself the “center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas.” Startups in cities like San Francisco have to sink a much bigger portion of D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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their capital into rent and living expenses. Chambers and Capital Factory are part of a growing community (well-represented by a younger generation) trying to foster and build upon Dallas’ entrepreneurial spirit. They’re joined by Health Wildcatters, a Dallas-based accelerator that provides mentorship and capital to medical innovation startups. “We strive to help you fill the gaps in your startup and wrap the right resources around it,” says Hubert Zajicek, CEO at Health Wildcatters. It’s Capital Factory, though, that is beginning to turn heads with its new location at the Centrum on Oak Lawn. This location, according Chambers, is paramount to what it offers partners. “75 percent of the space in Capital Factory is dedicated to events and driving interactions between startups and mentors” Chambers says. “Unlike most other coworking facilities, founders regularly meet their investors and customers inside Capital Factory.” Mentorship and capital are their bread and butter, but connectivity is their “X” factor. “I’m hopeful that Capital Factory has a breakout moment in 2019,” says Bill Sproull, president of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Tech Titans, a membership association for

INNOVATION INCUBATOR: UNT Health Science Center School of Medicine opened its Interdisciplinary Research and Education Building in Fort Worth in October.

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technology-enabled companies. “They’re kind of the new kid on the block here.” Accelerators and incubators are great resources, but they are the product of startups already popping up in Dallas Fort Worth as much as they are an explanation for them arriving. So why is the startup community beginning to burgeon here? The cost of living is very low in places like Nebraska and Montana as well. The answer, according to some, is the venture capital bubbling under the surface. Silicon Valley is understood to be the hub of venture capital being dispersed to new companies, but money can be invested where money exists. “Dallas has a lot of capital, most of which has not been active yet in the early stage technology sector,” Chambers says. But, he adds, as the startup community grows, more Dallas investors participate. The money holders in the area may not have a reputation of funneling cash into startups, but make no mistake: The money very much is here—and it’s much easier to convince people where to invest the money they do have than it is to convince people who don’t have money to find some to invest. That soon-to-be-active capital across the region is the result of successful industries

all across North Texas. Startup culture is relatively young in Dallas, but large corporations have shown a certain comfort level here for years: Affordable living conditions within a huge population attract potential employees in droves, and most corporations know the luxury of hiring from your own backyard when scaling a company. “With the chief experience officers and chief information officers I talk to, the No. 1 concern is talent,” says Leigh McMullen, a VP analyst for Gartner, a global research and advisory firm in sectors like IT and finance, which has an office in Irving. “You can’t achieve anything without talent. And that’s a thing we have.” Dallas-Fort Worth is home to 22 Fortune 500 companies. Sure, those companies provide jobs and economic windfalls to their cities, but they are also a resource to the startup community. “We’re trying to bridge the gap between corporations and startups,” says Rachel Chang, a venture associate at Tech Wildcatters. These corporations can become an enormous customer base for startups, and the innovations created by startups can become pillars of how the corporations operate. “That’s where you create new value and new wealth in the economy,” Sproull says. All innovation, however, starts at the research level. Dallas-Fort Worth has seven nationally ranked universities that are recognized for different areas of research that shape economies. The University of Texas at Arlington has thriving mechanical research and nursing programs. University of North Texas has electrical engineering and a User Interfaces Unit. Southern Methodist University opened an incubator in 2018 for Dallas-based startups. UTD has computer science programs that rival some of the nation’s best. Texas Christian University expanded its entrepreneurial endeavors recently with the new Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. UT Southwestern ranks fifth in the world in the number of published research articles cited in third-party patent

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applications and its faculty has received six Nobel Prizes. The UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is constantly contributing to medical innovation. “Many of the assets for knowledge creation are here in abundance and growing,” Sproull says.

Density Is as Density Does Super connectors aren’t usually mentioned in press releases, but they’re just as vital to a region’s innovation as CEOs or investors. Victor Fishman is just one regional super connector. In 2018, after retiring from a career at Penn State University and a stint as associate vice president of applied research at UTD, Fishman joined the Texas Research Alliance as executive director. His job is to take all the research universities in Dallas-Fort Worth and connect them—to each other, to corporations, to startups. “I start with corporations, and I work with them to help them share what they need,” Fishman says. Growth usually means new obstacles, and just because a corporation comes up with an idea doesn’t mean it employs the people with the foundational knowledge to make it a reality. Universities committed to world-class research in related fields are tremendous resources. Fishman emphasizes that what the universities have to gain from such partnerships is beyond the financial. “In the end, money is how you keep score,” he says, “but the answer is having current, relevant problems to solve with partners who can do the implementation.” Fishman makes a distinction between basic and applied research. On the granular level, universities conduct basic research—discovering and tracking information without a specific goal. Corporations and startups give them the tasks that turn it into applied research. They can take a university’s work from theoretical to actualized. Fishman brings university research teams to the problems they can solve by simply knowing everyone. He hosts

lunches; meets with presidents, CEOs, board members; and makes introductions. His job is to prevent anything from happening in a vacuum. Industries across the region have come together much more often recently, thanks to people like Fishman. These aren’t the forced collisions of unavoidable density. They are the voluntary collisions of relative proximity.

ami or Phoenix. A lot of this takes an attitude and willingness for collaboration. Cities like Dallas and Fort Worth have always been tied up with proud historical identities. Out-oftowners would be wise not to confuse the two. That pride has led to individual success across the region, including suburbs that have blossomed to carve out their

COLLISIONS BETWEEN INDUSTRIES, STARTUPS, UNIVERSITIES, AND CIVIC LEADERS START A CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT WE CAN PREDICT ONLY TO A CERTAIN POINT. BUT THAT UNKNOWN IS EXCITING. “I think we underrate our connectedness across the region,” Sproull says. “Instead of focusing on individual geographies like Richardson, Plano, Fort Worth, or Grapevine, there’s an underlying connectedness between people and companies that transcends those geographies.” Chambers’ excitement over Capital Factory’s new location is no coincidence. It’s part of a bigger plan centered on connectivity. This location isn’t a headquarters: It’s a collision center. Capital Factory is focusing on events that bring together players across different levels of industry to meet. They are consciously increasing the chances of happenstance networking. “The corporations might be in different ZIP codes, but as long as the physical leaders and investors will show up to the same physical space a couple of times, that creates density,” he says. It’s about opting in to the idea of density: With all the available capital, ideas, and established organizations at our disposal, all of a sudden a 35-minute drive doesn’t sound all that burdensome. Chambers stresses how easily he can connect a Dallas-based startup to a CEO in Frisco or Fort Worth in a way that’s far more organic than connecting with someone in Mi-

own identities through certain industries. What each city has to offer the other is becoming undeniable, and this generation of innovators seems to be taking down the walls holding back collaboration. “It has always been unique about Dallas-Fort Worth that we are so far spread out,” says Zajicek of Health Wildcatters. “It has been characterized as a weakness, but I think we’re past that.” Fishman, for example, took on a tall task when he accepted his role at Texas Research Alliance. One thing he doesn’t seem to be running into, however, is resistance. He makes a point of going to any sort of technology-based conference, meet-up, luncheon, or happy hour. The topic might be blockchain, medical innovation, or anything else, but “while they might be different topics, I’ll very often see lots of the same faces. That’s a good thing. They are coming from all across North Texas. That means they’re thinking along the same lines. That’s not how it used to be.” Things like density and proximity are relative. Driving from the heart of Dallas to Fort Worth for something small might seem like a burden. But what if those trips to Fort Worth (or Plano or Richardson or D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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anywhere in the region) began to eliminate the necessity of ever getting on a plane to New York or California? If you let yourself, you might start to imagine a self-sustaining Dallas-Fort Worth. One might call such a thing an ecosystem.

An Environment for Interconnectivity A word that McMullen at Gartner uses quite a bit is “ecosystem.” Once you start making the right connections, you create a ripple effect. “When you’ve got great cross-industry collaboration is when you begin to find those interesting, non-obvious connections for ideas,” McMullen says. The Dallas Innovation Alliance released a yearlong study in November 2018 on

how a Smart City Living Lab could use technology to make Dallas a more efficient and smarter city for residents and businesses. The study—the collaboration of 30 organizations across the public, private, civic, and academic sectors—was conducted in Dallas’ West End Historic District. Such an innovation-focused initiative represents more than just the sharing of information. It’s a pre-execution collaboration across sectors with agreed upon goals. “None of the successes the initiative has been able to accomplish would have been possible without the leadership of the city and the cross-sector support and collaboration of our partners,” says Jennifer Sanders, executive director at the Dallas Innovation Alliance. That initial connectedness increases the likelihood of favorable results—of far-reaching results. These are initiatives meant to improve the city of Dallas, but people like Fishman see how they can harness an ecosystem. “The key [with the Living Lab study] is figuring out the strategy that will allow those to be regional resources. If we can do that, we’ll be able to move that collaborative density forward.” Chang, of Tech Wildcatters, refers to this line of thinking as “mutually assured success.” In nature, everything in an ecosystem affects everything else. Every living species has evolved in a way that allows it to survive within its ecosystem. McMullen appreciates Dallas Fort Worth’s diversity of industry. “Ecosystems that are dominated by single culture or a single sort of business don’t thrive well,” he says.

R A D I AT I O N F O R P R O S TAT E C A N C E R :

Optimize your treatment, minimize your side effects. 1. Hamstra, D. A., Mariados, N., Sylvester, J., Shah, D., Karsh, L., Hudes, R., Sc, D. (2017). Continued Benefit to Rectal Separation for Prostate RT: Final Results of a Phase III Trial. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, 97(5), 976–985. 2. Hamstra, D. A., Mariados, N., Sylvester, J., Shah, D., Gross, E., Hudes, R., Michalski, J. (2017). Sexual Quality of Life Following Prostate Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) with a Rectal/Prostate Spacer: Secondary Analysis of a Phase III Trial. Practical Radiation Oncology, In Press.

Radiation for prostate cancer can be a great option, especially if the side effects are minimal. Before you begin your treatment, discover an innovative technology that can help you maintain your long-term urinary, bowel and sexual quality of life.1,2 Ask your doctor about SpaceOAR® hydrogel, visit www.spaceoar.com/patients or call 781-906-0325.

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Everything plays its part. Universities collaborating with each other and with industries are serving an elemental role: spreading information and knowledge like pollen. Startups and startup founders coming together in density-creating events increases the chances of success for at least one, which moves toward unlocking the venture capital in the region. Places like Tech Titans bring corporations together to avoid wasting time with questions others already have the answers to. “Believe me, there is demand from the Fortune 500 on how they can innovate better, faster, more efficiently, and collaborate across companies,” Sproull says. Collisions between industries, startups, universities, and civic leaders start a chain of events that we can predict only to a certain point. But that unknown is exciting. The constant is growth. “Without both curated and accidental collisions amongst innovators you don’t get value creation,” Sproull says. What’s left out of this conversation is competition, which has always been thought of as the backbone of free market capitalism. It’s worth noting, though, that these powerful industries across the region are the product of competition in their cities. Many of them are the victors. It’s why so many cities and neighborhoods across the region have something to offer with promising industries new and old. Chambers says real estate technology and financial technology are ripe for disruption and predicts that Dallas is on the verge of breaking out in those areas. Oil and gas remain strong in Fort Worth, but Chang says to “watch out” for its startup scene. Frisco has become a legitimate

professional sports city and just signed a nine-figure deal to become the “Silicon Valley of Golf.” Irving is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and McKesson. A spirit of competition will always exit wherever business occurs, but increasing the size of the ecosystem has meant taking advantage of interconnectivity and creating density. A self-starter can still come out to Dallas-Fort Worth and try to make it on his own, like the mavericks of the 19th century did. But in 2019, coming to Dallas without collaborating would be failing to take advantage of its resources. “I think there’s a better spirit of collaboration now than there was 10 years ago,” Sproull says. Where that collaboration takes us is hard to say, but don’t be surprised if we arrive there faster than you think.

Globally inspired. Distinctly different.

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The Centrum Capital Factory The DEC Salesforce RewardStyle Mudsmith Coffee

3.1 MILES AWAY

A premier academic medical center with six Nobel Prize winners since 1985.

Old Parkland Crow Holdings Green Park & Golf Cypress Growth Capital

InfoMart (Peering Point)

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Perot Companies

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T he center of private equity, family office, and venture capital firms, The Crescent and Old Parkland are two of the most prominent places in Dallas for capital.

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The Crescent and Old Parkland

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The ultimate collision of startups, corporations, capital, universities, housing, and retail, this corridor could be Dallas’ answer to California’s famed Sand Hill Road. Connected with transit and trails, lined with coffee shops and parks, here you will find a vibrant, walkable community fueled by idea generation and innovation.

Medical District and UT Southwestern

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Dallas Urban Innovation Corridor

3.4 MILES AWAY

The Crescent Ascension Coffee

CBRE Labs Pa rk

Stackpath WeWork

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The West End

The West End The collection of historic buildings is home to Dallas’ most innovative ideas. The area serves as a “living lab” of Smart Cities technologies powered by the world’s biggest companies like AT&T, Cisco, and Ericsson. The neighborhood is a growing residential district with corporate innovation centers, creative firms, and high-growth startups.

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EY E Cybersecurity C1 Innovation Lab G D Center Sam’s Club Tech RO Common Desk L L DA O O W

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SMU, a nationally ranked comprehensive research university, is only 2.6 miles from The Centrum. The Cox School of Business ranks among the top business schools nationally.

Innovation districts in the works around Dallas-Fort Worth

SMU

The Centrum A hub of innovative thinking, The Centrum is home to the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and Capital Factory, providing coworking, education, mentorship, and access to capital. High-growth businesses have offices here, including Salesforce and RewardStyle.

COURTESY OF INTERFACE STUDIO LLC AND THE CITY OF RICHARDSON

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The Centrum

The City of Richardson is working to develop the Collins-Arapaho Innovation District— roughly bound by Highway 75, Campbell Road, Plano Road, and Apollo Drive—into a premier tech hub where 1,200 acres of industrial flex and office space will be transformed into a more vibrant, mixeduse place, full of amenities that can attract startups and corporations. Connections to transit, trails, and open space, quality housing and shops, and its proximity to the University of Texas at Dallas round out the ingredients to support a successful innovation district.

AT&T Discovery District

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Tech Wildcatters

JOSEPH HAUBERT COURTESY OF FORT WORTH CVB

Near Southside Fort Worth Health Wildcatters

WeWork Main Street East on Coffee Garden Quarter The Joule . Dialexa Order My Gear AT&T Discovery District

Akard Point)

AT&T Discovery District Part of a $100 million investment AT&T is making to improve its downtown headquarters, the Discovery District is a first-of-its-kind “urban tech campus,” a showcase for new technology and innovation, and a green space with arts, music, food, and retail.

As part of its new economic development strategy, the City of Fort Worth identified the Near Southside Medical Innovation District as a critical element to the city’s long-term vitality. The area is home to a number of major hospitals and independent medical clinics. It is an easy bike ride from Magnolia Avenue and offers an array of industrial and creative companies, and historic buildings adapted as lofts and offices, and numerous restaurants and amenities. The city is positioning the district as the “most livable medical district in the U.S.”

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I D E A S + I N V E S T M E N T + C O N N E C T I O N = T H E P OT E N T I A L TO C H A N G E T H E W O R L D.

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COURTESY OF JEREMY MCC ANE

OCEAN’S SALVATION

LIQUID GOLD: Jeremy McKane wants to build a new economy around protecting one of the world’s greatest resources.

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MCKANE CARES ABOUT WHALES. AND REEFS. AND THE people whose lives are intertwined with the sea. As the creator of LUCiD, an interactive art installation that combines conservation and neuro-feedback technology, he’s helping educate people about marine plastics. As co-founder of the Ocean Currency Network, he built an AI and blockchain solution to measure the health of protected marine areas and share that data and a cryptocurrency payment system to fuel a collaborative ocean economy. In February, he and others will bring dozens of government policy makers, tech entrepreneurs, investors, and storytellers to Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island to brainstorm business models that will save oceans while making money. “We all have a voice—and we can use it to do something to save our oceans,” McKane says. —Allison Hatfield EREMY

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Ripple Effect Think locally, act globally. For four Dallas-Fort Worth tech companies that adage is a fundamental business strategy.

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FEW SWIPES, A RIDESHARE APP selects a combination of ground and air transportation to get you from your home west of Fort Worth to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to your office in Frisco. When you board the hybrid-powered, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft developed by Bell Helicopter, it may have a pilot or it could be autonomous. On the flight, your personal AI assistant will have your curated list of songs, news articles, and social media feeds queued up for streaming. Instead of paying via credit card or working through the “free” economy in which you are the product, there are a series of seamless microtransactions that cost fractions of a penny using a cryptocurrency wallet created by Hedera Hashgraph. Less than 10 minutes later, you arrive at your job at a company that funds an interest-free loan to a local nonprofit through Good Returns. Once you’re at your desk, you are alerted to a message from your doctor about your genomic DNA sequence. The biometric research done at the North Texas Genome Center at the University of Texas at Arlington will inform your decision about lunch that day. These kinds of technologies challenge the way people think about transportation, the economy, where we live, how we live, and how we do business—and they are fueling change that will be felt the world over. They weren’t conceived in Silicon Valley or somewhere on the East Coast. They’re happening right here in North Texas, and they have the potential to change everything. Here’s a closer look. ITH A

Going Beyond Bitcoin North Texas didn’t invent blockchain, but Hedera Hashgraph significantly advanced distributed ledger technology by unleashing a limitless number of use cases and better reliability. Co-founders Mance Harmon and Leemon Baird started the company in August 2017 and have raised $124 million in funding. Harmon is the CEO and specializes in the business side of things;

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Baird is the chief scientist with a doctorate in computer science. Together, they built an alternative distributed ledger that corrects a lot of the problems that have plagued better-known blockchains platforms. To start, Hedera Hashgraph is not really blockchain—it’s its own distributed ledger technology. “Our platform will never split. Our network is stable. We can bring stability to the market for enterprise customers that no one else can,” Harmon says. What’s more, some consider Hedera Hashgraph superior to other blockchain products because it’s faster, more secure, and doesn’t require proof of work. As a result, the overall transaction can reach finality in seconds with 100 percent certainty versus blockchain programs. “We expect to approach, if not achieve, 100,000 transactions per second,” Harmon says. “That’s the goal, and we think we will achieve it.” Hedera launched in August 2017 and has moved fast. After only a year, it minted the first hbar tokens. In October 2018, the company hosted Hedera18, a one-day deep dive that explained how the platform works and potential use cases. The public got its first taste of Hedera Hashgraph on December 18 when the company launched its Community Testing Program, which allowed anyone to sample new applications, including a micropayments Chrome extension. Developers could also gain access to testnets, where they can begin building their own applications at no charge and have access to new developer resources at Hedera.com. The testing period will help Hedera Hashgraph iron out issues before full open availability starts at the end of the first quarter of 2019, Harmon says. Hedera Hashgraph could also revolutionize smart contracts, cryptocurrency, and file storage. It could provide an easy way to track products back to their sources so consumers would know where their apples or lettuce came from in case there’s a recall. Harmon envisions a new business model in which users make micropayments using a crypto wallet to get through paywalls or pay someone for a one-time transaction. This would replace the current method that requires setting up an account for every website used and entering credit card information at multiple sites. “This eliminates the need for all that by creating what I’ll call the economic

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PUBLIC TESTING: “We are the product,” Hedera Hashgraph CEO Mance Harmon says of tech giants who exchange people’s privacy for “free” access to their sites and services. Dallas-based Hedera, which has opened up its distributed ledger technology for public testing, aims to change that.

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layer of the internet,” he says. “The merchants or enterprises can just enable the use of their APIs with a cryptocurrency payment.” It could also change how social media platforms make money: Users would pay fractions of a penny to use the sites rather than be subjected to advertisements or have their personal information scooped up. “We believe that this capability for companies like Facebook or Wikipedia helps them realize new revenue models,” Harmon says. Another developer, hearo.fm, is using Hedera Hashgraph for a music platform where songs could be downloaded and artists would get more of the money because it cuts out the middleman. “There’s more margin that can be paid directly to the artists as opposed to them getting squeezed,” he says. In early 2019, Hedera will announce the first members of a council who will handle governance for the platform. Council members can serve two three-year terms for a maximum of six years. “There’s nobody else in the market that has anything like that. It’s the most representative governance body of any platform,” Harmon says.

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Genome sequencing can also be used proactively, to find problems before they become serious. “You can really look at specific mutations that can predict an individual’s risk for a particular disease,” Weidanz says. The research can be used for any genetic-based disease, says Sheff. “Ultimately, the sequencing data that we generate can be used to better diagnose and provide better treatment options,” he says. The NTGC opened in March at UT Arlington, but it’s also a partnership with the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Texas A&M University. And now the NTGC is moving aggressively to get beyond academic research into clinical trials. “We want to move it to health care providers and get the technology out to patients and clinicians,” Weidanz says. “We also want to establish the North Texas region as an area for biotech companies that have an interest in genomic information. The dream would be that it’s a catalyst for promoting a bioeconomy for the North Texas region.”

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Leading the Way in Biometrics Two people walk into a doctor’s office with the same type of cancer. The doctor may be inclined to treat them with the same drugs, but those patients may respond in very different ways. Why? The answer lies in DNA. At the North Texas Genome Center (NTGC) at the University of Texas at Arlington, researchers are using multimillion dollar machines to sequence human DNA. “The genomic analysis can be somewhat challenging due to the fact that the human genome consists of around 3.3 billion letters strung together; each represents what we call a base or nucleotide,” says Kelly Sheff, director of laboratory operations at NTGC. A DNA sample could come from tissue, such as liver, spleen, or kidney, or from fluids, such as blood or saliva. From that work, the researchers are creating databases to inform solutions for difficult problems, says Jon Weidanz, founding director of NTGC. “We’re able to have databases with tens or hundreds of thousands of profiles,” he says. Going back to the cancer patients, though they have the same disease, their DNA profiles could be vastly different, and they may require different approaches to care. Once their tumor genomes are mapped, the possible outcomes for various types of treatment can be compared to thousands of others with similar variant profiles. That allows oncologists to understand why “this person is not responding to the new treatment, because a specific tumor gene has a certain mutation,” Weidanz says.

LAB TESTS: At the North Texas Genome Center in Arlington, scientists are unlocking DNA.


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Big Ideas Big ideas are easy to come by and take a lot of work to make a reality. It’s expensive, takes time, and requires the commitment of corporate resources and people. Here are companies in North Texas that are working on big ideas that could change our lives.

UP, UP, AND AWAY: Bell’s VTOL air taxi could be a breezy new way to get across DFW.

Giving New Meaning to “Get a Lift” These days, only the rich and famous can summon a helicopter to travel from Fort Worth to Frisco, rising above the “regular people” stuck in rush hour traffic. But engineers at Bell Helicopter are working SCOTT DRENNAN on a VTOL aircraft that uses an electric propulsion system that aims to democratize regional air travel to the point that it will be affordable for average people. Traditional helicopters are expensive to operate because fossil fuels are expensive, Drennan says. The 6,000-pound VTOL will use a hybrid turbine-electric system. “We believe a hybrid system is safer and more reliable,” Drennan says. “Batteries still have a way to go, and we think there’s still time to develop there.” Someday, when batteries get lighter, they could replace the need for an onboard gas turbine. “We’re purposely designing our hybrid electric system so that when batteries are at the right density, we can put them in,” he says. Another radical change comes from artificial intelligence and self-driving technology that could someday eliminate the need for human pilots, Drennan says. Bell is one of several manufacturers that have partnered with Uber to develop the VTOL aircraft and the vertiports where the aircraft will take off and land. “We’ve been participating with Uber on all the conferences and events and the development around their taxi model,” Drennan says. Making 100-mile flights feasible for the middle class changes how people commute and how far they can live from work, and it gets vehicles off clogged freeways. “We see that scenario all over the world,” Drennan said. “In Japan, everybody works

NTT Data & Pieces Technologies Plano-based global technology services provider NTT Data Services and Dallas-based Pieces Technologies, a predictive analystics startups, partnered in 2018 to launch a joint readmissions system to assists health-care providers in reducing the number of readmissions and avoid hospitalizations. 7-Eleven & Toyota Two companies with headquarters in North Texas have partnered on how zero emission hydrogen technologies can reduce emissions in a retail distribution system. Irving-based 7-Eleven and Toyota, whose North American headquarters is in Plano, are testing in Japan fuel-cell trucks that use hydrogen for propulsion and to operate refrigeraton units. Jacobs Engineering & Atos Jacobs Engineering Group, the Dallas-based global provider of technical, professional, and scientific services, has partnered with the international digital tranformation company Atos. The deal brings data capture and analysis through predictive, condition-based maintenance and field services optimization solutions to a variety of industries such as water, energy, transport, aviation, nuclear, and the built environment.

world of sports. Peterbilt The Denton-based heavy truck maker is partnering with the Silicon Valley company Embark to develop autonomous trucking technology. Embark’s tech would steer the truck on highways, but Peterbilt said a human driver would be behind the wheel in populated urban area. The first prototype is based on a Peterbilt 579 model truck. Sam’s Club The “future of retail.” Big box retailer Sam’s Club is prototyping just that in Lower Greenville with its Sam’s Club Now concept, a smaller-than-usual, mobile-first location that Sam’s is calling the “epicenter of innovation.” Inside the store, you’ll find tech that includes allowing shoppers to scan as they shop and check out sans cashier; Sam’s Scan & Go app has been around for two years, but the prototype store will make that capability the foundation of the Sam’s Club Now app.

NEC Irving-based NEC Corp. of America continues to gain traction with its NeoFace facial recognition software that has been tested at U.S. airports. In North Texas, the software found a home at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, where it is used to create a facial map of anyone who opts in and creates a user profile that’s associated with an image. The biometric registraton starts a smooth, customized Hall of Fame experience that’s unique in the

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in Tokyo, but their families live outside the city. They stay in the city all week and go to their families on weekends. We’re unlocking that equation for them to spend five more nights with their families.”

Lock It Up The world of cybercrime is fast-paced and unpredictable, and as the landscape evolves, so does the potential for an attack. But, North Texas might just be the place to stop them. Area employers such as Southwest Airlines, AT&T Inc., and Verizon are working closely with schools to help fill many of the thousands of cybersecurity jobs that are open in the region, according to a report by the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. UD said that ransomware attacks happen every 14 seconds, costing companies nearly $11.5 billion. Here are a few firms tackling the sector.

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advertising, it can leverage the partnership with Good Returns and the larger company that’s funding it as a megaphone. Then there are the investors with Inverdale Capital Management, which raised more than $10 million in funding for the Guarantee-Investment-Values Strategies, or GIVS. A portion of its managed assets are used as collateral for Good Returns cycles. If there’s a shortfall, the impact investors make it up, allowing Good Returns to offer 100 percent guaranteed interest-free loans. Investors remain invested in securities during the guarantee period, enabling them to target a market rate of return. “So far, we haven’t had a shortfall,” Boukadoum says. “When there’s no shortfall, investors in GIVS get all of the return that is generated in those accounts, and it’s their participation that makes the cycle possible in the first place.” In the near term, Boukadoum wants Good Returns to find more corporate partners. The bar is even higher long-term. “We want to see Good Returns become a national brand that mobilizes a very significant amount of capital toward innovative solutions—not just in Dallas and throughout the country but around the world.”

StackPath A secure edge services platform, StackPath helps developers protect, accelerate, and innovate cloud properties. In November, StackPath was the first Dallas headquartered firm to sign the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, committing to protect consumers online. The company also partnered with digital security company Sectigo to bring no cost private SSL certificates to customers.

Armor Richardson-based Armor is a leading cloud security solutions provider founded in 2009. After receiving $89M in equity financing, this year, the securityas-a-service company hired a new CEO, expanded its global footprint, and integrated with Amazon Web Services Security Hub.

Critical Start Critical Start provides customers with brand protection and reduced business risk. The Plano cybersecurity startup calls itself the “fastest-growing cybersecurity integrator”—it quintupled its HQ size and increased revenue by over 80 percent from February to August.

C O U R T E S Y O F R E B E C A P O S A DA S - N AVA

Shifting the Paradigm on Giving Businesses have never had more incentive to give to social causes, and through Good Returns it’s never been easier. Salah Boukadoum, co-founder of the company, didn’t invent an app or a new cryptocurrency. Rather, he invented a system of philanthropy that’s zero risk and provides mutual benefit to all the stakeholders. “To me, innovation is about making the world a better place for ourselves. It’s the innovation that’s so important and not just the technology,” Boukadoum says. “We need to be focused not so much on the tool, but on the impact.” The most promising organizations often struggle to raise capital through traditional means, and that’s where Good Returns comes in. Companies make one-year no-interest loans to social causes, such as nonprofit Akola, which gives underprivileged women in Dallas and Uganda the training and opportunity to make jewelry for a living wage. Rather than earning interest, companies that make the loans, or “cycles” as Good Returns calls them, get the satisfaction of knowing they are helping their community without risk. That’s increasingly important as younger generations enter the workforce. “They have a new set of demands of every company,” Boukadoum says of millenials. “They want to see companies not just be responsible, not just give. They want to see companies innovating and really moving the needle on some of the challenges we face.” Through Good Returns, a company can loan as much as it wants, because it’s assured all of the capital will be returned. For the organizations that receive the capital infusion, it’s more than just money for growth. “Companies champion the causes they support and get the word out there,” Boukadoum says. Instead of the impact organization spending its hard-won resources on marketing and

GOOD GUY: Investors in Salah Boukadoum’s GIVS program designate a portion of their managed assets as collateral for Good Returns impact loans.


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Social Studies We asked social innovators around Dallas-Fort Worth how they use technology and/or data to inform their businesses and the work they do for clients. Here’s what they said.

Sharon Lyle

Ken Koo

Monica Shortino

Kate Knight

Kimberly O’Neil

Founder and President Ensemble

Head of Social Enterprises Catholic Charities of Fort Worth

Director of Social Innovations Capital One

Director of Innovation United Way

Founder Cause Studio

Much of our work is about disrupting the quotidian experience, so a lot of what we do is very low tech, like installing strings of butterfly origami in trees at a park. That said, we’re finding all sorts of products enabled by technology that have allowed us to amplify the impact of projects we’ve worked on. For instance, we found a fabricator who could translate a piece of digital art into a material that could be installed as a crosswalk in Uptown. The idea certainly isn’t new, but to our knowledge, it was the first time this company had used its product in that way. That’s a fun way technology allowed us to create a memorable experience, but there’s also a practical side: We just worked with a company that uses Bluetooth beacons to get crowd estimates. This technology replaced someone sitting with a people counter and doing head counts every hour. You’d never know it was there and we received amazing data on where people congregated, how long they stayed, and how they moved through an event.

This is truly one of the most innovative nonprofit agencies that I know. Data and technology are powerful tools that ensure our client services are making an impact. CCFW has implemented a framework to evaluate each family’s needs as we walk with them on their journey out of poverty. All of our assessments, data collection, tracking, and service delivery are driven from informed-information decision-making processes. The success of ou r clients would not be possible without the use of well-designed and implemented software solutions, enterprise-grade database technologies, and strong data governance. CCFW strives for excellence in ending poverty by putting our process and services through randomized control trials. In partnership with the Lab of Economic Opportunity at Notre Dame, CCFW has committed through multiyear testing that our services and interventions are effective versus a control group. Data collection and information analysis lies at the heart of any research study, and by evaluating and holding ourselves accountable to outcomes, we ensure that alignment, impact, and sustainability are met in lifting families out of poverty.

The use of technology is transforming the way we work, live, and play, so it should also impact the way we engage and invest in our communities, not only through our business, but also through our social innovation efforts. According to a recent survey commissioned by Capital One, more than two-thirds of Dallas-Fort Worth residents plan to pursue tech-related skills, and 53 percent plan to pursue a tech-related career in the next two years. For millennials, that increases to 71 percent. As part of Capital One’s Future Edge DFW initiative, we are committed to elevating the region as an innovation and technology hub and equipping our community with the digital skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. These efforts include teaching critical thinking and technology skills to students and educators alike, workforce development programs that provide certifications and marketable technology skills for the unemployed and underemployed, and training nonprofit leaders how to harness technology to access opportunities through events like Capital One’s Community Symposium, which brings together hundreds of nonprofit leaders every year.

GroundFloor helps fledgling social businesses better serve their clients/customers, so we make a point to stress the importance of data-backed decision making. We challenge our fellows to find and analyze data to ensure they are delivering the solution that their clients need and want. Sometimes that is driven by technology, but often, in the social sector, data gathering comes down to qualitative conversations that inform the way these businesses serve clients. We also try to practice what we preach— collecting qualitative and quantitative data to measurably improve outcomes for our fellows every year.

The social sector has an impact on economic development, and we have to view it from that lens. If we are responsible in understanding that, then innovation within our sector will first be driven by data and our ability to justify community needs. All too often we approach social good and innovation based on personal interpretation of needs. That should not drive our work; when it does we create a pond of unnecessary services and programs that are not truly solving needs. That ultimately has a negative impact on our sector and minimizes our overall economic impact. My clients through Giving Blueprint and Cause Studio know that I am unapologetic in identifying the right solutions. We owe that to our community. We always start by asking why something is needed, and then we answer why to the why. We continue through that process until we are able to justify why something should exist. This is all driven by our ability to collect and analyze data, so that we can better understand economic and social impact.

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No matter who you are or where you’re from, when you Say Yes to Dallas, you’re Saying Yes to more than you might think. s ayye stodal l a s .com


THOUGHT LEADERS

MUSINGS ON INNOVATION FROM THE REGION’S PARADIGM-SHIFTING COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

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The Edge Skatepark

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ALLEN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION Daniel S. Bowman, CEO A L L E N E D C .C O M

Tell us about your company’s products or services. The Allen Economic Development Corporation is charged with recruiting and retaining quality businesses that increase the ad valorem tax base and bring quality jobs to the City. Businesses in Allen enjoy a supportive, service-based EDC committed to ensuring their continued growth and success, whether that comes from a simple introduction to other community members or fulfilling research needs.

How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region? Allen has created a well-balanced community where businesses can thrive. Our educated workforce, exemplary schools, and award-winning parks come together to enrich the lives of our entire community. We think creatively to connect companies, workers and residents; opening the door for new opportunities and making Allen an amazing place to live and do business. Many CEO’s are seeking a work/live/ play environment for their employees as a strategy to attract and retain top talent. How does Allen’s master plan fit into this strategy? Allen’s philosophy has been that “work” and “live/play” are really the same thing, since great places to live make for great places to work. For the past 25 years, Allen has been very intentional in building a quality of live that serves as a foundation for attracting companies. These efforts have been successful, earning Allen recognition in 2018 as the #2 Best Place to Live in the Nation and #2 Best Place to Launch a Career by MONEY Magazine.

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Welcome to the family. Allen is home to many businesses, and we’re proud of every single one. From our diverse, well-educated population to our business-friendly economic development corporation, we give the companies that call us home the tools they need to succeed. To find out if this is the family for you, visit AllenEDC.com.

The Place to Raise Your Business


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BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF TEXAS

Summer Wright Collins, Divisional Vice President, Design and Innovation | C1 Innovation Lab C 1 I N N OVAT I O N L A B .C O M

How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region? The C1 Innovation Lab is positioned in North Texas to work directly with national employer customers on developing new solutions that help increase the affordability of care and improve health outcomes for our members. Our multidisciplinary teams, including customer service and health care management, collaborate with a dedicated design team to rapidly develop and test customized products for our customers that address their unique health care challenges.

Innovation comes in many forms—from finished products and processes, to implementation and idea generation. How would you define your company’s

How does your company or your team stretch the boundaries of what’s been innovations? For us, innovation means improving the lives of our members. How can we make done, or reinvent itself within the industry? their health care experience easier, more affordable and help them be at their best? The C1 Innovation Lab is focused on using the human-centered design thinking Because we are designing solutions for different populations, we’re not limited to methodology to develop programs that help meet their specific business needs. For any single channel of health care delivery. Our team has designed innovations for example, C1 conducts “design sprints” working side-by-side with employer groups employee engagement and wellness programs in areas such as member experience, to identify and prototype new solutions, such as improving the family planning and support experience for their employees. behavioral health, and diabetes.

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North Texas is home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative

What type of opportunities exist for innovative thinkers looking to join your

companies in the country. In your own words, what can this be attributed to? The C1 Innovation Lab is built on the strong foundation of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Texas serves as our growth market. Many of our largest employer groups are based in North Texas. I believe that companies are drawn to the economy and business climate, diverse culture, and the growing talent pool. Dallas is full of visionaries who see a better tomorrow and are determined to connect the right resources together to execute their idea.

company or industry? As the health care industry continues to transform, innovative thinkers, clinicians, designers, etc., drive the development of tech-driven solutions and improving the customer experience in support of our members. We work with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at BCBSTX to attract a diverse and robust talent pipeline of professionals to fill STEAM roles within our organization. Individuals who are interested in career opportunities with us should visit the BCBSTX career page.

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BOTTLE ROCKET B OT T L E RO C K E T S T U D I OS .C O M

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After ten years of success in mobile app development, what’s next on the horizon for Dallas-based Bottle Rocket? Today’s customers are in control. More than ever before, brand experiences matter. And not just any ordinary experience. Customers expect brand interactions that are preeminent…personalized… customized—and even differentiated based on their specific needs and wants. Experiences matter just as much as any product or service. They can enhance or detract from a customer’s perception of

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a brand within seconds. In this new world where customers are uber-connected, experiences matter even more. With new and exciting connections waiting around every corner, the brands that win are those that offer rapid and transparent access to information, flawless support in service interactions, and contextual awareness at all times. All while keeping up with the latest technologies and innovations that customers crave. At Bottle Rocket, we are in the business of connections. As experts at the

intersection of people and technology, we create powerful, preeminent connected experiences that enable today’s Connected Lifestyle. Just ask the likes of local industry changers such as Baylor Scott & White, Animal Supply Company, MoneyGram, and Southwest Airlines, just to name a few. Unlike the past, a brand’s future hinges on connections. Connections that attract new customers. Connections that create loyalty. Connections that drive sustainable value. And this is something Bottle Rocket does better than the rest.


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THOUGHT LEADERS

CAPITAL FACTORY Joshua Baer CA PITA L FAC TO RY.C O M

Tell us about your company’s products or services. Capital Factory is the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas. We provide Texans with a tech-centric work environment, event space, mentorship opportunities, an accelerator program, and funding opportunities. Last year more than 100,000 entrepreneurs, programmers and designers gathered day and night for meetups, classes, and coworking. We meet the best entrepreneurs in Texas and introduce them to their first investors, employees, and customers. How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region? Capital Factory is all about the connections we make. All of the

components and resources of Capital Factory are geared towards empowering and helping entrepreneurs start, grow, run and even sell their startups. Capital Factory members are primarily tech focused, and thus all speak the same language—tech. Capital Factory actively works to connect members to their next employee, co-founder, CTO, or mentor through meetings, events, and mentor sessions. Texas is home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative companies in the country. In your own words, what can this be attributed to? Texans are scrappy and focused, which has lead to Texas becoming a leader in

innovation as part of a global ecosystem. We have 4 of the 11 largest cities in the country that are all within driving distance of each other. No city lives in isolation anymore. We are all connected. Our economies are connected. Our food systems are connected. Our health systems are connected. More connections means more business, more investors, more revenue, more growth, and more innovation. What is your mission? My mission is to help people quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs. I believe this is what I was put on the Earth to do, and it is the biggest impact I can have on individual people as well as on all of human society. Entrepreneurship is a gift that brings financial independence and, at the same time, the skills and resources to effect positive change in the world. Entrepreneurs are changemakers and innovators by definition and helping to create just one has a ripple effect that is felt by thousands of people. Why did you found Capital Factory? I started angel investing around the time that I sold my first company in 2005. Pretty quickly I learned that there were basically two kinds of angel investors—purely financial investors who are looking to maximize their financial return on each individual deal and successful entrepreneurs whose personal reputation is more important than any one individual deal. I invest in startups to pay it forward and help other people change the world. It’s only sustainable if it makes money, but that’s not the primary motivator. Capital Factory was started as a way to get together with other angel investors who had a similar philosophy. From there it grew into a mentoring program, a matching investment fund and syndicate, a coworking space, an event center, and ecosystem.

Joshua Baer

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You are welcome here. Yes, we mean you! We are of all races, genders, beliefs, orientations, backgrounds, ages, sports teams, fandoms, and programming languages. This is our house, our family. Come hang with us and help make awesome futures for all humans. And maybe robots. Capital Factory is a tech-centric entrepreneurship ecosystem. Events, coworking, office space, mentorship, startup acceleration, and funding opportunities are all components of what Capital Factory does to empower and help entrepreneurs start, grow, run and even sell their startups.    @ Capital Factory

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S P E CSPECIAL I A L A DV E R T I S I N G SSECTION ECTION ADVERTISING

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CHILDREN’S MEDICALCenter CENTER FOUNDATION Children’s Medical Foundation Brent Christopher, President

G I V E .C H I L D R E N S .C O M Children’s Medical Center Foundation is the How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region? fundraising arm of Children’s HealthSM, a North diff Texas is full of athletes amazing nonprofit But, means it’s aof Norththat Texasalso is home to some How does your company erentiate Children’s Medical Center Foundation is to grateful familiesorganizations. and patients private, non-profit institution. It’s one of the crowded field. There are many voices competing for the attention of donors. So, SM largest comprehensive pediatric careothers in the region? the most cutting-edge and itself from the fundraising arm of Children’s Health to community leaders—are telling their , health it’s tough to become a charity-of-choice that donors immediately think of when systems in tthe country. fulfill the mission North Texas is full of amazing nonprofit story through traditional and social media innovative companies in the a private, non-profi institution. It’sToone they want to make a difference in the community. of making life better for children, we’re country. In your own words, what organizations. But, that also means it’s channels about being connected with of the dedicated largest comprehensive pediatric to:

Toare elevate the philanthropic of the Children’s Health we’ve can this bebrand, attributed to? a crowded field. There many voices Children’s expression Health as a cause-of-choice. health care systems in the country. To • Providing exceptional care at the bedside launched a different approach to community awareness. Using the phrase, “I blood. Innovation is in our North Texas There’s still a long way to go, but an fulfill the of mission making life child bettertoday for competing for the attention of donors. So, a sickofor injured Choose Children’s,” a wide variety of influencers – from well-known athletes The cities of this region weren’t created it’s tough to become a charity-of-choice early marker of success for us was being children, we’re dedicated to: • Making research discoveries that will to grateful families and patients to community leaders – are telling their story because of great natural resources or that donors immediately think of when ranked No. 2 on the large organization become tomorrow’s cures through traditional and social media channels about being connected with other obvious reasons. They were forged they want to make a diff erence in the leaderboard for local charitable giving on • Providing exceptional care at the Children’s Health as a cause-of-choice. • Helping to keep kids healthy in the where and play by the determination and willpower of community. To elevate the philanthropic North Texas Giving Day. bedside ofcommunity a sick or injured childthey todaylive, learn There’s still a long way to go, but an early marker of success for us was being highly entrepreneurial people. A bold expression of the Children’s Health brand, • Making research discoveries that will ranked No. 2 on the large organization leaderboard for local charitable giving on willingness to take risks and find new ways we’ve launched a different approach become tomorrow’s cures North Texas Giving Day. of doing things has been a hallmark of our to community awareness. Using the • Helping to keep kids healthy in the North Texas is home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative character ever since, which continues to community where they live, learn and play phrase, “I Choose Children’s,” a wide companies in the country. In your own words, what can this beregion with the same attract others to this variety of influencers—from well-known attributed to? entrepreneurial convictions. Innovation is in our North Texas blood. The cities of this region weren’t created because of great natural resources or other obvious reasons. They were forged Brent Chistopher by the determination and willpower of highly entrepreneurial people. A bold willingness to take risks and find new ways of doing things has been a hallmark of our character ever since, which continues to attract others to this region with the same entrepreneurial convictions.

INTERVIEW WITH: Brent Christopher President Children’s Medical Center Foundation

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I Choose Children’s When you choose Children’s HealthSM, you’re choosing to make a difference in the lives of families and children. As a non-profit pediatric health care system, we depend on your generous gifts to help us provide lifesaving treatment. We invite you to join us in saying, “I Choose Children’s!” We can’t do it without you, and we wouldn’t choose to. Volunteer, donate or fundraise IChooseChildrens.com


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THOUGHT LEADERS

DELOITTE Jason Downing, Managing Partner D E LO IT T E .C O M

Jason Downing

How is technology impacting the needs of your business or those of your clients? Globalization, shifting social values and changing workforce demographics are transforming how work gets done, who does it, and even what it looks like. Historically, technological change has driven long-term economic growth, productivity and improved living standards; it even results in net job creation. But the near-term effects of technological advancements, especially those evolving with today’s unprecedented rate of change, may create challenges for both workers and employers. For example, more than half a million U.S. manufacturing jobs remain vacant because of a lack of workers with the appropriate tech skills to fill those roles. Employers also have to contend with the new freelance economy, created by the ‘internet of everything’ and largely driven by Millennials, which is dependent on

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employees who spend no longer than 16 months with a particular organization. Future businesses will need people with digital knowhow, management capability, creativity, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving abilities. These attributes may form the core set of desired professional skills, with social adeptness at times taking precedence over technical expertise. This creates an opportunity for employers to offer dynamic learning and development opportunities and flexibility policies that are inclusive of workers of all ages. North Texas is home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative companies in the country. In your own words, what can this be attributed to? North Texas has a diverse economy comprised of Fortune 500 companies (and many corporate headquarters), private and family-owned businesses and universities, combining the right resources, tools

and people to create a hub for developing innovative technologies. The region’s ability to foster emerging companies is in part driven by collaboration between large corporates and startups. There’s a spirit of camaraderie and mentorship between the market’s established business leaders and early-stage companies that’s both helping entrepreneurs grow their startups and attracting smaller enterprises to North Texas. This collaboration and ongoing dialogue is helping nurture an already strong local talent pool and creating a business community where entrepreneurs feel they can thrive. At Deloitte, we work with organizations like the Capital Factory, Dallas Entrepreneur Center and Dallas Innovates because we strongly believe in North Texas’ ability to become a highly competitive tech hub. We’re proud to share our time, resources and knowledge to help early-stage companies reach the next level.


The future of work is here. How will you take the lead? Technology isn’t replacing people. It’s augmenting what people can accomplish. Is your organization prepared for what’s next? Let’s get to work. www.deloitte.com/us/futureofwork Copyright © 2018 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.

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FIDELITY INVESTMENTS Tammy Gilbert, CIO / Regional Leader F I D E L IT Y L A B S .C O M

Tammy Gilbert

Fidelity Investments® is one of the world’s largest and most diversified financial services firms with $7.0 trillion in client assets, connecting with 28 million people, 23,000 employers and 13,000 financial advisory firms in the moments that matter in their lives. Our award-winning company has a diverse population of more than 5,400 employees in North Texas. 1

What’s Fidelity’s innovation mantra? Our commitment to “take intelligent risks rather than follow the crowd” means a constant focus on what’s next so we can make every product, service and experience better for our customers. Our in-house R&D lab wonders what’s possible, then finds out—starting first with outside-in research and academic partnerships to explore emerging technologies and rapidly developing new products and businesses to revolutionize the financial wellbeing of our customers. For example, Fidelity recently launched a new company, Fidelity Digital AssetsSM , to offer institutional-quality custody and trade execution services for digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, to sophisticated institutional investors, like hedge funds.

What are ways Fidelity fosters innovation? We nurture a spirit of inquiry and new perspectives amongst our employees to drive better business outcomes for our customers, whom we place at the center of everything we do. Our employees use Design Thinking, crowdsourcing campaigns, art, experiential learning and more to inspire creativity and make new discoveries. One program in Westlake is the Innovation Challenge where employees solve challenges, deepen their skills and meet new colleagues. How does Fidelity make innovation come alive? We teach and share innovation, like speaking at industry events, running innovation programs and Design Thinking boot camps, leading popup classes at Stanford, and we invite in industry leaders to educate and spark conversation among our employees. Our leaders also offer their learnings, as one executive did in her fireside chat at The Dallas Regional Chamber’s Women’s Business Conference. What is Fidelity’s view about career opportunities? Mobility means blazing your own trail or reinventing your career without leaving the company. Our Westlake employees explore opportunities through 1:1 coaching at the myCareer Center.

Fidelity employees explore new ideas

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We invite you to learn more about our work at www.FidelityLabs.com and our career opportunities at www.fidelitycareers.com.

1as of 11/14/18. Fidelity, Fidelity Digital Asset Services, Fidelity Labs and other organizations noted are not affiliated. 870319.1.0 Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC © 2018 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.


A PROVEN TRACK RECORD

SETTING A NEW PACE.

At Fidelity, we’re ushering in a new way of working. Through agility, collaboration, and cutting edge technology solutions, we’re delivering faster results to customers. Build your career with training, generous benefits and long-term opportunity—all backed by the security and support of a trusted industry leader with over 70 years of experience.

Blaze your own trail at fidelitycareers.com Fidelity Investments is an equal opportunity employer.

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GOLDMAN SACHS 10,000 SMALL BUSINESSES Cristin Thomas D C C C D. E D U/ 10 KS B

In its simplest form, what is innovation to you? Innovation is the action of changing or transforming a method, idea, product or process to solve a problem and/or create value that satisfies the needs of customers. It’s something that Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alumni understand is necessary for growth.

Tell us about your company’s products or services. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a business education program for small businesses that links learning to action. 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) is an investment funded by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services. Through the program, small business owners will gain practical skills that can immediately be put into action like how to understand financial statements, negotiate successfully, strategically sell, how to hire and retain top talent, identify and evaluate innovation

opportunities, and create and execute customized growth plans. How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region? Our major differentiator is the practicality of linking learning to action. Small Businesses who go through the program receive the tools, professional, and peer support they need to develop a strategic and customized business growth plan that when executed will take their company to the next level. In addition, the 10,000 Small Businesses program shows small business owners how to become more bankable and position themselves to access small business funding and capital as needed for innovation and growth. How does your company leadership grow, enhance or support the industry in which it serves? Six months after completing the program 10,000 Small Businesses graduates are increasing revenues and creating new jobs. Nationally the 10KSB average revenue increase is 35%, at 18 months the average revenue growth is 61% and by 30 months revenue has increased 98%. J ob growth rates are also significant for 10,000 Small Businesses alumni. Nationally, six months after program completion the average job growth is 29%, at 18 months the average job growth reached 48% and by 30 months the number is 62%.

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MADDREY PLLC

M A D D R E Y P L LC .C O M

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How does your company support the entrepreneurial community? Entrepreneurs are creative and innovative. My goal, and the goal of all the attorneys at Maddrey PLLC, is to allow entrepreneurs to do what they do best – create. I was an entrepreneur myself before I became an attorney, and I

know the stresses that weigh heavily on the minds of startup founders. My intention from day one was to provide a system of support so that some of those stresses are shifted onto us. If my clients tell me they leave my office and sleep better that night, I have done my job.

law firms that are out there? Well, as I mentioned above, I’ve been there. I know what Asan anen e it’s like to sit on the other side of a table from aAs lawyer, and I know just how intense some of those meetings can your your dr be. That is experience you can’t learn in law school, and it dre impacts how we treat and support our clients. Our make make itith relationship with our clients is about more than a document; it’s about having someone in your aren’t ww corner with specific expertise who youaren’t can count on to be there for you at each step of the way. We’re not a “volume” law practice, andprofessio weprofess take significant steps to ensure that the clients that choose to work with us are in line withhe’s thehe’s same bee be goals and values we have. It starts and ends with communication. before before de d How do you choose the best lawyer or law

Maddrey Maddre

firm when you first start looking? There are SO many lawyers in DFW. Certainly, for forsome som there are a few questions you can ask. For one, find out how they approach a new issue where And Andsho sh they don’t know the answer. The thought process when dealing with novel problems is often quite illuminating. Also, find out if they are going to charge you when you shoot them a text or a phone call. Make sure they treat you like you are all on the same team.

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William A. Munck

THOUGHT LEADERS

MUNCK WILSON MANDALA, LLP William A. Munck, Managing Partner M U N C K W I L S O N .C O M

In its simplest form, what is innovation to you? To me, innovation is not accepting status quo. Whether it’s inventing technology for earlier cancer detection or developing motion detection sensors to help monitor the elderly for falls, not accepting a situation that is less than ideal and creating a better way of doing it is what feeds innovators. We have several clients who are talented and successful innovators and it’s an honor to partner with them and protect their innovations. How does your company differentiate itself from others? I believe we are stronger than many other law firms because we are consensus-oriented. We don’t accept grandstanders and we hold each other up to a high stan-

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dard of hard work and excellence in client service. We want everyone to be better as a team because that helps the clients the most and it helps the firm as a whole. What type of opportunities exist for innovative thinkers to join your firm? We are always looking for new talent and innovative thinkers. Munck Wilson’s approach to business is to acquire good people no matter what and to adapt to the market. While many companies will hire for the business that’s coming, we hire good people for the sake of having good people on our team. If they are good, they will bring the business. What has you most excited about the future? We were recently named a litigation

department of the year finalist in Texas and I am excited to see the continued successes of our team as they take on several high-stakes litigation cases in 2019. We have hired some talented attorneys and staff and I am excited to see how they contribute to the team and our firm’s successes. We have asked our younger attorneys to contribute to shaping the future of the firm and how we operate, which is giving us fresh perspectives and innovative ways of doing business. Finally, we are planning our second S.H.E. Summit for August 2019 and expect this event to be even more successful than our 2018 event which attracted over 300 attendees. Stay tuned to hear more about S.H.E. Summit Dallas 2019: www.shedallas.com.


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THOUGHT LEADERS

SABRE Sean Menke, President & CEO SA B R E .C O M

How does your company stretch the boundaries of what’s been done, or reinvent itself within the industry? Sabre is on a mission to reimagine the business of travel, which is all about retailing, distribution and fulfillment. How do we fulfill the end traveler’s wants and needs through increased personalization and loyalty? How are our airline, hotelier and agency customers pushing automation and efficiency? How are they providing the right product to the right traveler at the right time? One of the main drivers of this is data. Travel generates an enormous amount of data across all touchpoints, and historically the industry has not leveraged this data to the extent that it should. We are making focused investments in A.I. and machine learning to harness data and create actionable insights that drive revenue for our customers. This also makes us uniquely positioned to create the technology that will deliver solutions that optimize distribution across all channels and enable fulfillment.

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What type of opportunities exist for innovative thinkers looking to join your company? I have been heavily focused on making sure that Sabre is bringing in people that have strong technology backgrounds – and not necessarily in “travel technology,” but in “technology” as it’s more broadly defined. In the last 18 months, we’ve been able to add a lot of technology leaders that think about the business completely differently, and they collaborate with leaders that come from the operating side of the organization who understand the complexity of our customers’ businesses. Given these insights from multiple perspectives, how do we think about travel technology and challenge ourselves to lead its evolution?

How is technology solving the needs of your clients? At the end of the day, our primary purpose is to develop solutions that increase revenue opportunities for our customers and fulfill their brand promise to travelers. That’s why they rely on us and invest hundreds of millions of dollars on Sabre products and services, and our focus is to be the leading technology provider behind all of that.


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S P E C I A L A D V E RT I S I N G S E C T I O N THOUGHT LEADERS

THOMSON REUTERS Brian Peccarelli, Chief Operating Officer, Customer Markets

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Brian Peccarelli

Walk through New York’s Times Square, an area so synonymous with the information economy that it is named after a newspaper, and it’s hard to miss the giant 32 story Thomson Reuters building, with its soaring video screens and sleek glass walls. While the global information company does have a significant presence in New York, and other historic news and information hubs like London and Hong Kong, one of its fastest-growing locations is in Carrolton, TX, just north of Dallas. Brian Peccarelli, Chief Operating Officer, Customer Markets at Thomson Reuters has had a lot to do with that. A 35-year veteran of Thomson Reuters, Peccarelli has held a number of positions with the company, starting as a product accountant in 1984, and, earlier

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this year, being named Chief Operating Officer for all customer-facing operations. Peccarelli has called Dallas home for all of that time, and, as he climbed the ranks at Thomson Reuters, he has assembled a dream team of technologists, innovators, and business leaders who are redefining the way businesses of every type operate. What is it about Dallas that makes it such a fast-growing hub for Thomson Reuters? Thomson Reuters is a global information company. We help professionals working in complex business, such as law, tax, compliance, government, and media, make confident decisions based on trusted information and authoritative insight. To do that well, we

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need to be incredibly nimble, able to adapt our technologies and solutions rapidly as fast-moving regulation and other disruptions introduce new challenges. In Dallas, we are dialed into a world class talent pipeline that gives us the skillsets we need to do that, and an amazing transportation infrastructure that lets us physically get to any location on the world very quickly. What kinds of positions have you been filling in Dallas? This year alone, we’ve brought in eight senior business leaders—people who are running critical parts of our business— who are relocating from places as far-flung as Moscow and from established tech business centers like Silicon

Valley, London, and New York. We’re also recruiting locally, drawing from the booming local tech sector and from colleges around the globe whose grads are beating a path to Dallas for its great business environment, thriving cultural scene, and its relatively low cost of living. Are there any specific areas of technological innovation that you see showing the most potential right now? We are living through an unprecedented period of disruption as massive regulatory and compliance changes that once brewed slowly over the course of decades are implemented overnight. Thankfully, new technologies are moving faster, allowing corporations to switch on a

dime to keep pace with these changes. The most exciting areas we’re working on now are in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), where, for example, we recently launched the most advanced legal search technology available anywhere in the world, and in blockchain, where we are using distributed ledger technology to streamline global trade processing and tax auditing functions. But the really exciting thing is that none of these technologies is being developed in a vacuum. We’re building them right now today at enterprise scale to integrate directly into the IT backbones of the world’s largest companies. That’s what’s such a thrill for me. The work we’re doing in our product development labs today will change the way business is conducted tomorrow.


Be bold. Think big Dallas.

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THE EXIT

A FOUNDER’S STORY

I launched a startup in Dallas that sold for $2.1 billion. And then I launched another. by L A N C E C R O S BY

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created, StackPath was born. As I traveled the country looking for investors for StackPath, I was asked over and over, “Why DFW?” Everyone thought SoftLayer had been founded in Silicon Valley and very few would believe that Dallas was our headquarters. I explained to potential investors again and again that the cost of living, the school systems, the numerous top colleges in Texas, the strong economic growth, the pro-business government, and the access to human capital made the region the perfect spot for a startup. Fast-forward three years and StackPath has become a juggernaut in cybersecurity and is on its way to defining the secure edge of the internet. With more than 400 employees now part of The StackPack, we’re on a mission to make the internet safe. How do you build things that don’t exist? First, you have to have a vision. Second, you have to find highly skilled individuals who seek change and aren’t afraid to fail. DFW might not be top of mind like other tech cities—San Francisco, Boston, New York, and even Austin, to name a few—but it has everything needed to create a successful company. What’s more: Several spectacular exits have occurred right here in our backyard. CyrusOne, a data center provider out of Houston, moved its headquarters to Dallas and went public, creating one of the larger data center real estate investment trusts in the world. Masergy, also from Dallas, just had a spectacular exit to the private equity firm Berkshire Hathaway for close to $2 billion. Adding to that, Ustream was founded in Fort Worth and had a huge exit to IBM for hundreds of millions. In short, DFW is shaping up to be Silicon Valley East. Last and Final Fun Fact: Texas is consistently named the top U.S. state for business, with Dallas as the best city for business in the state. If I had to do it all over again, would I choose DFW as the headquarters for a startup? You bet I would. The talent pool, affordable cost of living, and pro-business environment is very conducive to startups—especially tech startups.

I M A G E : A N T I M A G N E T / I S TO C K P H OTO

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1: THE NINE-BANDED ARMAdillo almost always gives birth to identical quadruplets. Fun Fact No. 2: One of the most significant events in the history of the internet—the creation of cloud computing—took place in Dallas on Cinco de Mayo 2005. While I’m sure the armadillo fact is interesting, I think more people will be surprised by Fact No. 2. You thought Amazon or someone in Silicon Valley or Seattle created the cloud, didn’t you? Actually, the cloud was created by SoftLayer, a Dallas-based company that I co-founded. How did it happen? On May 5, 2005, 10 people went to breakfast at Mama’s Daughters’ Diner on Irving Boulevard and began to brainstorm a new type of hosting—one that didn’t require a long-term contract or custom hardware, and, most importantly, one that could be spun up at a moment’s notice with a credit card. All 10 brainstormers resigned their jobs that very day and started the world’s first cloud company. SoftLayer went live on January 23, 2006. It was the first to market, beating Amazon and its larger rivals by a few months. The ride began. Fun Fact No. 3: Armadillos can be eaten and are often called “opossum on the half-shell.” (They are said to taste not like chicken, as many things are, but rather like pork. But I digress.) In 2007, SoftLayer exploded into a hypergrowth phase, moving beyond its original Dallas data center at the Infomart. First was Seattle; then Ashburn, Virginia; then Singapore, Amsterdam, and San Jose, California. SoftLayer became synonymous in cloud and even became a standard reference on HBO’s Silicon Valley. As SoftLayer ramped up, the need for talent increased exponentially. Still headquartered in Dallas and with 13 global data centers, the team grew to almost 700 by mid-2013. In July of that year, IBM purchased SoftLayer for $2.1 billion in cash, and SoftLayer became the base of IBM’s cloud business. You read that right: A small startup from Dallas became the cloud for one of the largest and oldest IT companies in the world. Under IBM, SoftLayer continued to grow to 40 data centers around the world and 1,500 employees, most of whom resided in Dallas. Today, IBM/SoftLayer is one of the Big Four cloud companies. The others are Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Azure. I left IBM in February 2015 and decided to launch another startup—a cybersecurity firm focused on solving the security issues of the internet. On May 5, 2015, 10 years to the day SoftLayer was U N FACT


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Profile for Dallas Regional Chamber Publications

Dallas Innovates 2019  

Now is the time for North Texas to grab its place in the tech universe.

Dallas Innovates 2019  

Now is the time for North Texas to grab its place in the tech universe.