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GAME CHANGERS | DISRUPTORS | CREATIVES | THE NEW FRONTIERS

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DALLASINNOVATES.COM

WHAT’S NEW AND NEXT IN DALLAS-FORT WORTH

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CONTENTS DALLAS INNOVATES

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FOREWORD

Dallas-Fort Worth is driving growth through innovation, often into unexpected arenas.

THE KICKSTARTER 14

THE EVOLUTION OF DALLAS-FORT WORTH INNOVATION

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DISRUPTORS

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HIGH-FLYERS

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GAME CHANGERS

How far we have come, and what’s cooking in some of the hottest spots in the region.

Pushing the limits: 10 rebellious entrepreneurs staking their claim in DFW. Aces of space: Our region’s aerospace and aviation industry is about to fly high. From Virgin Hyperloop One’s high-speed transportation system to Uber Elevate—a flying ridesharing service—Dallas-Fort Worth could soon be home to some of the hottest new forms of transportation.

25 BREAKTHROUGHS

High-minded discoveries: University researchers and students have stumbled upon unprecedented findings— and they’re setting out to improve lives around the world. Cover Design: Michael Samples For extended content, go online to www.DallasInnovates.com

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PUBLISHED BY

D MAGAZINE PARTNERS

DALL ASINNOVATES.COM BUSINESS GROUP PUBLISHER Josh Schimmels PUBLISHER & DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL

Quincy Curé Preston quincy.preston@dmagazine.com

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PROJECT EDITOR Jessica Elliott

THE INSIDER

MANAGING EDITOR Lance Murray

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SMARTER, STRONGER, SAVVIER: FIVE COMPANIES PUSHING INNOVATION BOUNDARIES

SENIOR EDITOR Heather Noel

From Neiman Marcus Group’s iLab to The Garage at Capital One Financial Services, heavy hitters are investing in innovation hubs to ignite employee creativity.

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WHERE ‘BIG D’ STANDS FOR DIGITAL

App and software development are spurring on Dallas’ economy—in a big way.

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THE ALTRUISTS

46 7 MASTER INNOVATORS AND THEIR SECRET WEAPONS

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THE EXIT THE CREATIVES

Rise of the makers: Dallas-Fort Worth is fostering the talents of boundary-pushing designers, chefs, architects, dancers, filmmakers—the list goes on.

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THE NEXT FRONTIER

Top tech trends for 2018, and the Dallas-Fort Worth companies leading the charge in each arena

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PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Stephanie Mojonnet stephanie@dmagazine.com DIRECTOR OF SALES DRC PUBLICATIONS Kyle Moss kyle.moss@dmagazine.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Yana Kolmakova MEDIA DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Vanessa Santillan INTERNS Jewels Clark Christina Phillips D’Anzia Robertson

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

BACK TO THE FUTURE

The future lies in augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Danielle Abril Hanah Cho Krista Nightengale Sheryl Jean Jeff Bounds Nicholas Sakelaris Dave Moore Chirag Gupta

Merissa De Falcis

The philanthropists who are bettering their communities—and, in turn, are giving the region a good reputation.

Tips of the trades from seven movers and shakers, from Amber Venz Box of rewardStyle to artist Joshua King of AURORA.

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR Michael Samples

HOW TO NETWORK

Getting connected is the first step in diving into DFW’s startup community.

PRESIDENT & CEO Dale Petroskey RESEARCH AND INNOVATION SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Duane Dankesreiter DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION Natalie Fletcher Dallas Innovates is D Magazine Partners, 750 N. St. Paul St., Ste. 2100, Dallas, TX 75201; www.dallasinnovates.com, 214.523.0300. ©2017 All rights reserved. No part of ths 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.

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MURAL FROM DOT’S HOP HOUSE IN DEEP ELLUM

Photo: Merissa De Falcis

>> FOREWORD We know that there is a direct link between having an innovative economy and the ability to attract companies and talent. Dallas-Fort Worth contains around 230,000 high-tech workers, ranking us seventh when compared to other metros around the country. Add in our 89,000 creative class workers and you quickly realize we are a hub of creativity, imagination and high-tech innovation. We have had some great success over the recent years and have a lot to show for it. We now have an inviting and collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem, one that the Kaufman Foundation ranks 12th in the country in terms of startup activity. The same landscape that fosters our largest companies also spurs explosive growth in our smallest. Our universities continue their march toward Tier 1 status. Three of them — the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of North Texas — now belong to the elite group of Carnegie R-1 Research Universities. UT Southwestern Medical School is in a class by itself, and is ranked fifth in the world in research that drives innovation, according to the Nature Index. We see global companies like Toyota, Microsoft,

and NTT Data making Dallas-Fort Worth a key part of their growth strategies. And AT&T plans to spend $100 million revamping its downtown Dallas headquarters to be their “Discovery District.” We’re especially proud of attracting the U.S. Patent and Trademark satellite office, one of only four across the country. Since its grand opening in 2015, the office has become a valuable member of our community, actively promoting innovation and the businesses that create it, locally and throughout the state. This region is also pushing the boundaries of how we solve some our community’s most important social challenges. Inspiring initiatives, like Café Momentum, the restaurant and culinary training facility that transforms the lives of kids coming out of juvenile detention, and Robokind, which has designed a new humanoid robot with African-American likeness to help bridge the diversity gap in K-12 STEM education. We apply the mentality for innovation and new ideas in the creative sphere as well. A diverse community of creative individuals, from professional designers

DUANE DANKESREITER SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, RESEARCH AND INNOVATION DALLAS REGIONAL CHAMBER

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QUINCY PRESTON PUBLISHER, DALLAS INNOVATES

to world-renowned artists, proudly call DFW home. But we know we can’t rest on our laurels. We have to continue to do the things to create and foster a culture of innovation. We want that person who is working out of their garage and has an idea for the next great invention, to have the tools, resources, mentors, and environment that allows them to succeed. We want that reporter for INC. or Fast Company magazine who is writing their next story to think of Dallas-Fort Worth — and seek out our companies to profile. We want the MIT or Stanford graduate to consider moving here because they see this region as a place of opportunity, and we need the people who live here to spread the message in their circles of influence that Dallas-Fort Worth is truly an innovative place. That is where Dallas Innovates comes in. Dallas Innovates is a collaboration of the Dallas Regional Chamber and D Magazine Partners and is dedicated to telling the stories of innovation across Dallas-Fort Worth . We’re forward thinking, here in DFW — driving growth through innovation, often into unexpected arenas. We have a great story to tell, and Dallas Innovates is the way to do that. We invite you to read the stories here in our first print edition, and go to www.dallasinnovates.com to signup for our daily newsletter — and learn how Dallas Innovates every day.


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CONTRIBUTORS WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON LOCAL INNOVATION?

DANIELLE ABRIL “It’s been incredible to see the business community increase its focus on innovation the past several years,” Danielle says. “Corporations are trying to stay ahead of disruption while startups are working to be the solution for those corporations. It’s only a matter of time before they find a way to efficiently leverage each other’s strength and bolster the region’s innovation, productivity, and national reputation.” Danielle is the managing editor at D CEO, the business publication for D Magazine. There, she is responsible for overseeing the production of the magazine and technology and startup coverage. Danielle previously served as the technology reporter for the Dallas Business Journal, where she launched the then-daily newsletter Tech Flash, and also has served as a reporter for The Dallas Morning News.

HANAH CHO “I’m excited about the autonomous or driverless car because, well, I hate to drive, plus the traffic around here is getting worse by the minute,” Hanah says. “I’m excited about how this technology can make a difference not only for people like me but for others who can really benefit such as seniors and the disabled.” Hanah Cho is a former Dallas Morning News business reporter, who has covered the growth of the region’s startup community for several years. She lives in Allen with her husband and three children.

SHERYL JEAN “I found that innovation is more a state of mind than anything else,” Sheryl says. “Innovators embrace the unknown as a giant white board; they don’t fear it.” Sheryl covered innovation, among other topics, as a former business reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She’s now a freelance journalist based in Northern California.

NICHOLAS SAKELARIS “I am most excited about the future of electric vehicles with better batteries, more convenient charging solutions and the ability to sell power back to the grid through the blockchain,” Nicholas says. Nicholas is passionate about cutting-edge technology, from startups to corporations, and has been covering emerging technology in Dallas-Fort Worth for Dallas Innovates for nearly two years. He also has covered local communities and businesses in his nearly 14-year journalism career.

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DAVE MOORE “I’ve been most surprised by the groundswell of individuals and companies who are diving headfirst into new ways of thinking and developing technologies to solve problems or to improve daily life,” Dave says. “I’ve met researchers who developed a simulator that creates thousands of autonomous ‘cars’ to test out a host of traffic scenarios, and tech enthusiasts who debated the need to incorporate ethics into moral framework of artificial intelligence. Yet I have barely scratched the surface of what’s going on around here.” Dave spent his early years asking his mother “why” until she bought him a book titled “Tell Me Why.” Now, he is actually paid to do it. Dave and his Samsung S8+ have a wife, two children and two gerbils.

KRISTA NIGHTENGALE “What excites me most about DFW is its people,” Krista says. “They’re passionate, they’re dreamers, they’re realists, they’re hardworking, they’re go-getters. DFW has a great deal of potential, and the perfect mix of people to see it come to fruition. I can’t wait to see what we all do.” Krista is the managing director of the Better Block, an international, urban design nonprofit that educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leaders to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.

JEFF BOUNDS “The diversity of DFW’s economy allows us to grow while avoiding over-dependence on one industry. If we play our cards right, North Texas could become an American rarity: A metropolitan area that melds prosperity with affordability.” Jeff is a freelance business writer based in Garland. He specializes in covering finance, technology, and law.

CHIRAG GUPTA “I am excited to see increased access to entrepreneurship and innovation in traditionally underserved communities across North Texas,” Chirag says. “Coworking spaces, universities, media, and local governments are collaborating on new programs today that will prepare our young people for the jobs of tomorrow.” Chirag was raised in North Texas, and lives in Dallas. He has been a member of the startup community since 2014, and actively works to connect innovators from all corners of the region as the founder of NŌD Coworking.


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SPONSOR MESSAGE

REAL INNOVATION

THE PATH TO

LETTER FROM THE CEO GILBERT SALAZAR

I would say that we, as a marketing technology agency, take a highly focused approach to what we know as “innovation.” Meaning, you shouldn’t start with the idea of building something for the sake of trying to be innovative. At least, that’s how we see it. I’ve always thought of innovation as something that develops organically, as a result of direct problem-solving and trying to fill experience gaps. In other words, the goal behind—and path to—innovation is to make something more efficient, easier to use, and purpose-driven. The principles we lean on for this approach are rooted in Design Thinking, which is a solution-based methodology. It’s a concept I first learned from people like Saul Wurman and David Kelley, whose ideals leveraged Human-Centered Design. This logic includes a critical focus on empathy for the consumer that can be applied to anything from strategic consulting to software development and implemented within any industry. We also practice this philosophy internally, which is why we believe in investing in R&D. It’s the only tangible way to understand what is truly feasible from a tech standpoint. Will the technology support it? Will users adopt it? Can we continue to stretch boundaries? Because we offer innovative solutions, we often find ourselves facilitating education for our clients. We help them understand how our efforts will lead to long-term benefits. Education and training are also critical to developing an innovative mindset within our team. Instead of starting off by searching for candidates in what are considered traditional tech hotspots, we believe in growing our team members by nurturing their strengths. We feel the local academic and professional collaborative environment in Dallas allows us to find the type of innovative thinkers we need, right in our own backyard. Ultimately, the right mix of people and vision cultivates the kind of meaningful partnerships that create a common purpose and lead to real innovation.

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EVOLUTION

THE OF DALLAS-FORT WORTH INNOVATION BY DANIELLE ABRIL

Dallas-Fort Worth’s history is rife with innovation and entrepreneurship. Consider the likes of Mark Cuban, a selfmade billionaire who got his start founding internet radio company broadcast.com. Or Ross Perot Jr., who has continued the Perot family’s legacy through real estate development and technology investments. And Bottle Rocket’s Calvin Carter, who started his first business out of his dorm room at Southern Methodist University. There’s no shortage of success stories in the region.

REEDER

CONLEY

BEARD

“There’s always been a history of entrepreneurism in this region,” says Joe Beard, partner of venture capital firm Perot Jain. “It’s always been here … in different verticals.” Texas Instruments, which invented the silicon transistor in 1954, has been churning out research, technology developments, and offshoot companies for decades. In the ’90s, North Texas was home to the Telecom Corridor, a hotbed for for innovation in telecommunications technologies. The telecom and dot-com busts have since changed the dynamics of the region, spurring a new generation of innovators. “In a word I would say we’ve become collaborative,” says Jennifer Conley, vice president at Dallas startup Vinli, and co-founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. “It’s just not about what you want to get out of it anymore. It’s about what we all want to get out of it.” Entrepreneurship has proven to be a viable career path, and young innovators are breathing new energy into veteran entrepreneurs, Beard says. Local institutions like Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Dallas are teaching students how to create successful companies. And startups aren’t alone in understanding the value of innovation. The attitude across sectors is innovate or prepare to be disrupted, says Doug Reeder, vice president of innovation at NTT DATA Services. DFW corporations have spent recent years erecting innovation centers to improve speed, quality, and efficiency of their businesses. And they’re putting their money where their mouth is, he adds. “I’m seeing a desire to co-investigate, co-innovate, and co-invest in order to get more innovation,” he says. “We’re seeing emergence of business-partner ecosystems.” That collaboration, which has been gaining momentum as innovation hubs spread across the region, is making its way into the investment community, too, says Beard. “The dialogue among early stage investors is improving,” he says. “In 2018, you’re going to see more than one local VC firm in one deal.” While DFW is still challenged by its sprawling geography, the community as a whole has improved opportunities for the collision of ideas, Conley says, with groups, organizations, and companies hosting an array of networking events, seminars, and conferences. “It’s almost like the Silicon Valley vibe is happening in the Silicon Prairie,” says Reeder, referring to DFW. And there’s still so much room to grow engagement in the innovative ecosystem, says Conley. “We’ve only scratched the surface.” PHOTO: ANDY LUTEN DA L L A S INN OVAT E S

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HOT POCKETS We asked four icons in the innovation community to share some of the hottest pockets of innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth — and what’s next.

SANJIV YAJNIK

PRESIDENT, CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL SERVICES

DOWNTOWN DALLAS The energy and development continues to grow with new attractions coming in all the time, Yajnik says, highlighting the Bomb Factory music venue and event space.

COLLIN COUNTY Collin County is one of the fastestgrowing areas in Texas and serves as the home to some of the largest companies in the region. Innovation is developing at The Garage at Capital One Financial Services, USAA, Toyota, and beyond, he says.

YAJNIK

HOT SPOTS

WHAT’S NEXT “One of the key drivers in this area interestingly is the arts. Innovation and the arts go so close together. Inspired talent creates new products and new [digital connections] in a way that’s seamless. DFW needs to be known as the convener of talent and capital. If you want great innovation … you need to have events that bring together key corporations … and talent. We all need to come together to plan how we’re going to use our strengths to become the destination of choice.”

DARLENE BOUDREAUX HOT SPOTS

BOUDREAUX

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON The startup lounge the university built to spur student innovation has kicked up, Boudreaux says.

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TECH FORT WORTH WEST 7TH, FORT WORTH Older buildings are being repurposed by new and innovative companies from across industries. Restaurants, coworking spaces, and even a venture fund have opened doors in the area. CLEARFORK AREA, FORT WORTH It’s an up-and-coming hotspot. Among newcomers to the area, WeWork is opening a coworking location there.

TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY Every year the Neeley School of Business hosts the Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition, an international competition that’s one of the largest for undergraduates, Boudreaux says. “They’re getting some pretty amazing companies out of that.”

WHAT’S NEXT “[Fort Worth’s new economic development strategy includes] an emphasis on innovation and technology commercialization. It differentiates between tech entrepreneurs and small businesses, and says that the focus should be on entrepreneurs. You’re going to see some big things come out of Fort Worth.”


TREY BOWLES

CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, THE DALLAS ENTREPRENEUR CENTER

SPROULL

BOWLES

HOT SPOTS WEST END, DALLAS The Dallas Innovation District is developing, and more announcements will be rolling out soon. The West End Plaza will develop the “smartest park in the country.” More corporations and other companies will be locating their headquarters there, specifically innovation hubs, Bowles says. DOWNTOWN DALLAS, DEEP ELLUM — AND THE AREA “IN BETWEEN” As downtown Dallas renovations are completed, more opportunities will continue to present themselves, Bowles says. “Growth will stem innovation.” Deep Ellum has a lot going on, but it has a history of rising up and falling, Bowles says. But all signs keep him hopeful. “Now you’re seeing things formalize with Common Desk [being there] and more and more buildings being bought up. … It’s not all music venues as it was before. What they’re doing now is truly a multiuse initiative.” And, Bowles says the area “in between” Deep Ellum and downtown is ripe for growth. “If we could build something in an effective way under Woodall Rodgers, the connection to Victory Park would be seamless,” he says.

DALLAS DESIGN DISTRICT The area has been reviving in recent years. The $108 million Virgin Hotel will be built there. Mark Cuban bought land there that includes SoftLayer’s building and Community Brewing. REDBIRD MALL, DALLAS This area will be a “shining beacon for southern Dallas,” Bowles says. Peter Brodsky, HBC Investments founder and partner, is investing in its redevelopment and is thoughtful in his research regarding what should be built there, Bowles says. It will be an innovative model for a mall, he adds. LAKE HIGHLANDS TOWN CENTER, DALLAS The new development will have new innovative things spurring up, Bowles says. It’s a diverse community and has been part of the rejuvenation of Lake Highlands, he adds. Bowles is working with Dallas Councilman Adam McGough on “building something that supports the community there.”

WHAT’S NEXT “Right now Facebook, Google, and Amazon look at Dallas as a great place to get cheap land to build warehouses. They’ll begin to look at Dallas as a great place to build innovation departments. Entrepreneurs building AI companies are going to thrive because they have customers that can support their business here. Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin will thrive here. There are huge opportunities in cybersecurity.”

BILL SPROULL PRESIDENT AND CEO, TECH TITANS HOT SPOTS RICHARDSON-PLANO-FRISCO CORRIDOR The companies operating there are both creating innovation and innovation hubs in the area, Sproull says. Between companies like Mavenir and Armor in Richardson to the AT&T Foundry, Toyota Connected, The Garage at Capital One Financial Services in Plano, and Blue Star Sports in Frisco, there’s a lot of innovation happening.

WHAT’S NEXT “AI is going to revolutionize business models, customer experiences, products, and services. I would keep my eye on the applications of AI. It’s an arms race. A key competency we have in North Texas is the deployment of 5G technology. The carriers and experts in the corridor … it’s strong here. 5G will revolutionize the mobile experience.”

FOSTERING INNOVATION

ONES TO WATCH Health Wildcatters A mentor-driven seed accelerator, Health Wildcatters also provides access to advisers, mentors, office space, and strategic resources that startups will need to grow. “We’ve created what we call a health innovation hub,” says Cofounder Hubert Zajicek.

The Study, Irving The Study is a new haven for entrepreneurs looking to nurture and advance their businesses. Director Tom Foley says the center is geared for open space — what he calls “converge, collide, and create.”

Tech Fort Worth The organization has been helping startups launch and grow for nearly 20 years and continues to serve as a key component in the Fort Worth innovation community, says Darlene Boudreaux.

Grow DeSoto Business Incubator Developer Monte Anderson and the city of DeSoto teamed up to bring new life to a vacant Ace Hardware store with a business accelerator in 2017. “We have many special entrepreneurs who just need an entry point. They just need a lemonade stand, to stand in for a day,” says Anderson.

REVTECH The retail and restaurant industry accelerator and seed capital fund, operating since 2012, expanded to a location near NorthPark Center in Dallas in 2017. The space serves as an innovation lab where retailers and entrepreneurs can collaborate. DA L L A S INN OVAT E S

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KICKSTARTER

THE DISRUPTORS BY DANIELLE ABRIL

CODY MARX BAILEY

FOUNDER AND CEO, XRAM CAPITAL AND D-NODE Cody Marx Bailey believes that, unlike any other disruptive technology, Blockchain will create a paradigm shift. Blockchain is a decentralized, public ledger of transactions that requires a consensus from all participants to change input. The technology will create security and transparency, Bailey says. “It’s a technology we have never seen before and have no idea where it’s going to take us exactly,” he says. “It can disrupt every industry.” So he founded XRAM Capital and D-Node to take advantage of the emerging technology. XRAM invests in the crypto-asset space, while D-Node supplies hardware for the distributed internet. D-Node has already seen 600 percent growth in revenue, expecting to end the year above $2 million. And he estimates more than 1,000 percent growth for 2018. “We’re talking about radically transforming every aspect of your life with this technology,” he says. “I can’t stress how large of an impact this is going to have.”

PHOTO: MERISSA DE FALCIS

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KICKSTARTER: THE DISRUPTORS

PUSHING LIMITS THE

THEY ARE THE REBELS OF THEIR INDUSTRIES, THE ACES OF TRADES— SOME OF NORTH TEXAS’ MOST FEARLESS ENTREPRENEURS. THEY ARE 10 REVOLUTIONARIES YOU NEED TO KNOW.

BEN LAMM

CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, CONVERSABLE

BRENDA STONER FOUNDER AND CEO, PICKUP

When Brenda Stoner recognized a need for an on-demand furniture and appliance delivery service, she jumped at the chance to pave new paths. She founded PICKUP in 2014, and since then has grown the company to offer service in all major Texas markets. She’s working on expanding nationally over the next few years. “PICKUP will be ‘the way you deliver big and heavy stuff,’” she says. “Getting your big, expensive item in your home should be as great an experience as it is purchasing it.”

Ben Lamm partnered with Austin partner Andrew Busey to give corporations the power of chatbots. The automated conversational bots are now providing customer service via social media platforms for more than 20 clients such as Wingstop, Pizza Hut, and 7-Eleven. Among its capabilities, the platform can order products, answer questions, and track loyalty information. Lamm and Busey started Conversable after selling Austin-based Chaotic Moon to Accenture and Team Chaos to Zynga. “All of my companies … have completely changed the way technology is deployed at the enterprise level,” Lamm says.

CHRIS DRAKE

FOUNDER AND CEO, ARMOR

Fresh off its $89 million raise in 2017, Richardson-based Armor has been beefing up its cybersecurity platform to include more automation. Founded in 2009, Armor provides the software as well as the service to help companies defend themselves. Its latest product, Armor Anywhere, launched in 2016, and has scaled 1,000 percent in the last nine months, according to Drake. “There’s still not a person in our space doing what we do,” Drake says. “There’s no one willing to work with the public and private environment and be responsible holistically.”

DA L L A S INN OVAT E S BAILEY: MERISSA DE FALCIS CHAT BOT: YEVHENII DUBINKO/ISTOCKPHOTO

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KICKSTARTER: THE DISRUPTORS

DAVE COPPS

FOUNDER AND CEO, BRAINSPACE Brainspace, a Cyxtera company, uses machine learning to make key connections in massive amounts of data to aid investigations. “It used to be whoever had the most data wins,” Copps says. “Now learning is the new arms race.” In 2008, Brainspace landed its first client, LexisNexis. Eight years later, it was acquired by Medina Capital and BC Partners as part of a $2.8 billion deal. It now operates in more than 130 locations around the world and is expanding its application to aid the cybersecurity industry.

JUSTIN WHITE AND JASON TAYLOR CO-FOUNDERS, SELERY FULFILLMENT

When Justin White and Jason Taylor started selling extra inventory for businesses for some extra cash, they stumbled on a much bigger business opportunity: packaging and shipping. So they launched Selery Fulfillment in 2014 to serve as one-stop shop. The company now employs 25 people, occupies a 107,000 square-foot warehouse in Carrollton, and generated about $600,000 in 2016. “We’re disrupting logistics for smaller midsize businesses that didn’t have [an] option out, before [us],” White says. 20

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ALEX DOUBET

FOUNDER AND CEO, DOOR Alex Doubet wanted to take the pain out of buying and selling a home. So he started Dallas-based Door, a service that charges homeowners a flat fee for selling their home and helps buyers curate property listings, instantly request showings, and get quotes on rebates. With the Door platform, technology made residential real estate deals easy. At the end of 2017, the company employed about 30 people and expected to generate about $2 million in revenue. It also began expanding into Austin.

FRED MARGOLIN

CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, ROBOKIND With his son Richard Margolin, Fred Margolin set out to create a company that could aid educators with facially expressive robots. The two founded Robokind in 2011, using robots and software to help children with autism. Since then, Robokind has expanded into 400 school districts across the U.S. It expected to end 2017 with revenue of about $2 million. It is expecting major growth in 2018, as states, including Texas, set aside funding for robots dedicated to special education. Robokind’s new robot with an African-American likeness will help bridge the diversity gap in STEM education.

2018 BACKGROUND MAKIDOTVN/ISTOCKPHOTO; PIECES TECH/JASON KINDIG


RUBEN AMARASINGHAM CEO, PIECES TECH

Pieces Tech is using predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to improve healthcare. Born out of Parkland Health & Hospital System, Pieces connects health systems with communitybased organizations to address social determinants, such as housing, social security, and education. It also uses propriety software, Pieces Iris, to help clinicians make better decisions on diagnoses and next steps. The Dallasbased company, founded in 2016, already has landed eight large enterprise system software contracts and nearly 60 employees.

FOLLOW THE MONEY Fueling disruption: Here’s a look at four local startups that got funding in 2017.

Dr. Arun Asaithambi

Lantern Pharma The cancer-fighting Dallas pharma raised $3.7 million in May from its Series A equity financing to continue its search for and testing of abandoned cancer drugs.

CerSci Therapeutics The company founded by current and former University of Texas at Dallas professors received a $4M boost in its work to develop non-opioid alternatives to treat pain in July. A group of North Texas investors made up a major portion of the Series A round.

Cosmic JS

BRAD HUNSTABLE

FOUNDER AND CEO, LINEAR LABS After selling video streaming startup Ustream to IBM for $130 million, Brad Hunstable set out to create the first electric motor that changes shape in real-time for ultimate efficiency. The motor, which is intended to power electric vehicles and autonomous drones, shape shifts based on driving conditions, resulting in further range or less battery usage. Hunstable started the Fort Worth-based company and worked with Babak Fahimi, founding director of University of Texas at Dallas’ Renewable Energy and Vehicular Technology Lab on the research. It has submitted 40 patents for review and is near commercialization.

Dallas startup Cosmic JS has racked up 60 customers in just 18 months, including Big Fish and Brand New Congress. The startup completed a $250K Angel Investment Round in November and plans a seed round in early 2018. Co-founders Tony Spiro and Carson Gibbons created a content management system that’s programming-language agnostic and compatible with all platforms.

Interactive Sports Group In its first round of financing, the Frisco startup raised $95,000 from investors in December. Their electric version of flag football aims to reduce the risk of physical injury.

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EYE ON THE SKY

ACES OF SPACE Astrapi: Pioneer in spiral-based signal modulation Astrapi took the grand prize at the inaugural Satellite 2017 Startup Space pitch competition in March. Dr. Jerrold Prothero (above), the company’s CEO and founder, used Euler’s formula, the foundational mathematics for telecommunications, to open a path to dramatically higher spectral efficiency across a wide range of radio communications. Founded in 2009, the company has more than 40 patents issued, pending, or filed provisionally, and has raised $2.3 million from angel investors. Its business model is to license its technology to others.

BY HANAH CHO

Corgan envisions airports as ‘microcosms of cities’ With a set of tech tools the firm developed, including wayfinder research glasses, the Dallas design firm aims to create the airport of the future. And, they want to narrow in on helping aging passengers navigate airport buildings. The GERT suit (short for gerontology) simulates the experience of an older individual by wearing the suit.

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Lockheed Martin and Boeing are some of the big guns that anchor Dallas-Fort Worth’s aerospace and aviation industry, a major engine for the region’s economy. But these corporate giants aren’t the only ones with the right stuff. A number of aerospace startups in North Texas are also flying high. “The things that make DFW stand out for aerospace startups, in particular, are our direct connection to all the major companies we have here but also the abundant space available for budding rocket companies,” says Marshall Culpepper, founder of Denton-based KUBOS. Kubos makes an open-source software platform for small commercial satellites called CubSats, which are used for space research. The three-year-old space startup— which raised $1.65 million in seed money MARSHALL CULPEPPER, earlier this year—was recognized as one of KUBOS the “30 Game Changing Startups 2018” by CB Insights, a firm that provides data and analysis on startups. Before starting Kubos, CEO Marshall Culpepper developed a fascination with the stars and found his way to another space startup. There, Culpepper developed software that ran on three CubSats launched from the International Space Station. “That kind of experience really changes a person,” says Culpepper, a software engineer. Meanwhile, inside a hangar at a small airport in Caddo Mills, about 40 miles east of Dallas, EXOS AEROSPACE is making rockets. Not any rockets, but reusable ones for suborbital commercial flights for research as well as educational and medical experiments. The startup says its space flights would be faster, affordable, and reliable because its rockets are reusable. EXOS hopes to launch its new rocket soon from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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KICKSTARTER

GAME CHANGERS Dallas-Fort Worth is kicking up a new generation of innovation across industries. Here are companies and leaders set to change our everyday lives. BY DANIELLE ABRIL

VIRGIN HYPERLOOP ONE In a few years, people might be able to travel between some of Texas’ fastest-growing regions in just 20 minutes. Virgin Hyperloop One’s high-speed transportation system, conceptualized by Telsa’s Elon Musk and backed by Virgin’s Richard Branson, boasts speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. The system shoots its vehicles, which float above the track via magnetic forces, through a low-pressure tube creating aerodynamic travel and optimized speeds. AECOM put together a Hyperloop Texas team, which vied for Texas to be the first state where the tech is implemented—and won. In October 2017, Steven Duong, an AECOM urban designer who represents Hyperloop Texas, presented the project—which would connect Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Laredo—to the Dallas City Council. Virgin Hyperloop One plans to be operational by 2021; the Texas route is expected to follow shortly thereafter, Duong says. It is still unclear how much the Texas system would cost and who would fund it. But the region was already selected as one of 10 winners of the company’s global route competition.

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TREND

The Gig Economy The Gig Economy is the biggest macro trend in the U.S. workforce in over a century, and the Dallas region is primed to lead the movement, according to Clarisa Lindenmeyer of Proximity+Power. That’s thanks in large part to millennials being the largest generation in today’s workforce and cloud technology, she says. “The workforce of the future is demanding products and services that are designed for them,” she continues.

Dallas-Fort Worth, on demand McKinsey estimates that 50% of the U.S. workforce will be independent contractors by 2020. Here are a few local startups betting on a new future of work.

Gig Wage Gig Wage is betting big on the future of work, bringing Uberand Lyft-like gig payment, to small- and mediumsized businesses. “We build technology that meets the demand of on-demand workers,” says Founder Craig Lewis.

Shift Smart The marketplace connecting part-time workers with open shifts across multiple platforms is helmed by president and COO, Patrick Brandt .

Menu Runners Food delivery service and tech platform MenuRunners was launched by Founder Doneric Norwood in 2014.

Skratch The Skratch app makes it easy for teens to find part-time jobs (walking dogs, yard work, and more) in their neighborhood.

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UBER ELEVATE When Uber announced plans to test and launch a flying ridesharing service in Dallas-Fort Worth—one of its first markets—the region was put in the international spotlight. The LEANDRE news came in April 2017, when Uber told the public it expected JOHNS to launch demonstration flights in 2020 and a commercialized service a few years after that. “It really points to [DFW’s] openedarmed approach to innovation and business,” says Leandre Johns, Uber’s external affairs representative for the region. Also, “DFW is set up perfectly for it because of our strength in aviation and the distances we have to travel.” Uber has partnered with Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter for manufacturing support as well as Hillwood Properties to determine an appropriate vertiport. Meanwhile Uber is working with Fort Worth and Dallas mayors, both of whom support the project, and the Federal Aviation Administration to determine what regulations the service would have to follow.

SMART CITIES The Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA) hit the ground running in 2015, connecting corporations, organizations, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs to help make Dallas a smart city. About 30 partners have been collaborating to leverage tech solutions that would increase efficiency, stimulate growth, and improve the quality of life in the region. In March, the alliance launched its Living Lab, a test site for innovations, in the West End. The lab features smart LED lighting, environmental sensors, and an interactive kiosk. Since then, the alliance has been working on phase two JENNIFER of development, which includes public Wi-Fi, smart parking, SANDERS and smart irrigation, all of which were expected to roll out in early 2018. Also part of phase two: solutions to improve mobility, public safety, and the digital divide in underserved communities in southern Dallas. “The ultimate goal is [answering] how do we serve the whole city?” says Jennifer Sanders, executive director of the DIA.


KICKSTARTER: BREAKTHROUGHS

HIGHMINDED DISCOVERIES MONUMENTAL REVELATIONS ARE IN THE HANDS OF NORTH TEXAS UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS—AND STUDENTS

TED PRICE

BY JEFF BOUNDS

When an old high school football injury started nagging, Ted Price created an ointment to rub on his aching Achilles tendon.

how Dallas-Fort Worth universities are commercializing research into products and services that help solve real-world problems.

Using natural ingredients found in wintergreen plants and grape leaves, the concoction eased his chronic pain in a new way, essentially re-setting nerves to the state they were in before the injury. (Chronic pain results from nerves being oversensitive after the body has sustained damage). Price, who now runs the undergraduate neuroscience program at the University of Texas at Dallas, is commercializing his pain cream through his Plano company, Ted’s Brain Science Products. And he’s making breakthroughs that could lead to new drugs. In August, he co-authored a study revealing a previously unknown series of connected nerves that pain signals travel through. Researchers are still learning details of this “pathway” they discovered. “But we’re active through the company in trying to develop new lines of products for pain based on the same strategy that we used for our first product,” he says. Price’s venture is just one example of

For decades, Alex Lippert dreamed of creating a hologram akin to the one in the first “Star Wars” film, where R2-D2 shows a light image of Princess Leia. At 35, Lippert had a “eureka” moment to use molecules that switch from colorless to fluorescent when ultraviolet light hits them. Lippert, an assistant chemistry professor at Southern Methodist University, in July announced that he had done the hologram one better by building projection technology that creates a three-dimensional display viewable from any direction. “It doesn’t require moving parts. It uses low-power light sources, which are safer than other displays that employ intense lasers. And, we were able to fabricate the first-generation prototype for under $5,000,” he says. Armed with a patent for his light-pad system, Lippert is seeking the right investment and management team to bring his idea to market. Aside from commercializing discoveries through for-profit businesses,

UNPRECEDENTED FINDINGS

universities like the University of North Texas are helping government agencies better protect military personnel. UNT researchers led by Rajiv Mishra in March announced a project with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to understand why some advanced materials fail when used as armor for soldiers and vehicles. Using about $6 million of a $20 million Army grant and working with three other universities, Mishra’s team at UNT’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute will develop metallic alloys and ceramic composites that weigh less and better prevent harm from projectiles such as bullets. “The fundamental understanding we achieve will have broader impacts in the long run where other industrial segments will also benefit from ALEX LIPPERT’S 3D PROJECTION

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KICKSTARTER: BREAKTHROUGHS GENEVIEVE KONOPKA

the research findings,” says Mishra, University Distinguished Research Professor at UNT. Meanwhile, a Fort Worth nonprofit unveiled partnerships that provide research opportunities in botany to students at Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington. Tarleton State University inked a similar deal last year. The agreements with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, or BRIT, give students access to its 1.45-million specimen herbarium, the eighth-largest collection of plant museum samplings in the country. “BRIT is also nearing completion of fundraising for a plant DNA and structural lab complex, which will complement the facilities at the universities for student research,” says Peter Fritsch, the organization’s vice president of research.

MAKING THE WORLD BETTER

While some recent discoveries at North Texas universities have big commercial potential, other breakthroughs hold a different promise: Making the world a better place. Senior citizens in living communities were transported to 60s-era nightclubs or exotic locales, thanks to virtual reality experiences developed by students in one of Ryan McMahan’s classes at the University of Texas at Dallas. In a five-state pilot run by Addison-based MyndVR, seniors displayed better moods and apparently got relief from medical issues they have, all from viewing the students’ work. “These types of immersive experiences can improve their quality of life and help with depression, much like music therapy can,” says McMahan, assistant professor in computer science at UTD.

At UT Southwestern, Genevieve Konopka leads a team evaluating different technologies and methods for assessing and measuring gene expression in the brain. Expression is the process through which a gene’s instructions get turned into a product that performs a job in a cell.

THOMAS BAMONTE

SUSAN FRANKS

Senior program manager, automated vehicles, North Central Texas Council of Governments’ transportation department

Clinical health psychologist and associate professor, University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC)

WHY HE’S A BIG DEAL: In his self-described “department of one,” Bamonte is the “go-to” person on all-things automous vehicle technology and policy in Dallas-Fort Worth. He’s helping guide the conversation around the future of transportation. Both the city of Arlington and UT Arlington will be one of nine Texas test sites for self-driving, low-speed vehicles, in which automation handles at least one main safety feature, such as steering or braking, that humans typically control. GLOBAL BENEFITS: Adding low-speed vehicles provides new transport options for a city of 380,000 that is underserved in that arena. In addition to the UTA campus, automated vehicles might help with mobility in places such as the city’s sports stadiums and Entertainment District. OF NOTE: By reducing the chance of human error, self-driving vehicles could reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent by 2050, according to published accounts. IN HIS OWN WORDS: “A statewide procurement of low-speed automated vehicles is in development and will help attract developer interest to Texas. Several real estate developers in Dallas-Fort Worth have expressed an interest in deploying automated vehicles on their campuses.”

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and

DAVID FARMER interprofessional education director and assistant professor, UNTHSC WHY THEY ARE A BIG DEAL: They’ve launched training for medical students in “emotional intelligence” (EI) or the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions to improve both communication with others and an individual’s own resiliency. The first pilot test involved training in 2016 for first-year med students at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. GLOBAL BENEFITS: Training in EI may help reduce burnout rates that some believe may exceed 50 percent in physicians. With medical care increasingly becoming a group endeavor, physicians can improve both their career prospects and their wellbeing by learning how to play better with others. OF NOTE: When patients have compassionate and respectful relationships with their doctors, patients are more likely to follow the physician’s advice, tell the doctor more about personal medical issues, and be less inclined to sue over medical mistakes. IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Franks: “You cannot understand or relate to the emotions of someone else if you cannot understand yourself or distinguish your own emotions.” Farmer: “We plan to implement EI training for our physician assistants and physical therapy students in the spring of 2018. We believe this education will become an initiative across all UNTHSC colleges and schools by 2019.”


KICKSTARTER: BREAKTHROUGHS

QUANTUM LEAPS

The UT Southwestern work is part of the Human Cell Atlas, a global effort to map all human cells. The UT Southwestern work is part of the Human Cell Atlas, a global effort to map all human cells. Konopka, a neuroscientist at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, says the North Texas piece of the project could improve our understanding and treatments of brain conditions with complex genetic underpinnings such as autism and schizophrenia. “Each individual has a potentially completely different genetic risk profile making understanding the underlying pathology, as well as developing therapies, very challenging,” she says. In the realm of sports, Southern Methodist University researchers discovered an oddity about the world’s fastest sprinter: Usain Bolt

DEBORAH J. RHEA Professor of kinesiology and associate dean of research and health sciences, Texas Christian University WHY SHE’S A BIG DEAL: Giving kids more time for outdoor play at school helps them focus better during class, Rhea has found through research for the LiiNK Center (Let’s inspire innovation ‘N kids). GLOBAL BENEFITS: In addition to helping kids stay fit, giving them four 15-minute recesses daily—two before lunch, two after—has resulted in reductions in discipline issues and visits to the school nurse, Rhea has found. OF NOTE: Exercise boosts the firing of neurons in the brain, which builds “highways” that strengthen creativity, problem solving, focus and overall memory, studies show. IN HER OWN WORDS: “Children who are mainly inside can develop long-term anxiety disorders over time. When breaks are scheduled throughout the day, students are able to explore, socialize with their peers more regularly and reboot their brains for another segment of learning.”

has an uneven stride, something scientists have always thought slows runners down. Doctoral student Andrew Udofa found Bolt’s right leg applies more force to the ground, while the Jamaican star’s left leg stays on the ground longer. Insights like this from SMU’s Locomotor Performance Laboratory could help with everything from improving athletic performance to assessing the effectiveness of injury rehabilitation programs, says Peter Weyand, a professor of applied physiology and biomechanics. “Several technology companies and shoe companies have expressed interest in using our research for product development,” he says.

Jung-Mo Ahn

MOLECULE HELPS DISRUPT THE GROWTH OF BREAST CANCER CELLS A professor at the University of Texas at Dallas has designed a molecule that could benefit breast cancer patients for whom current treatments aren’t working anymore.

SMU RESEARCHERS FIND WAY TO PREDICT ENERGY NEEDS OF SOLDIERS

ROBERT MAGNUSSON

Using funding from the U.S. military, researchers at Southern Methodist University in Dallas have discovered a way to more accurately predict how much energy soldiers uses while walking. The research will enable military strategists to better plan missions by knowing the toll a long march with a heavy load will take on a soldier.

Texas Instruments distinguished university chair in nanoelectronics at the University of Texas at Arlington WHY HE’S A BIG DEAL: He’s using a $370,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create engineered amplifiers and lasers at the scale of a nanometer. A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick, according to the National Nanotechnology Initiative. GLOBAL BENEFITS: The high-risk, high-reward project could help make cameras and infrared technology less expensive. OF NOTE: Magnusson commercializes some of his UTA work through Arlington-based Resonant Sensors Inc., which does testing on the impact of substances like drugs on living things. IN HIS OWN WORDS: “We’re taking research results and trying to make it useful in society.”

LUBRICANT TECH DEVELOPED AT UTA WOULD LOWER FUEL CONSUMPTION, VEHICLE EMISSIONS The lubricant functions by modifying the chemistry of the surfaces that clog in an engine. Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Tribology, Lubrication, and Coating Laboratory have refined the new vehicle lubricant technologies as part of an ongoing partnership with ESL TEKnologies.

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BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF TEXAS

SMARTER, STRONGER, SAVVIER: FIVE COMPANIES PUSHING INNOVATION BOUNDARIES BY SHERYL JEAN

From Dallas to Frisco, large corporations are using technology to change how they serve customers and outplay competition It seems straight out of a sci-fi flick: Engineers and designers researching and testing inventions in sleek, high-tech labs. It’s real. More corporations in North Texas, the nation’s fourth-largest metro area, are designating special dens, and devoting teams to accelerate the incubation and commercialization of ideas—from sensors and cloud platforms to juice and coffee. The West End, once a collection of vacant warehouses that’s now a burgeoning innovation hub and home to the city’s smart technology Living Lab project, is a shining example of what’s possible. What exactly innovation means and how you get there is a hot topic of conversation. One thing is certain: Whether companies focus internally or externally on customers, they’re letting people loose to think big, designing collaborative spaces and fostering a startup culture. These are a few Dallas-Fort Worth companies in the innovation trenches.

Rising health care costs aren’t biased; they affect everyone. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas decided to tackle that monumental issue by launching its first innovation lab in August. The goal is to hatch ideas faster to increase efficiencies and improve patient care while lowering health care costs. “Health care inf lation is roughly 6 percent a year,” says Kevin Cassidy, president of Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Texas. “Businesses need us to figure out ways to impact health care or medical inf lation.” At the company’s $2.5 million C1 Innovation Lab, employees might collaborate with customers, medical professionals, academics and other businesses on how technology can decrease variations in the quality and cost of health care, such as MRIs and hip replacement surgery, or help consumers make better decisions. C1 stands for “customers first.” The lab occupies two f loors of a renovated 115-year-old cracker factory in downtown Dallas’ West End, a hive of business activity jump-started in large part by the Living Lab project. That entrepreneurial energy attracted Blue Cross like a magnet, drawing it away from other possible lab sites like Austin, Chicago, and Silicon Valley, Cassidy says. Texas is the company’s most important market. Blue Cross studied other companies’ labs, adopting the best practices and adding some new features. The insurer created a cyber security hub to monitor and analyze online activity and it moved a core part of operations—two call centers with about 80 clinician and customer-service advocates—and sat them together. Two of the first ideas being studied in the lab are aimed at involving consumers more in health care decisions and improve patient OPPOSITE: treatment compliance, BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD C1 such as better blood INNOVATION LAB glucose monitoring for diabetes.

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COURTESY OF CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL SERVICES

CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL SERVICES Comfy couches, movable walls, and foosball are only half of the story at The Garage. A culture that breeds creativity and collaboration is the other part. Design and culture together drive innovation at the think tank started by Capital One Financial Services on its Plano campus in 2014 to transform banking. Since then, The Garage has quadrupled its space to 36,000 square feet. A staff of about 200 people are encouraged to experiment, fail fast, and keep moving forward as they tackle technological adaptations for Capital One’s auto finance customers.

“Few spaces are as ripe for technology-led disruption as how people relate to their money,” says Karen Stroup, head of The Garage and senior vice president of Capital One Financial Services. “If we don’t do it, we think someone else will.” Already, The Garage—named in honor of many businesses that began in someone’s garage—has unveiled Auto Navigator, an online tool which helps customers see if they pre-qualify for an auto loan before visiting a showroom. “More so than the model you choose for innovation, it’s the culture,” Stroup says.

North Texas contributes, she says, with a large talent pool and “a culture open to thinking in a different way.” The Garage staff now is using an immersive coaching model to learn how to work like a Silicon Valley team— how to build an experiment and what makes a good experiment. Stroup sees The Garage as a catalyst for innovation across the 5,900-person company. “The Garage isn’t just a place, but also a mindset,” she says. “We don’t want associates to think that innovation work only happens in The Garage.”

Things technology across downtown’s 67-acre West End. As the Living Lab’s second phase rolls out now, AT&T will implement public Wi-Fi, smart water and irrigation systems, and a digital operations center to help city officials monitor conditions from power outages to traffic issues to gunfire. AT&T connectivity and data analytics link the entire lab. Just up the road in Plano, innovation also takes place at two AT&T Foundries.

Dallas-based AT&T operates six such innovation centers worldwide, representing a $100 million investment. The Plano centers—AT&T Foundry for software solutions opened in 2011 and AT&T Foundry for IoT opened in 2013—are in the same building, and Foundry staff often work together to help customers solve problems. This physical link enables them to act quickly on ideas, slashing product development time from years to months.

AT&T INC. As a colossal corporation, AT&T Inc. knows it must constantly find ways to be nimble in a competitive market. Its Smart Cities initiative is helping Dallas and several other cities nationwide become more connected and sustainable. For the last year, AT&T Smart Cities has worked with the Dallas Innovation Alliance, a public-private partnership, and the City of Dallas to create a Living Lab to implement and test the Internet of 30

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THE INSIDER: SMARTER, STRONGER, SAVVIER

INVENTION: A LOOK BACK Inventors and inventions with North Texas origins

3D Laser A Honeywell group in Richardson developed the first commercial vertical cavity laser (VCSEL) in 1996. It drives the face recognition technology in the iPhone 8 and X.

JACK KILBY

COURTESY OF NEIMAN MARCUS GROUP

NEIMAN MARCUS GROUP Stodgy and retail are two words often heard together. But the Neiman Marcus Group has been challenging that image for five years through its innovation lab (iLab). Free, in-store phone-charging lockers, a Shazamlike shopping app and a new online chat all emerged from the lab. “With the headwinds retailers are facing, we need more crosspollination of ideas,” says Scott Emmons, head of iLab. The 110-year-old, Dallas-based luxury retailer last year considered an initial public offering and selling itself amid declining sales. Emmons is essentially a one-man show, pulling in staff and outside partners as needed. He aims to fast track technology to streamline operations and anticipate what shoppers want to boost traffic and sales. The lab works on up to 15

ideas—from Emmons, employees, management and even outsiders— and eight to 12 are piloted at a few stores each year. Some hits, such as the Memory Mirror that enables video sharing, focus on customers. Others, like radio-frequency identification tagging of display items, solve a problem for salespeople and boost sales. “If you only focus on the return on investment and lifting sales, you sometimes miss other areas the technology might bring to the table,” Emmons says. It wasn’t as easy to tie the Memory Mirror to sales; it was more about bringing customers into the store, he says. The iLab also has had its share of failures, such as the “fling wall” that let shoe shoppers browse iPad images and fling ones they liked onto a digital wall. But it didn’t go to waste—it’s now used for marketing.

Integrated Circuit

In 1958, Jack Kilby, an engineer for Texas Instruments Inc. in Dallas, built the world’s first integrated circuit, which is in all consumer electronics today. Kilby and other engineers also invented the first handheld, digital calculator in 1967.

technology and a software company, says Mike Zeto, general manager of AT&T Smart Cities. “It’s an evolution not a revolution,” he says. In addition, AT&T plans to spend $100 million renovating its downtown Dallas headquarters, adding 500 more workers to the 5,800 already there. The changes will create a pedestrian friendly “Discovery District” with shops and other amenities, according to the Dallas Regional Chamber.

Inspired by Star Wars, George Carter opened the first commercialized version of laser tag called Photon in Dallas in 1984.

EDS (Electronic Data Services]

H. Ross Perot founded Electronic Data Services (EDS) in 1962, creating the first company in the world to perform outsourced information technology services. He financed the start-up via a $1,000 loan from his wife, Margot.

Voice Mail

In 1979, Gordon Matthews’ VMX company developed technology that let workers record, send, store, and forward voice messages from any phone in an office.

Concert Light Shows

More than 200 projects have moved through the Plano foundries, resulting in dozens of new products. Last year, the IoT foundry connected up to 1 million Red Bull beverage coolers worldwide, monitoring conditions to identify problems as or before they arise, and tracking shoppers to help manage supply and demand. It’s all part of AT&T’s transformation from a telecommunications provider to a

Laser Tag

Dallas-based Vari-Lite Inc. invented the first automated color stage lighting system used by nearly every band since it debuted in 1981. Genesis was the first customer.

Drive-up Technologies

Kirby’s Pig Stand in Dallas was the first drive-in restaurant in 1921. Hillcrest State Bank in University Park opened in 1938 with the first drive-up window. Docutel in Dallas invented a machine that dispensed cash in 1968.

Liquid Paper

In the early 1950s, Dallas secretary Bette Nesmith Graham created a waterbased correction fluid called Mistake Out to fix her typing mistakes. She later changed the name to Liquid Paper and sold the company to Gillette Co.

Convenience Store

In 1927, Southland Ice Co. in Dallas began selling milk, bread, and eggs, the precursor to 7-Eleven and the 24/7 convenience store.

Commercialized Nanotechnology

Zyvex Corp. in Richardson became the world’s first commercial molecular nanotechnology manufacturer in 1997, which led to using enhanced polymer materials in sporting goods, automotive, and other products.

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BREAKING THE MOLD

More than a dozen companies operate innovation labs, test centers or teams in North Texas—add these to your watch list.

FARMER BROTHERS

Farmer Brothers: A coffee lab does exactly what it sounds like: Development, taste testing, quality control, and training. The lab came along with the 105-year-old coffee supplier’s headquarters move last year from California to Northlake. The lab is composed of five rooms, including a cupping room and a sealed flavor room.

NTT DATA Services: The global IT services company opened its first Collaboration Center in November at its new Plano headquarters. Employees work with clients to solve business challenges in an immersive, technology-focused environment. The company plans to add a “residency program” for experts and recent college graduates. Sabre: Opened in 1996, Sabre Labs in Southlake explores ways to apply emerging technology to travel. Ideas might move to Sabre Studios, which debuted in 2006, which tests prototypes with customers. An AI-powered chatbot is being piloted and research on augmented reality and blockchain applications is ongoing.

Uber-Bell Helicopter-Hillwood Properties: Three companies envision futuristic, on-

demand transportation that will relieve traffic congestion and reduce pollution. Fort Worth-based Bell and San Francisco-based Uber are developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. They plan to test at a vertiport being built by Fort Worth-based Hillwood Properties at its massive Frisco Station mixed-used development.

Texas Instruments:

The chipmaker’s Kilby Labs Dallas, which opened in 2009, attracts a lot of attention. Named for TI engineer Jack Kilby, who invented the integrated circuit, it was the first of three Kilby Labs worldwide designed to incubate and rapidly develop disruptive technology. Employees vie to work at the prestigious Dallas lab.

Toyota: Under a new approach to innovation, Toyota Motor North America last year launched

the Connected Technologies group at its Plano campus to develop hardware for drivers’ in-car experience. Within walking distance is Toyota Connected, a separate company started in 2016 to focus on software-related services for the car of the future.

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SOFTTEK Innovation and flexibility often go hand in hand. Just ask Softtek. The Mexico-based IT services provider initially planned to open its first innovation lab in San Jose, California, but that changed when the company decided to relocate its U.S. and Canada headquarters from Atlanta to Addison last year. “The cost benefit of locating the lab in Addison was way, way better,” says Alejandro Camino, global chief marketing officer. “Everyone wants to go to California, but it’s getting very, very expensive. [Addison] is very well located with available talent, universities and a large business ecosystem.” Employees companywide can rotate through the lab, which is in a separate area of its headquarters, to identify and tackle problems customers want to solve. Roughly 150 employees work in the lab, but that will increase to about 200 by mid-year. It also fosters an entrepreneurial spirit through a program called Innoventures, which selects five ideas (out of 50 to 100) to nurture to market, Camino says. In early 2018, the lab plans to start Skala to form “tribes” around research areas, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, and build prototypes to test with customers. The lab already has made an impact. It helped a large U.S. grocery store chain figure out how to minimize checkout lines. Lab denizens brainstormed and examined case studies inside the grocery industry and other industries, such as fast-food restaurants and amusement parks, Camino notes, to come up with five ideas. Three of those are being tested at various locations in a pilot program. “It’s a completely different feeling when we are able to take our customers outside their environment and bring them to a space where we can collaboratively think about how to solve a problem,” Camino says. “So far, the reaction has been very positive.”


ARE YOU A TECH ENTREPRENEUR? Join DFW’s premier technology entrepreneurs to learn and share with peers, over dinner.

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THE INSIDER

DIGITAL WHERE ‘BIG D’ STANDS FOR

BY DAVE MOORE

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PRESENTED BY THE DALLAS REGIONAL CHAMBER

DALLAS’ ECONOMY IS POWERED BY APP AND SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT As consumers and business professionals have found computers and smartphones to be essential for the way they live, work, and play, the scuffle among companies to land on home screens has intensified. Since July 10, 2008, when the first of what has snowballed to 50 billion app downloads from the App Store, there’s been a mad dash for companies to harness this new power both to build and maintain relevance in the marketplace, as well as to streamline company operations. For more charts and interactive storymap, go to www.drcinteractive.com/software

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Because Dallas-Fort Worth is among the top five largest U.S. metro areas for corporate headquarters relocations, the demand for app and software developing expertise, and for individuals who set up and oversee computer networks, is intense. North Texas companies are plumbing the terabytes of customer data they’ve been accumulating for years to create value by transforming the data into market intelligence. They also are becoming increasingly aware of how that data can improve their operations and profit margins, and make themselves indispensable parts of customers’ lives. The 21st century maxim that “all

companies are technology companies” is true. It’s especially relevant in DallasFort Worth, where the growth rate among app and software developers, and network support workers—the “digital workforce”—has outpaced the rest of the area’s healthy workforce growth. In turn, software and app development companies are moving to DallasFort Worth to be closer to current and prospective clients, looking to help them leverage their data and software needs and potential.

The Dallas Region’s Camouflaged Software Economy

Dallas-Fort Worth’s tech and innovation economy continues to make headlines with announcements that include the launch of the Blue Cross Blue Shield C1 Innovation Lab, the opening of Toyota’s


THE INSIDER

data-driven North American headquarters, the deployment of autonomous public transit in Arlington, and the selection of the region as one of two test beds for Uber Elevate.

High Tech Companies in Dallas-Fort Worth

For decades, tech has been in Dallas’ DNA: The microchip was invented here. The term “Telecom Corridor” was coined here. Companies that the public might think of as being Silicon Valley-centric—Yahoo, Trend Micro, Cisco and Nvidia—are building software in Dallas-Fort Worth, as are more-traditional companies not typically regarded as tech-based. Dallas-Fort Worth is home to some of the world’s biggest names in IT services and hardware component development, including major IT services companies as Dell, NEC, TEKSystems, SAP, Google, and Intuit. Major electronic companies include Micron, Fujitsu, Qualcomm, Emerson, Ericsson, and Raytheon. These companies and their software developers are part of the evolution of the U.S. economy, which is moving away from producing coal and steel, and toward the use of algorithms, application of programming languages, and leveraging of Big Data to create efficiencies in order to gain market advantages. In fact, the number of app and software developers, network administrators, and network support specialists in North Texas continues to eclipse the likes of San Jose, Austin, Denver, and Atlanta.

Rise of the Digital Workforce

North Texas’ annual job growth rate of 3.9 percent is the envy of most regions. The healthy mix of large corporations and smaller businesses in North Texas (Moody’s Diversity Index ranks Dallas-Fort Worth as the fourth most-diverse economy in the United States), and a growing number of corporate relocations have created even stronger demands for individuals skilled in developing software and designing computer networks across all major industries. Dallas-Fort Worth’s diverse economy gives digital workers many options for employment. Economists predict that the number of digital technology workers—who include computer and information systems/network managers, web developers, and app developers— will continue to grow at an annual average rate of 7 percent, over the next three years. That growth rate has landed the Dallas region among the Top 10 metro areas employing the most individuals in computer occupations.

Speaking in Code

Most of the 50,000 software and app developers who call Dallas-Fort Worth home don’t work for tech startups. Banks, logistics companies, medical device designers, insurance companies, and dozens of other non-IT industry companies in North Texas rely on coders, programmers, and project managers to automate processes, to customize off-

Abundant Workforce Dallas-Fort Worth maintains the 6th largest workforce among computer occupations COMPUTER OCCUPATIOINS

REGION

SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

281,060

127,253

Washington-ArlingtonAlexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Los Angeles-Long BeachAnaheim, CA San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Chicago-NapervilleElgin, IL-IN-WI Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX San Jose-SunnyvaleSanta Clara, CA Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Boston-CambridgeNewton, MA-NH Atlanta-Sandy SpringsRoswell, GA Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Houston-The WoodlandsSugar Land, TX Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Austin-Round Rock, TX Miami-Fort LauderdaleWest Palm Beach, FL San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Raleigh, NC Pittsburgh, PA Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Boulder, CO

208,308

71,935

168,377

74,178

140,262

74,202

138,450

50,155

134,101

49,180

130,597

80,585

127,316

74,367

123,217

63,824

110,785

43,478

88,785

35,745

77,267

26,853

73,859 68,728 57,156

27,784 29,201 24,995

54,452

20,746

50,324

24,993

41,056

14,900

33,532 33,411 30,147 27,334

13,054 12,104 11,533 8,803

17,140

5,887

16,597 13,391

7,158 7,168

Source: Q42017 QCEW, EMSI

the-shelf software, and to bolster companies’ profit margins. For instance, Southwest Airlines employs 200 software developers with support from an additional number of contractors that varies from 500 to 1,000, depending on need. Capital One has 650 software developers on staff, while State Farm and Omnitracs employ 200 and 105 software developers, respectively. One of the newest innovators in Dallas-Fort Worth, Toyota Connected, plans to employ 100 software developers as they ramp up operations.

Recipe for a Recruiter’s Dream

Recruiters who work in North Texas indicate that Dallas is a remarkably easy sell when it comes to attracting talent to DA L L A S INN OVAT E S

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THE INSIDER: WHERE ‘BIG D’ STANDS FOR DIGITAL

“Being headquartered in Dallas will benefit our long-term growth prospects and human resources needs, and our ability to operate more efficiently, better serve customers, and expand the business in the future.” Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T

“The relocation of our corporate headquarters to the Dallas-Fort Worth area gives us a broader recruitment pool and better labor arbitrage, cost efficiencies, and improved mobility and access to our markets.” Tony Aquila, CEO, Solera

“The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a booming metropolis of tech companies and talent, and we’re proud to be cultivating and contributing exciting tech developments and innovation that have global reach.” Brian Peccarelli, President of Tax & Accounting, Thomson Reuters

“Dallas has got an amazing labor force. You think Austin is the high-tech center of the state. I don’t believe that. I think Dallas/the Metroplex has an almost infinite supply of technology-enabled workers. So, that, coupled with the work environment, and no state (income) tax, I can’t imagine anyone not headquartering here, to be honest with you.” Stephen T. Winn, CEO, RealPage

“We have a great talent market in Dallas and there’s a lot of opportunity to expand based on our brand and the good presence we have in the community.” Jill Lacy Green, Recruiting Manager, State Farm

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fill software development jobs. Career Builder survey results indicate that software developers choose the Dallas-Fort Worth region for its competitive pay, affordable living conditions, and better overall quality of life. Dallas-Fort Worth ranks third, behind the Miami and Houston metro areas in terms of hiring difficulty. Although most metro regions experience greater difficulty in hiring software developers compared to other occupations, Dallas has less difficulty than most competitors. Additionally, a survey of corporate recruiters for the software development community determined that developers, project managers and systems engineers who relocated to Dallas-Fort Worth found the move surprisingly easy, for myriad reasons. Among them: ■ a lower cost of living; ■ comparable pay; ■ a wide selection of high-quality schools; ■ good choice of attractive homes in strong neighborhoods; ■ urban living, night life, and lofts, for less; ■ a burgeoning foodie scene (e.g.

Deep Ellum, Trinity Groves, and Bishop Arts District); ■ airports that provide easy access to just about anywhere; and ■ the Central Time Zone making it easier to do business with East and West coasts, as well as Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America. Although Dallas-Fort Worth’s cost of living index is slightly above the national average, living expenses and commute time, are significantly lower than other major U.S. digital worker hubs.

Got Talent? Check the Pipeline

Dallas area recruiters say there’s a decent supply of local talent to fill the needs of companies looking for help writing code for apps and software to meet most company objectives. Much of the demand is met by students who complete higher education degrees in North Texas. In 2015 alone, nearly 4,200 individuals received certificates or degrees for skills relevant to computer occupations from educational institutions in Dallas-Fort Worth. Areas of study span a broad range, from computational science (a field that uses

Rising Employment Employment in computer occupations is expected to grow at a rate of 2.2% per year through 2022 in the Dallas-Fort Worth. Historical and projected employment growth among computer occupations for select U.S. metros 180

SAN FRANCISCO, 169 160

DALLAS, 154

SAN JOSE, 149

140

T H O US A N DS

IN THEIR WORDS

BOSTON, 132

120

ATLANTA, 119

100 80

DENVER, 79 AUSTIN, 69

60 40 20 0

10

20

11

20

12

20

13

20

14

20

15

20

16

20

17

20

18

20

19

20

20

20

21

20

22

20

Source: EMSI, QCEW


THE INSIDER: WHERE ‘BIG D’ STANDS FOR DIGITAL

CASE STUDY

TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA AND TOYOTA CONNECTED NORTH AMERICA

The Toyota Motor Corp. is bringing the future of mobility to the world, and two key initiatives toward that end are occurring in Dallas-Fort Worth. Toyota Connected North America Inc., established in 2016 in Plano, uses big data analyzed on a cloud platform to improve the driving experience and to benefit dealers, distributors, and partners. Some of Toyota Connected’s work includes analyzing traffic patterns, driving behavior, and connecting drivers to transportation systems. Toyota Connected plans to grow to 100 full-time employees, mostly data engineers and data scientists, by the end of 2017. Toyota Motor North America, which has centralized its operations in Plano, employs nearly 300 software/data employees in its endeavor to simultaneously improve both the driving experience and company operations. These workers are using data and software to build tools that support the core of their North American business: supply-chain management, manufacturing systems, human resources, customer satisfaction, marketing, and more. “Cars are starting to become a lot more software-centered—in terms of how they operate, the services for the vehicle, and things like that,” says Jayadev Gopinath, general manager, Advanced Technologies, Data and Analytics at Toyota Motor North America. Gopinath says Toyota views its advances in data collection, machine learning, and artificial intelligence as key elements in expanding the automaker’s capabilities. “From the operations side of things … there’s a trend toward digital, software, and data. A lot of what we’re

doing is responding to that, and trying to be more proactive with things like machine learning and artificial intelligence, etc.,” Gopinath says. The work at Toyota Connected, meanwhile, will focus on incorporating data into all aspects of driving, from maintenance, to navigation, to safety features. Gopinath calls it a curated customer experience. “Like (for example), when you’re driving down the street, and a (warning) indicator light goes on, we’ll notify you and the dealer,” he says, adding that other conveniences, such as guided navigation, music services, and online restaurant reservation systems will be integrated into Toyota vehicles as innovations continue. As for finding the developers with the skills and experience needed for the Toyota Connected venture and for Toyota Motor North America, Gopinath says Toyota has been able to locate the talent it needs. Generally, he says, Toyota prefers to hire locally, to avoid the necessity of relocating workers. “We’re not just looking locally, but we’re looking for the best people,” he says. Gopinath is one of numerous company employees who pulled up stakes in California, to move to the relatively unknown (to many Californians)

environs of Texas. He says nearly all Toyota transplants were pleasantly surprised when they saw Dallas-Fort Worth’s low real-estate prices, good schools, and overall quality of life. “It wasn’t so much that I was moving here, as it was my family,” says Gopinath, who lived with his family in Palos Verdes – a hilly, verdant community located along the Pacific Coast. He now resides with his family in Southlake. “Having good schools and housing makes a big difference,” Gopinath says. “The big thing here is, if you go shopping, there’s actually parking available.” Gopinath recalls that when his family lived in Palos Verdes, he and other parents worked to raise money through the school’s Education Foundation, to provide extracurricular programs for their children. In Southlake, the Carroll school district is able to provide that support to its students, he says. And, where Gopinath once sat in his car half an hour to travel 10 miles to Toyota’s former headquarters in Torrance, California, he now makes a 35-minute (at most), 25-mile drive from Southlake to Toyota’s new HQ in Plano.

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THE INSIDER: WHERE ‘BIG D’ STANDS FOR DIGITAL

CASE STUDY

REALPAGE

The expansion of RealPage to Dallas-Fort Worth is a clear illustration of advantages that North Texas presents in keeping and attracting software and computer systems specialists, and the companies that employ them. For RealPage, which develops computer software and smartphone apps for real estate property management, employs about 1,000 developers and project managers in the United States and Asia. The company started at a small location within the International Business Park in Plano, and grew rapidly, moving to locations in Carrollton, both suburbs of Dallas. At that point, RealPage could have moved anywhere to continue its upward trajectory. It chose Dallas-Fort Worth, landing in a building formerly owned by Nortel in the rejuvenated Telecom Corridor of Richardson, another Dallas suburb. “We needed a new facility, and we were attracted to Richardson, and I have to say, of all the selling points that swung the deal was this idea of government and business cooperating,” RealPage CEO/Founder Stephen T. Winn says. “Partnering together, we’ve got greater organizations. We employ people all over the United States. We’ve got several large offices outside of Texas. But no one even comes close to the success and cooperation that we get here. This is why Texas is winning. It is obvious when you go around the country, and you say, ‘Why is this great state growing the way it is, attracting the jobs we attract you want to attract?’ It’s because of the work you folks have done, in partnership with business.” As an example of public and private cooperation, RealPage faced an industry upheaval when software developers switched programming languages. The company worked with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and Richland Community College to train existing and incoming workers in the “hot” new language – PHP – to meet that challenge. As part of that initiative, TWC provided a $1.3 million Skills Development Fund (SDF) grant that helped hone the skills of about 700 RealPage employees, 200 of which were new hires. Instructors from Richland provided about 26,000 hours of customized training, half of which involved emerging information technology.

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advanced computing capabilities to understand and solve complex problems) to computer and information sciences (CIS), the most-prevalent degree. More than half of students who completed a post-secondary CIS education did so at a post-graduate level. Companies that require niche developer skills sometimes still need to recruit from beyond Dallas-Fort Worth, recruiters say. One resource that smaller companies are relying upon is hiring employees with certificates and two-year degrees; many executives say such employees can be cost-effective, and often quickly climb company ranks. Data show that more than 4,000 students received computer-related certificates or two-year degrees in North Texas from 2014 through 2016.

The Developer Community Coalesces

Several coding, data science and programming schools, and boot camps offer ongoing enrollment in North Texas and online, for neophytes and professionals who want to hone or expand their skills in software design and development. Graduates from these schools range from age 18 to 65 and older, and have worked for Dallas-area firms including Vinli – which develops software to connect onboard car computers with smartphones and to create wireless clouds – and Omnitracs, a developer of fleet-management software. These schools fit well with the self-starter culture prevalent in Dallas, whose 3 percent unemployment rate speaks to workers’ adaptability in the workplace, and companies’ strong demand for workers. Representatives from larger companies in DallasFort Worth surveyed for this study said they still expect job candidates to hold four-year degrees; smaller firms indicated they would hire individuals who hold relevant developer certifications in areas such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce, or even strong object-oriented programming skills. A Dallas Regional Chamber analysis shows that the Dallas region is also home to hundreds of special-interest meetup groups. Nearly 100 of them focus on technology and software development, and meet in informal gatherings weekly to reconnect with peers, and to catch up on breakthroughs and developments in their areas of interest. The developer community started forming meetups in 2008; since then, they’ve held more than 2,400 meetups, ranging in size from a handful of people to more than 2,000. Meetups can range in topics as specific as .NET user groups, to the impact technology is making on our lives every day (including the use of artificial intelligence on the workforce).


THE INSIDER: WHERE ‘BIG D’ STANDS FOR DIGITAL

Educated workers Nearly 16,000 people earned certificates and degrees in computer-related technologies from area educational institutions between 2014 and 2016. RELEVANT DEGREES AWARDED FROM COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN DFW (2014-2016) CERTIFICATES AND 2-YEAR AWARDS

BACHELORS DEGREE S

ADVANCED DEGREES

TOTAL AWARDS

1,093

1,043

2,223

4,359

48

282

0

330

Computer Programming

301

0

0

301

Data Processing

600

0

0

600

68

426

1,236

1,730

0

182

127

309

40

270

81

391

219

126

0

345

0

26

0

26

Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications

955

101

4

1,060

Network and System Administration/ Administrator

75

0

0

75

System, Networking, and LAN/WAN Management/Manager

298

0

0

298

Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance

330

77

73

480

AREA OF STUDY Computer and Information Sciences Information Technology

Information Science Computer Systems Analysis Computer Science Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design Computer Graphics

Computer Support Specialist

19

0

0

19

Computer Engineering

0

234

266

500

Computer Software Engineering

0

292

305

597

Bioinformatics

0

0

4

4

Computational Biology

0

0

21

21

Computational Science

0

0

108

108

13

627

162

802

Management Information Systems

Source: IPEDS, U.S. Dept of Education National Center for Education Statistics.

It’s not uncommon at meetups for colleagues to brainstorm ideas to resolve project road blocks, seek help with, or to promote innovative ventures/start-ups they’re involved in. For example, four software/developer-oriented meetup groups – DFW Analytics: Big Data & Beyond Meetup, Dallas Web & Mobile Development Meetup, Dallas Software Developers, and Women Who Code – have a total of 6,200 members, and have held 250 meetups to date. Further strengthening the Dallas region’s

developer community’s bonds, the massively popular DFWStartupCommunity on Slack Team hosts the #dev-help channel to promote collaborative solutions both to pressing technical problems as well as for creating new opportunities.

Digital Workers Live, Work, and Play Wherever They Like

Software workers in Dallas-Fort Worth live near their jobs. DRC research shows that those engaged in computer occupations and,

more specifically, software developers, are most concentrated where tech-heavy employers are located, in the north central region of Dallas-Fort Worth. Southwestern Collin County is especially populated by information technology workers due to the presence of HP, NTT Data, Capital One, State Farm, RealPage, Fujitsu, United Health Group, JP Morgan Chase, Toyota, and supporting companies. A concentration of information tech workers in northern Dallas County can be attributed to Dell, Deloitte, IBM, Raytheon, AT&T, Accenture, and Texas Instruments. These areas offer some of the Dallas region’s most attractive neighborhoods, high-ranking public schools, relatively new housing stock, multi-use trails and parks, and access to acclaimed dining and retail establishments The Dallas region’s cost of living is slightly above average (index score 101), yet it’s still much lower than other major cities (Boston: 146; San Francisco: 184), according to the Cost of Living Index. Because pay in North Texas is comparable with jobs on the East Coast and Silicon Valley, individuals who code, manage, and build software infrastructure for Samsung, UnitedHealth Group, Southwest Airlines and other increasingly tech-reliant companies can afford homes in established, comfortable neighborhoods. They commute to work in minutes, not hours.

SPECIAL FEATURE: EXPANDED CONTENT

Go online to read the expanded story, and view the charts and interactive graphics. www.drcinteractive.com/software

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Innovation, a collaboration of passion and creativity. The Epic, a $300 Million mixed use development will bring 250,000 SF of innovative office space, a 164-room boutique hotel, and a 310-unit 26-floor Multifamily high rise to historic Deep Ellum. The Epic: the art of living well in a well lived neighborhood


The Epic provides an infused transitional extension from downtown Dallas’ urban environment to Deep Ellum’s inherent creative neighborhood. It embraces its cultural heritage and supports its future; becoming a gateway through the neighborhood to Dallas’ City Center. It embraces and enhances the streetscape, integrating itself as a contributing, creative presence. The planning of this development focuses inward through internal pedestrian thoroughfares; reflecting the overall feeling found throughout Deep Ellum.

For Leasing Information Office Dennis Barnes Tommy Nelson Kenzie Killgore 214.979.6100 tommy.nelson@cbre.com

Retail Elizabeth Herman Jack Gosnell 214.256.6262 elizabeth.herman@cbre.com


THE INSIDER MICHAEL SORRELL

THE ALTRUISTS

BY KRISTA NIGHTENGALE

WE ARE A REGION KNOWN FOR BOLSTERING PHILANTHROPY, AND FOR TRAILBLAZERS BETTERING THEIR COMMUNITIES—AND EVEN THE NATION. There is plenty of proof that North Texas is an incubator for creatives in urban planning, education, and social innovation. From national nonprofits launched out of homes to game-changing ideas that have cultivated millions of dollars for the nonprofit sector, the region is a launch pad for numerous movers and shakers who are making a significant communal impact. These go-getters, like Chad Houser, the executive chef/ CEO/founder of Café Momentum, are garnering attention. In October 2017, his face appeared on counter cards in Starbucks—across the nation. The same month, three of our region’s top minds in urban planning—Patrick Kennedy, Shima Hamidi, and Jason Roberts—appeared on a list in Planetizen highlighting the top innovators of all time. A few others on that list? Jane Jacobs, Thomas Jefferson, and Rosa Parks. Then, in November, Real Simple dedicated a feature to a Dallas college that turned a football field into a farm. President Michael Sorrell told the magazine that the idea of 42

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creating a garden on the field could “change Paul Quinn’s entire narrative.” And it has. That we are making headlines is a testament to our efforts. Take, for example, Paige Chenault, founder of The Birthday Party Project. Launched in 2012, The Birthday Party Project hosts birthday parties for children in shelters or the foster system. Since the nonprofit’s founding, more than 5,200 birthday parties with 30,000 kids in attendance have been held in 13 cities. As she’s traveled the country launching new chapters, Chenault has seen how Dallas embraces social innovation. “I think Dallas is doing a really great job of finding ways to blur the lines between economic classes,” she says. “We are offering opportunities for people to be in the community with one another.” She believes Dallas is doing a better job than other cities of dialing in on a community and finding ways to help. Jayda Batchelder, founding executive director of Education Opens Doors, says she’s also seen Dallas coming together to better address education. “The Dallas community, the funding


THE INSIDER: THE ALTRUISTS

community, and the governing community are all open to solutions that work toward education equity for all of our students,” she says. Batchelder started Education Opens Doors in 2012 to help fill the knowledge gap for students’ readiness to graduate high school and prepare them for what’s next. The approach of her organization is catered to each school. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” she says. The concept of uniting to create approaches unique to each community is something many have embraced. In fact, several foundations have joined forces to form the Better Together Fund. The steering committee is comprised of The Dallas Foundation, Lyda Hill/LH Holdings, Inc., The Meadows Foundation, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton

president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, says the fund is an exciting approach for the city. “The Better Together fund will inspire new strategic partnerships, and help us create a stronger health and human services infrastructure.” Sampson, who started at United Way in 2001 and is the first woman president/CEO of the Dallas chapter, says she sees Dallas as a leader in innovation. “We are a can-do city, and we will tackle the most complex and challenging problems in a new and innovative way,” she says. “We have a track record for doing that. And we will continue to do that.” Here’s a deeper look at those who are making North Texas—and the nation—look good.

MORE MOVERS AND SHAKERS Dallas-Fort Worth is home to dozens of creatives who are changing the face of urban planning, social and educational innovation. Here are the ones to watch.

SOCIAL Brittany Merrill Underwood Akola Project

Salah Boukadoum Soap Hope

EDUCATION

Bill Holston Human Rights Initiative

MICHAEL SORRELL, PRESIDENT, PAUL QUINN COLLEGE Paul Quinn College, a historically black college in Southern Dallas, has been in the news for President Michael Sorrell’s groundbreaking leadership. His headline-inciting work includes shutting down the football program and turning the field into a farm. Under his direction, Paul Quinn has also become the first federally recognized historically black college to be designated as a work college, which offers lower tuition rates in exchange for work hours clocked by students. It’s one of few federally recognized work colleges nationwide. “It’s a real model for other prospective college students to see how upwardly mobile and transformed they can be when they get higher education opportunities,” says Catherine Cuellar, a longtime Dallas philanthropist and activist.

Kevin Moriarty Dallas Theater Center Katherine and Isabelle Kei Adams Paper for Water

JAYDA BATCHELDER, FOUNDING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EDUCATION OPENS DOORS Education Opens Doors uses a manual, Roadmap to Success, to equip students with college and career readiness. Founded in 2012, the program’s manual is on its eighth edition; the curriculum is on its sixth. “We say that, in our organization, we are founded on an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit,” Jayda Batchelder says. “It is very solutions-based.” Being able to adapt and adjust as is needed in the schools has allowed the program to expand to 55 schools (empowering 10,000 students), including those in San Antonio, Austin, and even New Orleans. For Batchelder, it’s important to keep innovating. “How do we keep that entrepreneurial spirit going?” she asks of herself and her team.

Jo Giudice Dallas Public Library

“We say that, in our organization, we are founded on an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. It is very solutions-based.” JAYDA BATCHELDER EDUCATION OPENS DOORS

Suzanne Smith Social Impact Architects Ken Koo Causebot/Bridge Alliance

J

Darron Babcock Bonton Farms Keith Jacobs Refill Wise

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MORE MOVERS AND SHAKERS

EDUCATION DR. ROBERT RENNAKER, DEPARTMENT HEAD FOR BIOENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS The director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center, who is a former Marine and arrived at UT Dallas in 2009, wants Dallas to be known as the place to go to should you suffer a neurological injury. One of Dr. Robert Rennaker’s projects, Targeted Plasticity Therapy, dramatically improves functional outcomes. If all goes well, the therapy will get FDA approval and be on the market in three years. And that’s just the beginning. Bill Sproull, the chair of Texas Research Alliance and CEO of Tech Titans, says Dr. Rennaker is well on his way of meeting his goal for the city. “Dr. Rennaker does an excellent job of bringing researchers and faculty from different backgrounds to create innovations in the development of medical devices,” Sproull says.

EDUCATION Miguel Solis Latino Center for Leadership Development John Breitfeller Educational First Steps Wende Burton and Sarah Cotton Nelson Communities Foundation of Texas

SOCIAL CHAD HOUSER, FOUNDER, CEO, AND EXECUTIVE CHEF, CAFÉ MOMENTUM

Ben Leal Jubilee Park

Chad Houser combined two of Dallas’ staples—dining and philanthropy—and changed the way we think about giving. With Café Momentum, a culinary training program that works with young men and women from juvenile facilities, Houser and his team have established a permanent restaurant—with a Zagat-rated menu— that gives juvenile justice system offenders a chance to restart. It’s a success story that has gone viral, most recently with Starbucks’ Upstanders series.

Nakia Douglas Dallas ISD Michael Sherrod Texas Christian University (TCU)

JENNIFER SAMPSON, MCDERMOTT-TEMPLETON PRESIDENT AND CEO, UNITED WAY OF METROPOLITAN DALLAS United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ GroundFloor program, which funnels seed money and training resources to social-venture entrepreneurs, is unlike anything any United Way has ever done before. The program has invested more than $1.9 million in 24 fellows, who have in turn raised $12 million. “I believe we are setting an example that others across the country can follow,” Jennifer Sampson says. “I believe we are a catalyst for change.”

URBAN PLANNING Lizzie McWillie & Thor Erickson [bc]Workshop Patrick Kennedy Holly Reed Texas Central

PAIGE CHENAULT, FOUNDER/CEO, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY PROJECT

Sharon Lyle Public City

The best job in Dallas might very well be serving as a volunteer for The Birthday Party Project. Your role is to show up, bring a present or cupcake, and hang out with kids who wouldn’t otherwise be celebrated on their most special of days— their birthday. It’s that easy. And it makes a huge difference. For Paige Chenault, it’s all about the kids and the birthday enthusiasts who coordinate the parties and create moments of joy. “We have been able to serve our community in new ways by really energizing all ages,” she says. “Whether they’re three or 93, it’s important to me that [our volunteers] feel welcome at our parties and are able to feel like they have something they can give back.”

Doric Earle

Click to dallasinnovates.com for our detailed rundown of altruists impacting the city.

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THE INSIDER: THE ALTRUISTS

URBAN PLANNING JASON ROBERTS, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, BETTER BLOCK FOUNDATION This year, Jason Roberts’ work has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, CityLab, NextCity, and in countless other media. He launched the concept of Wikiblock, an open-source library of street furniture designs—from chairs and planters to benches, bus stops, and kiosks—that can be downloaded for free by anyone and cut out using a CNC router (a giant printer for wood). His work has taken the sometimes convoluted concepts of new urbanism and made them applicable for the everyman and everywoman. Thanks to Roberts, neighborhoods are being transformed with a little paint, a lot of elbow grease, and dedicated amateurs.

SHIMA HAMIDI, DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE OF URBAN PLANNING, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS ARLINGTON Over the past five years, the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs has emerged as a leader in its field. Shima Hamidi, director of the Institute of Urban Planning, is one reason why. According to Mark Lamster, architecture critic at The Dallas Morning News and recent Loeb Fellow, Hamidi’s studies on mobility and public transit—as well as urban design and its effects on quality of life—have been forward-thinking, especially in such a car-centric town. She is a strong advocate for smart growth, and her substantial findings have been covered in publications including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

SCOTT POLIKOV, PRESIDENT, GATEWAY PLANNING In 2015, the Texas Department of Transportation commissioned a study of downtown Dallas corridors. Scott Polikov headed up the project, which was called CityMap. Among the recommendations: remove one highway; relocate another—things that other cities have studied, but few are doing. CityMap has led to countless discussions in the city about the future of planning and what steps should be taken next. Because of the work that Polikov and his team did, we now have a roadmap for innovation.

EYE ON: NEW URBANISM

Public-Private Development The Trinity River Vision Authority’s Panther Island Plan visualizes the concept of New Urbanism by creating an urban waterfront community on an 800-acre area along the Trinity River north of downtown Fort Worth. It will be a walkable community with businesses, recreation, and residential components.

Redefining Deep Ellum The Epic mixed-used, transit-oriented development in Deep Ellum will incorporate the old with the new, keeping historic elements alive for future generations. Developers will keep the facade of the 1915-era Knights of Pythias Temple as an element of its new construction.

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THE INSIDER

7 MASTER INNOVATORS AND THEIR

SECRET WEAPONS THEY ARE FEARLESS LOCAL MASTERMINDS WITH A HISTORY OF REVOLUTIONIZING THEIR INDUSTRIES — AND A WEALTH OF WILDLY SUCCESSFUL INVENTIONS. WE HAD A CHAT. On Instagram, Amber Venz Box lives a glamorous life— she is always impeccably dressed and often traveling to some interesting international locale to promote rewardStyle, the company she co-owns with husband Baxter Box. It’s genuine reality—but it wasn’t always this way. Venz Box has been an entrepreneur since the sixth grade (when she sold custom-cut and bleached denim skirts), and has worked tirelessly ever since. She and Baxter launched rewardStyle, which has monetized fashion blogs for thousands of social influencers around the world, while working overtime from a small Dallas apartment. It’s a story many North Texas inventors share. They had an idea, a vision—and they stopped at nothing until it came to fruition. They have built million-dollar empires, have made unprecedented advancements in science, and they have pioneered some of the most advanced technologies in social media (surely you’ve played Words with Friends), medicine (Nexeon is helping patients with brain injuries and diseases), and art (have you been to AURORA, along with 50,000 other locals?). They are nationally—and even internationally—known in their industries. And, they continue to grow and expand their businesses right in our back yard. They are the fearless seven—our revolutionizers—and they’re spilling their secrets. BY NICHOL AS SAKEL ARIS

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rewardStyle Amber Venz Box


THE INSIDER: 7 MASTER INNOVATORS

LANCE CROSBY

FOUNDER AND CEO, STACKPATH Lance Crosby is best known as the CEO of SoftLayer Technologies before it was acquired by IBM in 2013. The cloud-computing company was one of the largest infrastructure as a service providers in the market. Now, Crosby leads StackPath, which takes that “as a service” mantra to the cyber security world. The technology has 800,000 customers and received a $4.3 billion private-equity investment from ABRY Partners. FEAT Sharing my successful career with my wife and children. There is no worklife balance—it’s just life. They are as much a part of my success as I am. I could not do this without them.

LESSON If multiple people tell you your idea is insane and will not work, it’s absolutely golden and will change the world.

SECRET WEAPON Hire people smarter than you—they make you look like a genius. The only people who fail are those that must be the smartest person in the room.

“ Every single piece of hardware and software in the world is being turned into a service. What’s the next “thing” that we can’t live without? The opportunities are endless.”

ONE YOU WATCH I don’t really admire specific individuals. Every time I meet a successful person, I think, ‘What attributes does this person have that I aspire to have?’ A great speaker, a great dresser, wellspoken, knowledge of field, charismatic, ability to solve problems, amazing negotiator, incredible body language, technical skills, networker, etc. Every single successful person you meet has a quality you should aspire to have and acquire. Be yourself. Never yearn to be others.

TECH TO TALK ABOUT The tech that hasn’t been invented yet. Every single piece of hardware and software in the world is being turned into a service. What’s the next “thing” that we can’t live without? The opportunities are endless.

PAUL BETTNER CEO, PLAYFUL CORP.

Paul Bettner, the creator of Words with Friends, founded Playful Corp. nearly five years ago. The McKinney-based gaming company has launched games for Stream, Xbox One X and the PlayStation VR. Bettner is now building a new 53,000-square-foot office near McKinney’s historic downtown. FEAT It’s got to be at this point, Words with Friends. It’s the most popular game on the iPhone. In my life, it’s got to be my kids and my family.

LESSON I’ve learned that perseverance of visions— having a long-term vision and sticking with it—is ultimately where success comes from. Success is never a straight line. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to get there. It’s always this winding path. If we have a vision that we believe in and we give it the time it needs, we’ll have success. It always comes back to that vision that we have. A lot of companies don’t necessarily operate that way. My favorite companies are the ones where the money they make is a side effect.

SECRET WEAPON Our secret weapon is building a culture where people get to work on things that make a difference. That has helped us attract and retain some of the world’s best talent. They’re so happy and pleased to put this game in the world that will make people happy, make people smile and spread joy. They feel the world needs more of that right now. It connects parents with their kids. That’s the difference we want to have in the world.

ONE YOU WATCH Walt Disney. Disney has done the most amazing job of blending together the love of intellectual property, the stories and characters, and they have combined that with cutting-edge technology.

TECH TO TALK ABOUT I’m excited about the next generation of mixed-reality headset and glasses. A pair of glasses that you can see through, that layer digital technology on top. It’s going to replace phones, it’s going to replace computers. It’s one of those technologies that’s going to change every industry.

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WALTER VOIT

MASTER MINDS MORE NORTH TEXAS IDEA GENERATORS

CEO, ADAPTIVE 3D TECHNOLOGIES

Walter Voit uses his material science and engineering background to create 3D printed polymers at high volume and low cost. Dallas-based Adaptive 3D Technologies is working with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] as well as oil and gas companies, apparel manufacturers, and the aerospace industry. The company spun out of the Advanced Polymer and Research Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas, where Voit was a professor.

GEORGE BRODY

Best known for his leadership at GlobeRanger, Brody has been a leading innovator in the wireless space for decades. These days, he’s an investor and adviser for Ilumi Solutions Inc., an Internet of Things initiatives company, and founder of the Advanced Wireless Research Consortium of North Texas, which encourages collaboration in the wireless sector.

FEAT I’m a proud father and loving husband. Family, for me, is very important. Professionally, I think I’ve been able to enfranchise a large number of old folks and young folks so they can translate technology to drive toward commercial impact.

ANDRES FABRIS

LESSON Enfranchise people, then get out of their way. Don’t interrupt people when they’re doing something brilliant. Let them finish.

The founder & CEO of Traxo set out to make it easier for people to share travel itineraries and plans with their friends. Traxo has financial backing from TripAdvisor and has developed partnerships with Lufthansa and other corporations.

SECRET WEAPON No secrets. It’s hard work, passion and surrounding yourself with great people who want to make a difference. ONE YOU WATCH Margaret McDermott. She has been a visionary and has enfranchised young people to be successful through scholarships. She’s given to the symphony, the opera, the University of Texas at Dallas, UT Southwestern, and she’s one of the matriarchs of Dallas. She has been instrumental in building a city culture that attracts some of the world’s best talent. TECH TO TALK ABOUT Additive manufacturing. In today’s world, the business model for making plastics at high volumes relies on making non-custom parts. In the future, I think companies will be able to mass-produce custom 3D parts that are lightweight, low cost and meet the needs of many industries. It’s solving manufacturing problems for some of the world’s best companies and providing better solutions for a rapidly changing world.

STEVE DIETZ The founder of Dallas-based 900lbs of Creative specializes in creating virtual reality and augmented reality content for major brands. Dietz is passionate about telling immersive stories using the latest cutting-edge technology.

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“You can always tell when you’re talking


THE INSIDER: 7 MASTER INNOVATORS

with someone who is doing what they have always dreamed of.”

Gaming & esports

Competitive gaming is becoming big business, with major teams drawing large fanbases, and Dallas-Fort Worth quickly is becoming an esports hub. Several major esports teams are relocating to the region, and have drawn major investments from some of DFW’s most notable people.

OpTic Gaming & Team EnVyUs In 2017, two of the biggest competitive esports teams in the nation — OpTic Gaming and Team EnVyUs — relocated their operations to DFW. TeamEnvy garnered a major investment from Ken Hersh and Hersh Interactive Group and announced its move to DFW. OpTic founder and CEO, Hector “Hecz” Rodriguez, was a pioneer in the early days of gameplay content, leading to the established global brand that OpTic is today.

Complexity Gaming Jerry Jones and John Goff teamed up to acquire esports giant Complexity Gaming and relocated the team to The Star in Frisco, where construction will begin on a HQ and training facility.

JOSHUA KING

CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AURORA AURORA is a biennial art, light and sound show that covers acres of downtown Dallas with interactive, often massive, displays created by local, national, and international artists. Spearheaded by artist Joshua King—who co-founded the event alongside artist Shane Pennington—the event has garnered continuous acclaim since its 2010 inception. The 2018 show, themed “Future Worlds,” will be held at Dallas City Hall.

MVPIndex

FEAT Bringing over 50,000 to witness AURORA.

DFW universities get into the game

LESSON That no is the first thing you should hear, and the last thing you should remember.

SECRET WEAPON Patience, patience, and more patience.

ONE YOU WATCH I most admire the people who follow their passions in life. You can always tell when you’re talking with someone who is doing what they have always dreamed of.

TECH TO TALK ABOUT Zero-carbon sustainable cities like Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates.

Dallas-based MVPindex launched the first Social Media Index for esports and will track, measure, and value the social media impact of roughly 2,500 esports leagues, teams, players, games, and more.

In April, the UT Arlington Esports Club team bested a 64-team field in the three-week “Heroes of the Dorm” competition. Team members earned free tuition for the rest of their collegiate years for their win. And, the University of North Texas has built “The Nest,” a new facility open to any student or faculty member who wants to hone their gaming skills.

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RODRIGUEZ

DRIVING INNOVATION IN NORTH TEXAS


THE INSIDER: 7 MASTER INNOVATORS

MASTER MINDS MORE NORTH TEXAS IDEA GENERATORS PAT ANTAKI Antaki is the president of Evergaze LLC, an optical technology startup that is developing seeBOOST, a wearable device that helps people who are losing their vision due to macular degeneration.

JOHN CARMACK The chief technical officer for Oculus, maker of virtual reality headsets, made a name for himself in the 1990s when he developed popular video games such as Quake and Doom. Today, he’s pushing the boundary of VR technology.

LIANA DUNLAP Dunlap’s resume included leadership positions at Disney and IBM before she became CEO of CoreSpace, a Dallas-based data center with locations across the country that offer cloud-based infrastructure and hosting for businesses.

WILL ROSELLINI

CEO, NEXEON MEDSYSTEMS INC. Former minor league pitcher Will Rosellini is a lifelong learner who has five graduate degrees. His passion is making medical products that stimulate the nervous system. He believes humans eventually will be integrated with machines, becoming enhanced cyborgs. He’s now at the helm of Nexeon MedSystems Inc., which develops medical devices that provide neurostimulation to help improve the quality of life for patients with debilitating neurological diseases.

AL GUILLEM The president of ZS Pharma has led the development of several prescription and overthe-counter medications, including Mucinex. The billion-dollar company went public with a $100 million offering. ZS Pharma is focusing on drugs to treat renal, heart, liver, and other diseases.

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FEAT I’ve created a high-performance environment where executives can feel comfortable working anywhere in the world without having to commute to an office. LESSON The house will always win more hands than it loses, but when the odds are in your favor, you need to bet big. SECRET WEAPON I have been very effective when I find talented people who are under-utilized or frustrated in their current position, and then create an environment for them to succeed in my world. TECH TO TALK ABOUT I think we will eventually incorporate cell phone


THE INSIDER: 7 MASTER INNOVATORS

DAVE COPPS

CEO, BRAINSPACE

The house will always win more hands than it loses, but when the odds are in your favor, you need to bet big.

Dave Copps has been at the forefront of machine learning for more than a decade. In 2007, he founded PureDiscovery Corp., now known as Brainspace. The company builds machinelearning platforms that are used by some of the largest companies in the world to perform digital investigations and e-discovery. The artificial intelligence (AI) can make sense out of unstructured human language and find patterns, finding that proverbial needle in the haystack. FEAT I’ve done nothing on my own. I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing people in my life. I’ve built and sold three companies. As an entrepreneur, I’m batting 1,000 percent. I’ve created jobs and livings for people. And I’ve created things that never existed before. That’s been a real motivator for me, that you can do things together that make a real difference LESSON To live life as a creator. There’s more to life than living life reacting to things. The moment you commit to living your business as a creation, everything and everyone alters around you. It’s really important to build a strong corporate culture. SECRET WEAPON So far, it’s been persistence and a commitment to innovating without fear of failure. Being too stubborn to recognize the possibilities of failure. What turns me on more than anything is this idea of taking an idea of something that never existed before, and sharing and growing that idea with similarly passionate people. ONE YOU WATCH Trey Bowles [founder and CEO of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center] has become the maven for our area. He’s the connector. I really love what he’s done. Trey has set a standard for the greatness of our entrepreneurial community.

technology into our nervous system to create a safer, less distracting, healthier way to connect ourselves to the tribe. ONE YOU WATCH As I’ve gotten older, I have realized my dad is the most innovative technologist in the region. He is a dentist and still uses AOL for email, but his passion as a dentist for maintaining his patients’ teeth has led him to adopt some very innovative telemedicine technologies to bring dental care to the patient in the nursing home once they have left his practice. His passion for solving health care problems in the chronic rehabilitation space serves as an inspiration even today.

TECH TO TALK ABOUT I’m most excited about what’s happening with AI and deep learning. This year was a real important year in terms of progress for AI. We leapt across some really big hurdles. The disruption that’s happening is the automation of automation. The next 10 years will be absolutely unprecedented. I’m a person who is very positive about that. We’re approaching a day where we could eliminate poverty and cure disease, and truly start to explore that next humanity.

INVENTION PATENT WATCH

Telemedicine goes 3-D Plano-based TelePresence Tech takes the online video call concept another step, melding more than a dozen U.S. and European patents to tap into the workings of the mind. It was made possible by a new Texas law that took effect in 2017. The company was acquired by Buffalo Pacific in Oct. 2017.

Headphones that stay put

Former NFL player and current Dallas resident Mark Clayton has created headphones that stay on an athlete’s head during strenuous activity thanks to a patented titanium band.

Inventing a better berry

Its name is Norman, otherwise known as U.S. Patent No. PP028502. Norman is a new breed of blueberry invented by the late James Norman Moore, who made his life’s work in agricultural research at the University of Arkansas, and who died in 2017 in Arlington, shortly before the patent for Norman was issued.

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THE INSIDER: 8 MASTER INVENTORS

AMBER VENZ BOX

MASTER MINDS MORE NORTH TEXAS IDEA GENERATORS

CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, REWARDSTYLE Amber Venz Box was running a high-traffic fashion blog at age 23. It inspired a groundbreaking revelation: the creation of a content management system that allows fashion bloggers to monetize their work by driving followers to brands and retailers. RewardStyle’s LIKEtoKNOW.it app enables millions to easily shop influencers’ wares. It has generated $210 million in retail sales and @LIKEtoKNOW.it has more than 2 million Instagram followers. FEAT Professionally, it would be starting rewardStyle at such a young age and being able to watch it grow and evolve. Baxter and I have worked around the clock for more than six years building the business, and what started as a project in our tiny apartment is now a large, multinational business with more than 240 team members in offices around the world. Personally, it would be my marriage and two children.

PETE LERMA Now the principal at Richards/Lerma, Pete Lerma is one of the most innovative digital marketers today. His newest venture focuses entirely on marketing to Hispanics with brands such as The Home Depot and Ram Trucks.

CLYDE VALENTIN Valentin is the founder and director of Ignite Arts Dallas at the Meadows School at Southern Methodist University. The initiative unites arts and community engagement by encouraging art that explores racial and cultural themes in Dallas and the nation. The New York City native previously worked as the executive director of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, now known as the Hi-ARTS.

LESSON Work urgently, be a friend, learn to delegate.

STEVE GUENGERICH He’s been an entrepreneur, investor, and mentor in Austin, but these days he’s the executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at the University of Texas at Dallas. The goal of the IIE is to encourage the next generation of startups at UTD.

HAL BRIERLEY The CEO of The Brierley Group knows how to generate loyalty for businesses. In his decades of experience, he’s built reward programs for airlines, hotels, retailers, and others.

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ONE YOU WATCH My husband and co-founder, Baxter Box. SECRET WEAPON Having a co-founder and counterpart that fulfills the other half of the business equation for me. Baxter never thought he would be in the fashion world and I can barely turn a printer on, so we are yin and yang when it comes to our skills. He oversees the technical side of the business while I oversee the marketing side. We sit next to each other in meetings and really balance each other’s ideas.

TECH TO TALK ABOUT We now use an app to seamlessly order a car, order food, order a manicure, and so it is no surprise that we also want to order fashion at the time of inspiration. The LIKEtoKNOW. it app solves the problem of allowing consumers to shop inspiration in closed mobile social, and the numbers tell us it is working and is the future. LIKEtoKNOW.it is growing at twice the rate of the blog, when you look at retail sales drive, and by the end of next year, LIKEtoKNOW.it will provide the majority of retail sales through the rewardStyle channel. LIKEtoKNOW.it is the future.


THOUGHT LEADERS SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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

INSIDE

BOTTLE ROCKET 54 CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD 56 DELOITTE 58 EARTHX 60 FIVE PACK CREATIVE 62 BILL J. PRIEST INSTITUTE 64 HALL GROUP 66 SYNERZIP 68 VILLAGE TECH SCHOOLS 70 DA L L A S INN OVAT E S

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THOUGHT LEADERS

BOTTLE ROCKET Bottle Rocket makes things that enhance life. Not just any life, but this new “connected life.” We leverage technology in new and innovative ways to create solutions that help people live their best life. Some of the world’s leading brands, like Coca-Cola, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Chick-fil-A have relied on us to help them connect with customers and create custom digital and mobile experiences that truly impact people’s lives.

What do you mean by “connected life?”

In an always-on-the-go world, technology allows people to always be connected. Mobile phones are at the forefront of this phenomenon, but consider the advancement of televisions, assistants, watches, thermostats, even refrigerators. Your voice assistant can turn on your favorite music channel. Your refrigerator can text you your shopping list. Your television can fetch any TV show or movie you care to watch. Each of these connections continues to enhance the world around us and uncover the ever-growing potential of technology. We harness that potential and share it with the world.  

What does innovation mean to you?

It’s our duty to stay at the forefront of what’s next, and in our world, that means continuous innovation. It’s more than just a buzz word. It’s our day to day and the heartbeat of our Rocketeers. We believe innovation is the result of curiosity and the desire to make a difference. Innovation is a strategic imperative we use to deliver relevant offerings to help our clients stay ahead of the competition. Innovation that rapidly turns into execution is our strength.

What’s next for Bottle Rocket?

In our 10-year history, technology hasn’t stayed the same, and neither have we. We will continue to harness the power of technology so brands can help customers unleash their full potential. Our products will continue to leave a lasting impression on users. And most importantly, we will continue to help the world’s most-loved brands stay right where they want to be: connected to those that love them. Our view of the future is optimistic, and we’re confident that the next ten years will be as fulfilling as the last.

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THOUGHT LEADERS

CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD RAN HOLMAN, MANAGING PRINCIPAL In its simplest form, what is innovation to you? Innovation is a key part of the human element. It’s within us that we want to perfect things, but there is a process to it. Innovation is what took man from Kitty Hawk to the moon in 60 years. It’s one of the best things about mankind in that each innovation stands on those that came before it.

How does your company differentiate itself from others? We have a shared goal at Cushman & Wakefield: Everything we do, irrespective of role, is to accomplish the objective of delivering excellence to our customers. We embrace change and practice what we preach. If you look at our new office in Uptown, you’ll see it isn’t your father’s Cushman & Wakefield.

How does the region’s access to resources impact your ability to compete? Dallas is one of the most competitive markets in the country. It is not enough to have talent or capital. You have to be creative, fast, and smart. Clients need more services, more resources than ever before. Dallas’ depth of real estate talent ultimately pushes competition and gives the clients unmatched options. Cushman & Wakefield has the tools and human resources to provide exceptional service—deeply and broadly. The landscape is changing; the spoils will go to those who can serve at the highest level, with consistency and speed.

What type of opportunities exist for innovative thinkers to join your firm? We don’t watch the competition. We strive to think differently and challenge convention. We’re constantly seeking new ways to serve our clients better, faster, and in ways that work for their cultures. Our door is always open to talented commercial real estate professionals who share this philosophy.

What has you most excited about the future? Youth coming out of school are so smart and so facile with technology. They are also redefining how real estate is used. This is an industry that is constantly changing, and it must because our clients are changing. Our culture is not built on imposing our way on our clients, it is about creating solutions that are right for their way. And that creates opportunity.

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WE BELIEVE

THE CLIENT GIVES EVERY INVESTMENT PURPOSE. EVERY PROPERTY A SOUL. EVERY TRANSACTION A PULSE. Real estate is a powerful asset. It helps define the business of a company. The spirit of a startup. The values of an investor. We’re 45,000 employees in over 70 countries, helping our clients put ideas into action. Across industries. Within budgets. And without fail. Around the globe and in Dallas.

What can we do for you? cushmanwakefield.com/action

IDEAS INTO ACTION


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THOUGHT LEADERS

DELOITTE JASON W. DOWNING, MANAGING PARTNER, NORTH TEXAS, DELOITTE LLP In its simplest form, what is innovation to you? Innovation often is a buzzword—at Deloitte it isn’t. To innovate well, you need the confidence in your ability to execute. Our track record and goal is to instill that confidence. Our goal with innovation is to find the practical value out of the latest technologies, to create near-term solutions that enable companies to streamline processes, mitigate risk and connect with customers and markets.

What do we believe? Today, the technological innovations reshaping business and society make it possible for every organization to be a technology company. But innovation isn’t always about technology and invention. It’s also about ingenuity—taking what we already have and know and seeing how it can be reapplied to help solve a new problem—and that creates value. Ingenuity requires us to think in new ways about familiar ideas, welcome new approaches, and collaborate with others in ecosystems that combine diverse skill sets. And, ingenuity calls for us to deploy new ideas, even in the face of risk. Innovation entails taking risks, but not innovating can be riskier. Many organizations struggle with finding the right balance between fearlessness and paralysis. A key is understanding and managing the risk that comes with innovation. Effective, innovative organizations understand the disruption that is now commonplace in our global economy and face it with confidence. The option of waiting to be a ‘fast follower’ may not be sufficient today, given how rapidly new technologies are changing how business gets done.

Commitment to innovation in North Texas In North Texas, we instill innovation in every part of working with our clients. We also continue to deepen our commitment to evolve and anticipate the next generation of solutions and capabilities our clients will need to excel in an ever-changing business landscape.

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Innovation isn’t just about technology Or even inventing new things. It’s also about ingenuity—taking a fresh look at existing assets and know-how and combining them in new ways to maximize their value. This ingenious approach to innovation calls for organizations to encourage curiosity, creativity, and collaboration. Deloitte can help you see new ways to transform your business.

www.deloitte.com/us/innovation Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


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THOUGHT LEADERS

EARTHX What is innovation to you? Innovation is change, alteration, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis, breakthrough, modernization, newness, creativity, originality and ingenuity, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, and sometimes with unintended consequences.

Tell us about your company’s services? At EARTHx, we are perpetually innovating in our efforts to gather concerned citizens, educator’s businesses, non-profits, and global leaders at the world’s largest environmental forum. North Texas is home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative companies in the country, what can this be attributed to? North Texas embodies the “can-do spirit” found thoroughout the satate. Trammell S. Crow started his commitment to the environment when he founded the Texas Business for Clean Air PAC. He was able to garner the support of 200 business leaders, and his coalition ultimately prevented the construction of several coal-fired power plants. This was an eye-opening experience for Mr. Crow and lead to his founding Earth Day Texas in 2011. EARTHx is the place where environmentally conscious organizations, businesses, and educational institutions come together to celebrate and share conservation practices and sustainable solutions that will make a difference today, tomorrow and every day thereafter. This past April, Earth Day Texas attracted over 115,000 visitors, 850 exhibitors and 250 speakers over three days. Not only have we created a strong foothold in the state and region, but we are beginning to drive a national audience as well, with over 5,000 visitors coming from out of state in 2017. As a result, we have rebranded ourselves as EARTHx to grow into a truly global platform, right here in the state of Texas.

How does the region’s access to higher education impact your ability to compete? The region’s access to universities makes it a perfect location for this type of event. Universities are constantly looking for clean tech alternatives and we give them the opportunity to present at our expo. With the introduction of the Blackstone Launchpad at UT Dallas, DFW is growing more students, entrepreneurs and early-stage ventures than ever before.

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Smart Solutions. Big Impact. Find out more at EARTHx.org


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THOUGHT LEADERS

FIVE PACK CREATIVE ALT-U DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION: Short for Alternative

University, ALT-U classes are taught by our top developers, drawing from their own experiences so “students” can increase their mobile app skills.

How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region?

In its simplest form, what is innovation to you? Innovation is recognizing there is a better way to solve an important customer problem and then converting that approach into revenues that drive growth. Whether it is being the first to market with an app for Apple Watch or building apps with the latest hot technologies such as Augmented Reality or Machine Learning, we pride ourselves in partnering with our customers to bring innovation to life.

Tell us about your company’s products or services. Five Pack Creative (FPC) is a mobile app development agency based out of Frisco, and we have been building beautiful, innovative mobile apps since 2008. We’ve worked on hundreds of apps over the years, across multiple industries and have had the pleasure of working with companies such as American Airlines, Match.com, One Technologies and the United Way to name a few. We focus on providing: CUSTOM APP DEVELOPMENT: We partner with a company to build a custom app by leveraging our in-house expertise from product strategy, UX/UI design, development, testing, and launch to maintenance. AUGMENTED ENGINEERING RESOURCES: We partner with companies to solve the challenge of finding the right talent to deliver mobile apps through contract, contract to hire and direct hire placement. HOURS TIME TRACKING: We recently acquired “Hours Time Tracking” which is a leader in the time tracking space and is designed to take the pain out of project-level time tracking for individuals or teams.

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Clients tell us that they come to us because they have seen our work and are wowed by it. They cite the combination of innovation and beautiful design with our passion and ability to provide access to talented people who are easy to work with. Plus, we can provide all aspects of creating a custom app or provide you with the engineering resources needed to help you build your own app in house.

What type of opportunities exist for innovative thinkers looking to join your company or industry? If you have a passion and the know-how to create world class mobile apps, we would love to talk to you. If you have the passion, but need to gain more experience and know how, we have a program called “Alt-U” that is specifically designed to help train on the latest technology and can serve as a way to onboard with us.

What steps are you taking to ensure continued growth? In order for us to have sustained growth, we recognized the need to invest in our operations and leadership team. In late 2015, we added four partners with a focus on driving Operations, Finance, Technology and Architecture. Most recently we added Ian Campbell as our Executive Partner. Ian brings close to 30 years of experience in the software space. We believe this investment in leadership along with our continued commitment to solving for our customer will enable us to further enhance our current growth trajectory.


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THOUGHT LEADERS

BILL J. PRIEST INSTITUTE

Tell us about your company’s products or services. Bill J. Priest Institute (BJP) is a one-stop-shop for small business innovation, growth and economic development. At one location, our partners share a vision and collectively provide a wide array of services tailored to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Our partners include: The Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, North Texas Small Business Development Center, LiftFund, SCORE, PeopleFund, WorkReadyU, Workforce Solutions and npower. Together, we help small businesses grow revenue, increase jobs and contribute to the economic growth of North Texas.

How can small businesses utilize the resources at BJP to grow their business? Charnella Derry, president of Beacon Hill Preparatory Institute, has taken full advantage of resources at BJP and has also made it her business home as a tenant. “When we first started, I didn’t have a business plan, I didn’t have any direction, until I went to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and worked with Judith Collins,” Derry said. “She became my advisor and was able to help me map out a plan in bite-size pieces.” As Derry built her business, she heard about the

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Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program and knew it would be the catalyst she needed to catapult to the next level. As an alumna, Derry has Charnella taken what she Derry learned, grown her revenue by 50 percent, and with the guidance of her SBDC advisor and 10KSB growth plan obtained the access to capital she needed through PeopleFund that allowed her to take on larger contracts.

How does access to resources, such as higher education and access to capital, impact your ability to compete? “Under this one roof, BJP has all the growth resources that you need,” Derry stated. “If I hadn’t connected with those different resources, I don’t know what I would be doing. They moved me to another level, opened doors and gave me exposure and access to people that I wouldn’t normally be exposed to.”


Collectively, We Help Small Businesses Innovate, Grow and Thrive Discover the Bill J. Priest Institute, a one-stop-shop for small business innovation, growth and economic development. At one location, our partners share a vision and collectively provide a wide array of services tailored to entrepreneurs and small businesses — from start up and launch to growth and expansion. Let us help make your business dreams a reality.

1402 CORINTH STREET | DALLAS, TX 75215 | 214-860-5900 | WORKFORCE.DCCCD.EDU/BJP

Bill J. Priest Institute


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THOUGHT LEADERS

HALL GROUP KPMG Plaza at HALL Arts

Kathryn and Craig Hall, Mike Reynolds and Steve Leveque receive LEED Gold Certification plaque on behalf of HALL Wines.

HALL Park

In its simplest form, what is innovation to you?

At HALL Group, innovation means always looking for a better, more efficient and productive way to serve our tenants, clients, customers and communities.

Tell us about your company’s products or services. Founded by Craig Hall in 1968, HALL Group is an entrepreneurial-led company that specializes in commercial real estate development, ownership and management, financial lending, and winemaking.

How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region?

For example, we pursue the highest level of building efficiency and sustainability in all of our new developments, we are exploring the use of autonomous vehicles at HALL Park, and we employ state-of-the-art winemaking technology at HALL and WALT Wines in Napa, to name just a few.

How would you define your company’s innovations?

HALL Group’s innovation comes in many forms, starting from the ideation process and extending into our finished real estate developments and wines. We are always focused on tomorrow and how we can improve our business and the lives of those around us.

What does your team evaluate when looking at new business opportunities or new areas of investment?

We put people first. Whether it’s a trusted borrower or new business acquaintance, at the end of the day, people are the reason we are here and are the most important factor when evaluating new opportunities.

For 50 years, HALL Group has differentiated itself by developing the highest-quality products while always striving to prioritize the best interests of our stakeholders, not just our bottom line.

How does your company leadership grow, enhance or support the industry in which it serves?

How does HALL Group stretch the boundaries of what’s been done, or reinvent itself within the industry?

North Texas is home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative companies in the country. What can this be attributed to?

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HALL Group is passionate about advancing the real estate industry in North Texas, serving on several boards and frequently speaking publicly about the future of the industry and how we can safeguard it.

This is attributed to the growing talent pool in DFW, our strong civic leadership, robust job growth and overall entrepreneurial and pro-business attitude.


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THOUGHT LEADERS

HEMANT ELHENCE, CEO

SYNERZIP In its simplest form, what is innovation to you?

Solving a real business problem, for customers/users, and doing it in an economically viable manner to create lasting value for all stakeholders.

Tell us about your company’s products or services.

“Synerzip is an Agile software product development partner to software & technology-enabled companies across all industries. We embrace modern practices such as Agile, Lean Startup, and DevOps to accelerate product roadmaps and ensure software quality. We have expertise in Big Data and Analytics, AI and Machine Learning, Blockchain Technology, DevOps and Continuous Delivery.”

How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region?

Three differentiators: First, we exclusively focus on serving early and growth stage technology companies. Second, our DNA is more cutting edge—in terms of latest technologies and modern practices. Third, we are able to leverage our globally distributed talent to deliver innovation in a capital efficient and scalable manner.

How does your company or your team stretch the boundaries of what’s been done, or reinvent itself within the industry? A core aspect of our company culture is to encourage and support each other in continuous learning endeavor and avoid penalizing for failures Innovation comes in many forms—from finished products and processes, to implementation and idea generation.

How would you define your company’s innovations?

For us, innovation happens at two levels; clients’ products and processes within our organization. Our core innovation is our process of consistently delivering cutting edge software to using globally distributed teams.

What does your team evaluate when looking at new business opportunities or new areas of investment? Our consistent focus on serving early-stage and high-growth technology companies provide us a constant flow of fresh and innovative ideas from our client work.

How does your company leadership grow, enhance or support the industry in which it serves?

The pace of innovation in the technology industry is so rapid that continuous learning is the only way up. For last several years we’ve been running monthly webinars, and also host in-person events in Texas area to share our learnings in Agile software development.

North Texas is home to some of the most cutting-edge and innovative companies in the country.

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What can this be attributed to?

A business-friendly climate in North Texas, an international airport in DFW, a very reasonable cost of living, and over time, some of their employees create new ventures, and the cycle repeats.

How does the region’s access to resources, such as higher education and/or access to capital, impact your ability to compete?

Access to talent and capital is critical for us and our clients to thrive in this treadmill of the technology industry; therefore, North Texas is a great choice on these grounds.

What type of opportunities exist for innovative thinkers looking to join your company or industry?

Disruption is happening at an incredible pace. Need for innovative ideas is constant.

How is technology impacting the needs of your business or those of your clients?

The pace at which technology is changing, our clients and we have to rearm and reinvent constantly. Growing our customer base requires us to be aware of trends and user expectations.

How will the DFW region compete nationally for top talent in the marketplace over the next three years?

Diversity, lower cost of living, great culture and fresh investments will draw top talent and spur the growth in the next three to five years.


Innovation that is scalable & capital efficient.

Synerzip helps companies go from idea to value, and fast. We understand your need to be agile while disrupting your marketplace. Our focus on Agile and Lean Startup empowers you to be nimble and fast. Let us help you accelerate your product roadmap.

Innovating in Big Data & Analytics • AI & Machine Learning Blockchain Technology • DevOps • Continuous Delivery www.synerzip.com Texas • Silicon Valley • India


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THOUGHT LEADERS

VILLAGE TECH SCHOOLS In its simplest form, what is innovation to you? Innovation is the ability to create, inspire, invent, cause, or see the potential for positive improvement or change.

How does your school differentiate itself from others in the region? Village Tech works for and with students through design, making, and leadership. We are a response to the demands of the community we serve for education that is reimagined to prepare students for a hyper-connected world. In addition to traditional academic outcomes, we equip students with technical, professional and social-emotional skills. For our students to be viable in the world of work, they need human skills: the ability to be creative, build team-based relationships, and deal with ambiguity and complexity. Our teachers are designers of meaningful work that connects students to the world beyond school.

How does your team stretch the boundaries of what’s been done within education? It’s about the ability for students to approach a problem from multiple angles and use a variety of integrated disciplines to solve complex challenges. It’s not just about subject silos learning in isolation from one another. It’s about taking the hands, minds, and skills gained in the education setting to create innovation which impacts the community. As a result, we operate like a village where each individual has their own voice, talents and passions and is a part of something bigger than themselves.

Innovation comes in many forms. How would you define your school’s innovations? We carry an abundance mindset and are never short on ideas. We are not afraid of big ideas or crazy ones. These stretch our boundaries and keep us from being stagnant. We have merged the design process with the learning process to create learning experiences that are compelling for students and teach them to apply empathy and feedback into their work.

What type of opportunities exist for innovative thinkers looking to join your school? Innovators welcome. At VT, we look to do good work with good people. This might look like partnering with us for Junior Student Internship experiences, approaching our students with a problem as a Design Challenge Partner, or serving in advisory capacities to help change the future of education.

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KID

Every is different. So are

WE.


THE EXIT

THE CREATIVES RISE OF THE MAKERS FROM UNPRECEDENTED INVENTIONS TO NEVER-BEFORECONSIDERED CONCEPTS, OUR REGION IS FOSTERING THE ASCENSION OF BUSINESSES BORN BY ARTISTS, ARTISANS AND CREATORS. BY JESSICA ELLIOT T

In a time when Dallas-Fort Worth is an innovation hotspot luring mega companies, there are the entrepreneurial creators—the filmmakers, the designers, the architects, the musicians, the dancers, the artists, the architects—who are energizing the city in every realm. From inventive dishes and chef collectives to sustainable architecture and boundary-pushing storefronts, the artistic talent is undeniable. As a region, we are embracing and supporting this vitality. So much so, that North Texas has the third-largest arts economy according to Americans for the Arts’ “Arts & Economic Prosperity 5” study of the 2015 fiscal year. (We outpaced metro Washington.) The study, which investigated the impact of nonprofit art and cultural industries, found that our region’s arts sector generates nearly $1.5 billion in economic activity and supports more than 52,000 jobs, totaling nearly $1.3 billion in salaries. Another significant study discovery: Dallas’ total arts and culture economic activity has increased by 277 percent since 2010. While there are clear economic stimulators revving our growth—the Dallas Arts

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District, for one—there are the independent artists gaining momentum, too. Public art event AURORA, now in its fifth year, has increasingly delivered on its promise to re-imagine downtown Dallas as a canvas for large-scale light, video, and sound installations. Founded and expanded by Dallas artists Shane Pennington and Joshua King, it is now one of the largest outdoor exhibits in the U.S. Then there are our region’s architects in the backdrop, sketching sustainable buildings and blending social and human needs in design, as “current societal trends have created a demand for high-quality social, urban spaces with open and inviting architecture that creates memorable experiences,” says Mike Arbour, president of JHP Architecture/

Bandaloop performing at KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts. PHOTO: MICHAEL SAMPLES


THE EXIT: THE CREATIVES

Urban Design and the 2018 American Institute of Architects Dallas president. “Dallas is an incredibly dynamic city, and it’s an exciting time to be here. The whole DFW area is transforming into a more walkable, equitable, and interesting place. Dallas architects have been instrumental in [the region’s] transformation and will continue to lead the way in designing more livable, healthier and environmentally responsible buildings, both here and around the world.” Real estate developers like Craig Hall, chairman and founder of Dallasbased HALL Group, also are leading the charge for designs that are not only innovative but that cultivate an appreciation for art. Hall is overseeing the construction of the HALL Arts Hotel & Residences in the Dallas Arts District, one of the priciest developments in the area in years. He plans for significant artworks to be displayed throughout the building, including photographs by locals selected through his juried competition “Through the Lens: Dallas Arts District.” Hall also is in the midst of working with Frisco city officials and the Frisco Association for the Arts to bring a performing arts center to his HALL Park development in Frisco. “Art increases quality of life, inspires creativity, and causes people to have memorable experiences, which are all things we want for those who work in or visit our developments,” Hall says. We also are paving the way in the digital realm. At Southern Methodist University, for instance, faculty at SMU Guildhall (which was just ranked the No. 1 game design graduate school worldwide by the Princeton Review) are revolutionizing video game development programs. That trickles down to the students, who, under faculty mentorship, “work in Flight School unites technicians and artists to “investigate the intersection of narrative and emerging technology” in films, games, AR, and VR.

Cinestate

interdisciplinary teams in the style and pace of the game industry throughout their tenure with us,” says Gary Brubaker, director of SMU Guildhall. “This intentional interaction allows artists, programmers, designers, and producers to flow through three or more team game projects and make a seamless transition into the gaming industry, as is showcased by our partnership with over 250 studios worldwide that hire our graduates.” In fact, Frisco-based Gearbox Software—an industry pioneer in its own right—hired an entire SMU student team to develop an in-the-works virtual reality game, marking the first time in game development history that a major studio has hired an entire student group upon graduation. We also boast prominent filmmakers. Irving native David Lowery—who cowrote and directed the Disney remake of “Pete’s Dragon”—calls Dallas home. (He even had a disagreement with his wife about leaving his M Streets house, which formed the premise of 2017 film “A Ghost Story,” starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck.) As does Cinestate, which had a big year in 2017, with films including “Dragged Across Concrete” starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn; “Brawl in Cell Block 99” starring Vince Vaughn; and “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.” Oscar-winning film director, illustrator, and designer Brandon Oldenburg, who previously worked at Reel FX Creative Studios and with such clients as Pixar, Disney, and DreamWorks, has returned to Dallas to found his new company, Flight School. The studio unites technicians and artists to “investigate the intersection of narrative and emerging technology” in films, games, AR, and VR. “We have some things really cooking,” says Janis Burklund, film commissioner with the Dallas Film Commission. “We hope to push the entire creative industry forward—there is such a synergy between all of the creative industries and having one segment being strong helps support all the others, too.”

We’ll avoid too much back-patting, but the list of our accolades is lengthy. We’ve selected a short list of creators you need to know—right now.

FOOD/DRINK NAMELESS CHEFS When a group of chefs—from newcomers to known names—wanted to unite in the name of ingenuity, they formed an incognito collective. Though many are now named— the original intent was to avoid association with employers—the group continues to whip up inventive dishes at the pop-up spots of their choice. They recently devised a four-course, coffee-inspired experience at Flower Mound’s Trio Craft Coffee. facebook. com/namelesschefs

INTERIOR DESIGN SWOON, THE STUDIO Founder Samantha Reitmayer Sano saw a vast marketing gap between luxury interiors, graphic design, branding, and art direction, and founded her smart, multidisciplinary design studio—the first of its kind in Dallas—in 2009. The SWOON team is now behind the historic Adolphus Hotel’s new interior renovation, in the boundary-pushing windows of Forty Five Ten, in The Spa at the Joule, and, soon, in the new Virgin Hotel Dallas—the who’s who list of clients is long. swoonthestudio.com

FASHION TISH COX Cox got her start sewing garments with no formal training—she has since earned raves from designer Zac Posen and Vogue’s André Leon Talley. Now, she is collaborating with e-commerce store The SIL (Stuff I Love), created by native Texan Natalie Bloomingdale. It is providing an outlet for her pieces to sell internationally— and exclusively. Cox’s pieces sold on The SIL can’t be found anywhere else online—though you can always check Cabana on Lovers Lane. shopthesil.com

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URBAN DESIGN MADE Marketing guru Shama Hyder and architect Jared Skinner are bridging the long-ignored divide between the physical and digital realms of new developments to create holistic branding that begins before blueprints are even finalized. Meaning that they’re integrating Instagrammable spaces into new retail, for instance, to make it experiential and immersive. “You can’t brand cool, you have to build cool,” Hyder says. made.design

SHAMA HYDER AND JARED SKINNER

DANCE DARK CIRCLES CONTEMPORARY DANCE

THEATRE DALLAS THEATER CENTER

Since 2007, Kevin Moriarty, the sneaker-wearing artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center, has brought in fresh and exciting plays and musicals that have more than doubled the audience size. Under his direction, the theater also has increased its budget, has built partnerships with renowned national theaters, and helped launch Public Works Dallas, a groundbreaking project created to ignite community involvement in theater. For the project’s inaugural performance of “The Tempest,” 200 locals participated following a yearlong series of workshops. The program is one reason the theater just nabbed the 2017 Tony Award for Best Regional Theater. dallastheatercenter.org

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Founder and artistic director Joshua L. Peugh, a graduate of Southern Methodist University, is known for progressive works that are as stunning and entertaining as they are provocative. “We are always trying to push our boundaries and keep growing and stretching, and finding ways to reframe questions about the human experience,” Peugh says. The company is in its fifth year with the award-winning choreographer at the

helm. His knack for blending both classical and modern dance techniques has garnered awards for work in Korea, Japan, Canada and the U.S. darkcirclescontemporarydance.com

BALLET CONCERTO The Fort Worth-based nonprofit performing arts group has not only attracted renowned choreographers in its 40-plus-year history, but brings ballet and dance programs to audiences of varying ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, or to those who might otherwise not be able to see a live performance. Programs include the Summer Dance Concert, which offers free public lawn seating on most nights, and an additional program designed to find and inspire young dancers. balletconcerto.com


THE CREATIVES

INNOVATIVE SPACES

VISUAL ARTS DE COLORES COLLECTIVE

CREATIVITY IN ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN

Each month, the trio behind the multifaceted cause—which is based out of the Oak Cliff Cultural Center—launches a new podcast, a corresponding art show with works by local artists, and a free, open-to-the-public party. The unique concept is designed to support and celebrate North Texas’ Latino community. facebook.com/decoloresco/

The Human Brain The Brain Performance Institute, a part of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas is designed to pay homage to the human brain, making it a fitting place to maximize the human brain’s potential or help military veterans and others with traumatic brain injuries.

RETAIL FLEA STYLE

What began as an annual holiday shopping event uniting independent Texas artisans and their wares in one venue has morphed into a multi-city market that attracts more than 10,000 shoppers per show, plus a bustling online marketplace and a small by-appointment retail space tucked inside Flea Style’s Cedar Springs offices. In progress: a brick-and-mortar shop in Deep Ellum set to open in spring 2018. Founder Brittany Cobb further supports her fellow entrepreneurs by hosting a bi-annual summit that educates creatives in growing their businesses. fleastyle.com

VIDEO GAME CREATION GEARBOX SOFTWARE

From its Frisco headquarters, award-winning Gearbox has earned an industry reputation as one of the top independent video game developers worldwide. In 2009, Gearbox launched Borderlands, the second original game series they produced, and which has sold more than 25 million copies. In the works: an as-yet unannounced avant-garde virtual reality game. gearboxsoftware.com

BOOKS/FILM LONE STAR FILM FESTIVAL

When it began 11 years ago, the Lone Star Film Festival was the first step toward building a film community in Fort Worth. Now, the festival not only garners an impressive roster, but it has boosted the industry as a whole in the city, helping to spur the local arts economy. In 2017, the festival’s lineup included more than 50 features, and actress Cybill Shepherd received

FLEA STYLE the Bill Paxton Achievement in Film Acting Award at the festival’s annual ball, in tribute to late festival co-founder and Fort Worth native Bill Paxton. What’s more, parent nonprofit Lone Star Film Society hosts film education programs for youth in Fort Worth and, apart from the festival, offers yearround programming. lonestarfilmfestival.com

TEXAS LATINO COMIC CON

In 2017, in collaboration with the Latino Cultural Center of Dallas, creators Hector Rodriguez (right) and David Daub founded the first Texas Latino Comic Con in history, to provide a forum for Latino comic book artists, writers, and creators. “Our stories matter, especially with the growing Latino population in North Texas, and we’re giving a platform for artists and comic-book storytellers to share their stories,” says Rodriguez, who also is creator of comic El Peso Hero. “It’s something that has never been done in Texas and we’re very proud of it being Dallas-based. It’s a way to give back to our community and give voice to the people.” Daub is also working on WOW Con, a comic con solely for women, that will be launched in March 2018 at the Dallas Public Library. txlatinocc.weebly.com

HAND DRAWN PRESSING

MUSIC HAND DRAWN PRESSING

The Addison-based vinyl record manufacturer launched the first new record presses in more than three decades in 2017, earning global accolades for not only the concept, but also for their cloud-based automated manufacturing system, which can press over one million records yearly. Parent company, independent record label Hand Drawn Records LLC, focuses on regional and local acts, with worldwide distribution. handdrawnpressing.com

Startup Friendly Quadrant Investment Properties’ $25 million transformation of the 1980s office building in Oak Lawn has been a magnet for startups. There are plenty of areas adapted to the evolving nature of work.

Oak Cliff Entrepreneurs and Makers Once the Dixie Wax Paper manufacturing plant, Tyler Station is evolving into a business incubator for more than 100 entrepreneurs in Oak Cliff. It’s a project of Oak Cliff native and new urbanist Monte Anderson.

Bold Colors, Natural Light Health care accelerator Health Wildcatters’ cofounders Carl Soderstrom and Dr. Hubert Zajiceck wanted to use color, artwork, and environment to stimulate and inspire. The accelerator’s home at 1910 Pacific Ave., does just that for the 10 to 12 startups that go through Health Wildcatters each class.

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THE EXIT

BACK TO THE FUTURE BY NICHOL AS SAKEL ARIS

PHOTO: ACCENTURE

AUGMENTED REALITY, VIRTUAL REALITY, AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ARE THE FUTURE OF RETAIL — AND MANY OTHER INDUSTRIES. LURKING IN THE BACKGROUND IS BLOCKCHAIN, WHICH HAS THE POWER TO DISRUPT EVERYTHING IN OUR DAILY LIVES. There is no question that the future holds a place for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain. In a time when brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to stay afloat, companies are increasingly turning to AR, VR, and AI to alter retail commerce. The goal: to make shopping more interesting, more entertaining, more interactive—smarter. “There’s no point in going out, other than to be out and have an experience while you’re buying something,” says Skip Howard, the CEO and founder of Spacee, an ARfocused startup based in the Addison TreeHouse. “That’s the only thing that separates brick and mortar stores from buying online.” It’s a daunting task North Texas corporations—from small startups like Spacee to mega-companies like Accenture—are out to tackle. “It’s all about using technology to help improve how you do business today,” says Emily O’Halloran, managing director and Southwest lead for Accenture Digital. “With advancements such as increased computer power, big data storage, open access, and open source making a lot of things openly available, AI is now more available than ever before.” Meanwhile, Oaken Innovations wants to take blockchain beyond cryptocurrency 76

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and put it in the vehicles of tomorrow, doing microtransactions for rideshares, short-term insurance plans, rentals, and self-driving vehicles. The blockchain is still in its infancy— think of the internet in the early ’90s—and companies like Oaken Innovations are working to make it as ubiquitous as wireless networks are today. “We get the technology that literally powers everything else,” says James Johnson, CMO and co-founder of Oaken Innovations. “That’s why I think it really complements Dallas and pays homage to engineers past.” A seismic change in the way we do business is about to take root—and the disruption starts here.


THE EXIT: BACK TO THE FUTURE

SPACEE TAPS A NEW KIND OF AR When most people think of AR, they think of looking at the world through their mobile devices or special goggles to see the digital overlay. Skip Howard throws all that convention out the window. His team at Spacee is working on AR projections that are touch-sensitive without the need for goggles or mobile devices—or any special devices, for that matter. His latest invention turns any glass panel or shop window into a touchscreen. “We make the whole thing interactive as if it were a standard touchscreen down to the pixel,” he says. “You can’t wear it out with too much use—it’s just glass.” What’s more, “our touch glass can be used to attract customers outside the store,” he says. It’s all powered by a holographic projector hidden away in the ceiling. In addition to this projection method, his

team uses much of the same technology found in the Xbox Kinect to follow movements and gestures. That means he can essentially make any object into a touchscreen. Customers could browse inventory, order a product, or even communicate with an avatar or holographic image of an artificial intelligence. Sensors not only react to touch but also analyze a person’s demographics, possibly changing the content based on the person. While his clients include several beverage companies and Wal-Mart, he sees huge potential for his touchscreen technology to be used in convenience stores, restaurants, and shops. “Making the experience last is definitely something we do,” he says. His latest challenge is finding a way to complete sales made through

the technology quickly and easily without compromising the safety and security of the customer. His team, which includes a handful of full- and part-time employees and contractors working around the globe, is looking at integrating with Apple Pay or QR code that links to a customer’s mobile device, or linking it to a handson, point-of-sale device to complete the transaction. He wants the process to be quick and seamless, as well as entertaining.

SPACEE

HOW THE BLOCKCHAIN COULD CHANGE TRANSPORTATION The world is speeding to an autonomous vehicle future where many individuals shun owning their own car in favor of using self-driving, on-demand rideshare. Or, an owner could make their vehicle available for a short-term lease. An electric car could sell power back to the grid. Tolls are collected based on GPS location. Behind all these innovations lies the blockchain, a series of independent computers working anonymously to se-curely store data. Dallas-based Oaken Innovations is working with Toyota and several other major automobile manufacturers on how to incorporate blockchain technology to securely store data, into the vehicles of the future. “We become the platform with which people can hail rides and make payments, and our software parcels out that transaction,” James Johnson says. “I would never make a bet against technology. We love our cars, but I go back to the user experience of going to get gasoline, purchasing and maintaining a vehicle, having an insurance policy. I don’t see how a consumer will still do that in favor of pulling up an app and

hailing a ride. It’s so much cheaper.” Johnson had an epiphany about blockchain in 2014 when he realized how easily people could send cryptocurrency with very little transaction cost along with trust and security. The blockchain makes it possible to do microtransactions that will revolutionize transportation. The rideshare of the future could disrupt its own creator, Uber, by allowing anyone to create a platform that’s secured through blockchain. A self-driving vehicle could provide a customized experience where the passengers play an augmented reality video game during the ride. The blockchain could also maintain a vehicle’s

history such as its repair and service records, accidents, and how it’s been driven, disrupting CARFAX. “It can give the entire history of the car’s trips, which is pertinent to a potential buyer, and have it in a private permission silo and allow people to look at it,” Johnson says. The blockchain will transform the entire Internet of Things industry, such as smart thermostats, refrigerators, and other devices. “Anyone trying to build on a traditional platform is either doing a market grab or wasting their time,” he says. “With blockchain, there are going to be huge leaps in user experience that we don’t have now.”

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THE EXIT: BACK TO THE FUTURE

PHOTO: ACCENTURE

ACCENTURE GETS AHEAD OF THE GAME WITH AR, VR, AND AI Digital marketing companies also are looking to implement technology to create fresh customer experiences while taking it a step further by enabling competitive pricing and training employees. Accenture’s main North Texas office is in Irving, where they focus on AR and VR experiences for retail clients. They also have opened a new Innovation Studio in

downtown Dallas’ West End, where they demo all of their latest technology. “The idea is to break down some of those barriers and feel and touch those things,” O’Halloran says. “It’s a

THE NEW FRONTIERS GARTNER HAS ANNOUNCED THE TOP TECH TRENDS FOR 2018. HERE’S A QUICK GLANCE AT THE DALLAS-FORT WORTH COMPANIES LEADING THE CHARGE IN EACH ARENA.

AI FOUNDATIONS CauseBot: A Dallas-based software company that uses AI to develop solutions for nonprofits, helping them maximize their donations and grants.

INTELLIGENT THINGS Robin Autopilot: This “Uber for lawns” startup uses robotic lawnmowers to silently cut the grass every night. Customers rent the Robin equipment, which looks like larger version of the Roomba indoor vacuum cleaners.

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INTELLIGENT APPS AND ANALYTICS

CONVERSATIONAL PLATFORM

Panamplify: This Dallas company wants to make AI do all the boring, repetitive work needed to build reports so people can focus on creative pursuits.

ingage.ai: This startup is developing new AI that companies can use as chatbots on their websites, answering frequently asked questions in real time.

Global Threads: Founder Kyle McAlister started this company while in college to make T-shirts for study abroad programs but it has evolved into a tech startup that uses predictive analytics to estimate clothing size for large customer orders.

Conversable: A Dallas and Austin startup that develops high-level conversation templates that can help companies communicate with customers.

2018

EVENT DRIVEN

HEALTH CARE

Cosmunity: Fans of comic books and science fiction can connect with others who have the same interest and buy and sell on the secure marketplace using this company’s app.

Axxess: The Dallas-based Health Tech company aims to “Uberize” the process of connecting home health agencies with qualified clinician. CEO John Olajide says the company’s mobile app is the first of its kind.

IT TALENT RECRUITING Abacus Technical Services: This Plano-based company specializes in helping businesses recruit IT talent and candidates find jobs.

Blockit: This startup helps healthcare providers connect their patients with referrals by providing realtime availability. The app and web-based program can schedule the referral appointment with a few clicks.


THE EXIT: BACK TO THE FUTURE

great way to get ideas flowing.” Their tech includes an employee training simulation where the user must prevent a nuclear power plant from having a meltdown. “Companies are using VR to help train people very quickly,” O’Halloran says. “VR training is good wherever you have turnover or seasonality of talent.” While VR goggles and the computers that run the software are cost prohibitive for consumers, O’Halloran says she believes the price will come down and the technology will go mainstream. Accenture also is making headway in training and retail with AR. Unlike Spacee, Accenture’s AR requires goggles to generate the simulated reality, but the benefit is that they can be used anywhere, as opposed to

PERSONAL SHOPPERS COULD RECOMMEND PRODUCTS TO A CONSUMER AFTER LOOKING AT WHAT THEY BUY AND WHAT THEY RETURN. only areas where a holographic projector is set up. One Accenture demo projects LEGO instructions so the user can easily assemble a toy car. The same concept could be expanded to a factory, to assist workers putting together a complex machine or a consumer assembling furniture. And AI has become a large part of Accenture’s business, too,

from setting prices to creating personal shoppers. “Machine learning is being used to drive dynamic pricing so you can put the most optimal price in front of shoppers,” O’Halloran says. “Pricing can be complicated — with AI you bring in many factors to determine price, what competitors charge, factors in the environment, out of season, what’s weather doing, is this the type of customer who is price conscious.” Personal shoppers could recommend products to a consumer after looking at what they buy and what they return. “They take all that feedback that I gave them, and they’re able to make recommendations based on the colors I like to wear, or whatever I have in my wardrobe,” she says.

PITCH PERFECT

NORTH TEXAS EVENTS Here’s a list of notable pitch events last year. Check DallasInnovates.com for upcoming dates for 2018. Codelaunch Tech Wildcatters Fort Worth Business Plan Tech Titans Venture Forum Smart Cities Gigabit Reverse Pitch Grow DeSoto: Entrepreneur Pitch Day Health Wildcatters REVTECH Accelerator: Tech Trends UTD Blackstone Business Pitch Competition

INDUSTRY-FOCUSED Health Care Health Wildcatters Healthcare Dealmakers

CLOUD TO THE EDGE

IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES

EnTouch Controls: A Richardson-based startup that developed smart IoT solutions that allow business owners to control lighting and HVAC across multiple locations through web and mobilebased portals.

Groove Jones: This Dallas startup specializes in immersive content VR, AR, and visual effects.

AT&T Foundry: Dallasbased AT&T’s Foundry in Plano gives startups an incubator where they can innovate and develop prototypes that could join the telecommunications giant’s IoT lineup. Packet: This company specializes in bare metal servers connected to the cloud to develop a faster, more reliable internet. The company opened a Dallas location to be near the corporate tech hub that’s already here.

Projekt202: Addison-based projekt202 is an endto-end, experience driven company that aids organizations in navigating complex digital transformations. id Software: This Richardson-based company started developing video games such as DOOM, QUAKE, RAGE, and Wolfenstein in the 1990s and is still going strong, with a specialization in creating immersive worlds.

SECURITY

BLOCKCHAIN

AgileMesh: From law enforcement to building security, this company’s wireless surveillance equipment can be deployed quickly and easily. It’s so simple that non-company employees can use it.

5xlab: This company is working closely with 5miles, an online marketplace app, to incorporate blockchain trust and security into the consumer transactions.

Zyston: A new Dallas firm wants to be on the front lines of cybersecurity for mid-market companies. Zyston raised $2.2 million of equity capital in May 2017 to fund accelerated growth of the business.

bitQyck: This company launched its bitqy cryptocurrency earlier this year, and it’s ranked among the top 15 Ethereum platforms. The company serves several industries, including travel and online shopping. Touch Titans: This company is building apps and websites for clients like National Geographic, Nokia, Red Bull, AT&T, and Qualcomm. The company also released a cryptocurrency called CoinPouch. Options Clearing Corp. (OCC): Chicago-based OCC, which has a large operation at Cypress Waters in Dallas, is the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization in the world. It has begun clearing bitcoin futures as part of its businesses.

Retail RevTech Social OneUp the Pitch bigBang! Shark Tank Earth Tank Kernel Live!

UNIVERSITY + STUDENT SMU Big Ideas UTD Big Idea Competition Pitch UTA Student Pitch Competition TCU Business Plan Competition UNT Music Entrepreneurship Competition MegaFest Student Pitch Contest

ONGOING EVENTS Dallas New Tech 1 Million Cups Dallas Society of Play’s Monthly Show & Play Founders Live Ignite Dallas

DA L L A S INN OVAT E S

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2018

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THE EXIT

HOW TO NETWORK NORTH TEXAS IS A PLATFORM FOR ALL THAT’S NEW AND NEXT. PLUG IN—AND COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE.

DON’T MISS

EVENTS

BY CHIRAG GUPTA

Here are 2018 events you’ll want to watch for.

North Texas is a vast hub of entrepreneurs, thinkers and innovators—one that might seem a little daunting to dive into at first glance. But in reality, it’s a friendly playground with people who genuinely want to help others succeed. Here’s how to make smart and impressionable connections.

Many dates are “TBD.” Go to DallasInnovates.com to check details.

KNOW WHERE TO LOOK Seek out your local coworking community and other venues hosting startup community events. In downtown Dallas, you might start at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center; in North Dallas, you could visit NŌD Coworking or Addison Treehouse; in Denton, check out Stoke; and in Fort Worth, visit IdeaWorks or Tech Fort Worth. Once you’ve found the closest venue, check their online calendars for upcoming events.

ANNUAL Dallas Startup Week (April 2-6) State of Entrepreneurship HackDFW Digital Dallas Startup Comedy Roast (Q1)

DON’T BE SHY—TALK ABOUT YOURSELF Before attending an event, make sure you’ve prepared your elevator pitch or a brief introduction about yourself, as you’ll most likely be asked to get up and share a bit—especially at an Open Coffee Club or 1 Million Cups event. It’s also important to learn about programs and resources provided by the Dallas Regional Chamber (which serves North Texas) and the local economic development office of your particular city or suburb. Shameless plug: a subscription to dallasinnovates.com will keep you in the loop, too.

NoDCon 2018 Tech Titans Awards Gala (Aug. 24) Digital Fight Club (Q3) Techweek Dallas QUARTERLY

GET IN LINE WITH THE CULTURE Give before you get. Let’s repeat that—give before you get. This simple philosophy is what the local innovation community is all about. Whenever you meet someone who has been here for awhile, he or she will first ask, ‘What are you working on, and how can I help?’ Everything you’ve heard about our “southern hospitality” applies, and it’s really unique to our startup community. Established entrepreneurs here in North Texas genuinely want to see you succeed, because they can remember what it was like when they got their start. If you enter the community with this give-before-you-get mentality, you’re bound to create longer-lasting and more rewarding business relationships. So, start those relationships off on the right foot, and give before you get.

Startup Weekend CoFounders Lab House of Genius Startup Grind MONTHLY Dallas New Tech Tech Startup Happy Hour Founders Live Creative Mornings

MAKE A DIGITAL CONNECTION There are a few great online places to connect, including many Facebook groups, Slack Channels, and other app-based chatrooms built specifically for the local community of entrepreneurs and creatives. And of course, there’s Twitter or Instagram for jumping in on global conversations around entrepreneurship and innovation by following certain hashtags. We’re a bunch of digital entrepreneurs, after all!

WEEKLY Open Coffee Club 1 Million Cups Code Collective Free Code Camp Get what’s new and next, every day. Sign up for our enewsletter at www.DallasInnovates. com/signup.

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Chirag Gupta was raised in North Texas, and lives in Dallas. He has been a member of the startup community since 2014, and actively works to connect innovators from all corners of the region as the founder of NŌD Coworking. Find him there, at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center, or at North Dallas Startup Weekend. Be sure to check out the list of events, which were gathered alongside Nancy Hong of CoWork Incubate, Inc.; Marc Nathan, of Miller Egan Molter & Nelson LLP; Jeevan Betigeri of Fathom Software; Austin Akers of Ambit Energy; and entrepreneurs Michael Sitarzewski and Justin Nygren.

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2018


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Dallas Innovates - 2018  
Dallas Innovates - 2018  

What's new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth.