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THE FUTURE 50

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UNICORNS CAN HAPPEN HERE

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7 TRENDS TO WATCH

2020 EDITION D A L L A S I N N O VAT E S . C O M

THE FUTURE IS HERE. THE PEOPLE AND COMPANIES YOU NEED TO KNOW IN DALLASFORT WORTH.

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Daniel Mofor Don Morphy

Maija Benincasa Benincasa Milano

Chris Camillo Dumb Money

4

Hesam Hosseini Match

D A L L A S I N N O V A T E S | |2 0 2 0 2E0DEI T DIIO T INO N

Leah Frazier Think Three Media

Dave Hanson Dumb Money

Damir Perge FluidLytix

Jordan Mclain Dumb Money


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CONTENTS DA L L A S I N N O VAT E S | 2 0 2 0

7 FOREWORD

P H OTO : M I C H A E L S A M P L E S ; K A N A R Y S P H OTO : W P H OTO G R A P H Y ; D I S C O V E R Y D I S T R I C T P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F AT & T

THE KICKSTARTER 11 Night Media The talent management and digital marking agency represents some of the world’s top YouTubers.

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INTERCONNECTIVITY 63 AT&T Discovery District Check out Downtown Dallas’ latest high-tech district. 64 The (Alcon) Family Tree Alcon spawned a startup ecosystem that is spreading.

12 It’s a “J” Thing Jacobs makes a move into tech with a name change and new stock ticker. 13 The Little (Economic) Engine That Could Governor: “Uber is really a door opener for so many other businesses that will follow.”

18 Innovation Zones North Texas cities are turning acres of their communities into centers for innovation.

14 2020: The Year Ahead Insights into trends, emerging tech, challenges, and what to watch in the coming year.

IDEAS

16 Behind the Scenes Clint Bentley is a testament to the film community in Dallas. 17 Entrepreneurial Educators Education in North Texas has a long history of developing future business leaders and successful startups.

21 Worlds.io The company formerly known as Hypergiant Sensory Sciences is on a mission to deliver human perception at an impossible scale. 22 7 Trends to Watch A look at the trends that will shape our future.

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FEATURE 28 The Future 50 These men and women are forging the future of tech in North Texas—and have the potential to change the world.

INVESTMENT 49 Dumb Money A trio of investors and friends created a Youtube channel that acts as a sort of masterclass on investing. 50 Unicorns Can Happen Here DFW is a seedbed for billiondollar players to emerge in diverse fields. 58 2020 Outlook: Experts on DFW Funding Five local investors look at the region now and in the future. 60 Who Got the Money? Notable funding reports from 2019. 62 Cannabis Capital Entourage Effect offers access to a legalized industry.

69 Putting the Pieces Together As the chief engineer at Bottle Rocket, Amy Czuchlewski is a puzzlepiecing pro. 70 Technologists of Tomorrow Here’s how three local educational partnerships are green-lighting greatness. THE EXIT 96 A Front Row Seat Debra L. von Storch has witnessed nearly four decades of the DFW entrepreneur ecosystem.

ON THE

COVER Front row from left: Joshua King and Tatiana Flores. Back Row: Tatum Lau, Ed Chao, Craig Lewis, Dave Copps, and Arjun Dugal. Photo shot at Saint Paul Place in Dallas. Photography by Michael Samples.

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

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PUBLISHED BY D MAGA ZINE PARTNERS

DALLASINNOVATES.COM

PUBLISHER & DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL

Quincy Preston

Explore

quincy.preston@dmagazine.com

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

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

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Michael Samples SENIOR EDITOR Alex Edwards MANAGING EDITOR Lance Murray RESEARCH & CONTENT STRATEGIST Lauren Hawkins PROJECT EDITOR Anna Caplan CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jeff Bounds Candace Carlisle Allison Hatfield David Kirkpatrick Tara Nieuwesteeg BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Thomas Byrd thomas.byrd@dmagazine.com

Follow the Money

INTERNS Kathryn Chavez India Edwards Erin Gilliatt Maddie Preston

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

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

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

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

Guide.DallasInnovates.com

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Dallas Innovates is published by D Magazine Partners, 750 N. St. Paul St., Ste. 2100, Dallas, TX 75201; www.dallasinnovates.com, 214.523.0300. ©2020 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted without written permission. Neither the Dallas Regional Chamber nor D Magazine Partners is a sponsor of, or committed to, the views expressed in these articles. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited contributions.


FOREWORD

LET’S RAISE OUR FLAG

It’s time to tell the world what we already know—we are a leader of innovation, with a great track record and an even brighter future.

THIS IS A MOMENT FOR INNOVATION IN DALLAS-FORT WORTH,

one that we’ve been working toward for a long time. Spirited founders paved the way for our region’s success: as legend has it, Herb Kelleher jotted down the business plan for an upstart company, Southwest Airlines, on a cocktail napkin. H. Ross Perot ushered in the business services era when he founded EDS in 1962. The founders of Texas Instruments—Eugene McDermott, J. Erik Jonsson, and Cecil Green— Quincy established the “Graduate Research Center of the Southwest” to help Preston build a talent pipeline in 1961. You may now know it as the University Publisher of Texas at Dallas. Dallas Innovates Fast forward to 2020. A new generation of innovators is taking its place in Dallas-Fort Worth lore, creating the next wave of great companies, services, and ideas. These leaders are more diverse than ever before (meet the Future 50 on pages 28-48); they draw creativity and inspiration from their international backgrounds and always-connected worlds. You may spot them collaborating at incubators and corporate innovation hubs or brainstorming at one of the many local events and meetups. Regardless of their product, Dallas-Fort Worth is their home base, and in their diversity of experience, background, and creativity Duane Dankesreiter lies our power. Senior Vice President, In this way, the future follows the tradition of our innovative foreResearch and Innovation fathers, as the region has never been defined by one industry or Dallas Regional Chamber technology—and we are stronger for it. Dallas-Fort Worth is the growing center for everything from mobility solutions and fintech to AI and blockchain innovation. Not to mention the exploding fields of esports and gaming, of which we’re a national leader. From biotech to retail, this is a place where unicorns are built (more on that on page 50). Our startups are more than overvalued, hyped-up ideas—they are revenue-producing, heads-down, get-the-work-done businesses. Investors are taking notice. Capital is flowing in from around the country; corporations are building their innovation hubs here because of the access to tech talent. The region’s universities are uniquely collaborative, partnering with industry to build innovative programs that create access and opportunity. We are a socially conscious innovation community that wants better outcomes for our region and the world. The future is here in Dallas-Fort Worth. Let’s raise our flag and tell the world what we already know—we are a leader of innovation, with a great track record and an even brighter future. There is no better place than Dallas-Fort Worth right now. Dallas Innovates is built to tell that story. These are the people and companies that are driving the future forward. We invite you to read the stories here in our third annual print edition, go to dallasinnovates.com, and sign up for our daily newsletter, and learn how Dallas innovates—every day.

Duane Dankesreiter

Quincy Preston

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

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Say Yes to Dallas, where living means thriving. sayyestodallas.com @sayyestodallas

Photo by Michael Samples 8

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FROM OUR SPONSORS

INNOVATION IS ABOUT INGENUITY

2020: WHY TEXAS NEEDS TO STAY CONNECTED

BY DA N B E R N E R , M A N AG I N G PA R T N E R

by E D C U R T I S , C EO

N O R T H T E X A S D E LO I T T E

Y T E X AS

AS OUR WORKPLACES EVOLVE

with accelerating connectivity, new talent models and transformative cognitive tools, Deloitte is helping businesses by bringing together innovative technologies and human insights to create a lasting impact in North Texas. Beneath the umbrella of innovation, we strive to find practical value in emerging technologies and create long-lasting solutions for our clients amidst the growing, diverse North Texas marketplace. Innovative business strategies often involve emerging ways of thinking. In other words, meaningful change should be coupled with ingenuity. This often requires us to think in new ways about familiar ideas, welcome new approaches in our work, and collaborate with others in a variety of corporate ecosystems. Over the last year, Deloitte featured content on dallasinnovates.com about inclusive Smart Cities, digital media trends, tech trends, tax modernization, esports, blockchain, and Deloitte University—all of which are examples of how we bring ingenuity and innovative thinking to businesses today. We’re excited to continue our engagement with the North Texas business community to help drive innovation that translates into business results for our clients. How can we help your organization? Visit us at deloitte.com/us/dallas, and let’s talk.

ANYONE DOING BUSINESS IN

Texas knows that the competitive landscape is changing. Outof-state-based businesses, from a wide array of industries, are looking to set up shop in Texas. From 2010 to 2019, our YTexas Rēlo-Tracker reports that over 175 companies relocated corporate headquarters into the state of Texas and remain here. The North Texas region attracted a majority of these companies, including the likes of Six Flags (2010), Topgolf (2012), Toyota (2014), Jacobs (2016), PGA of America (2018), and the announcement of Charles Schwab in 2019. So what opportunities does this bring for our region as we enter the next decade? Two words: innovation and collaboration. And in order to innovate and collaborate, you need to communicate. So I urge you, when you hear of a new company moving into our state, even if they are a competitor, give them a welcoming hand. Some of the most innovative breakthroughs of our day emerged out of competitive forces forging alliances. If you moved here, I promise you, someone did it for you. If you are interested in collaborating with new Texas companies this year, visit ytexas.com/summit and attend the 2020 YTexas Summit: How Businesses Experience Texas at the Omni Frisco Hotel at the Star on Sept. 24. For up-to-the-minute news on who is relocating to Texas, you can also visit our Rēlo Tracker at YTexas.com/relo-tracker. Let’s make 2020 the year Texas gets connected.

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

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Health benefits and health insurance plans are offered and/or underwritten by Texas Health + Aetna Health Plan Inc. and Texas Health + Aetna Health Insurance Company (Texas Health Aetna). Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products. Texas Health Aetna are affiliates of Texas Health Resources and of Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna). Aetna provides certain management services to Texas Health Aetna. Self-funded plans are administered by Texas Health + Aetna Health Insurance Company. Š 2019 Texas Health + Aetna Health Plan Inc. & Texas Health + Aetna Health Insurance Company

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THE

KICKSTARTER

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

YOUTUBE STARS: Night Media Founder Reed Duchscher, upper left, with his clients (who collectively have 112 million+ social followers) at Six Flags.

THE ONE-PERCENTERS: Reed Duchsher, upper left, represents the cream of the YouTube crop. Collectively, they generate more than one billion monthly views.

P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F N I G H T M E D I A

NIGHT MEDIA HAS 10 CLIENTS. THE THING IS, “THEY’RE ALL WHALES,”

says Reed Duchscher, founder of the Dallas-based talent management and digital marking agency that represents some of the world’s top YouTube influencers. Night Media’s clients collectively amass more than 1 billion monthly views, some of the biggest influence on the Internet, like MrBeast, Preston, Unspeakable Gaming, Brianna Playz, and Leah Ashe. All of them family-friendly creators, Duchscher is proud at how they stay out of online disputes, staying humble and level-headed, and often give back to charities or social impact projects. It’s Night Media’s role to build relationships with these social media celebrities while connecting them with brands that yearn for screen time with new (and younger) audiences. The first question Duchscher asks talent is if they’re ready for their life to change—Night Media has partnerships with Main Event, Honey, OnePlus, Hot Pockets, TikTok, Wix, and more, and recently filmed a Star Wars commercial in Orlando after Disney reached out for one of their leading female YouTube creators. This one-on-one type of advertisement allows brands to intimately connect with their target audiences: “It’s organic. It’s authentic,” Duchscher says. With Night Media’s fast growth and high-level talent, he says the agency now can get involved in angel investing, new business, and new emerging business. Soon to be announced in 2020 are consumer packaged goods companies with some Night Media clients, and larger production deals that will go live on YouTube. “Our scale is going to come from being business partners with our clients,” he says. —Maddie Preston D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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

W H AT ’ S N E X T

Frontier AI Dallas video game legend John Carmack is on a new quest. The former Oculus chief technologist—and co-creator of game classics Doom and Quake—announced last fall he would move away from his duties at the company to focus on artificial general intelligence, a specific type of AI designed to be humanlike. Carmack shared his news on Facebook, where he stated that he will “still have a voice in the development work” but that Oculus will consume only a “modest slice” of his time. During his six years at the firm, his influence on the Oculus platform was farreaching, having worked on Gear VR and Oculus Go, among others. “For the time being at least, I am going to be going about it ‘Victorian gentleman scientist’ style, pursuing my inquiries from home and drafting my son into the work,” Carmack posted about his new role. —Anna Caplan

CEO Steve Demetriou says the company’s new “J” mark symbolizes Jacobs’ agility to “shift to where the market’s going, where the culture’s going.”

REINVENTION

Itʼs a “J” Thing

D

ALLAS-BASED JACOBS IS MOVING INTO

the new decade with a fresh mission, extending its engineering and construction roots with a global focus on technology solutions. The transition, which included a name change and new NYSE ticker (J), was made in December. Formerly known as Jacobs Engineering, the firm relocated to Dallas four years ago from Pasadena, California, where the company had been based since its founding in 1947. Its downtown Dallas headquarters at Harwood Center will be renamed Jacobs Center. The new brand better reflects the company’s story and future-forward outlook, Chairman and CEO Steve Demetriou says. “At Jacobs, we make the world smarter, more connected, and more sustainable. This purpose has remained the same over the years, even as our business has changed.” Dallas video game legend John Carmack In an earnings call in late November,

“FOR THE TIME BEING AT LEAST, I AM GOING TO BE GOING ABOUT IT ‘VICTORIAN GENTLEMAN SCIENTIST’ STYLE ...”

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Demetriou reported that, on a year-over-year basis, fourth-quarter net revenue grew by 10 percent and fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit was 15 percent higher than last year. The company began trading under the ticker “J” on Dec. 10, and celebrated its 30th anniversary on the New York Stock Exchange Dec. 15. On its revamped website, Jacobs says it’s taking on some of the world’s biggest challenges and is working with partners to “make the world more connected and more sustainable for everyone.” It cites various projects that align with its mission: “bringing critical pharmaceutical treatments to market,” capturing “space imagery to prioritize aid when catastrophe strikes,” and “creating community and environmental value.” “We believe the combination of our relentless drive to achieving a high-performance culture, demonstrating a strong execution discipline to profitably grow, and making innovation our connected foundation will be a competitive advantage for decades to come,” Demetriou says.

P H OTO : S E A N B E R R Y

Jacobs makes a move into tech with a name change and new stock ticker.


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

P OW E R C O U P L E

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

MELBOURNE AND JAMIE O’BANION The handsomely stylish O’Banions take the phrase “Dallas startup couple” to another level. Jamie is the brains behind BeautyBio, maker of the first at-home patented microneedling tool. Her husband, Melbourne, runs Bestow, which offers the first truly modern way to buy life insurance. Married in 2003, the entrepreneurial pair now helm two of the fastest-growing brands in their industries. They operate as a team— even calling themselves ‘MOJO’—using their individual strengths (Melbourne is very analytical while Jamie uniquely understands brands) to complement each other’s deficits. “There is a deep level of empathy and mutual respect that is built by understanding and, quite literally, living what the other is experiencing on a day-to-day basis,” they say. “It’s an enormous gift to get to have the same job in two completely different industries.”

The Little (Economic) Engine That Could Governor: “Uber is really a door opener for so many other businesses that will follow.”

U

BER’S DECISION TO BUILD ITS SECOND-LARGEST HUB IN DALLAS’

Deep Ellum neighborhood is just one indicator of the economic strength of the city. The move by Uber will generate thousands of jobs, “but even more than that, it expands Dallas’ growing reputation as a hub for innovation,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said recently at the State of the State Address hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber. In his address, Abbott called Dallas “the most powerful economic region in the entire United States of America.” Uber made the announcement in August that it would create the hub at The Epic development, bringing with it 3,000 jobs. It’s a $125 million project making Dallas Uber’s second-largest hub outside of its headquarters in San Francisco. “That’s the kind of thing that other people will pay attention to and say, ‘If Uber is going to Dallas, then that’s a great place for us to go start a business,” Abbott said. “This is the kind of thing that snowballs. Uber is really a door opener for so many other businesses that will follow.” The Uber deal was enhanced by a $2.6 million grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund. And, as Dallas-Fort Worth grows, so does the state’s economy, which has been ranked by CEOs as the best in the country for doing business for 15 years straight. The state has led the nation in exports for 17 years. Abbott noted that the numbers tell the story. Dallas-Fort Worth has been adding jobs at a torrid pace and has an unemployment rate below the state average at 3.1 percent. DFW created roughly a third of the 300,000 new jobs in the state in 2019. Abbott said if Texas were a country, it would have the 10th largest economy in the world, with a gross domestic product of $1.8 trillion. Texas’ GDP is the second largest of any state and it had the fastestgrowing state GDP through the second quarter of 2019. Between 2014 to 2017, Dallas County experienced GDP growth of roughly $11.8 billion.

INNOVATION BY THE NUMBERS

Dallas-Fort Worth ranks highly in categories that show why North Texas is a hub for innovation.

No. 1

Total job growth in U.S. (2019) Bureau of Labor Statistics

No. 3

Ranking among U.S. metros for number of Fortune 500 companies: 23 (2019) Fortune

No. 13

World ranking among top 500 cities for innovation (2018) 2thinknow

3

Number of R-1 top-tier research universities in North Texas: UT Arlington, UT Dallas, University of North Texas (2019) Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education

900,000

The number of jobs added in the Dallas metro area (2010-2019) BLS

—Lance Murray

INNOCITY OPENS SHOP Dallas Innovation Alliance co-founders launch commercial smart city consultancy.

Dallas Innovation Alliance co-founders Trey Bowles and Jennifer Sanders recently launched InnoCity Partners (ICP), a consultancy based on designing, planning, and implementing smart city programs for clients in the public and private sectors, real estate, and campus environments.

InnoCity differs from DIA in its goals and scope. InnoCity is a client-based commercial enterprise, while DIA is a geographically centered nonprofit public-private partnership. Bowles and Sanders are bringing their experience from DIA to InnoCity in areas like objective alignment,

asset mapping, setting clear KPIs, and driving value through effective relationships and contractual structures. Bowles says ICP allows the duo to transfer their market-leading experience and reputation built over several years into this new organization.

InnoCity co-founders Jennifer Sanders and Trey Bowles

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

2020: The Year Ahead Insights into trends, emerging technology, challenges, and what to watch in the coming year.

RAY PERRYMAN

KEVIN SIMZER

President and CEO The Perryman Group

COO Trend Micro

What has you most excited about the future in terms of technology and innovation? Sometimes when people think of technology and innovation, they think of big firms such as Facebook and Google or startups with new ideas. The reality is that much of innovation is going on in other industries. Take financial services, for example, where hiring in DFW has been intense for workers with technology skills. From cryptocurrency to artificial intelligence-based trading methods, there is a technology revolution going on in an industry that has been around for centuries. It’s not just financial services; there are similar technology revolutions going on across the economy. What sectors are most interesting? DFW continues to attract and expand in core strength industries such as logistics and financial services. At the same time, however, there are data center expansions and technology firms expanding. The real estate market is also healthy.

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What emerging trends are most interesting to the company right now? 2020 will be a year to keep a close eye on cloud and digital transformation. As companies evolve their systems, it opens up the chance for risk and even new weak points for cyberattack. From the bad guys, we anticipate more focused cyberattacks using artificial intelligence and machine learning —mainly targeting personal electronics like cellphones and tablets, regardless of if we are in the workplace, traveling, or home. What’s next? We will remain focused on cloud security, which matters to business users, consumers, and even our local and federal government. This coming year, we expect to see more global acceptance of cloud technology, making it even more imperative that security be part of the conversation.

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QUINCY ROBERTS

DAVID D. HALBERT

BILL MUNCK

CEO

Chairman and CEO

Managing Partner

Principal

Roberts Trucking

Caris Life Sciences

Munck Wilson Mandala

Sendero Consulting

What are key challenges ahead in your industry? The legalization of marijuana throughout the United States is creating a new challenge for trucking companies. Roberts Trucking has a zerotolerance policy on drugs and alcohol and routinely conducts random drug and alcohol tests on our truck drivers. The legalization of the flower will undoubtedly affect our drug testing policy. Today we’re testing only to see if drivers have used it, as it becomes legal our testing may have to focus on the driver’s impairment level. While Texas may be far from joining the bandwagon of states legalizing recreational usage, we are now discussing if and how our drug testing policy will be amended to avoid potential discrimination issues. What emerging trends are on your radar? Electric heavy duty trucks are going to be a gamechanger for the entire trucking industry. Diesel fuel without a doubt is our biggest expense, the thought of eliminating that item off our balance sheet practically gives me chills.

What emerging trends are most interesting to the company right now? The company envisions a future where molecular profiling is the very first thing that is done for people living with cancer as it is the key to determine the optimal treatment course for patients. What is one of Caris’ greatest achievements in the past year? We’ve launched a number of industryleading products that aim to redefine cancer at the molecular level. These include the launch of the MI GPS Score, the first-ever molecular AI genomic profiling offering. What’s next? We’re preparing to launch two new assays that will revolutionize molecular profiling, providing information on 22,000 genes and 21 pathogens with unparalleled sensitivity from both tissue and blood samples. These new offerings more than double the amount of information we are able to deliver to patients and physicians today.

What emerging trends are most interesting to the firm right now? In the legal industry, litigation will be in high demand, as disputes over technology, employment law, and data continue to grow. We have a very strong litigation team that has taken on complex litigation cases against powerful adversaries and won, and I see more of these cases ahead for our litigation practice. What is one of the firm’s greatest achievements in the past year? I’m incredibly proud of our involvement in S.H.E. Summit, an event focused on women’s empowerment and diversity and inclusion that we hosted this past August. Our choice to bring this conference to Dallas has made an impact inside and outside of our firm. We have doubled our number of women attorneys and many of them, along with our male attorneys, have improved their networking skills and strengthened client relationships through this event. We have also built new alliances in the community as a result.

KYLE BERRY

What has you most excited about the future in your sector? The old adage that “the only constant is change” has never been more accurate. We helped many clients last year work through either integration with acquired or merged companies or through divestitures of functions and assets. That activity shows no sign of slowing down in 2020, and it offers many opportunities for businesses to improve processes and technical capabilities. From a technology standpoint, I am very interested to see how emerging 5G networks will be leveraged by businesses and how 5G may impact SDWAN architecture and strategy. What trends are most interesting to the firm right now? It is exciting to see more and more IT leaders looking for ways to transform their operating models to better serve their business customers.


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

N E E D TO K N OW

BILL CHINN CEO, DALLAS ENTREPRENEUR CENTER After a 20-year run at GameStop and a stint leading Big Brothers Big Sisters, Chinn is now making entrepreneurship his daily pursuit. Five months into his role, Chinn is building on a currency of trust at The DEC, which was co-founded in 2013 by Trey Bowles and Jennifer Conley (page 13). Chinn recently spoke with Dallas Innovates about his new job and the excitement surrounding Dallas Startup Week. You took the reins about five months ago. Much like some of the entrepreneurs you work with, it’s almost as if you’ve been in stealth since you started. What have you been working on? Essentially, we’ve been working on getting the strategy right—capacity building—so that in 2020, we could get a fast start. Let’s talk about Dallas Startup Week, which will be at Gilley’s Dallas in 2020 from April 26May 1. Dallas Startup Week is the cornerstone of what we do, and this one is going to be amazing. We’re not making it bigger, we’re making it better. And we’ve really had a great

start: Every sponsor came back from last year, which is an incredible indicator that people were pleased. This is the first time we’ve had both the time and the capacity to plan like organizations that are used to running these huge events. It’s gotten so big we need to plan 18 months out. The most important change is moving to the one-site solution at Gilleys in 2020. People will stay longer and attend more events. I think we’ll see double-digit increases in the number of attendees. You’re also running The DEC network, which is six innovation hubs across DFW that provide entrepreneurs with education, mentorship, and community. What’s next? Our philanthropic side is really number one: It’s job creation in underdeveloped areas, and we’re going to continue on that path. The DEC is a network, and our locations include Red Bird, Addison, and UNT’s southern campus. And we’re hoping for a seventh one next year in southeast Fort Worth. And likely there will be more great partnerships next year. As told to Quincy Preston

BODY LANGUAGE LinedanceAI predicts the future of performance analysis. Catherine Bentley and Mohamed Elwazer, co-founders of machinelearning platform LinedanceAI, are focused on how best to analyze the performance of elite athletes. “Our algorithms are like a line dance,” Benley says. The technology automates the analysis of the human body’s joint-level movement in real time, helping to both predict biomechanically risky movements for athletes and enhance their performances. But it’s not just for athletes: the technology can be implemented across other fields, such as healthcare, security, and sign language, according to CEO and technical officer Elwazer (see page 38). “With our technology, you can bring it into a software space that can utilize and consume human movement and understand whatever analysis you’re trying to extract from that,” cofounder and COO Bentley (below) says. Diversity of data is embedded as a technical imperative for machine-learning and inextricably part of our value, she notes. Although the company has some notable partnerships coming in 2020—both inside and outside of sports—they’re unable to speak on anything yet. —Lauren Hawkins

INNOVATION MEANS GIVING THE CUSTOMER WHAT THEY WANT, EVEN IF THEY DON’T KNOW THEY WANT IT YET. Founder Merrilee Kick, BuzzBallz

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D I R E C TO R ’ S C U T

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH CLINT BENTLEY

Dixon, 18, started her business several years ago at her Haslet high school. Influenced by the relationship she had with her aunt, Dixon wanted to help her and others like her who are visually impaired. The idea? Embroider braille onto clothing tags so that users know what color their clothing is. The creation is resonating with users and industry veterans alike. In November, Dixon was awarded $25,000 at a United Way of Tarrant County Social Innovation competition. “The company and I are on a mission to see a world where the visually impaired can do it all,” she says. —QP

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2020 EDITION

F E E L T H E C O L O R P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F J A K AY L A D I X O N

JAKAYLA DIXON | FOUNDER | FEEL THE COLOR

P H OTO O F C L I N T B E N T L E Y : R E B E C A P O S A D A S - N A VA

CLINT BENTLEY IS A TESTAMENT TO THE FILM COMMUNITY IN DALLAS. THERE’S A GROUP HERE THAT JUST LOVES WHERE THEY LIVE, and they don’t feel the need to go somewhere like LA. And that’s how it is for Bentley. A writer, producer, and director, Bentley got his major breakout moment with Transpecos, a thriller following a group of U.S. Border Patrol agents. Shot in 15 days in New Mexico on the border—so close you could “throw a stone across it,” he says— it’s a gritty and realistic feature that’s still gaining traction today. And it’s a testament to Bentley as a filmmaker. He immerses himself in the projects he’s behind: he’s taught acting classes at a maximum-security prison, bunked with jockeys, and tailed a SWAT team, all for the sake of what’s going on screen. And it doesn’t matter if it’s independent, a feature, short, studio project, or helping his wife, Rachel (who’s on page 46), with marketing content for her startup, The Citizenry. That mindset hails from Bentley’s journalism and documenatarian background, and the desire for his work to be so grounded in reality, the narrative earns the respect of the people whose stories he’s telling. He’s inspired by fellow Dallas fimmaker David Lowery, who gave him some sage advice: “Just go and make whatever you want to make.” To that end, in 2019, Bentley wrapped an independent film inspired by his father and set in the world of horse racing. It’s told from the perspective of jockeys. He and his team ended up raising money on their own for that project, like with Transpecos, landing actor Clifton Collins Jr. again, along with Molly Parker and Moises Arias. As is the case with independent films, you make do with what you have when you’re as committed as Bentley is. “We shot on a live, working race track in Phoenix. We had a limited amount of money, but we wanted it to feel like a much bigger movie by inserting ourselves and our actors into what’s already happening,” he says. “In some ways it worked out gloriously, and in other ways you have to figure it out as you go along.” Bentley writes everything with his business partner, Greg Kwedar, but the two switch off behind the scenes between producer and director roles. Right now, he and Kwedar are writing two studio projects that they’re finishing deals on. —Alex Edwards


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Entrepreneurial Educators Entrepreneurial education in North Texas has a long history of developing future business leaders and successful startups. In 2019, North Texas universities installed new leadership at some of the top programs.

SIMON MAK

DUNCAN MACFARLANE

SMU Caruth Institute

SMU Linda and Mitch Hart Institute

S H A P I N G YO U N G M I N D S

KEZIA STEGEMOELLER Center’s third director

First to lead the institute

Mak was named the third executive director of the SMU Cox Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship in October. Founded in 1972 by the Caruth family of Dallas, the SMU Cox Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship is the oldest academic entrepreneurship center in the world. It provides essential insights and connections in the world of entrepreneurship, in blockchain, venture investing, and more. Mak, formerly the associate director, has a degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MBA in finance and a Ph.D. in applied science from SMU.

In September, MacFarlane was named the first executive director of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, tying together the university’s Lyle School of Engineering and Cox School of Business into an innovation and business powerhouse. An expert in engineering entrepreneurship and a pioneer in the field of photonics, he’ll work to integrate the schools to develop tech prototypes and viable business plans. “The resources provided through this institute greatly enhance SMU’s ability to cultivate and support engineering entrepreneurs in North Texas and beyond,” he says.

Executive Director, Friends of Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy Stegemoeller is passionate about the next generation. That shows when she talks about the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy (BOMLA) in Dallas and the many strides its 460 students have made. She calls these “Big Smile Moments.” “Exposure is so important for any young person, but especially those from communities where their

parents and family members may not have access or relationships to make that happen,” she says. From helping to secure a grant to sending high school students on college visits to giving students the chance to study abroad, her work is making a difference. BOMLA invests in and empowers at-risk young men to develop leaders into role models for the community.

P H OTO O F K E Z I A S T E G E M O E L L E R : R E B E C A P O S A D A S - N A VA

SOUTHERN DALLAS THRIVES PAUL NICHOLS

RODNEY D’SOUZA

UT Dallas Institute for Innovation

TCU Neeley Institute

Multiskilled leader

New enterpreneurship head

Nichols was named executive director of the UT Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, replacing Steve Guengerich, who had led the institute since 2017. Nichols has worked as an academic, a venture capitalist, and the leader of a startup. He plans to combine those skills to help create a new class of students ready to launch their ideas into the DFW marketplace. He says that universities are a resource for the community and serve as pipelines for talent and intellectual innovation. UTD has been gaining a reputation as one of the top STEM programs in the country, and he intends to continue that trajectory.

In Fort Worth, D’Souza was named the new director of the Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, formerly the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center. D’Souza will work to realize the organization’s plans that emphasize entrepreneurial endeavors and faculty research to benefit startups and small businesses. It’s an accelerated co-curricular focus that is intended to support TCU students in any major and relevant entrepreneurship research efforts. The institute hopes to be a strong partner with Dallas-Fort Worth economic drivers of entrepreneurship and small business.

A$1 million grant from PepsiCo’s Plano-based FritoLay North America through The PepsiCo Foundation will back the expansion of the initiative and a first of its kind Dallas Center for Arts and Technology. The PepsiCo Foundation committed the funding to Social Venture Partners Dallas to invest in the Dallas Center for Arts and Technology (DCAT), a “first-of-itskind program” in Texas. DCAT, which aims to disrupt the cycle of generational poverty through education, is expected to launch in 2020. Frito-Lay is a founding partner in the program. Announced at SVP Dallas’ bigBang! social innovation event in Ocober, the funding was in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and Frito-Lay, a founding partner in the program. PepsiCo said the new money brings its total commitment to Southern Dallas to more than $3 million. The $1 million Pathways by PepsiCo grant is expected to focus on workforce readiness and development programming for women in Southern Dallas. The Southern Dallas Thrives initiative provides healthy meals, quality childcare, career opportunities, and college preparation. — QP

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W H AT ’ S W H E R E

Innovation Zones North Texas cities are turning thousands of acres of their communities into centers for innovation in everything from healthcare to logistics. Here’s what to expect in 2020 and beyond.

I N D I E P L AT F O R M

MICHAEL MAPONGA CEO & Founder AfroLandTV

“The exciting thing about innovation districts in 2020 is that more and more of these will be rolling out across our region,” says Trey Bowles, co-founder of the Dallas Innovation Alliance and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center’s co-founder and chairman. “Richardson just passed approval of an innovation district in that city. You have some amazing innovation going on in Deep Ellum, the Design District, the East Quarter, and in other cities like Plano, Arlington, Frisco, and more.” The key for 2020, he says, will be about how we connect those innovation districts to create efficiencies inside of those geographic areas while also contributing to the seamless integration of Innovation Districts across the regions with the goal and purpose of improving the quality of life for the citizens of North Texas. Here’s a look at four key hubs for innovation in the region.

Zimbabwe-born Michael Maponga was raised in Dallas and has pursued a successful acting career (you can watch him in Finding Mother). Today, he’s known as the brainchild behind AfroLandTV, which has a mission to “normalize and control the narrative of African and black stories on a global scale.” It has been called a “Pan-African Netflix”; subscribers pay to stream unlimited content. Most is from Africa, but there’s also some from the Caribbean, UK, and United States. Currently, Maponga and his team are working on reaching as many viewers globally as possible with partnerships like a Samsung TV integration and a Roku app. But the idea behind it all is helping others—”people that never had an opportunity to get on a global scale and showcase their stories now have a platform,” Maponga says. “They see this as a mechanism to grow their dream.” He and his team are beginning to plan their first original feature film, which include African celebrities. It’s going to be shot in Dallas, AfroLandTV’s home base, where Maponga hopes to also build a studio, and in Africa. His goal is to bring these creative industry jobs to the region. —AE

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DALLAS INNOVATION DISTRICT

The West End in Dallas is a historic district, but it’s also a place where cutting-edge technology is bringing together corporate, civic, and startup innovation initiatives in a testing ground. Founded in 2015, the innovation district is a nonprofit public-private partnership among the city of Dallas, local corporations, and startups that is run by the Dallas Innovation Alliance, which pushes for initiatives and provides resources and leadership to increase efficiencies with new technologies. The alliance established the Living Lab in 2016 as part of the innovation district where Smart Cities technology is being tested. The West End is the home to Blue Cross Blue Shield’s C1 Innovation Lab, located in a 114-year-old former cracker and candy manufacturing building. It’s ground zero for the healthcare company’s outside-of-the-box problem-solving and innovation efforts. “I think we want people to know and be reminded of the amazing success of the district and its continued growth in the region,” Bowles says. “One of the things that make this innovation district so unique is the grassroots nature in which it was created and the overwhelming support of partners and different stakeholders in its success.” A groundbreaking will occur in January for the West End Square, or Smart Park, an example for the country on how to create |

2020 EDITION

a park that leverages not only smart materials for development, but smart operational efficiencies and the ability to showcase core innovative solutions through the Innovation Arcade section of the square, Bowles says. He also points to how infrastructure, strategy, and emerging innovation solutions have taken hold in the West End, leading to organizations such as Sam’s Club with its Innovation Lab and Blue Cross Blue Shields C1 Innovation Lab setting up shop in the district.

MEDICAL INNOVATION DISTRICT

In Fort Worth, the city has announced big plans for the 1,400-acre Near Southside. The creation of the first-of-its-kind regional medical innovation district could attract medical-related enterprises and become a hub for innovation. The city’s plan would connect existing medical institutions and organizations with startups and business incubators to attract thousands of additional healthcare and technology-related jobs to the area. Near Southside already is home to major healthcare centers such as Cook Children’s Healthcare System, Texas Health Harris Methodist, Baylor Scott & White, and Medical City Fort Worth.

ALLIANCETEXAS MOBILITY INNOVATION ZONE

Further north in Fort Worth, Hillwood is creating the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone as a test site for futuristic ground and air transportation tech. Hillwood is a partner in the Uber Elevate flying taxi project, and the developer says the site will be a prime location for developing flight advancements such as air taxis and drones, as well as new tech for ground transportation systems.

COLLINS/ARAPAHO TOD & INNOVATION DISTRICT

In Richardson, The Collins/Arapaho Transportation-Oriented District & Innovation District would encompass a 1,200-acre area bound by Central Expressway, Campbell Road, Plano Road, and Apollo Road in the Telecom Corridor—a longtime hub for technology and innovation in the region. A key strategy for the district’s vision study is to encourage vibrancy through placemaking activities within the district. —LM


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B E S T F O OT F O RWA R D

HIGH-FASHION, HIGH-TECH HEELS High heels can be a painful fact of life for fashionistas, and that’s where Maija Benincasa’s line of luxury Italian-made shoes comes in. After leaving a corporate job in California, Benincasa stumbled upon an idea: make high heels more comfortable through technology. The former Campbell Soup Company brand manager wanted to learn from the best. So, of course, she headed to Italy, where she studied the art of cobbling at the Arsutoria School in Milan. Once she made her way to Texas, Benincasa and her sister, Anne Benincasa Stockstill, created Benincasa Milano, a line of high-end heels with advanced shoe tech. Benincasa worked with biomedical engineers from UT Southwestern to develop a patent-pending gel insole, which drops the ball of the foot and pushes the pressure to the toes. Next up? “Femme-forward sneakers,” Benincasa says. —LH

NO PAIN, JUST GAIN: Benincasa Milano heels are manufactured in the same factory that makes Manolo Blahniks. The shoes are available online at benincasamilano.com.

What started as a one-woman show more than 10 years ago in the Design District is now a burgeoning local empire for former journalist and interior designer Cobb. The Journalist-Turned-Entrepreneur Southern California native was among the Flea Style first to capitalize on the resurgence of vintage style in 2009, initially offering a one-off holiday venue for vendors to sell their wares. That transitioned into more events, and then Cobb took a family-and-interior-designer sabbatical. But she missed the small businesses she had been supporting—she missed her markets. In 2015, Flea Style was born. Cobb quickly doubled the vendor footprint, expanded to other cities, hired employees, and started creating and selling her team’s own merchandise. That’s when she decided to go against the grain and open a retail store. In 2018, Flea Style opened its first bricks-and-mortar in Deep Ellum. The 5,000-square-foot building houses HQ, an event space, and a retail area full of carefully curated lifestyle goods. And on the cusp of the brand’s 10-year anniversary, Cobb added a second storefront within The Star in Frisco. Complete with a culinary concept called Heirloom Haul—a first for the team— the new location also has game-day gear, an event space, and, of course, Cobb’s own personal flair. “Anything we do in here is to give back to the small business community,” she says. “We just want to champion the underdog and the mom-and-pops that are doing really cool things in our backyard.” —AE

P H OTO O F M A I J A B E N I N C A S A : M I C H A E L S A M P L E S

CATCHING UP WITH

BRITTANY COBB

PURRFECT MATCH It used to be that hiring a cat-sitter was for the birds. Enter Meowtel, a Dallas-based feline-friendly firm founded in 2017 by Sonya Petcavich. The entrepreneur, who earned her MBA from Oxford University, connects on-the-go cat parents with dedicated, fully vetted, and insured sitters. Meowtel is focusing in 10 major U.S. cities and facilitates fostering and adoptions by working with local shelters. Growth is solid, Petcavich says. “Cats have historically been very underserved.” —AC

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S C I E N C E N OT S I L E N C E

RANIA BATRICE Senior Adviser March for Science

The world’s largest grassroots community of science advocates, March for Science, has a new (and maybe surprising) homebase. From its headquarters in Dallas, Rania Batrice is leading a charge to unite folks around the world in support of science-informed public policies. Locals Jack Matthews, Lynn McBee, Don Williams, and Trammell S. Crow Jr. had a hand in making the move happen, thanks to their support, Batrice says. This past fall, she traveled to Madrid to launch the “Science Not Silence” campaign at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Batrice is working to get leaders around the world to “publicly accept established science and raise their climate ambitions.“ The first generation American, born to Palestinian parents, believes that “change can happen from within when people come together,” and the climate campaign has a simple mission: to open a dialogue between scientists and their communities. Save the date and tell your friends: the 2020 March for Science will be held on April 22 in Dallas and hundreds of cities around the world. —QP

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‘THEIR FUTURE IS OUR FUTURE’ Matt Tranchin wants to help keep the world above water, one island nation at a time. After a chance meeting with the president of the Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Western Pacific, the Dallas native found himself on the frontlines of the global climate change crisis. “If you accept that climate change poses an existential crisis and you want to get involved, it’s only natural to want to prioritize the world’s most vulnerable communities,” says Tranchin, who is now executive director of the Dallas-based Island Resilience Partnership. For island nations, global warming’s impact, seen with rising sea levels and natural disasters, has been devastating, he says. But helping these islands trade in their reliance on imported diesel—an expensive, shipped-in commodity—has meant developing renewable and decentralized energy infrastructure in these communities to bring sustainability and resilience to these parts of the world. IRP has partnered with GridMarket, an artificial intelligence company that spun out of NYC’s Hurricane Sandy Task Force, and EarthX to help island nations transform their national energy infrastructure at no cost to governments. By next year, Palau’s renewable energy is expected to grow from 3 percent to 55 percent of its energy generation, while reducing the cost of energy by more than 30%. Building off the momentum from its inaugural partnership with Palau, IRP has gone on to establish public-private partnerships with the Independent State of Samoa and the Kingdom of Tonga. So why is this initiative based in a landlocked part of Texas? That’s easy, Tranchin says, their future is our future. —Candace Carlisle

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IDEAS

I N N O VAT I O N I S A F O U N DAT I O N F O R T H E F U T U R E O F E M E R G I N G T E C H N O L O G Y I N DA L L A S - F O RT W O RT H .

WORLDS OF POSSIBILITY: “We’re creating AI-powered models of the real world. It’s almost like turning real life into a video game,” Dave Copps says. “The more we show people our tech, the more we realize the possibilities for use cases are endless.”

P H OTO : M I C H A E L S A M P L E S

OUT OF STEALTH, WORLDS.IO, THE COMPANY FORMERLY KNOWN

as Hypergiant Sensory Sciences (HSS), is a year-old software company on a mission to “deliver human perception at an impossible scale,” says co-founder and CEO Dave Copps. “We provide companies that have a critical need to perceive their physical environments with software that amplifies and augments their ability to do it at scale.” With a vision to build AI-powered models of the real world, the company recently closed an $8 million round of funding led by Align Capital out of Austin, Texas and followed by Capital Factory, GPG Ventures and two, soon to be named, large corporate venture groups. Targeting Fortune 500 and government clients, Worlds.io is strategically aligned with Texas-based Hypergiant Industries as a portfolio company. Hypergiant’s roster of vertical divisions include space science and exploration, satellite communications, aviation, healthcare, transportation, and more. “We’re about to change the world, and we are doing it with an absolutely incredible team of people who know that ‘impossible’ is only a temporary state,” Copps says. To that end, the CEO is fully engaged in every aspect of the business. “I wear a lot of hats. My partner, co-founder Chris Rohde, and I are pitching investors, hiring new employees, connecting with customers to lock in an accurate product/market fit, and making unreasonable requests of an incredibly talented team so we can make miraculous progress in not enough time!” — Quincy Preston D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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IDEAS

t he TRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE by J E F F B O U N D S

BEFORE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS AND ELECTRONIC DATA SYSTEMS

were multibillion dollar giants, each started as somebody’s idea for a new business. When game-changing companies are in their earliest stages of life, Anurag Jain makes investments in them that help them grow fast. As managing partner of Dallas’ Perot Jain, he has backed dozens of swingfor-the-fences startups that seek to exploit seven societal trends where he believes tiny disruptors can change industries. Before co-founding the venture capital firm in 2013, Jain started and sold firms like Vision Healthsource ($10 million) and later turned around large players like Access Healthcare, a Dallas company he now chairs that provides financial and tech services to organizations in healthcare. He also raised more than $150 million for Brigade Corp., a customer service shop he started. What follows are the seven trends that the former Dell vice president believes are ripe with investment opportunity, along with North Texas companies that play in each space.

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IDEAS

Jain, whose firm has invested in at least half a dozen early-stage firms in the region, says two important trends in Dallas-Fort Worth are in mobility and next-generation technology, such as artificial intelligence and robotics. The co-founder of Jain’s firm, Ross Perot Jr., believes DFW can grow another Texas Instruments or even another EDS—the Plano firm the developer’s late father, H. Ross Perot, used to create the outsourcing industry by running other people’s computers for them. “We think it is our duty and part of giving back to our community to focus on seedstage venture investing to help these men and women in North Texas build great businesses,” Perot says. “The ideas are here. It’s up to us to find that talent and back that talent—and not just with money, but also with the experienced guidance and connections to help them be successful.” Though we’re profiling Access in this article, Perot Jain has no financial ties to many of the other businesses featured. “There are a number of companies in Dallas-Fort Worth that have visionary management teams, the right backers from around the world, and the right toolboxes,” Jain said. One caveat: the pace of change forces Jain to regularly look for ways to improve his theories. “These industries are moving rapidly, so we’re constantly refining the trends to fit our investment thesis,” he says.

n  TREND 1: Hyperconnected world

As people gain access to the internet from anywhere in the world, companies will face a challenge of delivering the right information to them in the right format on time, Jain says. “From balloons to satellites, we will have information constantly available,” he says. “Can I make decisions hyperfast on events in India, how markets are changing, or how I should deal with consumers?” DFW PLAYER: Alkami Technology, which helps banks and credit unions provide mobile services to consumers and small businesses. “Our platform simplifies money movement and financial wellness, and provides deep user insights with our proprietary data engine,” says Stephen Bohanon, who launched the Plano-based business in 2009 and is now chief strategy and sales officer. With 146 clients representing 8 million dig-

ital banking users, Alkami plans to boost its 500-plus-person staff by 10 percent to 20 percent over the next 12 months, Bohanon says. The business has raised a total of more than $225 million. Alkami brought in $52.3 million in revenue in 2018, a three-year growth rate of 958 percent, according to Inc. “We are expecting our next milestone of 10 million contracted users and $100 million in revenue to be achieved in 2020,” Bohanon says.

n  TREND 2: Human longevity

The hospitality, travel, and entertainment industries will have to customize their offerings as people live longer, thanks to life sciences ridding the planet of various diseases, Jain says. Companies like Netflix will create movies and other shows based on viewership patterns, with artificial intelligence getting better over time at determining what people want to watch. AI also will enable the hospitality and travel industries to tailor vacations and other trips to people’s needs, from the hotels they stay at to the places they visit, all without much cost. Medicine and healthcare will also become customized. That is partly from science being able to spot disease-causing changes in genes based on the order of four chemical building blocks that make up DNA. It also stems from better understanding of the genetic material of microbes, the bacteria, viruses, and other tiny things living inside us that, in total, may account for up to 5 pounds of an adult human’s weight, according to Baylor College of Medicine. “The third industrial revolution saw mass production of similar products delivered inexpensively, from cars to travel to medicine,” Jain says. “The fourth will make exactly what you need and provide it even cheaper.” DFW PLAYER: Dallas’ Access Healthcare, which handles various financial and tech jobs that organizations in the field must do to keep the lights on. Founded in 2011, Access manages how medical companies bring in revenue from patients, whether by copays, insurance, or anything else. It supports more than 300,000 physicians and processes more than 300 million transac-

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IDEAS

n  TREND 3: Mobility

“The way we move people, things, and data is rapidly changing,” Jain says. “People today expect items to come when they need them, wherever they need them.” That applies to data, which we need in particular amounts at given points in our day, whether it is news stories we follow or profit numbers on our businesses. “Information will show up in different formats, curated, convenient, and consumable,” Jain says. The transportation and logistics market has been one of the largest growth areas for the North Texas economy this decade. Employment in that industry cluster ballooned 62 percent between 2010 and 2017 in a six-county area that includes Dallas, Collin, and Denton, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. It had the fastest job growth in that region of all professions that the Fed tracks. It also saw the biggest jump in its share of employment in that area over that time frame, hitting 4.1 percent, according to the Fed. DFW PLAYER: Dallas’ Alto, which aims to be the Starbucks of ridesharing by giving safe lifts to consumers such as women, professionals, and families. It does background checks and trains its drivers, who are employees, and uses five-star crash-rated SUVs. Having launched its initial service in Dallas in November 2018, the business has raised more than $20 million in debt and equity. “In just 11 months, we’ve grown to nearly 100 drivers and nearly 60 vehicles, as we expand our service area across the (North Texas) metro area,” CEO Will Coleman says. “We want to prove that we’re building

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“FOR ALL THE NOISE AROUND AI, IT STILL BEHAVES LIKE MACHINES AND REQUIRES THE INPUT OF LOTS OF DATA. THE NEXT GENERATION OF IT WILL BE LIGHTER, LESS DATA-CONSUMED AND MORE HUMANLIKE.” —ANURAG JAIN, PEROT JAIN

a sustainable, profitable ridesharing experience that customers love. If we do that, we believe we’ll have the ability to raise more capital and take Alto to several more cities starting in early to mid-2020.”

n  TREND 4: AI and robotics

North Texas will play key roles in improving AI and robots, something that will lead to changes in how we work and play. Compared with the United States at large, two industries—information technology and telecommunications on the one hand, computer manufacturing on the other— account for disproportionately large shares of the workforce in a six-county area that includes Dallas, Collin and Denton, according to the Fed. The same is true in that region for fields that rely on technology, such as banking and financial services, defense and security, and transportation and logistics, Fed data show. Across occupations, better AI and robotics will mean people no longer will spend 40 to 60 hours weekly at their jobs, according to Jain. “Most of us work less than our grandparents did,” he says. A generation or two ago, people generally spent nine hours at work and a combined 90 minutes-plus commuting there and back. Today many people work from home or go to their employer’s site only for meetings, Jain noted. With the prospect of self-driving cars and air taxis, commutes will be shorter and faster, and inexpensive video and audio communications will enable people to work en route and meet regardless of their geographic locations. “Today, the gig economy represents about 20 percent of the workforce. In the next five to seven years, it will be 60 percent,” Jain says. “I think tools will improve to make it easier for people to enter and exit the workforce on demand.” At home, robots will be able to handle chores such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening, making it easier for elderly people to live independently, he says. “For all the noise around AI, it still behaves like machines and requires the input of lots of data,” Jain says. “The next generation of it will be lighter, less data consumed, and more humanlike.” Large companies, such as Dallas’ AT&T, are investing in quantum computing, whose promise of crunching huge numbers could, say, simulate how in-development medications may perform in the human body. The machines’ horsepower could also break modern security codes, which use large math equations that today’s fastest computers would take a long time to solve. “We’re still grappling with what that means,” Jain says. “It’s definitely something everybody needs to think about.” Doug Matzke, an area speaker who has a Ph.D. in quantum computing from UT Dallas, notes that if the technology materializes, it would have limitations that prevent it from replacing classical computing. Quantum electronics would not have any memory, meaning it would be able to per-

P H OTO : M I C H A E L S A M P L E S

tions that represent more than $70 billion in claims each year, according to its website. It also streamlines other technology, financial, and accounting tasks. Perot Jain is an investor in Access, which in 2017 brought in $79.3 million in revenue, representing three-year growth of 318 percent, according to Inc. As of December 2018, Access had more than 11,000 employees across 19 delivery centers in the United States, India, and the Philippines.


IDEAS

HIRING THE BOSS:

Mike Hansen (left) became CEO of Alkami after the company’s founder, Stephen Bohanon (right), gave up the corner office as part of fundraising. “I had never run a 400-person company, or 100- or even a 50-person company,” Bohanon says. “I’ve just tried to run my house … If I were to put myself in the investors’ shoes, I could definitely see it. But at the time it hurt. It hurt a lot. After I got over being mad, I thought, ‘It would be great if we had someone to shoulder this load with me, that I can actually learn from.’ I knew there were a lot of things I hadn’t done before.”

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IDEAS

form only one job at a time. “It’s up for grabs” how long it might take for people to possibly harness quantum’s potential, Matzke says. “There’s a lot of work to do from a design perspective.” DFW PLAYER: DocSynk, whose AI system compiles lists of patients who are at risk for chronic illnesses, such as early-onset diabetes or coronary artery disease, along with their probability of being diagnosed within certain time frames. Its technology creates plans for patients to prevent or delay the symptoms, along with managing business functions of healthcare organizations and enabling customers to handle jobs like rescheduling appointments. “We have three paying customers and a strong pipeline of household healthcare names that we’re signing up between now and the first quarter of 2020,” says Vaidyanatha Siva, who founded the business in 2015 and is its CEO. With 10 employees, DocSynk expects to hire 15 more people in the next 12 months, he says. “We have raised $1.5 million in total funding to date, led by Dallas-based Naya Ventures.” Siva plans to build $4 million in recurring software-as-a-service revenue and position the business for a series A funding round. “Our aim is to achieve this by the fourth quarter of 2020, based on signed contracts and current qualified sales pipeline,” he says.

n  TREND 5: Materials science

ART CARS: Alto is continuously differentiating itself in the space. The rideshare service, which caters to virtually any preferences (Choose your own setlist! Check “no” for driver small talk!) recently partnered with local artists to create masterpieces amongst its fleet of vehicles.

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n  TREND 6: Commercial space

From tourists visiting outer space to mining asteroids and launching small, efficient satellites, the solar system will become available to more people—all within our lifetimes. “One study says asteroids near Earth alone had $1 trillion of metals,” Jain says. “They could have diamonds or materials that we don’t even know about.” The first generation of space tourism will come about in the next five to seven years as governments and companies build technologies so people can live outside Earth’s atmosphere or even visit for a weekend. These technologies must work with other applications so it’s faster and cheaper to get to space in the appropriate safety garb, he says. Water may be available in deep space, with asteroids possibly serving as remote gas stations while people hop from place to place, according to Jain. “As it becomes easier and more affordable to send satellites into deep space, that will have profound applications in the future,” he says. DFW PLAYER: Denton’s Kubos, which has created an open-source operating system for running the basic functions of satellites weighing up to 500 kilograms, or a little more than half a ton. The business makes money from longterm support contracts, custom development, and subscription-based “mission control” software for running spaceborne craft from the ground. It provides the latter product through the cloud, meaning customers use it via Kubos’ off-site electronics rather than installing it on their own computers. “Some 22 active missions are being de-

P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F A LTO

Foldable electronics, batteries that last many times longer than they do now—our assumptions will go out the window about physical devices we use daily, thanks to the generation of materials ahead. “You may be able to build things anywhere, take computer screens anywhere,” Jain says. “It changes our quality of life. When we take away physical limitations, the possible applications are profound.” DFW PLAYER: Plano-based Ares Materials, which has created a type of plastic to protect lenses on foldable electronics. Called Pylux, Ares’ plastic looks like glass and provides the same protection from heat and chemicals but “does not break the bank,” the company’s website states. Another product, Easybond, is material used in manufacturing plastic-based flexible displays. “We make money from direct sales of our materials through our industry-manufacturing partners, along with royalties paid from licenses around the world for our technology,” CEO David Arreaga says. “Ares has raised $5 million from private equity and more than $1 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.” Arreaga co-founded Ares in 2014 with Chief Operations Officer Adrian Avendano after the pair received Ph.D.s from UT Dallas. For now, they are developing shock-absorbing, optically clear adhesives, along with materials for use in areas such as 5G antennas and a new generation of camera sensors. “We believe Ares can achieve all this by revolutionizing the way materials science is done,” Avendano says. “We are working on the next generation of materials discovery using machine learning and robotics.” The pair expect to have a first prototype of an “automated materials discovery system”

working on new materials in the first half of 2020, according to Avendano.


IDEAS

Big companies get creative, too

veloped with our platforms,” says Tyler Browder, who helped start the business in 2014 and now handles business development. Another co-founder, Marshall Culpepper, is CEO. With fewer than 10 employees, Kubos has landed customers such as the national air forces of Thailand and the Netherlands, nonprofits, and a high school in the United States. Scientific organizations have used its technology when gathering atmospheric data. “We have raised $4 million, all from angels and venture capitalists,” Browder says. “Our next major milestone is to grow our user base.”

From public-safety blimps to revolutionary data centers, North Texas’ giants invented technology in 2019 to make our world a little bit better.

“We have spent a lot of time in education telling people what to think. Going forward, we will teach them how to think. As technology is able to do more, humans will be able to tackle larger, more context-driven jobs,” Jain says. Educators must find new ways to teach youngsters who are more comfortable with one-on-one content through a screen of some kind, he says. That will foster opportunities to create new measuring sticks to track the effectiveness of training and the value of the human work it enables. “We have to continue investing in the right talent to train people to do more sophisticated engineering,” Jain says. DFW PLAYER: Linux Academy of Keller, which offers learn-by-doing technology training in cloud computing. Its program personalizes education based on individuals’ current and changing skill sets. The company has trained a combined 250,000-plus people for clients such as San Antonio-based Rackspace, Asurion, and Second Watch. Led by Anthony James, who founded Linux in 2012, the more-than-200-employee business brought in $21.3 million in revenue in 2018, up 842 percent over three years, according to Inc. It was acquired in December by the cloud computing training firm A Cloud Guru. Quincy Preston contributed to this article.

P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F AT & T

n  TREND 7: Talent

Though startups’ inventions may get more attention, large companies in North Texas created some cool stuff in 2019. Arguably the region’s most radical invention came from a pair of local companies in the area of data centers, the pricey buildings that store powerful computers like servers that people use remotely. Working with architecture giant Corgan at a Dallas data center, the tech developer TMGcore created what it said is a facility one tenth the normal size. It will be managed with software and robots, per Data Center Frontier. “We move fast at Corgan—leading our clients to agile solutions that anticipate and respond to seismic changes in technology and the way we live and do business,” said Scott Ruch, Corgan’s CEO, told Dallas Innovates. Not to be outdone, Dallas’ AT&T unveiled a first-of-its-kind blimp to keep first responders connected in natural disasters. Called an aerostat, the 55-foot device can fly at up to 1,000 feet, provide as much as twice the coverage area, remain airborne for two weeks, and can be fully operational in winds of up to 50 mph, the company said. It also reduces the need for portable cell sites on the ground, allowing other government agencies to use them. The blimp is part of FirstNet, a national high-speed wireless network for first responders that AT&T is helping build and deploy in a public-private partnership with a federal agency, the FirstNet Responder Network Authority. In a related vein, AT&T made a

AT&T’S AEROSTAT

Carrollton emergency-dispatch center the first in Texas to use technology that delivers text-to-911 messages to public service answering points. That is part of an overall call-routing upgrade AT&T is giving the North Texas Emergency Communications Center, which also serves Addison, Coppell, and Farmers Branch. Executive Director Terry Goswick called AT&T’s ESInet network a “game changer.” In Lewisville, Swedish telecom giant Ericsson in 2020 will open a $100 million smart factory that will make equipment for 5G wireless networks. Large phone service providers such as AT&T are rolling out the technology, which according to PC Magazine should move data faster, be more responsive, and enable connecting more devices such as sensor. Ericsson’s 300,000-square-foot shop will also produce advanced antenna system radios. Around 100 people will work in the building, which Ericsson had designed to be 28 percent more energy efficient than comparable facilities. The company in 2019 also opened a Lewisville training facility for tower climbers and field services staff.

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FUTURE 50

From left: Trammell S. Crow Jr., Lyndsey Harper, Michael Sorrell, Damir Perge, Farrukh Malik, Nicole Small, Mohamed Elwazer, and Hesam Hosseini.

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FUTURE 50

the

FUTURE

by A N N A CA P L A N , A L E X E DWA R D S , Q U I N CY P R E STO N , L A U R E N H AW K I N S and L A N C E M U R R AY portraits by M I C H A E L SA M P L E S

Meet the innovators and disruptors in Dallas-Fort Worth who are having a breakout moment. Each individual is a force to be reckoned with. All have the potential to disrupt industries, benefit society, or change the world. They are inventors, leaders, technologists, educators, and industry pioneers. They work at corporations, startups, nonprofits, multinationals, or universities, launching first-of-their-kind products and solving problems that have never been solved before. Look back on their milestones and dive into their plans for tomorrow. These are the people you need to know in DallasFort Worth right now—they’re forging the future.

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F U T U R E 5 0 S TA R T U P

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F U T U R E 5 0 S TA R T U P

CHIEF HACKER

Founder & CEO

Hacware

TIFFANY RICKS AS A SOFTWARE ENGINEER, RICKS BEGAN NOTICING

companies were spending a lot of money on making sure their networks were protected from infiltrating hackers. But, she says, one area was lacking: people. So Ricks built a company focused on tackling the problem from a human standpoint. Hacware, a minority- and women-owned startup that specializes in AI and cybersecurity product development, released a new autonomous product this year that can detect who’s in danger of an attack, which prevents data breaches, increases awareness, and identifies any training gaps. Hacware acts as a company’s ‘security sidekick,’ and also has free tools to recover a hacked account and training to prevent phishing. In 2019, the team had a major growth journey, from being chosen for one of the country’s top accelerator programs to Ricks being recognized as a Rising Star by the Women’s Business Council Southwest. Coming up this year, Hacware is launching a 100 percent diversity-driven learning management system focused on cybersecurity awareness and is expanding to NYC. “Hacware is about action,” she says. “We are really passionate about educating people about the future of work, which is in cybersecurity.”

DATA DRIVER

SEAN MINTER Founder

AmplifAI

SALES BOOSTER

DESIGN DISRUPTOR

MARGOT CARTER

FARRUKH MALIK

Co-founder

Founder & CEO

Cien

Roomored

Like many entrepreneurs, Carter identified a problem and built a business around it. In 2015, she and two partners founded Cien, which pioneered state-ofthe-art, proprietary tech making it possible for sales reps to reach 100 percent quota. “Success to me means helping our customers realize and find billions of dollars of hidden revenue using our AI technology,” she says. Cien measures intangible factors that maximize success, or, in layman’s terms, cleans up data so sales can soar. Like a “Fitbit for your sales team,” the software tracks numbers, accounting for human language and behavior. It then provides predictions and recommendations to optimize performance. Carter is no stranger to success, or building businesses, though: She’s an accomplished C-suite executive and director for global public and private companies.

With his revolutionary 3D platform, Malik is constructing a new reality for homebuilders. From its HQ on Oak Lawn Avenue, Roomored partners with titans in the industry to support them in sales and marketing, design, and customization. Since founding the startup in 2016, Malik—who comes from investment banking—has been focused on disrupting residential real estate. The B2B2C virtual reality platform allows homebuyers to explore and engage with floor plans, take in video “flythroughs,” and more. There are real-life looks at countertops, cabinets, and backsplashes, a first for the industry that Malik says has never been done before. The floodgates opened in 2019, with Roomored seeing its most successful year yet. Its employees tripled, revenue tripled, and it’s now working with around 20 homebuilders.

Over the past five years, Minter has quietly built one of the most impactful AI technology companies in the country. AmplifAI is built upon his personal belief that “success is determined by leadership and it is leadership’s job to determine how to enable everyone within the organization to be successful.” It uses the power of AI/machine learning to help companies such as Home Depot, AT&T, Cigna, and Airbnb enable their workforces to become high performers. By allowing for rapid feedback from managers to their subordinates, morale and performance improves. With a background as the successful founder of three other tech startups, Minter has seen firsthand personnel problems that he’s solving today. Last year, AmplifAI successfully raised $3.9 million in funding from three VC outlets—Naya Ventures and Capital Factory in Dallas and LiveOak Venture Partners in Austin—so the company could expand sales and marketing. Over the past year, the business has become one of the largest VCfunded startups in the DFW area. “AmplifAI’s industry-leading Performance Acceleration Platform leverages the power of AI to improve sales and service performance,” Minter says. “AmplifAI’s data-driven approach accelerates performance by delivering personalized insights and actions across the enterprise, resulting in dramatically improved business outcomes.”

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F U T U R E 5 0 S TA R T U P

GEOLOCATION GURU

CEO

POLTE

SEXUAL HEALTH ADVOCATE

LABOR FACILITATOR

LYNDSEY HARPER, M.D.

MICHAEL KINDER

Founder & CEO

Co-founder & CEO

Rosy

Veryable

After seven years as an OB/GYN, Harper birthed a plan for a new business. Frustrated that her patients didn’t have an adequate place to address their decreased sexual desire, Harper created an app for just that: Rosy. The startup offers trusted info and resources for the 31 million women who need it nationwide. In the past 10 months, it’s partnered with over 2,400 healthcare providers. Harper herself is committed to not only improving desire, but also self-esteem, sexual health, and relationships—she wants women everywhere to know they’re not alone. Soon to launch is Rosy Telehealth, a first-of-itskind service connecting women to providers who specialize in women’s sexual health. Harper says the new addition is long overdue and desperately needed. “Rosy is incredibly proud to completely change the landscape for women’s health around the country from right here in Dallas.”

Fundamental problems in manufacturing— agility, flexibility, and speed—provided enough motivation for Kinder and his partner, Noah Labhart, to launch Veryable in 2016. The Dallas tech company serves as a marketplace for on-demand labor for manufacturing and distribution. Veryable’s vision is paying off for clients, yielding higher productivity, flexible work arrangements, and fewer administrative burdens. In 2019, it delivered $15 million in revenue, and Kinder expects step-level growth this year. He’s also hiring and looking to geographically expand. “We’re providing a technology that allows companies to capitalize on the main way to win. At the same time, we’re giving a lot of people the ability to rise up, build skills, demonstrate progression, and make good money,” Kinder says. “Manufacturing is still very much about people at its core.”

TENANT SUPPORTER

RYAN TURNER

Founder & CEO

RefineRE

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ED CHAO WITH MORE THAN 25 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE

field—including stints at MetroPCS, Lucent Technologies, and even The White House—Chao brought a breadth of knowledge to Polte, the startup he joined to bring to market in 2018. “I’ve always really been fascinated by how technology can help people at scale,” he says. “That’s always been the consistent theme throughout my career.” With its patented location tech, Polte leverages existing LTE networks to offer ubiquitous and accurate geolocation. Implementing its Lite-Touch architecture, Chao and company have transformed the economics of the market, allowing 4G and 5G cellular-connected devices to have extended battery life, which lowers costs and enables vendors to eliminate the need for GPS. It works indoors and out, essentially transforming consumer experiences and operational efficiencies. The company’s success has resulted in two rounds of funding, with Polte raising $18.5 million. The influx of money allows the team to utilize its location offering with technology and channel partners. Now, it’s launching across North America and has opportunities to go global. “All the use cases that come out of how people want to use the technology are really, really, really inspiring,” Chao says. “From saving lives to securing the food supply.”

Turner turned his passion for finding solutions for global occupiers into a mission, forming his technology company in order to best serve tenants’ needs. With more than 15 years of tenant rep experience at JLL and CBRE, he was an early adopter of BI/analytics in the commercial real estate space. RefineRE’s Portfolio Intelligence platform allows occupiers and their brokers to leverage big data into big deals. “Every company is in the real estate business even if it isn’t their core product or service,” he says. “It’s the largest industry in the world and a company’s No. 2 expense.” To that end, Turner aims to amplify his Fortune 500 clients’ siloed internal data with a unique blend of economic insights based on AI and machine learning. In the past year, it’s certainly proven successful. The company, which currently employs 11 team members, doubled its revenue by three times in 2019. By building a platform for “the companies that pay the rent,” Turner has reached an untapped market. “My job is to remove obstacles, to make it easier for our customers to buy our solutions, and to help our team build the right products by staying out of their way,” he says. “At RefineRE, we free up companies’ own data and empower them to use it themselves instead of being beholden to legacy systems and industry norms that continue to be proliferated because that’s just that way we do it.”

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FUTURE 50 ENTERPRISE

GIG ECONOMIST

CRAIG J. LEWIS Founder & CEO

Gig Wage Those in the gig economy are fortunate to have Lewis, who’s tech startup navigates the money side for contractor-dependent businesses. The payments platform offers software for companies and contractors and APIs so developers can integrate with ease. In 2019, the team signed a multiyear contract with a Fortune 10 company, released its API, and launched new products, including a 1099 service.

FUTURIST

DAVE COPPS Founder & CEO

Worlds.io Serial entrepreneur Copps is a technologist and “startup guy,” focused on the increasingly important role that machine learning and artificial intelligence play in transforming markets and the world. Over the past 15 years, he founded, launched, and sold three companies focused on machine learning and AI. Currently, he’s the CEO of Worlds.io, reunited with his longtime business partner, Chris Rohde.

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FUTURE 50 ENTERPRISE

FINANCE FUTURIST

ARJUN DUGAL CTO

Capital One Financial Services By leveraging machine learning, AI, and nextgeneration data, Dugal is spearheading Capital One’s charge to reimagine the auto finance business. He leads the cross-functional technology teams, as well as DataLabs, a highly specialized organization within Capital One that builds industrial-scale data products across the enterprise, and The Garage, Capital One’s innovation center located in Plano.

TECH CONNECTOR

AMY CZUCHLEWSKI SVP of Technology

Bottle Rocket As the highest-ranking technologist at Bottle Rocket, Czuchlewski is also the first female tech leader in the company’s 11-year history. She oversees more than 100 engineers, delivering digital transformation services that enable clients to exceed their business, customer, and growth goals. Bottle Rocket’s own revenue growth has soared with Czuchlewski—who has been with the company since 2014—at the helm.

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FUTURE 50 ENTERPRISE

TATUM LAU

CLIMATE CAMPAIGNER

Senior Urban Designer

AECOM

AS THE DEPUTY PROJECT MANAGER FOR DALLAS’ FIRST

Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan (CECAP), Lau has a front-row seat for effecting change. Long interested in the capacity for public space and infrastructure as tools for political engagement and ecological transformation, Lau holds a bachelor’s in architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a master’s in architecture of rapid change and scarce resources from London Metropolitan University. Her studies also took her to UT Austin before AECOM, where she is a senior urban designer. With more than 10 years of professional experience in the built environment from three continents across the disciplines of architecture, research, publishing, urban design, and urban planning, Lau has a versatility that is serving CECAP well. “The effects of climate change on our cities are becoming more intense every year,” she says. “We need to collaborate as a society to facilitate meaningful change. It will take the entire community of Dallas to ensure it’s ready to build a safe future and enhance the quality of life for all residents.”

CULTURAL TRANSFORMER

PAOLA ARBOUR CIO

Tenet Healthcare

Throughout stints at EDS, HP, Dell, and Service Now, Arbour has proved to be an atypical CIO, bringing a consumer’s perspective that gets results. To that end, Tenet has benefited from her supply chain system overhaul—where direct reports have to create 30/60/90-day plans and share updates at weekly staff meetings—yielding a more focused mindset throughout the IT organization. By leveraging and adopting technological advances behind the scenes, without impeding doctor-patient cycles, the intensely focused and driven Arbour and her staff are making waves within the industry.

POWER PLAYER

ANNE CHOW CEO

AT&T Business Chow is excited about 5G. She and her team at AT&T believe mobile 5G will jump-start the next wave of industry- and life-changing breakthroughs. The new CEO at AT&T Business— the unit’s first female and woman of color to hold that position—Chow is on deck for some revolutionary times at the company. “5G is real and it’s here,” she says. “As it expands and evolves, business of all sizes will have access to 5G connectivity and the innovation it enables. This innovation will spark new solutions that can transform businesses and in some cases, transform and disrupt industries.” Chow, who has been with the company for nearly 30 years, has held diverse positions at AT&T,

from engineering to direct and indirect sales to product management. All of which have her poised for more success as the company’s leader heading into a new decade. And with 5G rolling out, she says AT&T Business is able to help transform what customers can expect (like working with the Dallas Cowboys on 5G+ at AT&T Stadium), which will drive what many are calling the next industrial revolution. “2020 is going to be a year when connectivity and networking become more important than ever before in changing how we interact and build relationships with customers, employees, and stakeholders,” she says. “And 2020 is the year that all businesses will have access to AT&T’s 5G network.”

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FUTURE 50 ENTERPRISE

AI EXPERT

Head of Artificial Intelligence

Atos

TATIANNA FLORES

MATCHMAKER

HESAM HOSSEINI

THE NEW GOOGLE CLOUD AI LAB AT ATOS’ NORTH AMERICAN

CEO

Match Two years ago, when Hosseini joined Match as CEO, his task was to disrupt the status quo. Since, he’s led the biggest changes in the Dallas-headquartered company’s history. Twothirds of Match’s staff works on innovation, an increasingly important feat in the growing dating app industry. And Hosseini, who’s been with Match Group for more than a decade, is leading that charge. For starters, he’s overhauled the Match app, applying a technologist’s mindset to the online dating scene. Then, he had an idea to marry human expertise with tech so Match could be available for users during every step of a relationship. “I don’t think finding a first date is a problem, but are people really having good dates? Match has never been about quantity. It’s

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always been about quality,” he says. So Hosseini and his team launched AskMatch, a highly trained team of dating coaches available for users to call and ask questions about their dating lives. “We’re the first app to actually have humans involved in the process,” he says. “I think when it comes to love and relationships, which is what we’re focused on, my belief is algorithms can only do so much.” Since roll-out, Hosseini has doubled the coaching team, and he’s now preparing to launch a suite of features that puts them in more points in the user experience. “Most apps match you and they drop you,” he says. “We want to move the conversation away from matching in the app to actually going on real dates. I’m focused on everything post match.”

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headquarters in Irving is led by Flores and a team of eight machine learning engineers and solutions architects who strive to solve big problems. “The techniques used in terms of data science have been the same for the past 25 years,” she says. “But using the same mathematical models for everyone does not deliver creative solutions to individual problems, and that’s where we come in.” The French-based technology services and consulting giant unveiled the lab—the only one of its kind in North America—last fall. The partnership with Google Cloud offers clients access to the latest analytics technologies. Flores got her start in bioinformatics at Bull HN Informations Systems in Phoenix. After Atos acquired the supercomputing company in 2014, Flores made the move to DFW. At the Atos lab, she works with an empathetic approach, considering customer needs—whether that means in an incubation workshop or a two- to three-day hackathon—and then focusing on creating immediate solutions so that clients can take their products to market.

PRODUCT LAUNCHER

ALANNA COTTON SVP and General Manager

Samsung Electronics America

Over the past year, Cotton has overseen the successful launch of roughly a dozen cutting-edge products at Samsung Electronics America, where she is the product marketing lead. With the company’s relocation of nearly 1,000 employees to its North Texas hub at Legacy Central in Plano, Cotton has played an integral role in collaborating at every level, whether it’s with employees or industry leaders like Microsoft. The Stanford MBA, who worked at PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble before plugging into Samsung, also works overtime to foster STEM talent and attract, hire, and retain women.


FUTURE 50 ENTERPRISE

MOBILITY INNOVATOR

RUSSELL LAUGHLIN Executive Vice President

Hillwood A pioneer in mobility innovation regionally and statewide, Laughlin had a breakout moment in 2018 with the launch of the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone in partnership with Deloitte. The “do tank” will serve as a venue for testing technology, including Uber Air’s air taxi (Hillwood is the vertical developer for Uber Elevate). In tandem with his Hillwood effort, the transportation proponent has elevated his role in the evolution of the industry. Last year, Laughlin spoke to trade groups about the push, and led the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition’s efforts to modernize its transportation agenda. In addition to his duties on the west side of DFW, the executive is heavily involved in Frisco Station, the 242-acre, high-density, mixed-use community along the Dallas North Tollway. At build out, the development will have over 5 million square feet of Class A office and medical space.

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FUTURE 50 INVENTION

EDGE PUSHER

RAJESH NARASIMHA Co-Founder & CEO

EdgeTensor Narasimha’s company provides far-reaching solutions for mobility, smart-content management, and video security systems. He and co-founder Soumitry Ray were part of the core team at Metaio, which developed augmented reality technology and was acquired by Apple in 2015. Narasimha’s 16-plus years of R&D experience at Texas Instruments and Samsung Research America have served the visionary well at EdgeTensor.

GESTURE ANALYZER

MOHAMED ELWAZER CEO & CTO

LinedanceAI Elwazer co-founded LinedanceAI with his wife, Catherine Bentley (page 15). Its patented tech sets the company apart in athlete performance analysis by analyzing fullbody movements at the joint level in real time. But it can be used in other fields, too. ”It can literally analyze any human movement; it doesn’t matter if it‘s in sports, security, sign language, or healthcare,” he says.

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FUTURE 50 INVENTION

SMART MOTOR MAKER

Co-founder & CEO

Linear Labs

BRAD HUNSTABLE THERE ARE ELECTRIC MOTORS, AND THEN THERE IS HUNSTABLE’S

revolutionary motor: The Hunstable Electric Turbine, which offers high-performance power for everything from cars to generators to robotics. The serial entrepreneur co-founded Fort Worth-based smart electric motor company Linear Labs with his father, Fred, in 2014, aiming to create the next generation of motors for the electric power industry. And with a full suite of patents (21) and patents pending (29) as of last spring, the company is well-positioned to do just that. A successful $4.5 million round of seed funding last March will go to making the motor marketable. In April, the company announced a partnership with Abtery, which develops cleantech systems in electromobility. The move will allow Linear Labs to increase its global profile to develop mobility applications. Hunstable says the highefficiency motors his company is designing could help make DFW the hub of powering things with electricity, adding that “we have an opportunity to be the electrification capital of the world.” Hunstable himself knows something about disrupting the marketplace: The Granbury native was co-founder and CEO of Ustream, a video platform born in 2007 and created so military-deployed personnel could connect with their loved ones. IBM acquired the company in 2016 for $150 million and rolled it into its Cloud Video division.

SOLUTION ARCHITECT

RAVI SHANKAR KUMAR CTO & SVP Engineering

Theatro Labs

Willing to rise to virtually any challenge, Kumar is known industry-wide for his passion. With 15+ years of startup experience under his belt, the cofounder of Richardson-based Theatro Labs excels in designing and developing highly scalable cloudbased solutions. His oversight at the company includes handling its solution architecture, leading key innovation projects, and managing the day-to-day development team activities, with clients that include Cabela’s, Neiman Marcus, The Container Store, and more.

POLYMER PARTNER

WATER SAVER

WALTER VOIT

DAMIR PERGE

Founder & CEO

Co-founder & CEO

Adaptive3D Technologies

FluidLytix

Voit is positioning his company, founded in 2014, as the premium supplier of photopolymer resins. By partnering with global leaders in the industry, Adaptive3D has secured partnerships with Fortune 500 companies such as Halliburton and Honeywell. In particular, the company leads in the area of damping materials, rubber like 3D printable materials, and low-cure stress photopolymers. At The University of Texas at Dallas, Voit also leads as a professor, looking for novel solutions to existing problems. There, he helms the Advanced Polymer Research Lab at UTD, leading a team that explores the fundamental thermomechanics of smart polymers. With research that spans flexible electronics, 3D printing, energy harvesting, and homeland security, the lab is making great strides in the field. Among their results include ultracomfortable earpieces (with Syzygy Memory Plastics), cortical and peripheral probes (wired and wireless), smart orthotics, and prosthetics and cochlear implants. Voit, the author of more than 100 manuscripts, also holds multiple patents.

Perge and his team at FluidLytix have one major goal: to become a unicorn in three years or less. With $1.85 million in funding, and in the midst of raising a $30 million equity and $70 million debt-financing round, FluidLytix has positioned itself in a $30 billion global market. Its patented WAVE water efficiency valve features two-in-one tech that regulates both air and pressure. The result? Thirty percent lower water bills and 3-6 percent reduced water usage for businesses. Perge, who grew up in Yugoslavia, is extremely passionate about water scarcity and pollution, and his goal at the startup is to make that as important of a concept as energy efficiency. “Water scarcity and water pollution are a greater threat to humanity in the short term than climate change,” he says. “My prediction is that if we don’t massively deploy water-efficient technologies across the world in the next decade, humanity may face what I call ‘Watergeddon.’” This year, FluidLytix is gearing up to launch an IoT water solution—just another step to helping the world become more water effective.

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FUTURE 50 INVENTION

PRODUCT MAKER

BRIAN KURSAR

CTO

Toyota Connected North America Kursar oversees all cloud, AI practice, mobility, and big data products being developed on behalf of Toyota Connected North America. He’s tasked with leading the roughly 85 percent of software engineers, designers, and data scientists in trying to define the future of mobility for the next generation and Toyota. “They, like myself, are builders,” he says. “We don’t need to rely on vendors to build out solutions that will change the game for Toyota. This is something I’m very proud of.” To that end, Kursar is an inventor who has filed more than a dozen patents

FIELD MASTER

JAMES MACLEAN Founder, President & CEO

for Toyota and had many granted. He’s passionate about using tech for social good and has designed an invention allowing Toyota to partner with hospitals and caregivers to make the world safer for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. He was also able to reduce overall spend on the cloud, and he and his team have released a number of new products. Ultimately, Kursar wants to question the status quo of mobility and “go where others have not,” he says. “To be brave, bold, inspired, and to deliver memorable customer mobility experiences.”

ROCKSTAR INVENTOR

MADHUKAR TRIVEDI, M.D.

BRAD STAMPS

Founding Director

Engineer

Center for Depression Research and Clinical UT Southwestern Medical Center

Bell Helicopter

Trivedi made news last year for his study that found that seeing a psychiatrist may not be the most practical solution to diagnosing and treating depression. His research involved 25,000 patients and concluded that primary care doctors can successfully treat the condition. “It’s difficult to do proper screening for depression in a busy clinical practice,” he says. “This study shows that primary care physicians can do this, and do it well, with the right tools.” An internationally recognized translational researcher, Trivedi focuses on developing and validating biosignatures of depression and he also conducts research on pharmacological, psychosocial, and nonpharmacological treatments for the condition.

MacLean formed his company in 2007 with one mission: to address the challenges associated with managing field equipment and field operations in the oil and gas industry. Chaos and inefficiency was the norm for many within the field, and that was what MacLean experienced early on in his career as a field engineer at Schlumberger. Plano-based Geoforce, which recently took on a majority investment with private equity firm LLR Partners, has clearly reaped the rewards of MacLean’s assettracking patent. Following the investment, MacLean says Geoforce is now primed to grow into new markets and continue enhancing its innovative solutions for field asset tracking.

Geoforce

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MOOD LIFTER

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It took Stamps 15 years to land his first patent. He found his next a year later. “And now, every month, I hit one,” he says. The Bell Helicopter exec, who has been an engineer there for 41-plus years, is a rockstar—not an opinion, but a fact within the company and industry-wide. His focus is on tiltrotor hub design and vibrationreduction systems, and the innovation team he’s on is involved in electric vertical lift aircrafts. But it wasn’t always that way. “I’m an oddball,” he says. Stamps has half an engineering degree; he had to switch to business in college due to a chronic eye problem. While working his first job in accounting at Bell, he solved a $10 million problem for a rotor design engineer on a napkin during lunch. A few days later, Stamps was moved. “That napkin changed my life,” he says. “That was 38 years ago and it changed my path back to engineering.” Now he oversees research projects—predesign on new products, mostly— and has been issued 166 patents, “the most at Bell and Textron by a wide margin,” he says. He finds new concepts that in the future will be valuable to Bell and patents them. Currently, he’s at work on his 204th patent application.


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PREMIER EDUCATOR

President

Paul Quinn College

EARLY ED EXPERT

MICHAEL SORRELL AS THE LONGEST-SERVING PRESIDENT

in the school’s 147-year history, Sorrell has led Paul Quinn, located in southern Dallas, to great heights over the last 12 years. Through PQC’s Urban Work Model program, students get access to jobs, housing, and college loan assistance. Sorrell said PQC is an institution that breeds on innovation and is always pushing itself to improve. During this special time in the American educational ecosystem, where people are open to new ideas, he says pedigree is less important than quality. “That is why Paul Quinn College has been able to grab the country’s attention—the quality of our ideas is second to none (and they actually work),” he says. A recent partnership with JPMorgan Chase will bring more than 20 students into the bank’s fold; while a solar grid project with GridMarket, EarthX, and Environ Partners is set to make renewable energy a reality at the college. Next up is implementing a challenge-based curriculum, remaking adult education with PQCx, scaling with the addition of new members to its Urban Work College Network, and partnering with the Joppa neighborhood on air quality and children’s health. “The best part for us is that we are just warming up,” he says. “We have not taken our best stuff off of the shelf yet.”

EMILY RODEN Founder

ReadyRosie Classroom educator and educational consultant Roden looked but couldn’t find quick, easy activities that she could use to support the development of her children, Rosie and Frank. Her empty quest led her to birth her own project in 2012: ReadyRosie, a developer of early childhood curriculum and observational assessment used in early education programs across Texas and the nation. With a platform that allows educators to securely communicate with families and share content based on the latest research in child development, it provides more than 1,000 “Modeled Moment” videos that can be sent via email, text, and mobile apps in English and Spanish, as well as a dashboard of data to help educators make informed instructional decisions. And ReadyRosie meets families wherever they are. Roden’s aim, she says, is to ensure that “every interaction a young child has, whether it’s with a caregiver, teacher, or family member, is supportive of their development.”

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HUMANITIES PRO

ANNE BALSAMO Dean of ATEC

GIRL POWER PROMOTER

The University of Texas at Dallas In her role as the inaugural dean of ATEC since 2016, Basalmo brings a wealth of knowledge—and her students and colleagues are all the better for it. The scholar and entrepreneur has been a leader in the growth of digital humanities, having served on the advisory board of the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory since its founding in 2003. With a focus on researching the cultural implications of emergent technologies, she has been a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and the co-founder of Onomy Labs Inc., a technology design and fabrication company in Silicon Valley.

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LEARNING LEADER

STEM-ULATOR

OSSA FISHER

BRANDEN WILLIAMS

President & COO

Founder & Executive Director

Istation

Seeds to STEM

In her role at Istation, Fisher is leading the charge for nextgeneration education. Since 1998, the company has developed animated, gameoriented tools that help educators assess learning issues. So far, Istation has helped 5 million students in eight global markets. Fisher calls Istation her calling that she’s been on a journey to get to for many years. Finally, she says, she’s landed in a place that suits both her passion and skill set.

Nonprofit Seeds to STEM (STS) works to evaluate, educate, and develop students in STEM-related fields. Williams’ organization— with the mission Educate to Innovate— serves more than 300 students annually through partnerships with companies such as Santander and entities like the South Dallas Cultural Center. It also ‘STEMulates’ students’ minds through activities like computer programming and scientific field trips. With its fresh take on STEM immersion, STS is working to close the gap in lowincome neighborhoods throughout Dallas.

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CEO

Lyda Hill Philanthropies & LH Capital

NICOLE SMALL SMALL IS DEDICATED TO THE ADVANCEMENT

of her organizations’ vision: to fund game-changing initiatives in science and nature, empower nonprofits, and improve the community. In her role since 2014, she is doing just that—and on an upward trajectory, too. Small most recently launched IF/THEN, which empowers women in STEM to inspire the next generation of female pioneers. “We want to change the narratives behind female STEM innovators,” she says. IF/THEN has a three-part mission: funding and elevating women in STEM as role models; convening cross-sector partners (like Girl Scouts, U.S. Soccer, and “Project Runway”) in entertainment, fashion, sports, business, and academia to illuminate the importance of STEM; and inspiring girls with more accurate portrayals in media to pique their interest in STEM careers. That included executive producing and launching TV and YouTube shows, convening 125 IF/THEN ambassadors for a summit in Dallas, and collecting thousands of pieces of digital content. And soon-to-come in 2020 is what Small calls “a really exciting project with The Olympics.”


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TEACHER’S LINK

BINU THAYAMKERY Co-founder & CTO

Nepris With a history in building high-performing software development teams, Thayamkery is passionate about his company. Nepris, a firstof-its-kind cloud-based platform, gives teachers the ability to find, match, and invite industry professionals to virtually connect and link learning objectives to careers in STEM. At the same time, companies and their employees are able to meet their education outreach goals.

EDUCATION CONNECTOR

ANN BEHELER Executive Director of Emerging Technology Grants

Collin College In her role at Collin College, IT veteran Beheler has trained her keen eye on the collegiate set. While overseeing the National Convergency Technology Center, a fiveyear, $4-million National Science Foundation grant, she brings both an academic and corporate sensibility (Rockwell, Raytheon, and Novell) to work each day, solving a streamlined equation that connects business and education.

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CONSCIOUS CATERER

JIN-YA HUANG Founder

Break Bread, Break Borders “The mission of Break Bread, Break Borders is to raise social awareness over meals eaten together, to create safe spaces that offer a full stomach, and help create an open mind,” Huang, an artist, says. A work of social justice enterprise, the catering company with a cause aims to economically empower refugee women by providing training, certification, and professional mentorship to women from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and the Congo.

GENIUS BACKER

BENJAMIN VANN Founder & CEO

Impact Ventures A venture strategist, social innovator, and entrepreneur, Vann believes it’s important to “invest in all shades of genius.” With his nonprofit, Impact Ventures, he’s creating inclusive ecosystems by closing the income and wealth gap for minorities and women via career pathways. Up next: a 12week accelerator assisting underrepresented communities looking to break into tech.

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EARTH ADVOCATE

Founder

EarthX

TRAMMELL S. CROW JR. DALLAS HAS SELDOM BEEN CONSIDERED AT THE

forefront for climate action, but Crow is challenging that notion. He’s also broken down political barriers that have long been associated with environmental change. Now in its 10th year, Crow’s EarthX stands at the cusp of significant influence, having launched a global movement from Dallas-Fort Worth. The organization, formerly known as Earth Day Texas, is the state’s largest annual exposition and forum showcasing initiatives, research, innovations, policies, and corporate practices serving the environment. Today, EarthX aims to make a difference 365 days a year, culminating in a four-pronged environmental experience that consists of a film festival, conference, expo, and education. Crow’s own action extends to serving on the board of directors for ConservAmerica and as co-founder of Texas Business for Clean Air and Texans for Clean Water, and a long-term supporter of the Texas Conservation Alliance, the Nature Conservancy of Texas, Log Cabin Republicans, Texans for Public Lands, Energy Defense Fund, Paul Quinn College, and the League of Conservation Voters.

HIPSTER HELPER

MICHAEL THOMAS Executive Director

My Possibilities

VETERAN SUPPORTER

GENDER EQUALIZER

VR SMALL

NICOLE CONNOLLY

Founder & Executive Director

Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center Small is an advocate for veteran women, whether that be through her Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center, where she helps scale their businesses, or by serving on committees such as the Veteran Business Subcommittee for the City of Dallas’ Office of Business Diversity. After serving six years in the Navy, Small moved to New York, but she eventually came back to Dallas. Here, she decided to create a center for veteran women. It offers mentorship programs, hosts events, and is helping a cohort get veteran-owned businesses certified as such. So far, almost 1,000 women have participated in the center’s programs since its 2015 founding. This year, she says there’s an opportunity to “actually be the decision maker helping women veteran entreprenuers access financial capital to grow their business.”

For nearly 10 years, Thomas has led My Possibilities, a nonprofit in Collin County founded in 2008 to champion continuing education for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. “We courageously and relentlessly pursue the full, untapped possibilities of our Hugely Important People (HIPsters), making every day count,” Thomas says. He oversees operations—everything from program design to resource development to growth strategy. In April, My Possibilities received a $200,000 grant from an initiative of Green Mountain Energy, to add solar energy to power its facility. The funds will pay for hydroponic sheds that provide a low-energy, low-water environment to grow fresh produce year-round. “With many plans for the future, we will continue to meet the ambitious needs of our HIPsters and expand the opportunities we provide,” he says. “Solar is an investment that will pay us back for decades to come—not to mention making our environment cleaner, safer, and providing a learning tool for our HIPsters.”

Head of ESG Investing & Portfolio Manager

Fidelity Investments Research conducted by Fidelity found that companies with above-average female representation in senior management outperformed the market. So the corporation decided to invest in companies that prioritze women’s leadership and development. In 2019, Connolly and a team created and launched the Fidelity Women’s Leadership Fund: a first-of-its-kind mutual fund that’s part of Fidelity’s larger aim to deliver returns with a purpose. Most of the time, she says, genderlens investing options are passively managed, meaning they identify women on the exec team and board. Fidelity takes it one step further, she says, conducting rigorous analyses to ensure a company truly promotes diversity and inclusion, while helping women and all underrepresented populations thrive. “If the S&P looked like the Fidelity Women’s Leadership Fund, we’d have 150 more female CEOs, 100 more female CFOS, twice the number of boards with 30 percent female representation, and more initiatives to pave the way for the next generation of women,” she says. “Every day we focus on this work we are changing the world bit by bit for the better.”

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MULTIFACETED MARKETER

LEAH FRAZIER Owner

Think Three Media You can put multiple phrases in front of the word “maven,” and they’ll all describe Frazier. A practicing attorney turned multifaceted entrepreneur, Frazier is well-known throughout the region for her laundry list of talents. She’s the owner of creative marketing agency Think Three Media, a celebrity stylist (with two Emmys under her designer belt), author, fashion journalist, and model. But her role goes beyond PR—she primarily spends her time helping businesses (more than 400 and counting) find the best ways to shine. When she’s not building genuine connections within the startup, fashion, and creative communities, Frazier is providing others with the resources to attain success. “We help people every day get on the pathway to living the lives of their dreams,” she says. On the cusp of growing by 80 percent, Think Three Media is stepping out of a hyperlocal capacity this year to grow a national presence.

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ARCHITECTURE WONDER

GAMING GURU

SCOTT RUCH

MARK STANLEY

CEO

President & CBO

Corgan

Playful Studios

If Ruch has his way, mammoth data centers will go the way of the wooly mammoth. The Corgan chief has aligned his company’s R&D practice, Hugo, with Plano-based technology solutions and equipment provider TMGcore, aiming to reimagine data hubs and reduce their vast footprints. “At the forefront of these explorations, we’ve had the opportunity to work on projects that redefine traditional typologies, including TMGcore’s data center and Uber Air skyports, which initially introduced TMGcore to our practice,” he says.

McKinney game developer Playful Studios, the maker of the Lucky’s Tales series, is disrupting the game industry with family-friendly, fun, and engaging games. Led by Stanley and founder Paul Bettner, Playful took a nontraditional approach this year for funding, inviting trusted folks to the studio to learn more about its mission. It garnered $23 million. Playful has been serious about retaining the long-term value of its intellectual property by keeping ownership across each partnership it enters into.

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HOME GOODS IMPORTER

Co-founder

The Citizenry

RACHEL BENTLEY THE CITIZENRY SITS AT THE INTERSECTION OF

wanderlust and social impact. Co-founded by Bentley with her college BFF, Carly Nance, the startup was inspired by the duo’s love for beautifully crafted home goods found on their travels. So they set out to transform the home goods industry themselves. Together, they travel to countries across the globe and partner with artisans—providing high-quality, handmade goods at reasonable prices on The Citizenry’s e-commerce site, while boosting the creative entrepreneurs behind the niche products. The highly exclusive collection of goods combines the duo’s modern style with ancient techniques from places like Japan, Portugal, and Indonesia. Ten percent of all proceeds is invested directly back into worldwide communities through Entrepreneur Development Grants, which support fair wages, safe working environments, and the makers themselves. Social good is in Bentley’s DNA: she spent years in strategy consulting and worked with a number of companies on consumer products before deciding to combine that with positive change.


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TECH ARTIST

JOSHUA KING Co-founder

Aurora Every other year, King’s free outdoor Aurora transforms the Arts District. The tech-centric art exhibit has grown from 1,500 people showing up in 2010 to 46,000 in 2018. Aurora has since expanded its annual programming to include educational programs, special events, and popup installations. “Where it was an event, it’s now an organization, and that organization is all about expanding the future of our technology,” King says. Currently, Aurora is exclusive to Dallas, but King would consider expanding in the future.

IDEA ARTIST

SUZY BATIZ Founder & CEO

Poo-Pourri There’s nobody quite like Batiz. One of the richest self-made women in the United States, she built an empire based on the toilet. She revolutionized the industry with one idea: a spray that blocks poop odors. This year, Batiz’s creative streak took her to Klyde Warren Park, where she made inflatable poop cool. Up next: new ways to block odors before they begin.


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MENSWEAR MOGUL

Founder & CEO

Don Morphy

DANIEL MOFOR NOT MANY P EO PL E MAK E T H E SU CC ESS F U L

transition from computer engineer to custom clothier, but Mofor is not just any designer. The Cameroon native is the visionary behind Don Morphy, a menswear label (though he also styles women) behind made-to-measure tuxedos and custom suits. After quitting his job at Walmart’s headquarters to move to Dallas, he founded the company in 2014, offering a knack for innovation and individuality that led to early success. Last year, Mofor was awarded one of fashion’s most prestigious honors as a Rising Star winner for menswear by Menswear Fashion Group International—the first time a Dallas designer has received the honor in the category. Luminaries from Emmitt Smith to T.D. Jakes, former Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler to NBA big man Dwight Howard, and even P. Diddy have taken notice, sporting his designs with flair. In 2019, he signed a collaborative initiative with Kathy Ireland Worldwide for custom suits developed with the Kathy Ireland Weddings and Resorts brand. As for how to describe his bold style, which is on full display at his Design District showroom, he says: “Formalwear that’s more stylish and colorful, with a lot of patterns and prints. A lot of men are usually scared of that.”

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INVESTMENT M O N E Y F L O W S A B I T D I F F E R E N T LY I N DA L L A S . P L U S , B I G F U N D I N G D E A L S A N D E X I T S I N 2 0 1 9 .

ON LOCATION: The trio of YouTubers vowed to never have a physical office space ever again. Rather, they bounce between coworking lounges, coffee shops, barbecue restaurants, and sometimes even film in their cars.

P H OTO : M I C H A E L S A M P L E S

DUMB MONEY STARTED WHEN THREE FRIENDS QUIT THEIR DAY JOBS.

Years of experience starting and exiting companies (like Dallas’ OrderMyGear) made Chris Camillo, Dave Hanson, and Jordan Mclain seasoned in the industry, but together they made a conscious decision to invest full time. The trio wasn’t part of a venture fund, family office, or a real office at all, but they soon became one of the most active early-stage group of investors in Texas. But, people wouldn’t stop asking them what they do all day. So they decided to start filming it. Originally, the Dumb Money YouTube channel was a fun way for investors outside the state to get insight into whom they were meeting with. Now, it’s also a sort of extended masterclass on investing—the guys are totally transparent, no matter if money is lost. There’s nothing they won’t invest in; if there’s a way to make money off of it, they’ll explore it. They don’t pool their money, and sometimes they don’t all go in (Camillo and Mclain recently invested in a cauliflower pizza crust company, but Hanson didn’t like the taste). They say the industry makes fun of the slang “dumb money.” But the irony is that they’re not conventionally trained and have had tremendous success doing what they do. Their biggest episode in 2019 was when Dallas’ Fixd Repair got acquired. It showed that investing is more than just money—they become invested in the founders, too. About a year, 40K subscribers, and 50 startups later, now they call themselves YouTubers. Oh, and they’d love it if you hit that subscribe button. —Alex Edwards D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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INVESTMENT

UNICORNS CAN HAPPEN HERE.

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Dallas-Fort Worth is a seedbed for billion-dollar players to emerge in diverse fields from financial technology to medical diagnostics. by J E F F B O U N D S A N D Q U I N CY P R E STO N

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A new wave of unicorns is coming. If history is any guide, this is where things get interesting for Dallas-Fort Worth. Many of the best early commercial uses of the internet, such as Facebook, WordPress, and YouTube, emerged in the last decade after the technology bubble burst in the ’90s. With investment capital scarce, entrepreneurs had to grow businesses on a shoestring. Startups improve their chances of success when veterans of an industry build a better mousetrap to solve a nagging problem in that field, research has found. That’s been the formula for North Texas companies such as SoftLayer (web hosting and managed services), TransFirst (payments technology for merchants), and most recently, biotech Peloton Therapeutics, which was bought by Merck & Co. for $2.2 billion. As a few well-known early unicorns—private companies valued at $1 billion-plus—have returned to earth in terms of valuations nationwide, the range of industries in Dallas-Fort Worth makes us a seeding ground for the next version of the mythical beast—one that will grow in value by fixing problems instead of speculative investing. The pages that follow give a high-level look at the markets that 20-plus experts expect to produce the next generation of great Dallas-Fort Worth companies. They span high-profile fields like financial technology and surprising areas like video games and medical diagnostics. “Hypergrowth has to be based in revenue and traction,” says Dave Copps, CEO of Dallas’ Worlds.io, an artificial intelligence firm, who is on his fourth startup with three successful exits. “If there’s a Texas or Dallas difference as opposed to Silicon Valley, investors tell me the business value we create has a firm base in reality. We are not applying unreasonable multiples to the growth and revenue we generate. In Texas, growth precedes value—not the other way around,” Copps says. Investors value the deep industry experience available in these parts because it can add expertise, connections, and, particularly in high-uncertainty fields like technology, better forecasting. An analysis of 101 startup postmortems found the top reason for failure was “no market need.” That’s something investors such as David Sym-Smith, venture partner at Addison-based Mobility Ventures, have high on their lists. “Show me you are an expert in the field and that you have a clear plan in place,” he says.

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INVESTMENT

sented in one location that it’s far easier for those different groups to get together, collaborate, and build the necessary partnerships.” Opportunities here in early-stage investing are increasingly attracting attention from out-of-town firms that participate in first-round deals, according to Vik Thapar, partner at Cypress Growth Capital. The Dallas firm provides growth capital in exchange for a fixed percentage of a company’s revenue. “I see more businesses moving to DFW and more investors making Dallas a market they are betting on,” he says. “Companies approaching unicorn status can be in Dallas.”

“ COMPANIES APPROACHING UNICORN STATUS CAN BE IN DALLAS.” —V I K T H A PA R , CY P R E S S G R OW T H C A P I TA L

And local startups that have identified a clear market need, like ParkHub, are working to draw investors’ attention to the region. The Dallas parking-tech company attracted 100-plus executives and capital providers from across the country to a September conference here surrounding a $5 million venture-debt financing it landed from Bridge Bank. “We hoped the event would reflect our gratitude for the investors and partners that have supported us throughout our journey as a company and our appreciation for the continually evolving landscape,” ParkHub founder George Baker says. Even better, the diversity of the DFW economy provides opportunities in markets that require leading companies in multiple industries to work together, such as the Internet of Things or IoT. “Cities that historically dominated only one or two industries are going to be left out of the larger plays,” says Paul Nichols, executive director of the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at The University of Texas at Dallas. “Dallas-Fort Worth is fortunate in that we have so many industries repre-

UNICORNS ARE REAL

Emerging players are already trying to disrupt industries by piggybacking on DFW’s strengths. In financial technology, or fintech, Plano’s Alkami Technology, which helps provide online banking services, is taking advantage of the area’s talent base in both technology and financial services. Some area investors are kicking tires in that industry. “Next year, we will continue to focus on the financial vertical (fintech), including payments and financial services,” says Aaron Pierce, managing partner at Dallas-based JF2 Capital, which invests for a wealthy family. The firm will also evaluate other markets, he adds. “One trend I am keeping an eye on is disruption within private markets in terms of investing,” he says. “I’m interested in how technology and broader access will disrupt a largely opaque market of investing.” Duncan MacFarlane, who runs the Hart Institute for Engineering Leadership at SMU, points to Catalyze Dallas, which helps defense contractors and other industrial companies find new ways to make money

PLAYING GAMES: “Overwatch the (video) game has sold more than 300,000 copies in DFW alone. That’s more than double the number of high school football players in the entire state of Texas.” —Randy Chappel, managing director, Hersh Family Investments

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from their inventions and other creations. “There’s a great opportunity to spawn a tremendous number of companies in hardware and aerospace,” he says. The cluster of semiconductor-related companies around Dallas’ Texas Instruments provides opportunities in photonics—or using light to create energy or detect or move information—and lasers, he added. “In Richardson, IntelliEPI for 20-plus years has been supplying high-end semiconductor material,” MacFarlane says. “Year after year, they have interesting, quiet growth.” To address the challenge of tech talent, the region might offer courses on easy-to-use design packages that have emerged for engineering and software, he says. “If we could give a short amount of training to folks working in coffee shops, that might help them move from $30,000 jobs to $80,000 jobs.”

INDUSTRY HOTSPOTS

Entrepreneurs will use AI to attack problems in everything from healthcare and energy costs to diseases, Copps says. “In the next 10 years, we’re going to see 100 years of progress,” he says. “It’s going to be 10 times the acceleration of anything we’ve seen before.” The region’s technology base has helped make Dallas the No. 2 hotspot nationally, behind Los Angeles, for esports, or competitive multiplayer video games, according to Randy Chappel, who directed investments in the industry by the family of Ken Hersh, founder of Irving-based NGP Energy Capital Management. Esports events draw large crowds of millennial and Generation Z fans, Chappel says. “It’s a really impossible demographic for a lot of advertisers and sponsors. They really don’t watch a lot of TV.” Another under-the-radar opportunity for DFW is its growing base of cybersecurity professionals who arrived as part of their big-company employers moving their network operations here. Aside from importing potential entrepreneurs, it means area startups in the field have local decision makers at Fortune 500 companies to evaluate their creations, according to Ram Dantu, director of the Center for Information and Cyber Security at the University of North Texas. “I’ve recently heard there are a lot of venture capitalists in Dallas who want to fund small companies in the space,” he says. Count Mobility Ventures as one firm that sees opportunity in the field. “As long as we have hackers, we will have cybersecurity as an emerging technology, because it will constantly evolve to defend against them,” Sym-Smith says.

WHERE THE HOCKEY PUCK IS GOING

Investors have already found growing cybersecurity companies like Dallas’ StackPath, which CrunchBase reports raised a total of $180 million, and Richardson’s Armor Defense ($149.1 million).

Engines, fintech, video games— DFW has a lot of growth markets Well-known or under the radar, these are technologies and companies that could become household names in our region. The Dallas-Fort Worth economy has a number of emerging industries that eventually may become synonymous with the region, according to experts. “We have an opportunity to be the electrification capital of the world,” said Brad Hunstable, CEO and founder of Fort Worth’s Linear Labs, at September’s Venture Dallas conference. “We have the pieces if we brand it properly to stake it, name it, (and) claim it as a region.” Having sold his San Francisco-based video streaming technology to IBM in 2016 for up to $130 million, the West Point-trained engineer funded research by his dad, Fred, that produced an electric turbine that the younger Hunstable says gives electric vehicles 10 percent more range than regular magnet motors. Beyond his own business, Hunstable cited the large local presences of big players in mobility, such as Toyota, which since 1997 has sold the hybrid Prius. AllianceTexas, a 26,0000-acre development near Fort Worth, recently announced it will be testing grounds for technology-piloted vehicles, ranging from autonomous cars and trucks to drones as a “mobility innovation zone.” Hillwood, the real estate firm that spearheaded AllianceTexas, is working with technology giant Uber to build infrastructure for local skyports for landings

and takeoffs of Uber’s Elevate budding air-taxi service. “Our goal is to be able to, in the course of the next several months— not years, months—start some testing publicly as a way of showing (less noise) and safety and reliability,” said Wyatt Smith, head of Elevate’s business development, in a Venture Dallas panel. The Federal Aviation Administration is changing how it does business to work effectively with new tech, according to Scott Drennan, vice president of innovation at Fort Worth aircraft maker Bell. “The FAA is transforming in a way that many companies that you deal with are transforming,” he told the event’s 300plus attendees. “They’re really using innovation as a new lever to move forward with these technologies.” Technology changing finance, pro sports Another emerging area of expertise in North Texas is fintech. Competing against giants like Fiserv, Plano’s Alkami has grown to more than 400 employees since its 2009 founding by supplying technology that large U.S. banks and credit unions use to serve their customers digitally “Ultimately, everyone will go to electronic delivery” of financial services, said Stephen Bohanon, a co-founder who oversees its product direction, strategy and sales efforts.

Attendees also learned about lessknown opportunities, such as investments by the family of private equity titan Ken Hersh in esports, or multiplayer video games. Hersh made his fortune launching Irving’s NGP Energy Capital Management, but he has stakes in Envy Gaming and the Dallas Fuel of Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League. The Fuel in April sold out its 4,500-seat inaugural home games at the Allen Event Center. “It is so loud in that arena,” said Randy Chappel, who directed investments by the Hersh clan. Another less-heralded growth area is medical device companies such as Addison’s MyndVR, which uses virtual reality therapy to allows the elderly to experience anything from nature to live music or art via a headset. Thirty five operators of senior living communities have used MyndVR’s apps in 25+ states, according to cofounder and CEO Chris Brickler. In 2018, MyndVR unveiled a research coalition with six organizations, including UT Dallas, to study how VR impacts the aging mind. “We are making no medical claims at this time,” Brickler said. “Early research suggests a very bright future for this next-gen wellness modality.”

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Emmitt Smith of E Smith Legacy Holdings with the Venture Dallas host committee.

Venture Dallas: Big-Name Speakers Talk Tech, Funding, and Growth Venture Dallas’ inaugural event in September highlighted where opportunities are, who is going after them, and how the area can work together to give moonshots better chances of landing.

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Valley Bank, and two Dallas Regional Chamber leaders, Duane Dankesreiter and Natalie Pazera, the event drew both luminaries (Bill Nye the Science Guy, Emmitt Smith) and upstarts with startups— all aiming to connect and collaborate on projects and ideas. Labeled the “investment version of speed dating,” the event offered one-on-one meetings with companies and investors who flew in from all over the nation to connect. Attendees could choose from 10 speaking engagements and panels, as well as four networking breaks. Speakers ranged from tech execs to educators to entrepreneurs. “Venture Dallas is everything from Dallas icons getting up and sharing their accomplishments to why we, as a general public, should be excited and enthusiastic about what’s happening here in Dallas from an early-stage perspective,”

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Aaron Pierce, managing director at JF2 Capital and a member of the host committee, said. And, already, organizers and attendees are getting pumped for 2020. “A concerted effort and event like this could be the springboard Dallas needs for the next big step as a venture town,” said Kevin Vela, managing partner at the law firm Vela Wood. “I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference.” —Anna Caplan

Above: Bryan Chambers, Capital Factory; Aaron Pierce, JF2 Capital; Vik Thapar, Cypress Growth Capital; Emmitt Smith, E Smith Legacy Holdings; Joe Beard, Perot Jain; Cindy Revol, Perot Jain; Natalie Pazera, Dallas Regional Chamber; Duane Dankesreiter, Dallas Regional Chamber; Samantha Colletti, Silicon Valley Bank: and Jonathan Crowder, Intelis Capital

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After its first-year success, Venture Dallas is set for a return in September 2020. The event, launched by nine local dealmakers, served as a connector for more than 300 entrepreneurs and investors, and further positioned North Texas as an investment catalyst. With a mission to grow the innovation ecosystem in Dallas-Fort Worth, the two-day summit capitalized on the burgeoning environment. “We had 130 registered investors for the event from 15 different states and some 37 cities,” Vik Thapar, partner with Cypress Growth Capital and a member of the host committee, said. “We were delighted to attract so many of them to Dallas for a first-time conference.” Organized by seven local investors from Capital Factory, Cypress Growth Capital, Intelis Capital, JF2 Capital, Perot Jain, and Silicon

Going forward, look for North Texas entrepreneurs to exploit the 313,735-plus unfilled cybersecurity jobs nationwide by automating labor-intensive work that people currently do. And don’t be surprised if someone uses machine learning to separate benign traffic on a network from the malicious variety. “This would be an area well suited for those technologies,” says Frederick Chang, who runs the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security at SMU. “Machine learning is good at differentiating two things.” The job of protecting information bleeds over to transportation, the industry that arguably is receiving the most creative-related effort in DFW. Real estate titan Ross Perot Jr. is turning his 26,000-acre AllianceTexas development in Fort Worth into a zone for testing anything from self-driving cars to drones. “What we’re building at Alliance are the technologies that will be the sandbox for creating the next generation of mobility,” says Anurag Jain, co-founder and managing partner of Perot Jain, a Dallas venture firm in which the developer has a stake. Mobility is one of seven trends that Jain has identified for the firm’s investments to pursue (see related story, page 7). Ironically, many transportation-related criticisms North Texas receives, such as traffic congestion and urban sprawl, could lead to more startups here tackling issues in that arena, according to Kevin Stevens, partner at Intelis Capital, a Dallas venture firm. “Clearly, something is happening with DFW with mobility,” he says. “For years, we’ve heard that Dallas needs more ‘density’ for startup growth. It could end up that our lack of density spurs an ecosystem around mobility and creates the blueprint for other metros looking to reduce traffic and carbon footprints.” While startups like the Dallas ride- sharing shop Alto ($14 million raised) could blossom into unicorns, one of the biggest growth areas in the local transport arena is as old as the hills: third-party logistics, or 3PL, meaning helping move other people’s freight from points A to B. “The transportation industry has been here for so long that everybody (in 3PL) is in niches, with strong competitors in each. So no one stands out, which I’d argue is good for DFW,” says Edmund Prater, who runs the Veterans Business Outreach Center at the University of Texas at Arlington. He cites the example of Birmingham, Alabama, which in the 1960s was vying with Atlanta for a regional airport hub the federal government was considering. “Birmingham’s economy was controlled by U.S. Steel,” Prater says. “The government did not want the competition for jobs, which would have forced a rise in labor rates. So Atlanta got the airport.” While it may sound like a cliché, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport remains a key draw to the region for innovative companies and people. Southlake is headquarters for OncoNano Medicine, a medical specialty company, in part because the airport is easy to get to. “The proximity to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is important when employees travel and investors, vendors and other visitors come to meet with the company,” says Ravi Srinivasan,


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P H OTO : R E B E C A P O S A D A S - N A VA

GOING PLACES: To draw attention to investment opportunities outside of the two coasts, George Baker’s ParkHub plans more events like the September conference it cohosted in Dallas that attracted more than 100 executives and capital providers from across the country. The event centered on a $5 million venturedebt financing the company received from Bridge Bank.

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OncoNano’s CEO and co-founder.

At least four more diagnostic companies are growing in laboratory spaces of its CUSTOM MEDICINE Though Dallas-Fort Worth may be better known for technology, Discovery Centers, Cushman defense, and logistics, wellness and life science startups are quietsays. ly popping up throughout the region—often in conjunction with One of UNTHSC’s nearby universities. internal startups, Cx In Addison, MyndVR got early help from UT Dallas associate Precision Mediprofessor Ryan McMahan and his graduate students in creating cine, is developing virtual reality therapy so the elderly can experience with a headset what would be the anything from nature to live music or art. first-ever blood test Since launching in mid-2018, the company has provided to screen for Alzheisome of its 360-plus applications to 35 operators of senior mer’s disease, acliving communities in 25-plus states, according to co-founder cording to Dr. Miand CEO Chris Brickler. chael Williams, president of the Fort Worth school. “In the near future, the promise of precision mediThe company in 2018 unveiled a research coalition with six orgacine tailoring treatments to specific patients or popnizations, including UT Dallas, to study how virtual reality impacts ulations will create abundant opportunities for new the aging mind. “We are making no medical claims at this time,” diagnostics companies,” he says. Brickler says. “Early research suggests a very bright future for this Another local startup, Nano Liquid Solutions next-generation wellness modality.” tests blood with a single drop. While that could In a similar vein, UNTHSC is looking at developing medcall up comparisons to Theranos, founder and ical devices in conjunction with fledgling companies such as CEO Ali Farzbod says the notorious startup with Fort Worth’s Neuro Rehab VR, which provides a virtual reality system that physical therapy patients can use while receiving near-miraculous claims about blood testing actualtreatment. “Almost half of all Americans will see a physical ly provided inspiration. Farzbod was designing an therapist this year, and we believe there is tremendous opefficient wastewater monitoring device as his Ph.D. portunity to improve outcomes and bring new innovations to project at the University of Texas at Arlington. During the second year of his Ph.D. program, Theranos put blood testthis growing industry,” says Cameron Cushman, director of ing on his radar as a potential application for his monitoring innovation ecosystems at the school. devices. Farzbod made the pivot. “The most important advantage is that we are integrating a cloud-based data system into our devices for the patients to centralize all the blood data in their lifetime,” he says. As the region’s multiplicity successful exit or cashing in have to have an IPO,” he says. Medical diagnostics could be a strength of industries creates a wide of their chips. “It can be a license of your for North Texas, partly because of expertise range of early-stage oppor“Sometimes people become technology to other comarketin identifying areas of need that can found in tunities, investors are also too focused on unicorns,” ing or development companies. local medical schools, hospitals, and healthbacking a broader array of says Laura Baldwin, co-chair That’s what I’ve done.” care systems, according to Stella Robertson, people. of office hours for the Dallas As values of one-time inves“There’s been an uptick in chapter of Golden Seeds, tor darlings like WeWork have co-founder of Bios Partners, a Fort Worth-based investments that fund more which invests in women entrefallen this year, shareholders venture firm that invests in biotechnology and diverse teams, which will ultipreneurs. “Companies do not in private companies have bemedical devices. mately drive better business have to be unicorns to have come more selective in what Those institutions also have the people who outcomes,” says Rachel West, great exits.” they try to take public. can create kits, procedural diagnostic products, director of business develEntrepreneurs like David But high-growth companies opment at Dallas’ RevTech Meadows prove the point. are something that investors or software-enhanced systems for checking on Ventures. Since leaving an executive will always gravitate to. These health maladies, Robertson says. “EngineerVarious studies have found role at pharmaceutical giant days, the big are getting ing and software technology is available from that groups make better deNovartis in 2012, Meadows bigger. DFW businesses and universities to help with cisions when their members has started eight companies, “IPOs these days seem to the development.” have different viewpoints, as including Colleyville’s Sentibe much more focused on it forces them all to sharpen nel Diagnostics Imaging and ‘decacorns,’ worth $10 billionSimilar intellectual horsepower could their arguments. Grapevine’s Purewine. plus, than unicorns,” says also fuel growth of developers of specialty Entrepreneurs and To date, he’s had three sucBryan Chambers of Capital drugs and other therapies for particular check-writers alike are also cessful exits, with none of his Factory, the “center of gravity” diseases, according to Robertson, who has a rethinking the definition of a startups failing. “An exit doesn’t for Texas entrepreneurs.

More Than Unicorns

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Ph.D. in biology-immunology from Johns Hopkins University. Several such companies have already been launched by former employees and board members of Alcon, the eye care products maker whose U.S. operations are based in Fort Worth (see related story, page 64). Others are coming out of research hubs, such as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, whose scientists created a digital nanosensor that OncoNano is trying to turn into a tool for distinguishing cancerous tissue and delivering drugs for fighting the disease. “Our research and manufacturing teams are entirely Texas-based,” Srinivasan says. “We have also been able to source in the DFW area experienced candidates in clinical, regulatory affairs, procurement, and finance.” Emerging interest in life science-related entrepreneurship comes in conjunction with health services becoming a more important part of the economy on the west side of Dallas-Fort Worth. In a six-county area that includes Tarrant, employment in health services grew 30 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. That was the third-fastest rate among industry clusters in that area, Fed researchers found. It also made health services as the second-largest industry cluster there, accounting for 11.3 percent of all jobs in the broader 13-county Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan statistical area.

HIGHER EDUCATION WORKS TOGETHER

Since he came to North Texas 30 years ago, SMU’s MacFarlane has seen sharp improvement at research coming from all area universities. “One of the cool things is that these institutions don’t compete. They collaborate every chance they get, uniformly in service to the DFW area,” he says. With a large number of engineering professors across the region, “you have a good support system for the brain trust,” the term academics now use for the region’s collective mind power, he says. Beyond four-year universities, the area benefits from a strong community college system for providing technical training, according to Nichols of UT Dallas. “Companies will only locate here if they have the talent.” As higher ed improves, area cities are working to become startup friendly as well. To boost research-and-development spending, Fort Worth recently became one of the first nationwide to offer an R&D tax credit. And while it may be a first step, the creation of Bios Partners provides hope that more capital may find its way to young life sciences firms. “We have to walk before we run,” says Hubert Zajicek, CEO and co-founder of Health Wildcatters, the acclaimed Dallas accelerator. “Things are looking good, and there is no reason it couldn’t be 10 times better in five years.”

What industries could produce the most investment value? NORTH TEXAS EXPERTS SHARE TIPS ON THE SECTORS TO KEEP AN EYE IN 2020 AND BEYOND.

David Sym-Smith, Mobility Ventures

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has already received a lot of buzz in recent years, but it continues to be a trend to watch because its effects on how we live, work, and play are only in the early stages. AI is also part of what we refer to broadly as automation/autonomous technology: not just vehicles (cars, trucks) but also aviation (flying taxis), robotics, and deliveries. Virtual reality (VR) immerses the user in an environment while augmented reality (AR) enhances their environment. Although VR has primarily been used for gaming thus far, it has also been used for training (medical students, simulated surgery), mental health (PTSD, anxiety disorders), pain management, and work collaboration. Pokémon Go is an example of AR. Cybersecurity might not seem like emerging technology, given that it has been around for a while, but it is evolving just as other technologies are. That’s in part because threats are constantly new. As long as we have hackers, we will have cybersecurity as an emerging technology because it will constantly evolve to defend against those hackers. Internet of things (IoT): More and more, things are being built with connectivity, meaning they can be connected to the internet—and to each other. IoT is the future and has already enabled devices, home appliances, cars, and much more to be connected to and exchange data over the Internet. And we’re only in the beginning stages.

Practical/blockchain has the potential to reshape entire industries by enabling trust, providing transparency, and enabling value exchange across business ecosystems—potentially lowering costs, reducing transaction times, and improving cash flow. Some of the biggest use cases including asset tracking, automated claims processing, internal and shared recordkeeping, as well as Smart Cities and IoT.

Aaron Pierce, JF2 Keep an eye on what’s happening in 5G, mobility, and the continued innovation taking place in artificial intelligence and machine learning. I expect great value to be driven by companies focusing on these specific verticals and continue to educate myself on the next wave of innovation taking place here.

Bryan Chambers, Capital Factory B2B startups that offer innovative AI solutions. Many companies claim to be an AI company but it’s deceptive because they leverage other businesses AI, and that doesn’t make them an AI company. It makes them a user or a customer of someone else’s AI. Companies that are actually innovating with new AI and machine learning models and methodologies stand to win big.

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2020 Outlook: Experts on DFW Funding What is the funding landscape in Dallas-Fort Worth like and what makes DFW unique? North Texas has a robust economy that is an inviting home to startups and established companies alike. Because innovation cycles are happening at an ever-quickening pace, Dallas-Fort Worth has become a region in which some business sectors—from AI to healthcare to fintech, for example— are ripe for disruption by the right company with the right product. Are worthy startups finding funding in the current environment? We asked five Dallas-Fort Worth-based investors to look at the region now and in the future. Here are their thoughts.

Aaron Pierce

Kevin Stevens

Hubert Zajicek

Vik Thapar

Bryan Chambers

Managing Director JF2

Partner Intelis Capital

Co-founder and CEO Health Wildcatters

Partner Cypress Growth Capital

VP, Accelerator & Investment Fund Capital Factory

What is unique about the Dallas region, in terms of a startup hub?

Where are you seeing opportunity?

How do you characterize the current funding landscape in Dallas-Fort Worth?

How has the funding landscape changed over the last five years?

What markets are most ripe for disruption?

There is so much Dallas has to offer to companies, their founders, their teams, and all of the stakeholders involved in startup companies. A better question I ask founders is Why not Dallas? If you’re looking for a beach or mountains, Dallas may not be for you. But if you’re looking for a place to launch, grow, and scale your business and raise your family, or if you’re looking for talented folks, in an affordable, business-friendly climate with a supportive ecosystem, why wouldn’t you start that business in Dallas?

Data analytics. This year, we invested in two companies that are using existing data sources to drive insights that were never possible before. In past decades, our energy grid was a topdown structure: build power plants, build poles and wires for consumers use and pay. Now, we’re starting to see the development of an “internet of energy,” where electric vehicles, batteries, smart thermostats, solar panels, and more all connect to the grid and could theoretically communicate. These new endpoints present a tremendous opportunity for a data layer to emerge and interactive software to be built on top of it. There’s also a cybersecurity component to this development.

Robust—even though I know every startup that’s having a hard time raising will disagree. There continue to be a lot of deals to invest in out there, so competition is harsh. But plenty of startups are finding funders, even early-stage ones.

How has that changed over the last 5 years? Angels have continued to show an interest in healthcare, but angel groups are harder to enthuse about these investments. There are a few angel groups interested exclusively in healthcare, and they apply a lot of scrutiny. Generally, it seems to have become more normal to make early-stage investments.

Five years ago, DFW from a tech standpoint was a growth equity and private equity market. Now you are seeing series A investors coming to town and doing deals. You are seeing out-of-town investors making DFW a geographic focus.

Looking to 2020, what’s your outlook for funding in the region? I do not see things slowing down, I see more companies moving to DFW and more investors making Dallas a market they are betting on.

All of the big ones. Innovation cycles are happening faster and faster, which means the markets that seem like they have been disrupted will continue to be disrupted. The obvious ones for the DFW region include healthcare, mobility and transportation, gaming and new media, financial technology, energy, cloud, and data infrastructure.

What is unique about DFW in terms of a startup hub? Relative to other major markets in Texas, there is one unique factor in my opinion: a startup would choose Dallas over the other Texas markets because there are more large corporations headquartered there for startups to engage with.

What makes a pitch stand out? I M PAC T = VA LU E O F W H AT YO U ’ R E S AY I N G / N U M B E R O F WO R D S Rachel West Dallas Director SoGal Foundation

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“Entrepreneurs who can articulate their value propositions quickly and effectively while demonstrating impressive traction will always get my attention. Balance professionalism with charisma, and I’m very interested. Once I believe in the concept, I look for entrepreneurs who give away credit and value their teams—both the value their teammates bring to the table, as well as their colleagues’ well-being. Scaling a startup is a team sport, and a deep appreciation for those around you is critical to running a successful company.”

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Who Got the Money? Scores of startups and established businesses in technology and other sectors are developing products, expanding, and hiring in North Texas. All those activities require money, and funding rounds—seed, venture capital, angel, and even corporate—are helping fuel entrepreneurial ventures in Dallas-Fort Worth. Here are some notable funding reports from 2019. Reata Pharmaceuticals

Alkami Technology

BaiCells Technologies

Spectral MD

Dallas-based Kanarys—a tech platform that fosters collaboration between companies and employees on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace— closed a pre-seed funding round at $1.5 million in November.

Plano-headquartered Reata Pharmaceuticals raised $505 million in November via a sale of its shares. The raise came after a successful October for Reata in which it released phase 2 data for omaveloxolone in patients who have Friederich’s ataxia, a neurodegnerative disease that has no FDA-approved treatments. Reata also is developing bardoxolone methyl for a variety of diseases of the kidney and vascular system.

In June, Plano-based fintech company Alkami Technology, a fast-growing provider of cloud-based digital banking solutions to U.S. credit unions and banks, closed on a $55 million series E round that was led by General Atlantic alongside MissionOG. Other existing investors— S3 Ventures and Argonaut Private Equity—also participated. Mike Hansen, CEO and Alkami director, said the continued funding has allowed Alkami to invest in innovation, people, and best-in-class service.

Plano-based small cell tech firm BaiCells Technologies received $85 million in series C funding in November from two Chinese investors, bringing the startup’s total funding to $99.5 million. Earlier this year, a reported $14.6 million investment from Qualcomm Ventures was used to further the development of 5G technologies. Baicells Technologies, a provider of disruptive global LTE/5G solutions, moved its headquarters to Plano in 2018.

Dallas-based biotech Spectral MD received $27 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in July for an expanded proof-ofconcept clinical trial for its AI-driven Deepview system for wound and burn care.

OncoNano Medicine

Critical Start

Traxo

Stryve Biltong

Vinli

Southlake biotech startup OncoNano Medicine raised $23.7 million in the second portion of series A funding, bringing its total series A round to $35.4 million. The funding round was arranged by Salem Partners and backs its cancer-imaging clinical trials and supports expansion of its tech into candidates for therapeutic applications. OncoNano is a spin-out from UT Southwestern with technology invented by Jinming Gao, professor of pharmacology and otolaryngology, and Baran D. Sumer, associate professor of otolaryngology.

The investment came after a period of rapid growth, with its managed detection and response services having grown 300% over the past 12 months. Critical Start recently announced strategic partnerships with Microsoft, Alphabet’s Chronicle Backstory, and Palo Alto Networks Cortex.

Dallas-based travel tech startup Traxo received an equity investment of $10 million in November from Virginia-based Airlines Reporting Corp. in a deal that came about a month after their partnership to enable direct booking data from ARC member airlines to go to providers via Traxo. The startup specializes in aggregating data and tracking passenger loyalty and behaviors. In July, Traxo raised the final $1.85 million of an earlier $5.2 million series B offering.

Plano-based Stryve Biltong received $16.5 million in a series B round that it said will be used for education, awareness, consumer trials, investment in talent, and operations. “We have an aligned strategy for growth and are rapidly moving to put all the pieces in place to achieve it,” co-founder and Chairman Ted Casey said in Meat + Poultry. Stryve Biltong produces meat snacks that include chicken and turkey bites, beef and turkey sticks, and biltong—a dried, cured meat.

Vinli, a Dallas-based mobility startup with a data-intelligence platform built for connected vehicles, closed a $13.5 million series B funding round in February. Participants in the capital raise included both new and existing Vinli investors, such as global electric utility provider E.ON, The Westly Group, Hersh Family Investments, and Hal Brierley. The series B was oversubscribed but was around the amount the company sought.

Mandy Price

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Rob Davis

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Spectral MD’s Deepview

P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F S P E C T R A L M D

Kanarys


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2019 Exits From entrepreneurs exiting startup ventures to major companies being bought and sold, the mergers and acquisitions activity in North Texas was bustling throughout last year. While the tech sector recorded many transactions, other sectors such as healthcare, marketing, and real estate also were active. Here is a look at notable deals from 2019.

Eyevance Pharmaceuticals

Playful Studios

Fort Worth-based Eyevance Pharmaceuticals raised $30 million in an equity funding round announced in October. The funding announcement came after Eyevance said it had acquired TOBRADEX ST and NATACYN from the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis. The acquisition was part of Eyevance’s growth strategy and shows its commitment to developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic products, according to a statement.

McKinney’s Playful Studios, maker of the Lucky’s Tale game series, announced it raised $23 million in September from a range of individual investors, which is a follow-up on a $25 million capital infusion in 2015. The cash is expected to take the gaming company beyond its recent virtual reality game focus to traditional platforms and also expand to make “games enabled for the spectator era,” VentureBeat reports.

Theatro, the Richardson-based developer of the world’s first voice-controlled mobile platform to connect hourly workers to enterprise resources, secured a $20 million series C investment from Sageview Capital, a growth capital firm focused on investing in leading tech-enabled businesses. The new money comes on the heels of its $15 million series B-1 earlier in 2019, which included strategic investments by Cisco Investments and Honeywell Ventures.

Fixd Repair Fixd Repair, the Dallas startup disrupting the home repair and warranty sector, was bought in February by ANGI Homeservices, parent company of Angie’s List and HomeAdvisors. ThermiGen Irving-based ThermiGen was bought in March by Celling Biosciences, an Austin biotech.

Neighborhood Goods Neighborhood Goods, the Dallas-based nextgen retailer, raised $11 million in series A funding in September, led by Global Founders Capital. Other long-term investors include Forerunner Ventures, tennis star Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners, Allen Exploration, and Capital Factory. The new funding brought Neighborhood Goods’ total funding to $25.5 million across its seed and series A rounds. In early 2019, Neighborhood Goods raised $8.8 million in expanded seed funding.

KwikBoost KwikBoost, the Dallasbased maker of charging stations for campus, healthcare, hospitality, and retail sites, was acquired in March by Illinois-based Luxor. Multiview The Stagwell Group announced in April that its affiliate bought B2B digital marketer MultiView Inc. P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F F I X D R E PA I R

Theatro

YourCause In January, Plano’s YourCause, a leader in enterprise philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, and employee engagement tech, was bought by cloud firm Blackbaud.

Imaginuity Calise Partners, a Dallasbased agency said in April it bought the Dallas digital shop Imaginuity. Epsilon Alliance Data Systems Corp., a Plano-based

Fixd Repair founders Evan Myers and Brandon Bohannan

global provider of datadriven marketing and loyalty solutions, sold its Epsilon business to France-based Publicis Groupe for $4.4 billion in cash in April. Peloton Therapeutics Just weeks after Dallas-based Peloton Therapeutics filed for an IPO, pharma giant Merck & Co. bought it in May for $2.2 billion. Haggar Clothing In May, Dallas-based Haggar Clothing Co., an iconic men’s clothing brand, was bought by Randa Accessories. WatchGuard Motorola Solutions bought WatchGuard, a leader in mobile video solutions, in July. Dairy.com Frisco-based Dairy.com was bought in August by Banneker Partners, a private investment firm. VitreosHealth In September, Irving’s HMS Holdings. bought VitreosHealth, a Plano provider of predictive

and prescriptive health insights for population risk models, for $36.5 million. ReadyRosie ReadyRosie, the Dentonbased early childhood edtech company, was bought in September by Teaching Strategies. Vivify Health UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division bought Vivify Health, a Plano remote patient monitoring startup in October. Code Authority Improving, a Plano tech consulting and training firm, bought Code Authority, a Frisco software development and digital marketing firm, in November. Emergent Cold Michigan-based Lineage Logistics announced in December that it will buy Emergent Cold, a Dallas refrigerated logistics company, for a reported $900 million.

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INVESTMENT

Cannabis Capital: ‘Folks like us are the only games in town.’ Entourage Effect offers high-net-worth individuals and family offices access to the legalized cannabis industry. by DAV I D K I R K PAT R I C K Matt Hawkins

Effect is relatively simple—offer high-networth individuals and family offices access to the legalized cannabis industry through diversified private company investments. What was most interesting about the cannabis market to Hawkins was the scale of the relatively untapped financial opportunity. “[The cannabis market] is attractive because of the outsized returns that exist due to the federal illegality. There is a dearth of capital due to the lack of institutional money, so folks like us are the only games in town,” he says.

Currently Entourage Effect has no investments in North Texas, since cannabis is “only medicinally legal in very small way” said Hawkins, but when the firm looks into startups for potential investment that analysis “starts and ends” based on the quality of management teams. With the right startup team in place, secondary considerations include sector of the cannabis industry and location of the company. Location factors into Hawkins’ advice for founders looking to break into the burgeoning cannabis marketplace. He suggests developing and growing the business in one of the larger adult-use-legal states and plan to expand from that base. As for North Texas? He sees a “very large business opportunity” whenever the proper regulatory and legal framework gets put into place, explaining, “Until the state increases its medicinal program, there will be very little (if any) investment dollars flowing into the state of Texas.” Cannabis is now fully legal in 11 U.S. states —Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, and only fully prohibited in three states as well as federally. The full legalization of marijuana in Texas and across the United States is now a matter of when, not if. And when that time comes, Entourage Effect will be ready, having helped fund the rapidly growing cannabis market through its investments.

Panda Biotech, an industrial hemp fiber and cellulose company founded by Dallas entrepreneur Bob Carter, announced it’s opening one of the largest hemp decortication centers in the world in Shallowater, a town located northwest of Lubbock. The 255,000-square-foot facility, called Panda High Plains

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plant parts used in the CBD and marijuana industries. Panda’s hemp gin is based on smaller versions of decortication tech, which has long been in use across Asia and Europe and is expected to process more than 130,000 tons of Texasgrown industrial hemp annually, according to a statement. “After more than a year

of due diligence—which has included an analysis of the hemp fiber and cellulose industries in the People’s Republic of China, various European countries, and Canada—we have concluded that the processing of hemp stalk for industrial uses will be the next multibillion dollar business in the United States,” said Scott Evans, executive vice president

of Panda Biotech, in a statement. “Hemp fiber and cellulose will help manufacturers meet the needs of today’s eco-conscious consumers who increasingly require environmentally friendly products and services. As a result, hemp will be a game changer for both agriculture and industry for generations to come.” —David Kirkpatrick

P H OTO : K I M Z Y N A N N E Y / U N S P L A S H ; L O G O : PA N D A B I OT E C H

Panda Biotech is Opening an Industrial Hemp Facility in West Texas.

P H OTO : B I L LY S U R F A C E / D C E O

Texas may be behind the national trend around marijuana’s legal status, but one North Texan has staked a claim in the world of cannabis investment. Matt Hawkins left Dallas private equity firm Tuscan Capital Partners in 2014 to found and serve as managing partner of Entourage Effect, previously known as Cresco Capital Partners, after seeing a market opportunity with marijuana becoming fully legal in Colorado at the time, but still federally illegal. Because of federal legal constraints, cannabis companies couldn’t take part in commercial mortgages and other regulated financial services, and because cannabis startups were willing to pay a premium to private lenders, Hawkins not only jumped into the lending market, he also decided to begin investing directly in cannabis-oriented businesses. “I thought, ‘Why am I not investing in that guy, rather than just lending money?’” Hawkins said. “I realized that this could be one of those generational wealth moments where I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get in on the ground floor.” Entourage Effect has made almost 50 investments since its 2014 founding, all in various aspects of cannabis companies. “We invest up and down the value chain because we believe there are opportunities throughout … there isn’t a sector of the business that we haven’t seen to date,” Hawkins says. The investment strategy for Entourage


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INTER

C RO S S - P O L L I N AT I O N O F P E O P L E , C O M PA N I E S , A N D R E S O U R C E S F U E L S T H E DA L L A S - F O RT W O RT H I N N O VAT I O N E C O S Y S T E M .

R E N D E R I N G C O U R T E S Y O F AT & T

URBAN TECH CAMPUS: AT&T’s $100-million, fourblock development called the Discovery District creates a new public gathering place with restaurants, art exhibits, music performances, and sports-watching parties in downtown Dallas.

M E E T DOWNTOW N D A L L A S ’ L AT E S T H I G H -T E C H DIS T R I C T. AT&T’s downtown campus is a work in progress—in the best sense. The AT&T Discovery District is transitioning into a destination for everyone in the coming months. From a new, 30-foot spherical, mirrored sculpture called “The Globe” to a 100-foot-tall 6K media wall, interactive technology will take center stage. Then there’s the 5G technology on hand, which will offer ultra-fast wireless speeds—even if your device is not 5G ready. On the entertainment spectrum, food and drink will be plentiful. Hawthorn, a food hall and beer garden, is aiming to quench any appetite, while watch parties and musical performances are slated to draw a variety of patrons. Add art exhibits and a world-class fitness center (Cowboys Fit) to the mix, and AT&T is looking to be very connected to its audience—and beyond. —Anna Caplan D A L L A S I N N O V AT E S . C O M

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INTERCONNECTIVITY

LIFE SCIENCE LEGACY

THE (ALCON) FAMILY TREE

Alcon spawned a startup ecosystem that is spreading into all parts of how drugs, medical devices, and more are created.

I L L U S T R AT I O N : L I S B L U / I S TO C K P H OTO

by J E F F B O U N D S

Wearing multiple hats in a startup isn’t easy, especially in the high-risk world of biotechnology. But Elyse Stoltz Dickerson got a soup-to-nuts education on launching products to dissolve earwax from an unlikely source: Alcon, the eye care products manufacturer with U.S. headquarters that employs around 4,500 in Fort Worth and has revenue upwards of $7 billion a year. Dickerson, who runs Eosera, the Cowtown company she co-founded in 2015, directed a $1.7 billion product group at Alcon, where she oversaw brands for things such as dry eyes and ocular nutrition. She worked on everything from finance to manufacturing, something she says helped her understand how the entire company functioned. “Because of my experience, I knew how to ask the right questions and what was expected out of those business functions,” she says. Eosera is one of at least nine area companies that people with Alcon ties have started or in which people hold leadership positions. In 2017, another business run by an Alcon alum, Fort Worth’s Encore Vision, sold for $465 million to Alcon’s most recent owner, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis.

Incubating Innovators ALCON INC. (SIX/NYSE: ALC) It’s no secret that Texas InDESCRIPTION: struments and Collins Radio Makes eye care spawned much of the techproducts such as contact lenses and nology industry in Dallas surgical tools and Collin counties. Yet even HEADQUARTERS: Geneva, Switzerland natives of this area may not LOCAL ADDRESS: know how Alcon’s local op6201 South Freeway, eration helped foster the life Fort Worth CEO: David J. science industry in Tarrant Endicott County and beyond. FOUNDERS: As top accelerators help Robert Alexander and William Conner startups grow and find sucFOUNDED: 1945 cess, Alcon has a legacy of helping in the creation of some of the region’s most promising startups. Its history spans seven decades of innovation and talent development. “It’s a collection of top talent in the world of ophthalmology,” says Halden Conner, whose father, William, was one of two pharmacists who opened a Fort Worth pharmacy in 1945 that grew into the world’s largest maker of eye care devices. It also sells surgical and eye care products. The other founding pharmacist, Robert Alexan-

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der, created the Alcon brand with William Conner by combining the first syllables of their last names. After going through several ownership changes over the decades, Alcon became a stand-alone, Switzerland-based business in April when Novartis spun it off. Nestle acquired Alcon in 1977 for $280 million and sold it to Novartis in 2010 for $28.3 billion. At the time, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe commented on how Nestlé’s support benefited the Fort Worth biotech, saying, “Over the years, Nestlé’s financial and operational support has allowed Alcon’s management to focus on its fantastic development from a minor player to global leadership in ophthalmology.” He thanked “past and present managements of both Alcon and Nestlé for their work in building such a successful business.” Novartis completed the spin-off of the company this year. Novartis, which stated that its shareholders received one Alcon share for every five Norvartis shares they held as of April 1, reported that the Alcon vision care business had roughly $3.1 billion in sales during the year ended that Dec. 31, 2017. Alcon estimates that the size of the eye care markets in which it operates was roughly $23 billion in 2017 and it projected growth at about 4 percent per year over the next five years.

ALCON’S VETERANS EXCEL IN EARLY-STAGE VENTURES BECAUSE THE GIANT HAD THEM WORK IN ALMOST EVERY AREA OF CREATING DRUGS AND MEDICAL DEVICES. Alexander and William Conner “created a culture devoted to excellence in the field,” says Halden, who runs Fort Worth’s Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, a developer of treatments for an eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa. “That has not changed throughout its history.” An Alcon spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment. Wide scope of preparation Veterans of Alcon tend to excel in early-stage ventures. Though jobs typically get specialized in multinational companies, the company instead has employees work in almost every area of creating drugs and medical devices. “By starting with research and eventually taking it through preclinical testing, clinical trials, and ultimately commercialization of the product, you get preparation to deal with the full cycle of a pharmaceutical startup operation,” says Suchismita Acharya, who founded and runs Fort Worth-

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P H OTO C O U R T E S Y O F E O S E R A

STARTUP STRATEGY: After spending more than a decade at Alcon, Elyse Dickerson co-founded biotech firm Eosera and secured $1.2 million to launch the company’s first product—an earwax cleaning solution. Her portfolios had an annual revenue of $1.7 billion.

based AyuVis Research. As Alcon has an entire organization dedicated to scientific research, drug development, and distribution, the Dallas-Fort Worth region has residents with a range of related expertise, from science to marketing and general management. “This provides a rich pool of talent for local companies,” says Acharya, a former Alcon scientist whose business is developing medications to boost the body’s ability to fight infections and inflammations. “Even retirees are great consultants and advisers to local life science startups.” An informal network of Alcon alumni can provide specialized help for niche projects. When David Meadows wanted to build a scan to determine the health of a patient’s retina, he tapped a research group he had worked with when he was a research and development executive at Alcon. He later moved the business, Sentinel Diagnostic Imaging Inc., to Coppell, where he is working with several local partners to build up the organization for commercialization. It’s one of eight companies he’s started since leaving Novartis last decade. Alcon contacts have been key along the way, such as a group that helped Meadows and his son, Derek, handle quality assurance and setup for manufacturing of a wine filter the two created. “They knew it was a short, nine-month stint,” the elder Meadows says of the team of ex-Alconers. “Then they moved on to another company in the pharmaceutical industry.”


INTERCONNECTIVITY

Talent pool Much as in the movie industry, Alcon’s area operation is a talent source for on-demand individuals and teams of people with specialized skills in developing medications and medical devices. It also is a feeder for companies that need seasoned leadership. After a 17-year Alcon career spanning everything from operational finance to corporate giving, Matthew Head became a finance vice president at the Coppell biopharmaceutical maker ZS Pharma. After drug giant AstraZeneca bought ZS for $2.7 billion, Head became finance chief at Southlake’s OncoNano Medicine. Alcon, he says, gave him experience working both in different finance areas and in conjunction with people from other areas of the business. “That helped to prepare me for a small company, where finance is only a portion of what needs to be done to help the company succeed,” he says. It serves a similar function for scientists such as Joe Griffin, who joined Dickerson in co-founding Eosera after a 16-year stint at Alcon. Griffin, who is chief scientific officer at Eosera, worked in medical affairs at Alcon and helped manage three of its products. “It allowed me to grow and advance outside of the initial skill set I was hired for by exposing me at a high level to every area of the business, from R&D and marketing to manufacturing and distribution,” he says. “That meant I understood the many facets of a company when I started my own.” Beyond being a talent hotbed, Alcon supports research and education at area universities such as Fort Worth’s UNT Health Science Center. “They donated to us a variety of expensive scientific equipment that they no longer needed,” says Abbot Clark, regents professor and executive director of the school’s North Texas Eye Research Institute, or NTERI. “This significantly enhanced the research capabilities and productivity of UNTHSC scientists.”

ALCON’S LIFE SCIENCE LEGACY

Here are notable organizations that Alcon veterans have started or hold executive positions in. COMPANIES

EOSERA INC DESCRIPTION: Biotechnology maker of drops and other products to reduce earwax HEADQUARTERS: Fort Worth FOUNDERS/TOP EXECS: Co-founded by CEO Elyse Stoltz Dickerson and Chief Scientific Officer Joe Griffin. Another four-plus Alcon vets have either been employed there or worked as contractors. FOUNDED: March 2015 ALCON CONNECTION: Dickerson was Alcon’s global director for the antiinfective, otic, dry ear, and ocular nutrition franchises. Griffin was their senior product manager, global otic, antifectives, and ocular nutrition.

AYUVIS RESEARCH INC DESCRIPTION: Developing drugs to battle respiratoryrelated inflammation and infection HEADQUARTERS: Fort Worth FOUNDER/TOP EXEC: Suchi Acharya, president and CEO FOUNDED: February 2014 ALCON CONNECTION: Acharya was a scientist at Novartis, Alcon’s then-parent, managing two medicinal chemistry projects. It also has three Alcon alums working part time and as consultants.

NACUITY PHARMACEUTICALS INC. DESCRIPTION: Developing a drug to combat retinis pigmentosa, a group of diseases that can lead to blindness FOUNDER/TOP EXEC:

Halden Conner, chairman, CEO, and co-founder FOUNDED: May 2016 ALCON CONNECTION: Conner is a son of Alcon founder William Conner and a former board member of that company. Among the five to six other Alcon alums associated with the business is G. Michael Wall, vice president of research and development. Wall directed all phases of drug development at Alcon.

SENTINEL DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING INC DESCRIPTION: Software to better diagnose diseases through a 15-second analysis of medical images of a person’s retina HEADQUARTERS: Colleyville FOUNDER/TOP EXEC: David Meadows, founder FOUNDED: February 2014 ALCON CONNECTION: Meadows was a vice president of research and development at Alcon. As with the seven other companies he’s started, Meadows works with ex-Alcon employees who help with everything from seeking patents to business development, along with investing in the business.

PUREWINE INC DESCRIPTION: Creating filters to reduce side effects from drinking wine, such as headaches, and skin rashes HEADQUARTERS: Grapevine FOUNDER/TOP EXEC: David Meadows, CEO, who co-founded the business with his son, Derek FOUNDED: February 2014 ALCON CONNECTION: Purewine is one of eight

companies launched by Meadows, a former Alcon vice president of research and development. As with his other companies, Meadows uses Alcon-employeesturned-consultants to help with various areas of Purewine.

EYEVANCE PHARMACEUTICALS INC DESCRIPTION: Provides medications to eye doctors HEADQUARTERS: Fort Worth FOUNDERS/TOP EXECS: Jerry St. Peter, co-founder, CEO and director, and Jason Werner, co-founder and chief operating officer FOUNDED: 2017 ALCON CONNECTION: Has purchased at least three drugs from Novartis, Alcon’s former parent. Eyevance’s director of commercial operations, Josh Pezzuto, was a manager of U.S. commercial operations at Alcon.

SIGHT SCIENCES INC DESCRIPTION: Surgical devices for treating glaucoma and a wearable eyelid device for applying heat when patients need a warm compress. HEADQUARTERS: Menlo Park, California, with commercial office in Southlake FOUNDERS/TOP EXECS: Paul Badawi, co-founder and CEO, David Badawi, co-founder and chief technology officer FOUNDED: 2011 ALCON CONNECTION: At least six of its executives are Alcon alums, led by chief commercial officer Shawn O’Neil. [CONTINUED ON 68]

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From Academic to Business Venture firm Bios Partners is helping make markettested improvements to how the University of North Texas Health Science Center turns research into realworld products. Office hours, anyone? by J E F F B O U N D S

University research has changed since Stella Robertson started graduate work in the 1990s on her Ph.D. in biology-immunology at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University. “If one went into industry, you were treated as if you had died, or at least were making a poor choice of doing inferior research,” said Robertson, who nonetheless later became a vice president in research and development at Alcon Laboratories, the Fort Worth-based eye care products arm of Novartis. So it wasn’t an accident that when Robertson co-founded a biotech-focused venture capital firm in Cowtown, Bios Partners, it wound up helping improve innovation and commercialization efforts of UNTHSC. “Funding is decreasing from the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies, leading to a reduction in support of academic research,” said Robertson, who is adjunct member of the ophthalmology department at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas. Working with industry can offset that, she said. “The private sector is also doing much less internal basic or applied research, and now licenses in or acquires a majority of its biomedical products.” But while academics must today think like entrepreneurs, their training is for specific roles such as physicians,

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pharmacists or physical therapists, according to Cameron Cushman, director of Innovation systems at UNTHSC. Entrepreneurs-in-Residence “Until recently, there was almost no coursework offered on our campus that focused on creating an entrepreneurial mindset,” Cushman said. “The Bios team exposed our students to what they are looking for in a pitch, how to think about raising capital, and how they evaluate the science behind a biotech company.” Since UNTHSC’s president, Dr. Michael Williams, first asked for Bios’ help in 2017, the partnership has grown into multiple facets, from advising on how to commercialize promising technologies to reviewing an internal seed-grant program. Bios officials hold monthly office hours, where faculty, students and startup teams can get ideas and input on challenges they face. Technology commercialization “We’re not actively seeking investment opportunity at the school. Our focus is on helping the UNTHSC community understand the best practices that may lead to more commercialization successes,” said Les Kreis, a managing partner and co-founder at Bios. Those range from having the right nuances in licensing agreements to using a carrot-and-stick approach for seed grants where entrepreneurs get money in chunks as they hit various goals. Bios—which has a similar working relationship with the Dallas-based University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center —was raising its third fund this past fall. Having turned a $4 million investment in a Fort Worth startup, Encore Vision, into a $465 million sale to Novartis in 20‘17, the firm was targeting the latest fund at $100 million to $150 million. “It’s a rare opportunity in a university setting for a researcher or student to be able to engage with a VC,” Cushman said.

ALCON’S LIFE SCIENCE LEGACY [Continued from Page 68]

ONCONANO MEDICINE INC DESCRIPTION: Creating vaccine and imagingrelated technology for fighting cancer HEADQUARTERS: Southlake FOUNDER/TOP EXEC: Ravi Srinivasan FOUNDED: January 2014 ALCON CONNECTION: Including chief financial officer Matthew Head, seven of the company’s 20 employees worked at Alcon. Of those seven, six worked at ZS Pharma, a one-time Coppell biopharmaceutical company that AstraZeneca acquired for $2.7 billion in 2015.

BIOS EQUITY PARTNERS DESCRIPTION: Venture capital firm focusing on life sciences HEADQUARTERS: Fort Worth FOUNDER/TOP EXECS: Aaron G.L. Fletcher, managing partner and co-founder; Les Kreis, managing partner and co-founder; and Stella Robertson, co-founder FOUNDED: June 2015 ALCON CONNECTION: Co-founder Stella Robertson was previously a vice president in research and development at Alcon Laboratories.

EXITS

ENCORE VISION DESCRIPTION: Eye drops for treating a hardening of the eye lens HEADQUARTERS: Fort Worth FOUNDER/TOP EXEC: William “Bill” Burns, president and CEO FOUNDED: September 2006 ALCON CONNECTION: A former vice president of global marketing in Alcon’s consumer and

pharmaceutical products, Burns sold Encore to Novartis (Alcon’s parent) for $465 million in January 2017.

ZS PHARMA DESCRIPTION: Treatments for conditions such as hyperkalemia, in which kidneys are unable to excrete potassium, something that can lead to issues with heart rhythm HEADQUARTERS: San Mateo, California, with local office in Coppell FOUNDER/TOP EXEC: Al Guillem, founder and CEO FOUNDED: 2008 ALCON CONNECTION: At least six Alcon alums worked at ZS Pharma, which sold to AstraZeneca for $2.7 billion in 2015. Those six folks now work at Southlake’s OncoNano Medicine.

RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS

NORTH TEXAS EYE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, UNT HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER DESCRIPTION: Basic and clinical research on the eye HEADQUARTERS: Fort Worth FOUNDER/TOP EXEC: Abbot Clark, Regents professor and executive director FOUNDED: 1992 ALCON CONNECTION: Clark was Alcon’s vice president of discovery research and head of glaucoma research. Alcon scientists have served as adjunct faculty at area schools such as UNTHSC.


INTERCONNECTIVITY

C O M PA N Y + C O N S U M E R C O N N E C T I O N S

P H OTO : M I C H A E L S A M P L E S

PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER As the chief engineer at Addison-based Bottle Rocket, Amy Czuchlewski is a puzzlepiecing pro, working across the company to solve complex problems and, while doing so, providing a frictionless customer service experience. “My team has to figure out how to put all the pieces together to make the ideas come to life,” she says. “And then my team has to figure out how to make it actually happen, which is so challenging because our teams are pretty creative and they come up with some wild stuff. I love the process of the two working together.” In overseeing about 100 engineers, Czuchlewski is “in charge of the implementation of ideas,” while her team members are hard at work on the newest projects—all while hanging out at one of the coolest places for tech workers in Dallas to call home, she says. “Sometimes we work with marketing, and sometimes we work with technology,” she says. “It’s dependent on the client. The work is about having the conversation back and forth to be a part of the solution.”

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TECHNOLOGISTS OF TOMORROW

How three local educational partnerships are green-lighting greatness

by TA R A N I E U W E ST E E G

Increasingly, companies and schools in Dallas-Fort Worth are finding new opportunities to collaborate, working together for remarkable results that also pave lasting educational pathways. The road map is wide open, with technology in constant flux and the landscape ever changing. With training, early top-tier students are learning valuable skills and getting industry knowledge in tandem. Whether it is a summer boot camp, a boundary-busting community college, or a traditional university, the opportunities prove to be winning combinations—not just for the companies, schools, and students, but for North Texas too.

ISD-INDUSTRY

COMMUNITY COLLEGE-INDUSTRY

UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY

At Mark Cuban Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence Bootcamp, DISD high schoolers learn how to identify artificial intelligence in their daily lives. Some are surprised to learn that this particular kind of futuristic-sounding technology can be found in the applications they use on a daily basis. Ever wonder how Netflix predicts what a person might enjoy based on programs he or she has watched in the past, or how Spotify provides targeted music recommendations? It’s all in the AI. At the weeklong boot camp, the lessons move fast. By their last day, the students form groups and create prototypes that leverage what they’ve learned. A model that identifies whether an X-ray contains a fracture was just one of many impressive projects. Jesse Stauffer, a machine-learning engineer who works for Cuban, helped write much of the curriculum for the most recent Artificial Intelligence Bootcamp, held in August. “It’s about helping kids who may not have been exposed to technology learn what kinds of things will be available for them in the future,” Stauffer says. “It’s been really cool for us to see the amount of knowledge they leave with—there’s a lot of light bulb moments along the way.”

In 2016, Pathways to Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) launched at Eastfield College in Seagoville. The program, founded in New York, helps students earn high school diplomas and tuition-free associate degrees while gaining industry experience. “In recruitment, we’re looking [for students] with motivation and tenacity,” says Janice Hicks, dean of Educational Partnerships at Eastfield College, “and who want to do something different and change the trajectory of their family and their community.” Today, 18 DISD campuses, in participation with seven community colleges across the Dallas County Community College District, offer P-TECH programs. Industry partnership is a critical component. Codestream Studios has previously partnered with the programs at Seagoville High School and Roosevelt High School. Using a project-based curriculum, Codestream helps students understand how technology is created. “Most people don’t even know what these kids’ workforce will look like, and what types of jobs will be available to them as careers,” co-founder Roxayne Strong says.“They all have to have a fundamental understanding of how technology is created, no matter which pathway they take.” Today, P-TECH has had more than 70 industry partners, including AT&T, Microsoft, Amazon, Southwest Airlines, and Bank of America.

A partnership between State Farm and the University of Texas at Dallas has created a successful talent pipeline. The Illinois-based insurance broker had long been searching for talent-rich areas in which to expand, says Rob Stogsdill, technology director in State Farm’s Enterprise Technology Department, and Dallas proved to be a good fit. By 2016, an inaugural class of eight students made up the first State Farm Campus Development Team. Today, the program includes a 1,000-squarefoot on-campus office—State Farm’s CityLine hub is conveniently nearby— that can employ 24 students as well as one full-time State Farm employee, who serves as a direct supervisor. “By having a facility right here on the UTD campus, students can complete an internship with State Farm, learn those lessons you only learn by direct engagement with industry, and do it in a place where they can fluidly move between that and their classes,” says Director of Corporate Relations Pete Poorman. Stogsdill says that many of the participating students go on to fulltime employment at State Farm after graduation. “The work we’ve got them doing is anything from coding, to java, to testing, to cloud-based research,” Stogsdill says. “They’re truly helping us out.”

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ECONOMIC IMPACT OF DALLAS-FORT WORTH

HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS $13.3 BILLION

IN BUSINESS ACTIVITY IN THE REGION BY DFW INSTITUTIONS ANNUALLY

$925.5 MILLION ECONOMIC IMPACT (54% RETURN) FROM CONSTRUCTION INVESTMENT ($600 MILLION)

$7 TO $1 RETURN ON ECONOMIC IMPACT OF DFW RESEARCH SPENDING ($810 MILLION)

$67.4 BILLION OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE REGION COMES FROM GRADUATES OF DFW INSTITUTIONS, TOTALING 15%


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

THOUGHT LEADERS

I L L U S T R AT I O N : T H I S S ATA N V I A i S TO C K

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

900 LBS

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CORGAN

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G O L D M A N S AC H S 10,000 SMALL BUSINESSES

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JP MORGAN CHASE

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L I N U X AC A D E M Y

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TA S K U S

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900 LBS Steve Deitz, CEO/Founder and Mitchell Massey, Sr. Interactive Producer/Creative Strategist 9 0 0 L B S .C O M

Innovation comes in many forms —from finished products and processes, to implementation and idea generation. How would you define your company’s innovations? “Ideas are cheap, execution is everything.” says Chris Sacca (rockstar investor, entrepreneur, and lawyer). At 900lbs, we define innovation as the art of the possible and bringing complex, scalable ideas to life faster than the typical agency process. We complement our clients’ innovation teams and trailblazers with a future-focused understanding of emerging technologies and visual tools. While we are proactive with collaborative ideas and R&D, execution is where we shine the most. From feasibility and scalability, the challenge of “How can we pull this off,” can be very real when the pressure to deliver

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ROI is top of mind. Quality design and dependable development is the soul of 900lbs. What is the biggest challenge in your industry at the moment? Our industry can sometimes be overwhelmed by the number of key performance indicators and success metrics that are required to perform in different environments of an experience. In order for us to serve a wide variety of industries, use cases, and platforms, we look to add layers like performance tracking and data maintenance to long-term programs and offerings. It all stems from how our clients’ businesses face immense pressure to bet on the right innovative solution. Using funds to build unique interfaces and compelling user journeys are an investment to help their businesses keep up with everincreasing customer expectations.

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It is easy to get caught in artistic, futuristic, and “sexy” aspects of a new project, but usually what matters most is demonstrating success with numbers. Back-end telemetry/analytics, cameras/ video capture, and connected sensors/tags can provide us new mediums with which we attract, engage and retain customers through more measurable data—to make sure a design is working well. Sometimes we do not need a super connected science lab to know that an experience is creating a wow moment that can push a brand forward. More often, capturing

interactions, user behaviors, new use cases, and brand impressions become a primary requirement. Ultimately, we collaborate with our client to decide what will work best. What is one piece of practical advice you would give to someone starting out? Adaptability is key in a world of constant change. As Bruce Lee said, “Be like water.” Define what success means to you and find your true “North Star.” Seek out areas of focus where you enjoy the process. If you love the process, results will follow.


I M M E R S I V E I N T E R A C T I V E D I S R U P T I V E

INNOVATION

WE DESIGN EXPERIENCES. To the innovation agent pushing to drive results, 900lbs is the interactive design agency who combines emerging technologies and visual tools to bring your big idea to life. Founded in 2008, we are a future-focused interactive design agency with a mission to serve and empower our clients and industry trailblazers. As a design and development Special Forces Unit, we create a diverse range of interactive initiatives and visual content to showcase the art of the possible and make it a reality.

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

900lbs.com | 469.283.8043

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

million in capital investment in Allen, including three Class A office buildings totaling 470,000 square feet, a large convention center/hotel and relocations of cybersecurity firm NETSCOUT and Credit Union of Texas.

Tell us about the Allen Economic Development Corporation. The Allen Economic Development Corporation is charged with recruiting and retaining quality businesses that increase the ad valorem tax base and bring quality jobs to the city. How would you define your company’s innovations? Before 2018, Allen lacked any true Class A office buildings and was missing out on the many office projects in the region. Despite its highway access, highly educated workforce, amenity-rich Watters Creek lifestyle center, infrastructure and developable sites, the real estate community did not believe Allen was a Class A office market. To overcome this perception and to compete for deals, Allen needed a Class A office building. However, office developers were unable to secure financing to construct the building speculatively without it being 50 percent preleased. To solve this conundrum, the AEDC created a “revolving fund” incentive that helped bridge the gap between financing the office building and securing the office tenant. The results have been overwhelmingly positive. Since 2018, there has been over $260

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How does the region’s access to resources, such as higher education and/or access to capital, impact your ability to compete? With its central location and many global headquarters, DFW reaps the benefits from world trade and investment. Strong job growth attracts new residents, expanding our labor force and fueling housing construction. Investment is attracted by our population growth and diverse economy, making capital plentiful. Higher education provides a pipeline of talent and research for growing, innovative companies. Located in fast-growing Collin County, Allen has modern transportation infrastructure and a pro-business climate to provide companies with the tools necessary to compete worldwide.

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

The Place to Raise Your Business


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BANK OF TEXAS Erin Davis, SVP, Payments & Technology BA N KO F T E X A S .C O M

ERIN DAVIS

How is technology impacting the needs of your clients? The intersection of payments and technology is fascinating and why we’ve chosen to focus in these two areas. On the payments front, we all see how consumer behavior has transformed. But the B2B space is trickier and much more complex. Legacy systems and processes are often at odds with new technology and payment rails. We help clients develop strategies by thinking through how to re-engineer processes, not to eliminate roles, but to automate to free up people and resources to drive the next phase of growth. In the tech space, it’s about working with great growth-stage companies that need expertise beyond securing funding—though that is clearly essential. We help clients think through business-critical issues like investing growth capital safely and securely; attracting great talent with smart benefits packages; and insuring property, executives, and digital assets for the next phase.

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Innovation comes in many forms—from finished products and processes, to implementation and idea generation. How would you define your company’s innovations? Every innovation involves people thinking through change, opportunity, and impact on an organization. We bring creative, relevant ideas that help our clients innovate based on their goals and resources. We’re a 100-plusyear-old financial institution with tremendous expertise we can leverage, but we’re also learning and evolving to lead and advise our clients now and for what’s next. How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region? There are more than 175 banks in North Texas, and to some extent, the industry is commoditized or perceived to be. To me, what stands out to companies in North Texas is expertise, creativity, and collaboration. Our capabilities are broad and deep, but our delivery is local and team focused. We collaborate internally, without silos, to deliver what our clients need today and what they will ultimately need in one, five, or 10 years. We also invest our time and resources in our communities, helping them strive together and ultimately lift all.

2020 EDITION


LOANS | SYNDICATIONS | TREASURY SOLUTIONS | WEALTH MANAGEMENT

Be Bold. Be Local. Be Innovative. Focused on payments-intensive and growth-stage technology companies, Bank of Texas understands how to help you navigate today, while planning for tomorrow.

Erin Davis | 214.346.3964 edavis@bankoftexas.com

© 2019 Bank of Texas, a division of BOKF, NA. Member FDIC.


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BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF TEXAS, C1 INNOVATION LAB Dr. JoAnn Welch, Executive Director, C1 Innovation Lab C 1 I N N OVAT I O N L A B .C O M | B C B S T X .C O M

How has your industry changed in the past five years? The healthcare industry has drastically changed for the better in the past five years. I’ve experienced many of these changes as a pediatrician and health insurance professional. As a former pediatric emergency and urgent care provider, I saw how technology improved the patient experience through advances such as telemedicine and remote monitoring. Now, as the executive director at the C1 Innovation Lab, I’m proud to support a team of individuals who work daily to strategically and creatively problem solve in support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) customers and members. What do you predict will happen in the next five to 10 years? I’d encourage more partnerships and collaborations between large healthcare companies, health startups, and entrepreneurs to see real change in the industry. As a company, we recognize we don’t have all the answers to solve for our members’ largest challenges. Through our partners, we have the ability to not only provide health insurance to our members, but also health assurance in real time. What is the biggest challenge in your industry at the moment? We serve millions of Texans daily with

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their healthcare challenges. Factors surrounding a person’s social determinants of health – such as access to healthcare services, transportation, safe housing, and economic opportunities, among others—can negatively impact their health status. While this serves as a major challenge in healthcare, we awarded more than $1.6 million in grants statewide to support 17 community-based organizations addressing social factors that impact health. Our staff continuously evaluates our programs and services to meet our members’ needs as well as works diligently to support them through the various stages of their health journey.

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What are the most critical changes that your industry must make to face the future effectively? Payers and providers should collaborate to reimagine a healthcare delivery system that utilizes empathy to create healthcare experiences that effectively engage patients and their families. Partnering with industry thought leaders will help to drive efficiency in the near term, while significant transformation through innovation in the long term will construct a future of healthcare that has a foundation of equity, quality, positive outcomes, and affordability.

What has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction? I’m exhaustingly persistent. I’m never afraid to ask “why?” At the C1 Lab, we use design thinking to discover ideas and solutions for the challenges gleaned from working with members. I use this practice in my professional and personal life. When you start with empathy, you gain a different perspective. Understanding an individual’s journey through his or her lens has helped me in this industry and will also benefit those who are seeking to follow a similar career path.


CUSTOMERS FIRST WE DRIVE CHANGE for our members by fostering an environment of innovation, collaboration, and creativity.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association 752097.1119


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COLLIN COUNTY BUSINESS ALLIANCE Sanjiv Yajnik, Chairman & Founder, CCBA; President, Financial Services, Capital One

C O L L I N C O U N T Y B U S I N E S SA L L I A N C E .C O M

Formed in 2011, the CCBA comprises business leaders who believe that we have the responsibility to take action now to shape our vibrant community, or we put our future success at risk. By acting as a catalyst to address key issues such as water, education, and transportation today, CCBA will ensure that our already successful county has an even brighter future. Envisioning tomorrow, inspiring action today.

How is CCBA solving these issues? Our role is to be a convener of businesses, government organizations, educational institutions, and nonprofits across Collin County. We reach across city lines for the greater good of the entire county. Over the last eight years, we’ve built an ecosystem of problem solvers working together to

Why is CCBA so critical? CCBA was born out of the idea that vibrant businesses and vibrant communities go hand in hand. Our members believe we should not be guests in our community, but play an active role in shaping Collin County’s future.

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What’s at stake? Collin County is the fastest-growing county in Texas. Eighty people relocate here every day. It’s estimated that our population has exceeded 1 million. This speaks volumes about the amazing opportunities our community offers. But our growth also puts real strains on water resources, education, and transportation. These regional issues require regional solutions.

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shape the future. Can you share an example of how this strategy came to life? It’s hard to choose just one, but I’m really proud of our #CollinCountyVotes initiative, which was aimed at increasing voter turnout. We wanted to be a source of nonpartisan information, inspiring voters to take action. We worked with local chambers of commerce to host candidate forums and produce informative content. What differentiated this from other “get out the vote” campaigns was how we worked with businesses, offering tools to engage their employees. This multifaceted partnership yielded fantastic results: A 150 percent increase in voter turnout for the municipal election compared to

2015, and a 100 percent increase in the general election compared to 2014. We still have much to do—but this is a formula that works. What’s next for CCBA? CCBA will continue to be a catalyst for elevating conversations and problem solving to the regional level. With the 2020 Census, it will become even more critical to partner across city lines to ensure every citizen is counted. Our learnings can be leveraged beyond Collin County. All of Dallas-Fort Worth can benefit from business leaders coming together. Some 130 businesses have relocated their headquarters here since 2010, and our entire metroplex will experience growing pains. It is critical that we work together to create a flourishing North Texas.


KEEP COLLIN COUNTY VIBRANT. VOTE IN YOUR LOCAL ELECTION. FOLLOW ALONG FOR 2020 CANDIDATE INFORMATION:

CollinCountyVotes.com @CollinCountyVotes2020

@CollinCtyVotes


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CORGAN

Samantha Flores, Hugo Director, Senior Associate C O R G A N .C O M

SAMANTHA FLORES

Tell us about Corgan’s services. Interrogating situations, discovering opportunities, and developing intuitive solutions, Corgan designs spaces and novel experiences that chase new ideas and proactively confront the hardest, most vital questions facing our clients, our profession, and our culture. As an extension of our culture of research and development, Hugo, is dedicated to exploring emerging technologies and societal shifts to identify new markets and architectural typologies. From client workshops and fully immersive environments to predictive modeling analysis, trend reporting, and moonshot projects, Hugo challenges design to think bigger and broader—cross-pollenating between our areas of expertise to spark ideas and take architecture to the place where innovation happens. Innovation comes in many forms—from finished products and processes, to implementation and idea generation. How would you define Corgan’s innovations? Born out of an empathetic understanding of the human experience, our goal is to give design a purpose. We reach into the future to educate ourselves on how users will engage with their built environment. Current Hugo explorations range from

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targeted, community-centric projects to revolutionary ideas that reimagine the future of aerial transportation. With a heritage in designing exceptional passenger experiences, Corgan continues to explore the evolution of air travel—from commercial airports to smaller, more local jumps with Uber Air and larger leaps made possible with lower-orbit space travel. Exploring how these emerging typologies fit into our cultural contexts and the ways that users will interact with them, Hugo’s spaceport concepts begin to visualize and organize

2020 EDITION

the programming and infrastructure needed for the successful adoption of space travel. The design asks how the spaceport would contribute to our future lifestyles to identify its primary components, consider its sustainability and functionality, and situate the frontier of air travel within a network of buildings and infrastructure that holistically supports the next passenger experience. How has your industry changed in the past five years? What do you predict will happen in the next five

to 10 years? Architecture has made a marked shift to focusing on how the user interacts with and perceives their built environment making it increasingly important to prioritize the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time. Using surveys, research, and immersive observation among a toolkit of resources, we need to think about how these spaces contribute to our world—resisting the temptation of vanity innovations and pressing for solutions that create a better human experience.


ecture ▪ Interior Design ▪ Corgan.com Architecture ▪ Interior Design ▪ Corgan.com

CORGAN SPACEPORT CONCEPT CORGAN SPACEPORT CONCEPT

Exploring the Next Exploring the Next Human Experience What if we can change how people experience the Human Experience

world? For 80 years, Corgan has been doing just that; What if we can change how people experience the innovating and inventing new experiences. world? For 80 years, Corgan has been doing just that; innovating and inventing new experiences. Hugo is today’s expression of that same drive to break new ground. Hugo is today’s expression of that same drive to

break new ground. Sharing the Corgan values of passion, excellence,

integrity, and balance, Hugo is a mix of curious and Sharing the Corgan values of passion, excellence, collaborative problem solvers who always ask why integrity, and balance, Hugo is a mix of curious and before how. We believe that design and purposeful collaborative problem solvers who always ask why innovation are the most powerful instruments of before how. We believe that design and purposeful change. innovation are the most powerful instruments of change. We are thought-provocateurs. We are seekers and

CORGAN UBERAIR SKYPORT CONCEPT CORGAN UBERAIR SKYPORT CONCEPT

students. We are disruptors. We are designers. We are thought-provocateurs. We are seekers and We are Hugo. students. We are disruptors. We are designers. We are Hugo.


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THOUGHT LEADERS

GOLDMAN SACHS 10,000 SMALL BUSINESSES Cristin Thomas, Executive Director

C C C D. E D U/ 10 KS B

Tell us about Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an education program for small businesses that links learning to action. 10,000 Small Businesses (10ksb) is an investment funded by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital, and business support services. Through the program, small business owners gain practical skills that can immediately be put into action, like how to understand financial statements, negotiate success-

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fully, strategically sell, how to hire and retain top talent, identify and evaluate innovation opportunities, and create and execute customized growth plans. How does your company differentiate itself from others in the region? Our major differentiator is the practicality of linking learning to action. Small businesses that go through the program receive the tools and professional and peer support they need to develop a strategic and customized business growth plan that when executed will take their company to the next level. In addition, the

2020 EDITION

10ksb program shows small business owners how to become more bankable and position themselves to access small business funding and capital as needed for innovation and growth. What has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction? Growth-minded small businesses should apply for the program to join the more than 400 North Texas small businesses that make up the more than 8,600 companies in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

network that represent a large and growing economic force nationally. Six months after completing the program 10,000 Small Businesses graduates are increasing revenues and creating new jobs. Nationally, at six months the 10ksb average revenue increase is 35%, at 18 months the average is 61% and by 30 months the average revenue has increased by 98%. Job growth rates are also significant for 10,000 Small Businesses alumni. Nationally, six months after program completion the average job growth is 29%, at 18 months the average job growth reached 48% and by 30 months the number is 62%.


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THOUGHT LEADERS

As part of its commitment to DFW, JPMorgan Chase has built a world-class campus at Legacy West in Plano. Phase One of the campus is complete and is home to nearly 6,000 workers. The bank has started construction of a 12-story building that will bring campus employment to almost 11,000.

JPMORGAN CHASE Steve D Hemperly, Managing Director and DFW Location Leader J P M O R G A N C H A S E .C O M

At JPMorgan Chase, we have more than 50,000 technologists working around the globe. In a hyper competitive world, a successful business must deliver products and services that are better and faster, saving customers both time and money. More and more, this is done with the helping hand of technology, which is why JPMorgan Chase spends $10 billion a year on technology. We continually hire skilled software engineers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond to help our customers and clients make some of the biggest financial decisions of their lives, realize their dreams and save for their futures. Protecting our customers and clients’ assets is our No. 1 priority, which is why we devote so many resources to a

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robust fraud-prevention and cybersecurity effort. As the pace of innovation accelerates at unprecedented speed, the need for innovative tech talent is greater than ever. Here in Dallas-Fort Worth, JPMorgan Chase is hiring software developers

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who understand how to apply modern technology to solve business problems and who are able to work together in a highly collaborative way. There’s no question the landscape for top technology talent is competitive. So we’re focused on being an employer of choice by fostering a culture that respects and promotes the talents of individuals from all backgrounds. We provide opportunities for our engineers to retrain and upskill, and are committed helping them achieve their career aspirations. We recognize that long-term business success depends on the success of our community. Widening the circle of opportunity is core to our mission at JPMorgan Chase, and we’re committed to

working toward an economy that works for everyone. To that end, JPMorgan Chase has contributed $21 million over the past five years to support workforce training programs across Texas. We recently invested another $6 million to spur inclusive development in southern Dallas and have stepped up to be the largest employer of the Paul Quinn Urban Work College in Plano. And we’re fostering the next generation of local talent by supporting the Dallas County Promise and area youth in their commitment to go to college. JPMorgan Chase is making significant, long-term investments in Dallas/ Fort Worth—investments that will open the doors of opportunity for our employees, our clients, and our community.


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A CLOUD GURU / LINUX ACADEMY Sam Kroonenburg, CEO and Co-founder, A Cloud Guru AC LO U D.G U R U

Sam Kroonenburg is CEO and co-founder of A Cloud Guru, an online learning platform that has helped over 1 million learners worldwide understand and advance skills in cloud technology. After recently acquiring Linux Academy, the total organization now boasts the largest library of hands-on cloud-training content in the world. Why did you initially create A Cloud Guru? Along with my brother Ryan Kroonenburg, I started A Cloud Guru because we believed there was a better way of helping people learn technology and access new opportunities. Cloud computing is reshaping all of IT and addressing the need to reskill for the future of IT. Our platform creates an opportunity for people from all walks of life to enter the field and achieve a brighter future. Our mission is to teach the world to cloud, through democratized and accessible education›you don’t need an expensive degree to access fulfilling and lucrative tech careers. What made A Cloud Guru want to join forces with Linux Academy? We’ve always cared about building training that is engaging, hands-on, and focused on helping people put learning into practice. Training for technology shouldn’t be boring; it should be as exciting and engaging as the technology itself. The hands-on labs and learn-bydoing approach by Linux Academy is an important part of bringing our engaging material to life. And now, together, we now represent the largest and most effective school for the future of IT.

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Innovation comes in many forms— from finished products and processes to implementation and idea generation. How would you define your company’s innovations? We think about innovation, both through technology and creative delivery — and this is where each company has historically shined. At A Cloud Guru, we are creators of training content, but we see ourselves more like Netflix or HBO than a corporate training provider. Training should be interesting, engaging, and something that students want to do, not have to do. Now, with the technology of Linux Academy— our ideas are put into practice. These newly acquired, world-class, integrated training environments enable learners to experiment in safe, managed environments. What is the most critical IT challenge that your team helps to address? The world is changing, and cloud computing is rapidly shifting how IT is managed and delivered. Many companies around the world are transitioning their infrastructure to public cloud providers, but the IT talent market lacks enough cloud-skilled engineers to do the work. A skills gap has emerged. A Cloud Guru, combined with Linux Academy, provides the world’s most comprehensive training library for cloud computing, with a focus on helping students learn by doing to gain technology careers faster than ever before. What is one piece of practical advice you would give to someone overwhelmed by the cloud or

2020 EDITION

technology in general? There’s such rapid change out there in technology it can seem overwhelming if you look at it in totality. Instead, work out where to start in your learning journey, and just focus on “the next thing” in your path. Climb the mountain one step at a

time and try not to look up at what’s in front of you. Set achievable milestones for your education, in two- to three-month timeframes. Finally, choose a training curriculum designed to “meet you where you are at” that doesn’t assume knowledge or use industry jargon.


+

= The Future of Cloud Education


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TASKUS Jarrod Johnson, Chief Customer Officer TA S K U S .C O M

secutively. Founded in 2008 by Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, the company raised over $250 million in 2018 from the world’s largest private equity firm, Blackstone. TaskUs currently has over 18,000 employees and offices across the United States, Philippines, India, Taiwan, Mexico, and a future site in Greece.

TaskUs is the fastest-growing tech-enabled business services company in the world, delivering customer support, AI operations, and content security services that power the world’s most innovative companies. Listed as one of Glassdoor’s 100 Best Places to Work, USA Today’s Best Company Cultures, and Best Companies for Women by Comparably, TaskUs is a frontline-first company that puts its people at the heart of everything they do. TaskUs has been recognized as one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for the past seven years con-

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Tell us about TaskUs. TaskUs is a tech-enabled business services company, delivering customer support, AI operations and content security services that power the world’s most innovative companies. How does TaskUs differentiate itself from others in the region? TaskUs is the brawn behind the brains of Silicon Valley. We support the most disruptive companies in the world as they scale to meet market demands. We were born on the web and grew up in the cloud, providing the kind of cutting-edge support services technology

2020 EDITION

innovators need to make their visions a reality. Innovation comes in many forms—from finished products and processes, to implementation and idea generation. How would you define your company’s innovations? TaskUs’ innovations are a balance of technology implementation and smart human resource management. Businesses today recognize the value of an A-player and will work hard to retain great talent. Part of getting the highest value production from employees relies on a company’s ability to utilize them effectively. Cumbersome, mundane, and simple tasks can be better served by taking them off of the employee’s plate; this is where TaskUs deploys data science, AI, and automation to unleash the power of human capital to solve complex problems for our clients. That’s where TaskUs turns innovation into impact: knowing our

customers, understanding their pain points, and providing the tools and team to fuel hypergrowth. How has your industry changed in the past five years? What do you predict will happen in the next five to 10 years? The most dramatic change in customer support comes from the ways brands communicate with their customers. Phone calls of the past are being replaced with chats, SMS messages, and in-app communication. Brands want to serve their consumers in the places and ways they create them—digitally. The on-demand society also demands high-speed resolutions when problems arise, so there is a real focus on swift responses and meaningful results. Areas such as content moderation on social networks or machine learning and AI support barely existed five years ago but today make up a large percentage of our client base and the work our teammates perform each day.


Who keeps you safe on social media?


THE EXIT

A FRONT ROW SEAT

The EY Partner and Americas Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader has witnessed nearly four decades of entrances and exits as she navigated the Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneur ecosystem. by Debra L. von Storch

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tions software for fixed wireline, mobile, and cable service provides. a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they In October 2017, Genband exited via merger with Sonus Networks have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his to form Ribbon Communications. time plays many parts …” During this same time, a disruptive prepaid wireless carrier Looking back at my 38-year career journey with EY, entered the scene. MetroPCS was the creation of engineering-minded I am honored to have participated in numerous exits and entrepreneur Roger Linquist, who created a new category of teleentrances, playing many parts in the dynamic Dallas-Fort Worth communications in a competitive sector. In 2013, MetroPCS exited entrepreneur ecosystem. to T-Mobile in a multibillion-dollar cash-and-stock deal. With youthful enthusiasm, in 1982, I jumped into Next was the creation of a global software security company, McAfee, assembled from the acquisition the robust Dallas commercial banking environment, of numerous innovative technology companies. The witnessing the creation of the Bank Holding Company company was sold to Intel in 2010 for $7.68 billion, Act, followed by community bank roll-ups. Then came then spun back out of Intel in 2017, in a transaction the financial industry crisis, crushing many commubacked by private equity firm TPG. nity banks, savings and loan associations, credit card In the 21st century, data became king and Solera operations, and the mega roll-ups. Roller coaster real Debra L. von Storch Holdings was created. With headquarters relocated estate valuations and energy industry lending were the culprits. Dominated by the Resolution Trust Corporation operation, from California to DFW, Solera has grown to be the global leader in I worked with bad bank assets and the rebirth of the commercial risk and asset management data for the automotive and insurance banking industry. An example: Republic National Bank became industries. Active in 90 countries, Solera has 235,000 customers and First Republic, then North Carolina National Bank, followed by partners, including many of the largest U.S. and European property the final transaction led by Bank of America. and casualty insurance companies and most of the world’s largest Next entrance was the massive inflow of capital for the transfor- vehicle OEMs. In March 2016, Solera exited to Vista Equity Partners, mation of the energy sector. Behemoth private equity organizations Goldman Sachs, Koch Industries and other investors for $6.5 billion. In my last act, I have witnessed the prolific entrance of entreinvested in the development of the innovative frac technology, as well as difficult offshore drilling operations. I witnessed the preneurial-spirited emerging companies in our region including optimistic determination of a Dallas group of entrepreneurial oil EY Entrepreneur of the Year award winners VARIDESK, Mizzen+execs, they drilled off the coast of Ghana, finding one of the most Main, Dialexa, Poo-Pouri, Urban Air Adventure Parks, BioWorld, prolific oil reserves in the world. The company, Kosmos Energy, StackPath, and others. The common theme for these companies is raised enormous private equity to produce the field and developed robust determination to innovate and grow, by transforming how a floating-platform offshore-storage vessel to capture the liquid we live, work, and play. Now, it is time for me to exit this stage, to gold. An initial public offering followed, resulting in a beneficial sit in the audience and cheer for the continued optimism of region; exit for the DFW region and energy sector. to applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of our actors; and to serve this Working down the Richardson Telecom Corridor, we saw the ecosystem as a coach, mentor, and board member. Thank you for entrance of Nortel Networks and the creation of the internet the opportunity to share your stage. I am honored and blessed to industry. At its height, Nortel accounted for one-third of the be a part of this vigorous, entrepreneurial-spirited ecosystem in our market capitalization of the Toronto Stock Exchange, driving its Dallas- Fort Worth region. I am incredibly proud of the entrances multinational telecommunications and data network equipment and exits that I have witnessed for the past 38 years. With optithrough the competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). With mism, I believe the stage lights will continue to shine bright in the the froth of the technology industry boom and bust, Nortel exited DFW entrepreneur community. My next chapter begins June 30, existence, unfortunately, with investors losing billions. However, with anticipated energy. the demise of the CLEC industry resulted in the creation of new entrepreneurial-spirited companies, including Genband—formerly Debra L. von Storch is EY Partner, Americas Entrepreneur Of The known as General Bandwidth. Genband developed communica- Year Leader

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