Dallas Innovates’ 10 Most Popular Stories in February

Take a look back on the stories that grabbed our readers' attention last month.

It’s been a big year so far for North Texas, especially when it comes to innovation.

As we wrapped up February, we reflected on the stories behind the people and places grabbing readers’ attention the most. From our annual publication (The Future 50), to power couples (Jamie and Melbourne O’Banion), to new startups out of stealth (Worlds), our most popular stories highlighted what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Here’s a roundup of our top 10 most-read stories on dallasinnovates.com for February 2020.

1. Meet the Future 50: North Texas Innovators and Disruptors You Need to Know

No matter which of our six buckets you look at—startup, enterprise, invention, education, innovation, or creative—you’re sure to find leaders capable of disrupting industries, benefiting society, or changing the world.

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

2. Texas Central Makes $5.9B Deal With Spanish Firm to Develop, Operate High-Speed Rail Line

The contract is the largest ever for a Spanish government-run company outside of Spain. The proposed rail line could be operational by 2026 and would speed passengers between the two cities in roughly 90 minutes.

Texas Central

Texas Central recently released sketches envisioning travel on the high-speed rail system, such as this one showing a family enjoying their travel. [Image: Courtesy Texas Central]

3. Power Couple: How Jamie and Melbourne O’Banion Run Two of Dallas’ Fastest-Growing Brands

Jamie’s BeautyBio and Melbourne’s Bestow are two Dallas-based startups in the cosmetic and life insurance industries, respectively. But while they both hold the same job—CEO and co-founder—the power couple, dubbed MOJO, makes it work by operating as a team.

[Photo: Courtesy of the O’Banions]

4. 7-Eleven Pilots Cashierless Concept Store at its Irving Headquarters

The test store uses a mix of algorithms and predictive technology to separate individual customers and their purchases from others.

7-Eleven is pushing the technological envelope once again, testing a cashierless store at its corporate headquarters, in Irving, Texas. During the pilot, the 700-square-foot non-traditional store is available to 7-Eleven employees. [Image: Courtesy 7-Eleven]

5. CarOffer’s Used Car Bidding Platform Hits $60M in Monthly Sales

CarOffer, which says it’s the retail automotive industry’s first instant trade platform, has reached $60M in monthly sales within the startup’s first six months.

[Image: Courtesy CarOffer/Facebook]

6. Reata Pharmaceuticals Extends 122K Sublease as it Awaits New HQ Tower in Plano

The pharmaceutical company, which raised $505 million through the sale of shares last year, has already leased 327,400 square feet of space in the under-construction tower.


Reata Pharmaceuticals has renewed its sublease at 5320 Legacy Drive within the three-building Campus at Legacy development in Plano. [Photo: Courtesy CBRE]

7. Worlds Raises $10M in Series A Funding as Dave Copps’ AI Startup Launches From Stealth

The startup, spun out of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, plans to use the funding to power its “first-of-its-kind” Extended Reality environment, which can be used to build AI-models to give businesses and organizations a new way to view their physical world. “It’s almost like turning real life into a video game,” says CEO and co-founder Dave Copps.

worlds Copps AI artificial intelligence

“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,” CEO and co-founder Dave Copps says. [Photo: Michael Samples]

8. Career Connection: New Search Engine Helps ‘Often‑Overlooked Talent’ Find Training for In-Demand Jobs

Meritize Connect—launched in a statewide pilot—aims to bridge the gap between job-seekers, training providers, and employers.

Founded in 2016 by Chief Executive Officer Chris Keaveney (right) and Chief Credit & Analytics Officer Phillip Stegner, the fast-growing education lender has raised a total of $23.4 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. [Photo via Meritize]

Founded in 2016 by Chief Executive Officer Chris Keaveney (right) and Chief Credit & Analytics Officer Phillip Stegner, the fast-growing education lender has raised a total of $23.4 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. [Photo: Courtesy Meritize]

9. Texas Ranks No. 2 in ‘Best States for Black Entrepreneurs’ Study

We asked a few locals what makes Texas, and Dallas-Fort Worth, a great place for black entrepreneurs—and what challenges still remain.

Dallas-based Hacware CEO Tiffany Ricks (left) with Product Manager Carine Wete. [Photo: Sapir Matmon/Hacware]

10. Dallas Aerospace Startup FusionFlight Takes Off With Fully Autonomous Drone

FusionFlight, which received a $50,000 seed investment in 2016, has built and tested “the world’s smallest and most powerful jet-powered drone with vertical take-off and landing capabilities.”

Alexander Taits is the CEO and founder of FusionFlight. [Photo: Courtesy FusionFlight]

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