Dallas Innovates 2021: The Resilience Issue

The collective strength of the innovation ecosystem and intellectual capital in Dallas-Fort Worth is a force to be reckoned with.

dallas innovates magazine 2021

Quincy Preston and Duane Dankesreiter Dallas Innovates2020 was a year like no other. Dallas-Fort Worth faced a global pandemic, a recession, and social unrest that challenged our community to its core. Yet we’re still here—heads held high, guiding the way out, asking others to follow. We’re a resilient, creative, and innovative community of disruptors and game-changers. We build what’s new and next, seizing on the opportunity to shape a better future for everyone.

Through it all, we’re seeing a startup boom. Census Bureau data show new business creation in 2020 at one of the highest levels ever seen. Whether born of necessity from being laid-off or from an idea in response to the COVID economy, entrepreneurs are flourishing in the face of adversity.

History shows some of the country’s biggest companies emerging out of the depths of recession.  A 2009 Kaufman Foundation study found that over half of the companies on that year’s Fortune 500 list launched during a recession or bear market. Don’t be surprised to see a few Dallas-Fort Worth companies that are being built today (including a few featured in this magazine) go on to be the household names of tomorrow. They’ll join our vibrant community of corporate innovators who are leading the way in emerging technologies.

Companies are building their centers of excellence in Dallas-Fort Worth with artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, and IoT. The region has emerged this year as a hub for cybersecurity and fintech, as well as autonomous vehicles and innovations in mobility. The world also has taken notice of our biotech community. That sector’s importance to society at large—and the region in particular—has been amplified in the pandemic. CBRE recently named Dallas-Fort Worth No. 6 on their list of emerging biotech areas in the U.S.

Dallas-Fort Worth’s innovation ecosystem provides support for companies that are already here, and we see others flocking to the region for our strong business environment and great quality of life. We also have some of the brightest and most talented individuals around. This year, the Dallas Regional Chamber put a stake in the ground and said Dallas-Fort Worth is the intellectual capital of Texas. The collective strength of our many universities combined is formidable. We have more Carnegie-designated top-tier research universities than any other Texas metro, and we’re the No. 1 region in Texas for higher education enrollment and degree completion. Most importantly, when those students graduate, they stay and go to work for our local companies.

Innovation can be a force for good that makes us stronger. Our community has passionate leaders who dedicate their time, talent, and treasure to make the world a better place. New social impact companies have been built nearly overnight to help those who have been most affected by the crisis. Networks of innovators have organized to tackle the crisis head on. We’ve seen our brightest minds build new technologies that help us work better and become safer. The pandemic has brought out the best in us. 

Dallas Innovates is built to tell those stories—our stories. It dives deep into who we are. We’re a community with unmatched resilience, energy, and potential. We invite you to read our fourth annual print edition and request a copy of the next issue. You can also sign up for our daily newsletter to learn how Dallas Innovates Every Day. 

Quincy Preston
Publisher and Editorial Director, Dallas Innovates

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

Dallas Innovates, published by Dallas Next, is a collaboration with the Dallas Regional Chamber. 


Disruption breeds innovation, and North Texans have shown us they are extraordinary.  In the pages of Dallas Innovates 2021, you’ll find:


Disruption Breeds Innovation
In a year far from ordinary, North Texans prove the best plans are born from the trenches.

Fueling the Future
The new North Texas Center for Mobility Technologies is powering industry innovation with expertise from local research universities.

The ‘Human Element’
Work Shield is creating more effective harassment reporting in today’s workplace—home.

Unconventional Circumstances
Local entrepreneurs who have not only survived, but thrived, during COVID share their take on resilience.

Worlds Protect
Dallas startup Worlds has developed a rapid one-breath COVID test that’s proof of the power in asking, ‘What if?’

Electrifying the Future
An all-electric vehicle ridesharing platform in Dallas is driving cleaner air through green solutions.

Learning Leaders
These DFW education leaders are finding ways to bridge the instructional divide heightened by COVID.


Destination Next
Dallas is headed to Mars—sort of. A Dallas-based manufacturer of high-power radio frequency solutions could see its products in space.

Emerging Tech Trends
As our next normal plays out, here are the emerging technologies that will reshape how we live and work.


Tech Comes of Age in DFW
The Dallas region is No. 2 in tech job openings on CompTIA’s Tech Town Index—surpassing even San Francisco.

Industrial Impact
Digital logistics and supply chain hubs are big business.


Future 50
Meet the standout North Texans who are innovating—for our new normal and the next.


Special Advertising Section
Musings on innovation from the region’s paradigm-shifting companies and organizations.


Female Funders
Meet 12 women shaking up the future of startup investment in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Female Founders Talk Funding
For these four successful women entrepreneurs, finding the money wasn’t easy—but they did it.

Riding the Funding Wave
COVID brought in-person meetings and pitches to a screeching halt this year, but that didn’t stop deals from getting done.

Six to Watch
Early-stage fundings in DFW last year.

Exit Strategies
From IPOs to M&As, 2020 saw plenty of action in DFW. One of them, Taysha Gene Therapies (featured in our Future 50) went from stealth to IPO in about five months. Here are other notable deals.

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