Find the most recent edition here.
Thursday, March 31
“There’s no question that the world is going mobile.“
…on the Dallas firm’s $525 million acquisition and the importance of securing mobile devices.
Dallas-based Zimperium—a mobile security platform—is being acquired in a $525 million deal by Washington, D.C.’s Liberty Strategic Capital, a firm led by former Goldman Sachs CIO and Trump Administration appointee Steve Mnuchin.
As the world goes mobile, operating systems like Android and iOS are playing a bigger role in powering the devices people use in their personal and professional lives, Mittal says.
“But what many people don’t realize is that protecting these devices is much different from protecting traditional endpoints and requires a new approach,” he added in a statement. You can read more from our Tuesday story here.
Wednesday, March 30
“Every day I wake up in DFW, I’m grateful that I’m in the commercial real estate winner’s locker room.“
The Crowther Group
…on the direct link between DEI and business success.
Crowther’s Dallas-based commercial construction and design-build firm works with clients across the retail, healthcare, office, restaurant, and education sectors.
The firm—which considers diversity a strategic business advantage—was recently named the general contractor for the Dallas Housing Authority’s 29,000-square-foot headquarters building expansion. Other notable Crowther Group projects include the remodeling of more than a dozen Target stores in Texas and Louisiana, partnering to build Parkland Hospital’s Outpatient Clinic, and constructing a new facility for Dallas ISD’s Early College High School at Mountain View.
Several months before the company celebrated its fifth-year anniversary in March, The Crowther Group came in at No. 7 in the Dallas 100, Southern Methodist University’s Cox Business School’s annual list of the top 100 fastest growing privately-owned companies in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“Our leadership team believes that inclusion should exist across all levels, including a diversity of thought in business relationships, which has been the catalyst to our growth in the region,” Crowther told Dallas Innovates. “As we continue to grow, embracing diversity in every aspect of our business—from how we work together to how we procure goods and services—is vital to our long-term success.”
You can read more from our conversation with Crowther in our story here.
Tuesday, March 29
“It is clear the future is fur-free.”
Geoffroy van Raemdonck
Neiman Marcus Group
…on NMG’s commitment to eliminate fur products from its assortments by March 2023.
Last June, Neiman Marcus Group committed to eliminate fur products from its assortments by March 2023. Today, the company shared its progress in making the fur stop flying from all NMG brands, including Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.
To date, fur inventory levels across NMG have been reduced by more than half, the company said.
NMG has begun to introduce several new “sustainable and ethical [fur] alternatives” to its luxury customers. The retailer is eying brands with innovative materials, such as plant-based faux fur and apple leather.
“As a leader in luxury retail, NMG has an opportunity to help build a better future for our industry,” van Raemdonck said in a statement. “Since our announcement, we’ve seen many of our brand partners join this movement, further assisting our efforts to implement this much-needed change and create a more sustainable future for fashion.”
NMG says it worked closely with the Humane Society of the United States last year to create its new animal welfare policy.
As it transitions its fur salons into repurposed experiences and spaces, NMG will continue to offer customers access to “fur services”—including storage, alterations, and repairs. But these services have an ESG angle too:
“Our experts are trained on caring for, maintaining, and altering existing fur products, lowering the demand for new ones while driving progress toward our ESG goal to extend the useful life of 1,000,000 luxury items through circular services by 2025,” said Chris Demuth, NMG’s SVP of people services, ESG, and belonging, in the statement.
Monday, March 28
“What you’re seeing now is…the most robust, automated, and connected vehicle ecosystem in the country and certainly within the state.”
Transportation Planner, Automated Vehicle Technology
North Central Texas Council of Governments
…on the current whirlwind of autonomous vehicle testing and activity in North Texas.
At a NCTCOG meeting earlier this month, an additional $3 million was allocated to fund five autonomous vehicle projects across Dalla-Fort Worth, adding to more than $31 million the council approved to test technology capabilities in the region.
One of the projects that’s part of the second round of the RTC’s Automated Vehicles Program includes $1.5 million to bring an autonomous parking system to DFW International Airport.
“Parking is vital, it’s another one of these vital bridge technologies,” Hail said. “It’s something that’s happening now…and it’s only going to accelerate. Finding ways to do parking differently in the light of these technologies, that’s a really great opportunity.”
Meanwhile in Arlington, funding from the NCTCOG and the FAA has helped the RAPID program—short for Rideshare, Automation, and Payment Integration Demonstration—has provided more than 28,000 trips around Arlington’s downtown and the UT Arlington campus since beginning in March 2021.
And up in McKinney, the city aims to use autonomous vehicles to deliver food and medications to underserved areas in the community. NCTCOG and the city of McKinney are seeking to partner with nonprofit Feonix-Mobility Rising to bring two autonomous vehicles to the city to serve senior residents, the disabled, and those living in poverty.
This is all on top of DFW’s status as a growing center for autonomous driving technologies, with companies like Kodiak Robotics, Aurora, and TuSimple operating in the region—and partnerships with local universities driving mobility tech forward on both land and in the air. You can read more about it all in our story here.
Friday, March 25
“I don’t want to see what a player did last year, I want to see what’s about to happen.”
Co-Founder and CEO
…on raising $3.5 million for her Dallas-based real-time sports prediction platform.
Dallas-based nVenue is a real-time B2B sports prediction platform that made one of its first major public debuts on NBC Sports last year. nVenue fed a live feed of its tech as part of NBC’s broadcast of a Chicago White Sox- Oakland A’s game, along with other MLB games after that.
The startup takes real-time data about what’s happening during a sports game, offering users graphs and stats. Then, running the data through its “millions of models,” it’s able to show predictive percentages of what might happen on the very next play.
Pracht sees big opportunities in the “micro bets” space, allowing sportsbooks to take small-sized bets on individual game moments—with nVenue able to deliver around 15,000 betting opportunities in any given baseball game and about 8,000 in a football game.
Earlier this month, nVenue announced a $3.5 million seed round co-led by KB Partners and Corazon Capital.
“That world of fan engagement, watching, and betting is all just crashing together, and we have the perfect product for that,” Pracht said.
Thursday, March 24
“Workspaces should ebb and flow—just like the needs of businesses.”
CEO and Co-Founder
…on the office of the future.
“It’s clear that the office of the future will change more than any other time in recent memory,” McCann says. “Flexibility is the future.”
The experience we have gained by owning and operating a few buildings in DFW has allowed Vari to “think like an owner,” he says. The workspace innovator sees a niche for a new product—fully furnished, move-in-ready space.
The company that made its name with the standing desk and adjustable office furnishings dove into the North Texas office market, first renovating buildings in Las Colinas and Southlake. The company formerly known as VariDesk rebranded as Vari to reflect its entire platform of workspace innovation right before the pandemic. While that timing might have been less than ideal, McCann didn’t miss a beat developing Vari’s own headquarters in Coppell—basically its own proof of concept for the idea of a “building-as-a-service.”
McCann calls VariSpace a “living, breathing ideation lab and showroom for Vari to show building owners and operators a better way to serve their current and prospective tenants and monetize their assets.”
Read more office trends in our Q&A.
Wednesday, March 23
Gabby Everett, Ph.D.
BioLabs at Pegasus Park
…on the potential of the new BioLabs at Pegasus Park coworking and office space for biotech startups.
“If you can imagine it, and if you can do it in science, you can do it here,” says BioLabs Dallas Site Director Gabby Everett (above center), during a media tour of the organization’s newest coworking laboratory and office facility.
BioLabs in Dallas’ Biotech+ Hub at Pegasus Park officially opened yesterday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, and other luminaries.
Everett, who has six patents (with another eight or so in the pipeline), calls her role at BioLabs a dream job. “If you take the Venn diagram of science, communication, and service…BioLabs is right in the middle,” she said.
“The great thing about BioLabs is that we’re all scientists,” Everett said. “We’re entrepreneurs ourselves. We’ve all had been down in the dumps when a proof of concept experiment crashes and burns. And we’ve had the thrill of having a patent. So we’ve been through most of the cases that our scientists have been through and how to support them—and what connections we can help them with.”
You can take an inside “photo tour” of BioLabs and learn more in our story here.
Tuesday, March 22
“We have the CEIV Pharma community. We have expertise. We have facilities, cold chain, all these infrastructure processes in place.”
Milton De la Paz
VP of Airline Relations and Cargo
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
…on DFW Airport being one of just two in North America to have a CEIV Pharma certified community.
In today’s story on the opening of BioLabs at Pegasus Park, we note the growing momentum driving Dallas’ identity as a biotech hub. One key factor is DFW Airport’s status of being one of only two airports in North America with an IATA CEIV Pharma community.
DFW cargo stakeholders across the supply chain have been trained in providing the best environment and safe handling for pharmaceuticals and life science R&D needs, according to De la Paz.
The twin goals? To move biologics with quality assurance—and, ultimately, spawn a life sciences manufacturing cluster, thanks to logistics and supply chain companies at the ready.
The certification, earned in 2019, was timely. Operation Warp Speed quickly put a spotlight on the airport’s cold chain capabilities in the pandemic. You can read more about how De la Paz handled that and his vision for a Dallas-Fort Worth life sciences manufacturing and distribution cluster in our story here.
Monday, March 21
“It’s almost corporate malfeasance for a C-level executive at a Fortune 500 publicly traded company in San Francisco or New York not to be considering or studying a potential move.”
Executive Managing Director, Site Selection
… on what’s driving growth to Dallas-Fort Worth
Susan Arledge says we have to look at the state of Texas as a whole to understand what’s driving more and more growth to DFW. The prospect of a diverse talent pool, lower taxes, cheaper cost of living, and lifestyle benefits is driving more execs to look south.
Why Dallas-Fort Worth? The real estate exec ticks off the reasons in a Q&A.
Friday, March 18
“It looks like a beautiful puzzle.”
VP of of Research and Innovation
Dallas Regional Chamber
...on Dallas-Fort Worth’s richly diverse list of industries and innovations, which helped it bounce back from the pandemic faster than any other U.S. metro, via D Magazine.
According to a DRC report, Dallas-Fort Worth bounced back to pre-pandemic job levels faster than any other large metro in the U.S. One big reason why is that “beautiful puzzle” Griffin mentions above.
From attracting big HQ moves like Charles Schwab and AECOM to experiencing growth driven by airlines, infrastructure, CRE, and financial services, many puzzle pieces help make Dallas-Fort Worth thrive. Other big bounce-backs have come from trade, transportation, trade, utilities, and professional services sectors, D notes. Not to mention the autonomous trucking companies setting up hubs in the region and DFW’s long list of innovative, high-tech startups.
“We have a lot going on if we can tell the story correctly,” Griffin told D.
DRC’s vice president of economic development, Mike Rosa, couldn’t agree more.
“When you have times of trouble, you’ve got a lot of legs to stand on in terms of the economy, and it can serve you well,” Rosa told D. “Our economic risk is not so concentrated in one or two areas.”
“The pro-business environment of Dallas-Fort Worth is testified to by the companies that are here and that have come,” Rosa added. “They’re making decisions for the next 10 to 30 years.”
Thursday, March 17
“This isn’t just a sports documentary—it’s a romantic comedy—a love letter wrapped in baseball.”
...on the documentary “Facing Nolan.”
“Facing Nolan,” a new documentary covering the life and career of former Texas Rangers All-Star pitcher Nolan Ryan, will have its world premiere on Sunday, May 1, in an unusual—but perfectly appropriate—venue: Globe Life Field in Arlington.
The movie will be screened on the ballpark’s video boards following the Rangers’ 1:35 p.m. game against the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. A post-game ceremony and Q&A will intro the documentary, which had advanced screenings this week at SXSW.
“Nolan Ryan is enshrined in Cooperstown as a Texas Ranger,” said John Blake, the Rangers’ EVP of public affairs, in a statement. “It’s only fitting that our fans should have the first opportunity to see his documentary at Globe Life Field.”
Another reason for screening it on May 1: It’s the 31st anniversary of Ryan’s seventh and final no-hitter, hurled against the Toronto Blue Jays at Arlington Stadium when he was 44 years old.
But the doc is about much more than Nolan’s baseball stats (5,714 strike-outs, the fastest pitch at 108.1 MPH, 51 MLB records, and his seven no-no’s). It’s also about Nolan’s life, his wife, and the road he’s lived along the way. And it’s a good-natured throwback to a simpler American era—when 100 MPH fastballs thrown “inside” were what got people talking.
“‘Facing Nolan’ is a movie that transcends beyond baseball fandom and one that everyone will enjoy,” said Harper, whose firm co-represents the doc with XYZ Films. “It’s a four-quadrant film that families, couples, and people of all ages absolutely must see.”
Wednesday, March 16
“‘Do you want your teachers, your public servants, living in your community?’ This is a tool for us to work together for that to happen.”
SVP of Affordable Housing
...on JPI’s strategy of building affordable workforce housing close to where people work, via Bisnow Dallas-Fort Worth.
Irving-based JPI is a national developer, builder, and investment manager of multifamily properties. As a tight labor market grips North Texas and the U.S. at large, JPI believes one solution is to develop more affordable housing near where people work.
“A lot of communities…have figured out that to be a healthy community, you’ve got to have good housing for everybody—from the bottom of the totem pole to the top,” Combs told Bisnow.
In one case he cited, H-E-B declined to build a supermarket in an affluent, northern Dallas-Fort Worth suburb because it couldn’t find 200 workers who lived within 45 minutes to come live there. “You only want millionaires, and millionaires don’t want to work in grocery stores,” Combs quoted H-E-B as telling the suburb.
There’s a “missing middle” in our cities, Combs says, for “the people who make too much to live in tax-credit funded housing, but really squeeze to be able to live in market-rate housing. … Teachers, firemen, policemen, public servants, and childcare workers… they’re getting priced out,” the SVP told Bisnow.
JPI’s solution is to form public-private partnerships that enable developers to build properties with 50% of the units offered at fixed rents. Combs says this removes the cost burden on cities, especially smaller ones with less funds to spur development.
JPI has already partnered on two such projects with the cities of Rowlett and Anna, Combs told Bisnow, and it has six more prospective projects lined up.
Tuesday, March 15
“If ever there was a time to celebrate teachers, that time is now.”
Founder and Artistic Director
...on the one-woman show “No Child…” coming April 1-17.
Nilaja Sun’s award-winning “No Child…”—a one-woman, tour-de-force exploration of the New York City public school system—is coming to Amphibian’s main stage at 120 S. Main St. in Fort Worth April 1-17.
Called “marvelous…touching and funny,” by the New York Times, the show stars TV, film, and stage star Kymbali Craig (above). She’ll embody 16 characters from students to teachers, parents, and administrators “to weave the complex and bittersweet realities of under-resourced public school life,” according to the theater.
Culebro calls the show “a beautiful homage to the persistence it takes for educators to do their jobs well. We want them to feel seen, heard, thanked and supported. Theirs is a monumental and heroic task that should receive the greatest of accolades. The play is Amphibian’s offering to them, and an invitation to all to come together to laugh and commiserate with them for an evening.”
“No Child…” was named Outstanding New American Play at the Outer Critics Circle Awards and Best One-Person Show at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. It’s based on Sun’s eight-year experience as a teaching artist in high schools across the Lower East Side of New York City.
Monday, March 14
“An apprenticeship program is the next level of looking to the future… Enabling young minds fosters lifelong learners and shares some of our success with people in our community.”
President and CEO
...on partnering with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and CompTIA to establish a Registered Apprenticeship Program.
Meek’s Fort Worth-based Fulcrum Group, an IT managed services provider, is partnering with the American Institutes for Research and CompTIA to establish a Registered Apprenticeship Program to train aspiring tech professionals.
The Fulcrum Group is the latest company to join CompTIA Apprenticeships for Tech, a national initiative to help employers fill current and long-term IT staffing needs through an “earn and learn” apprenticeship program. The program does this in a way that opens employment opportunities for more people from diverse backgrounds.
“We’ve been committed to our community for years via donations and time, and an apprenticeship program is the next level of looking to the future,” Meek said in a statement. “The next generation of technologists may not come from a college, or have the financial resources, or be in a position to easily gain the technical foundation to be successful.”
You can read more about Fulcrum Group’s program in our story here.
Other North Texas companies are also taking part in the Apprenticeships for Tech program. Last September, Plano-based RGB CustomPC—which designs custom-built desktop PCs for gaming, streaming, esports, and more—announced it was participating to upskill its current employees and create a long-term plan to attract talent.
Friday, March 11
“In this world, we can help students build businesses and take them public within this metaverse.”
Founder and CEO
...on bringing Dallas ISD an “educational metaverse” virtual platform for its students, via Dallas Observer.
In December, we wrote about STEMuli’s “educational metaverse” being piloted at Dallas Hybrid Preparatory at Stephen J. Hay school in Oak Lawn—Texas’ first permanently hybrid school blending online and in-person teaching.
The metaverse gives Hybrid Prep’s fourth-through sixth-graders an online remote learning experience that’s a lot like a video game.
This week Shead told Dallas Oberver one of her aims is to give kids a good reason to complete their education.
“We felt like the reason why people were not choosing to continue their education was because they had to work and they had to provide for their families,” she told the D.O. “We wanted to come up with a way that gave them the ability to do both: provide for their families and increase their earning potential.”
STEMuli is taking consumer technology into the classroom to get kids excited about learning—and earning. “That’s something we feel education has failed at doing for years,” she tells the D.O., adding that her firm aims to bring “workplace learning” into core subjects:
“One thing we recognized early is that it was very difficult for employees at Microsoft, just as an example, to leave work and get into the classroom. So, our first mission was, well before the pandemic, starting in 2016, we wanted to develop a platform that could connect these high school students to these virtual mentors and internships in order to get them better prepared for life after high school.”
Since launching with Dallas ISD, STEMuli has gone on to work with Fort Worth ISD, Garland ISD, San Antonio school districts, and others on the East Coast.
Thursday, March 10
“SXSW is fast-approaching! What events are you going to?”
Chief of Staff
...on SXSW’s March 11-20 Conference, via LinkedIn.
Reeves is pursuing an MBA at SMU’s Cox School of Business while actively “supporting the North Texas startup & VC ecosystem” through her work with Venture Dallas. She’s also doing an internship for Clearco’s Venture Partnerships channel and an MBA Internship at Interlock Partners, following earlier ones at Blossom Street Ventures and Goldman Sachs.
Like many in North Texas, she’s heading to Austin for SXSW Conference 2022, which begins tomorrow, March 11, and runs through March 20.
One person who responded to Reeves’ LinkedIn question was Marc Nathan, VP of client strategy at Austin’s Egan Nelson LLP, who shared a link to his live Google doc VIP Insider’s Guide to SXSW 2022. It’s an up-to-the-minute overview of special events and VIP activities during SXSW.
“There are many other guides that focus on parties or free food, but this one is designed for technology industry Business Professionals to get the most out of their time in Austin,” Nathan writes.
Wednesday, March 9
“I said ‘yes’ to every opportunity… I didn’t know what all of this was setting me up to achieve.”
President and CEO of CARCON Industries and Construction
Founder and CEO of STL Engineers
...on seizing opportunities on her way to becoming a CEO and Dallas city leader, via D CEO.
Acosta—the chairwoman-elect of the Dallas Citizens Council—may have lots of favorite words. But “no” doesn’t seem to be one of them.
In a D CEO profile, she says she’s spent her life saying “yes” to things, starting with her first job working for Ted Strauss, the founder of Republic Property Group.
She’d grown up in the construction world (her father built refineries in Texas), so she caught on quick in her new job. When she was asked to be a lobbyist, she said yes—and began shuttling to Austin between regular Dallas City Council meetings. Along the way, she learned the ropes of connection and leadership.
“I didn’t realize it then, but it was the way my life was supposed to be,” she tells D CEO.
Later, she relaunched her father’s construction business as CARCON and realized the industry was meant for her. “Being in my jeans and my boots and my hard hat and watching things get built was phenomenal,” Acosta tells D CEO. “I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
She also founded her own engineering company, and eventually tackled big jobs like upgrading terminals at DFW Airport and doing “highly complex” expansions for DART.
Today, she’s still saying yes—not just to taking the chair of the Dallas Citizens Council, but to being on the boards of companies like Veritex Holdings, Vistra Corp., and Magnolia Oil and Gas Corp. Her achievements have led her to be a 2022 laureate for Junior Achievement’s Dallas Business Hall of Fame. And in April she’ll receive another honor: the TWU Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award.
Tuesday, March 8
“No one in DFW CRE was terribly surprised to see that Dallas owned the #1 spot for transaction volume in the US in 2021. Seeing that we also hold that spot of new investors is that much more exciting.”
Kate Alpert Cavanaugh
VP, Senior Business Development Officer
Stewart Title National Commercial Services
...on Dallas being the No. 1 U.S. property market for new investors in 2021, via LinkedIn.
As VP at Dallas-based Stewart Title National Commercial Services, Cavanaugh has a lot of key roles. One of them is researching and analyzing trends and data in the CRE market, both locally and nationally.
Late last week, she posted her quote above on LinkedIn, drawing attention to a March 1 “RCA “Insights” article by Real Capital Analytics.
In the article, writer Alexis Maltin charts the top 20 property markets in the U.S. for first-time investors. As seen below, Dallas tops the 2021 list at No. 1, followed by Austin, Orlando, Phoenix, Miami/Dade County, and Houston.
“Dallas was a magnet for new investors in 2021, with more than $6 billion spent on commercial property by firms that hadn’t done a deal in the city before,” RCA writes in its own post about the article.
Monday, March 7
“The concept of Cityfunds is unique in the sense that we’re piggybacking on the growth of the cities.”
VP of Marketing
...on Nada’s index-like Cityfunds product.
We wrote last week about real estate tech startup Nada relocating its Dallas HQ from Uptown to Oak Lawn as it aims to grow its workforce from 15 to around 50 by end of this year.
In our story, Mody talked about Nada’s Cityfunds product, which allows people to invest in single-family rental homes and fractionally invest in owner-occupied homes.
After launching its city-specific, index-like Cityfunds product in partnership with crowdfunding investment platform Republic last summer, Nada has seen investors—both accredited and non-accredited—pour in more than $2 million into its first three Cityfunds in Dallas, Austin, and Miami.
The company is now expanding the product into Houston and other cities, launching a debit card, and expecting new funding soon.
Friday, March 4
“20 years ago, if you would’ve told me we’d be in Texas, I would say you’re crazy.”
Panther City Lacrosse Club
...on the new franchise’s inaugural Fort Worth season, via News8/WFAA.
With a value of nearly $7 billion, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the NFL, according to Sportico, and one of the most valuable on earth.
Now a new sports franchise has landed in Dallas-Fort Worth—but it has a ways to go to reach Jerry Jones‘ lofty heights.
The Panther City Lacrosse Club is having its inaugural season from its home base at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth. It’s the 14th franchise in the National Lacrosse League, which features indoor lacrosse—also known as “box lacrosse.”
The sport has long been popular in Canada, but Kelusky says it’s catching on fast in the U.S.—and the expansion to North Texas is a big sign of its growth here.
“We’re seeing kids who’ve never played before, but they’re picking up a stick and they’re having that excitement,” he told WFAA. “You know sports can do so many things.”
Will Malcolm, an offensive forward on the team, suggests that there’s more to life than touchdowns and field goals, and wants North Texans to find that out.
“A lot of people don’t know about lacrosse, and I think that if we get them out to one game they’ll be hooked and they’ll want to come back for more,” Malcolm told WFAA. “They should expect fast-paced, lots of entertainment, big hits, maybe some fights.”
Thursday, March 3
“We’re excited to show fans all the ways they can live life completely hands-free when we open the doors to the Hands-Free House.”
SVP of Marketing
Frito-Lay North America
…on the Hands-Free House “immersive experience” coming to SXSW.
Plano-based Frito-Lay has another fun marketing idea on its fingertips—literally. A new ad campaign shows people with orange-dusted Cheetos fingertips inventing a long series of hands-free tech innovations.
From March 12-19 at SXSW, they’ll have a whole houseful of examples at their Hands-Free House, an immersive experience with tech-enabled hands-free entry, smudge-free remote controls, and Alexa voice-controlled experiences like voice-activated appliances.
Every room in the house has been designed to showcase how technology can power everyday activities that normally require the use of your hands—leaving everything orange-fingerprint-free.
Wednesday, March 2
“The Startup Accelerator has always been about identifying emerging trends.”
President and CEO
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
…on selecting 10 companies, including two North Texas startups, for the annual Startup Accelerator sponsored by AICPA and CPA.com, via Journal of Accountancy.
Each year, the AICPA and CPA.com sponsor a Startup Accelerator for companies developing innovative solutions for the accounting space.
This year’s cohort includes two North Texas companies: Dallas-based Once Accounting Technologies, founded by Ford Baker (above left), and Frisco-based Knuula, founded by Jamie Peebles (above right).
The emerging trends our local startups are pursuing?
Once Accounting’s “touch-it-once” solution enables CPAs to gather client accounting data, map client data for tax returns, create book-to-tax adjustments, and consolidate client financials—and do it all “once…forever,” as we wrote in our profile last week.
Sometimes, simply making things easier is the key to success—and an ideal way to get into an accelerator.
Tuesday, March 1
“The most extreme parts of our resort are actually set up to be able to train Olympic-level athletes.”
Alpine-X Indoor Snowsports Resorts
…on his company’s eyeing Dallas and Austin for indoor snowsports resorts, via the Dallas Morning News.
Emery’s indoor snowsports resorts company is backed by Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller—and it’s now evaluating sites in both Dallas and Austin for potential venues.
The rendering above shows the company’s proposed $200 million Fairfax Peak resort atop a capped landfill in Fairfax County, Virginia. The 450,000-square-foot facility aims to feature a 1,700-foot-long ski slope that tops out at 280 feet high.
“We’re purposely making it to where really the entire community can have this great resort experience,” Emery told the DMN, which notes that Alpine-X began seeking investors in September for a $5 million funding raise.
Don’t tug your snow boots on too soon, though—Fairfax Peak isn’t set to open until early 2025, and the startup is hoping to open its first Texas location in 2026.
Monday, February 28
“The rebirth of downtown Dallas is more than 20 years in the making.”
Amy Tharp and Mattia J. Flabiano
Interim CEO and Board Chair
Downtown Dallas Inc.
…on the impact of redeveloping the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, via the Dallas Morning News.
Tharp and Flabiano say the achievements of those 20-plus years is “the result of deliberate planning and painstaking advocacy for a vibrant, walkable, connected urban core.”
Now, perhaps the biggest plan of all is taking shape: the proposed $2 billion redevelopment of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, and the potential development that will surround it. A plan for the modernization was recently approved by the Dallas City Council.
In an opinion column in today’s DMN, Tharp and Flabiano say the redevelopment is “a rare opportunity to realize multiple long-envisioned and transformational initiatives that collectively reposition the southern half of downtown into a well-connected, vibrant neighborhood anchored by a modernized and repurposed convention center at its core.”
The authors say the redevelopment will “advance urban mobility, build complete neighborhoods, and promote great placemaking—while supporting existing and planned private developments in and around downtown and the Cedars neighborhood to the south, including the planned Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail hub.”
That’s why they support a November ballot initiative on a 2% hotel occupancy tax increase to help fund the project.
“Residents, business leaders, developers and tourists continue to be bullish on downtown Dallas, with good reason,” they write. “Let’s keep the momentum moving with this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
Friday, February 25
“Physical therapy and what we’re calling physical health is an area that’s ripe for disruption.”
Assistant VP of Innovation Ecosystems
UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth
…on the launch of the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator.
Cushman—seen above left with Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and Trey Bowles, the accelerator’s managing director, at Fort Worth City Hall—is part of the team behind the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator.
It’s the first North Texas location for Techstars, a Boulder, Colorado-based global investment platform, and the first “true accelerator program” in Fort Worth, Cushman says.
And it all started with a tweet. While at an airport in Colorado about three years ago, Cushman saw a tweet from the Boulder-based organization asking where it should set up shop next, Bowles said.
That eventually led to HSC receiving $4.8 million from Fort Worth and Tarrant County’s federal Rescue Plan Act funds to support the accelerator’s launch in Fort Worth.
Applications for the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth program, which kicks off in September, opened this week. Over the next three years, the organization will host annual 10-company cohorts in Fort Worth for the 13-week program, which includes networking and mentorship, to be capped off with a “Demo Day” showcase—with a chance to receive up to $120,000 in seed funding.
Thursday, February 24
“This state and region have a rawhide, independent, welcoming, casual, smart culture. Our values and style set the tone.”
Billingsley Co.’s Cypress Waters is one of three developments profiled in “Evolutionary Vision: Leaders of Top North Texas Mixed-Use Developments Reveal What It Takes to Mark Success Across Decades,” which just appeared in our sister print publication DALLAS Commercial Real Estate.
Dallas-Fort Worth commercial real estate is now a top draw for foreign investors, the article notes—with Dallas rated first among large U.S. metros for investment in the first half of 2021. And pandemic-fueled moves by people and companies mean a greater need for all kinds of development, as the region continues to lead the pack in population growth.
Billingsley says the lead-up to today’s boom started well before the pandemic—and its roots are in the culture.
“The momentum in Texas, like many things, has been a long time in coming,” she says. “Other places have different styles and culture where for years it’s getting tougher and tougher to do business, while here it’s getting better.”
Wednesday, February 23
“Dallas didn’t make the Top 50 globally…but we’re working on that.”
…on Dallas as an emerging market for AI startups, via LInkedIn.
Dallas-based AI investor Evans offers a list of his own in a recent LinkedIn post:
“Our top markets for AI startups at Sentiero are:
2) New York
4) San Francisco
Sentiero invests in early seed stage AI-enabled SaaS companies that help companies make money, save money, or improve customer experiences. We wrote last June about the first investment made by their AI-focused fund.
In the post, Evans links to a Harvard Business Review article on “50 Global Hubs for Top AI Talent.” San Francisco tops the list at No. 1, followed by New York City, Boston, Seattle, and Bangalore, India. From No. 5 to 10 on the list are Los Angeles, London, Beijing, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Austin makes the list at No. 12.
“Naturally geography plays a role,” he writes, “but it’s interesting to compare what we’re seeing with the broader macro trends.”
Tuesday, February 22
“The odds of being a researcher in this field and also being the father of a patient are mind-boggling.'”
Dr. Shashank Sirsi
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
University of Texas at Dallas
…on learning that his baby son had a rare cancer that he’d been studying for years, via UT Dallas News Center.
Neurblastoma is a rare form of brain cancer that affects 700 to 800 children each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Dr. Sisi has spent the last 10 years investigating therapies that could help treat it, along with other cancers.
Then one day his wife, Dr. Priya Joshi, felt a lump in the abdomen of their baby boy, J.D. At only 3 months old, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
“It’s a very strange position to be in, having studied this disease for quite a long time, and having the awakening and realization that in over 10 years that I’ve been in this field, I’d never met a neuroblastoma patient. It had all been theoretical for me,” Sirsi said in a statement.
With the cancer already spreading to J.D.’s liver, he received immediate chemotherapy. He’s now in partial remission from his disease, which has higher cure rates than other forms of neuroblastoma. His most recent scan was negative for cancer, and his tumors are expected to go away on their own.
“His prognosis is great,” Sirsi said. “This is the best-case scenario for kids with neuroblastoma.”
Now Sirsi and his team work at his UT Dallas lab with more urgency than ever, exploring nonviral gene therapy approaches on hard-to-treat tumors.
The team is also investigating the use of augmented reality to guide therapy, sponsoring a UTDesign senior capstone team to develop a clinical system that can superimpose real patient imaging data, so doctors can see tumors in the body and apply ultrasound treatment.
“High-risk neuroblastoma cure rates are getting better, but it’s still a deadly disease,” Sirsi said. “Until J.D. was diagnosed, there were a lot of things I didn’t think about from a scientist’s perspective about what these kids have to go through. This has been an awakening, a learning experience and something that’s going to help guide my research for the rest of my life.”
Friday, February 18
“Like everyone else in the world, we hopped on a Zoom call and said ‘what’s next?'”
Rollin’ n Bowlin’
…on how his brand pivoted during the pandemic, via LinkedIn.
Patry and his co-founder, Sophia Karbowski, launched Rollin’ n Bowlin’ in 2017 while attending Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University. The entrepreneurial management students saw a need for a healthy food option on campus and opened their own food truck to fill the hole.
Since then, the duo has expanded the startup into storefront cafes, an e-commerce site, and a retail brand. We wrote about their progress last August, and how they were paying things forward with a “Bowls n Goals” mentorship and grant program for students across the country.
Patry took to LinkedIn recently with another sign of progress: “Our new dates filled with nut butters are now stocked in 340 Sprouts Farmers Markets across the country (right by the checkout)!”
He mused back to the early days of the pandemic, when “COVID temporarily shut down our Rollin’ n Bowlin’ college campus cafés, and our revenue went to zero.”
“No time was spent dwelling on the past or asking ‘Why/how did this happen to us?'” he writes. “So we decided to launch a whole new consumer package business to make it through. About a month and a half later, we were shipping frozen smoothie/bowls across the country with insulation and dry ice.”
“Today, our consumer package goods (CPG) company is quickly growing through retailers,” he adds, “and we’re ‘spreading healthy vibes’ by introducing innovative products the market has never seen before!”
Thursday, February 17
“In 2015, you saw no commercials with electric cars.”
Founder, President, and CEO
Revitalize Charging Solutions
…on all the EV spots shown during Sunday’s Super Bowl, via Fort Worth Report.
Morgan had a great time watching the Super Bowl Sunday, and not because he’s a Rams fan.
Watching one electric vehicle commercial after another was the ideal binge-watch for the Fort Worth founder, whose EV charging company is a TechFW client. More EVs from more automakers just means more business for Revitalize’s commercial and home charging systems.
The company’s clients include Hillwood, Cook Children’s, Acre Distilling Co., and the city of Arlington. It currently has 50+ charging locations in the Fort Worth area, with around 150 slated by year end, FWR says.
Morgan told FWR that in 2015, “People correlated electric vehicles to being a very expensive product. So I think, at that time, that’s what slowed it down. But as they got cheaper and batteries started to decrease in cost, more infrastructure was starting to be put out on the ground. You started to see people start to navigate toward electric vehicles as a whole.”
But he sees a big wave coming:
“With the price of electric cars decreasing, you will start to see homes with two electric cars.”
Wednesday, February 16
“I’m not an advocate for any industry. I’m an advocate for people being able to think for themselves and to make decisions for themselves.”
U.S. SEC Commissioner
… on the future of decentralized finance, via Dallas Business Podcast.
Commissioner Peirce spoke with Earlina Green Hamilton, advisory board member of the Texas Blockchain Council and host of the Dallas Business Podcast.
The current season of Dallas Business Podcast is all about virtual currency, digital security, and blockchain tech. Peirce has good things to say, as well as a caution:
“Crypto allows us to do some things we couldn’t do before, which is to better coordinate human activity, to better enable people to work together, to better compensate people for their contributions,” Peirce says. “I think that a lot of people are seeing the value of this technology in bringing people together for cooperative efforts.”
“[But] people are looking at it as a way to make money quickly, and so I want to always caution people,” she added. “Be careful. Think about what you’re doing. Those old lessons of ‘if it’s too good to be true it probably is’ apply.”
“Don’t go into things expecting that you’re going to become rich overnight. Go into something because you understand the value proposition for why you’re going in. You see something real there. That’s when you should go into it.”
Tuesday, February 15
“[Autonomous ships] would be perfect for mapping large swaths of the oceans.”
Robert Stern, PhD.
Professor of Geosciences
… on an AI-powered “Mayflower” crossing the Atlantic this spring while collecting scientific data, via Smithsonian Magazine.
ProMare, a marine research nonprofit, developed the Mayflower Autonomous Ship seen above. It’s slated to repeat the original Mayflower’s journey from England to America this spring, collecting scientific data along the way.
The 49-foot-long unmanned ship is powered by IBM’s AI software, as well as energy from the sun through its solar panels. It also has a battery-powered diesel generator, but the cool stuff is its tech: six AI cameras and dozens of sensors that can test everything from seawater’s oxygen content to underwater fluorescence to the chemical composition of liquids.
But what it lacks is sonar to map the ocean floor, something Dr. Stern is excited about.
“Right now, we have first-order bathymetry for the world oceans from orbital gravity [data], but that’s pretty coarse compared to what you get from a hull-mounted sonar,” Stern told Smithsonian.
Turns out the new Mayflower is too small to carry the equipment needed to map the ocean’s floor in high enough resolution. But more AI research ships are on the way that will have “much more payload for science,” according to the article.
Monday, February 14
“The last ten years have been nuts, but the next ten years are going to be even crazier!“
Founder and CEO
… on Dallas-Fort Worth ranking second for most flex-office space in North America, via LinkedIn.
Clark’s coworking company was acquired by WeWork in January. Its 23 locations in Texas and North Carolina will now be known as “Common Desk, a WeWork Company.”
Citing a recent CBRE study reported by the Dallas Morning News, Clark believes the flex work boom will only continue, and the momentum is happening right here.
“Dallas / Fort Worth is now the second-largest market in the country with over 5,000,000 RSF of flex office space accounting for over 2% of the total market,” Clark writes on LinkedIn.
“It’s felt like crazy growth, but I think most will agree that this sector of the industry is still in it’s infancy! Ten years ago Common Desk started with 3,000 RSF, which seemed like more than the market could handle at the time. We now account for almost 20% of the DFW market.”
Clark gives a shoutout to other Dallas-Fort Worth brands brands like WorkSuites and Vari “that are paving the way with us.”
“Flex is the future and it’s fun to see the rest of the industry embracing it,” he writes.
Friday, February 11
“Any chance I get to spend time with Seth AND eat potato chips is a win.”
… on starring with actor Seth Rogan in this year’s Lay’s Super Bowl commercial.
Plano-based Lay’s got Seth Goldberg and Paul Rudd to take a comical walk down memory lane for this year’s Super Bowl Lay’s spot.
In the spot, the tux-clad duo is reminiscing about their long Hollywood friendship, as we flash back to a series of endless disasters. In each one, they’re pounding down Lay’s.
Rogan collaborated on the spot’s script with Lay’s and his longtime writing partner, Evan Goldberg. The spot was directed by Goldberg.
“I love Paul and I love Lay’s, so co-writing this Super Bowl spot was really a no brainer!” Rogen said in a statement.
Super Bowl LVI kicks off Sunday at 5:30 CT.
Thursday, February 10
“We believe in the power of generations interacting.”
… on a Bezos Academy preschool coming to Forefront’s Presbyterian Village North senior living community in North Dallas.
We recently wrote about something unexpected coming to the Presbyterian Village North senior living community in North Dallas: a preschool.
And not just any preschool. Presbyterian Village North will be the first senior living community in Texas—and the second nationwide—to host a Montessori-inspired Bezos Academy on its campus.
Created by Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, the Bezos Academy has built a network of eight tuition-free preschools in underserved communities in Washington state. With this new addition—and two other Bezos preschools coming to Dallas College campuses this fall—Dallas is ground zero for the beginning of the academy’s national expansion.
Having preschoolers on the same grounds as seniors appeals to Forefront’s CEO.
“Presbyterian Village North is honored to join with the Bezos Academy to create an environment where children in North Dallas can become creative thinkers, lifelong learners and leaders,” he said in a statement. “We’re grateful for our partnership with LeadingAge Texas, who brought this opportunity to our attention, and we believe in the power of generations interacting.”
“We look forward to supporting the Bezos Academy’s mission of ‘lighting every fire’, which aligns with the Forefront Living mission of ‘making each moment matter,’” he added.
Wednesday, February 9
“The real Silicon Valley of the United States was in Dallas.”
Co-Founder and Director
Dallas Venture Capital
… on Richardson’s telecom corridor and his vision of the Dallas region’s future, via the Dallas Morning News.
Neemuchwala is the former CEO of WiPro, an India-based tech company with $8 billion in annual revenue. He left that company in June 2020 due to family commitments, and last September launched Dallas Venture Capital with his co-founder—investor, entrepreneur, and former tech exec Dayakar Puskoor.
“It’s more than what you see in the TV series,” Neemuchwala told the DMN, referring to how he spreads the word about Dallas. “To me, it’s an untold story: The real Silicon Valley of the United States was in Dallas.”
He’s talking about the history of Richardson’s telecom corridor, but he’s also talking about all the possibilities the region holds for the future.
“COVID-19 created an environment right now where there’s no more monopoly for the Bay area,” his co-founder Puskoor told the DMN. “You can be sitting anywhere in the world as a venture capitalist and as a startup.”
Their new VC firm, which was founded in September 2020, began proving that a few months later with its first big move, a $3.5 million investment in PLNAR, an Austin-based AI and AR startup that documents property damage with a tap on a smartphone.
Tuesday, February 8
“Every day is the Super Bowl.”
John Clay Wolfe
… on how he runs his wholesale car business and radio show, via D Magazine.
Wolfe’s Fort Worth-based wholesale car business, GiveMeTheVin.com, is the largest in the U.S. with $1.6 billion in annual revenue—selling 1,000 used vehicles to dealerships nationwide each week, writes D.
Wolfe has achieved all that, along with his success in hosting a nationally syndicated radio show, by overcoming a terrible incident in 2004, when he broke his back in a motocross accident near his Nocona, Texas, ranch. He was told by doctors that he would never walk again, and be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. But the former SMU Mustang defensive lineman was determined to prove them wrong.
A year and a half after the accident, he was able to walk with the aid of a walker. Before long, he was walking on his own.
He’s brought a lot of the same strengths to overcoming business adversities along his journey. His love for buying used cars began when he went to a live wholesaler auction as a dealer early in his career. “I just couldn’t believe my eyes,” he tells D. “I fell in love with it right then.”
But he also saw that there was a better way to do it…which eventually led to him founding GiveMeTheVin.com. His motto today?
“Get all you can for everything, but get them all gone. We are selling today’s market. Every day is the Super Bowl.”
Monday, February 7
“We should be thought of as the R&D space for society’s most intractable issues.”
President and CEO
… on the nonprofit space and the difference between creativity and innovation.
Sanders joined Michael Thomas, executive director at My Possibilities, for a discussion at the recent 2022 State of My Possibilities virtual event.
“I would like for us to start to think about nonprofit as research and development,” Sanders told Thomas. “We should be thought of as the experts on how to fix some of these things.”
The two men agreed on the importance of creativity and innovation in the charitable sector, saying: If we’re not changing, we’re not growing.
Sanders said that creativity is “a basic human trait that, if it [was a] muscle [and strengthened], it could lead to innovation.”
Thomas underscored the value of collaboration and partnership: “Don’t just fund, partner,” he said.
Friday, February 4
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that whoever controls the spectrum will control the battlespace. Astrapi’s capabilities help to achieve that critical advantage.”
Dr. Jerrold Prothero
Founder and CEO
… on Astrapi being awarded its second Phase II SBIR contract from the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX program.
We wrote last week that Dallas-based Astrapi had been awarded its second Phase II SBIR contract from the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX program. The goal: Enable warfighters to get more information through a radio channel while using less signal power. That will address issues with both congested and contested communication channels.
Astrapi plans to achieve that by implementing its advanced communication capability—spiral-based signal modulation—in a Software Defined Radio (SDR) prototype. The company, which was founded in 2009, calls spiral modulation “a revolutionary method of communication” and “a game-changing force in communications technology.”
This is Astrapi’s second Phase II SBIR contract awarded in the past four months, totaling nearly $1.5 million. It complements another project funded with support from the U.S. Space Force, focused on Symbol Waveform Hopping (SWH), a unique way to secure signal transmission. Astrapi is currently working with an SDR hardware partner—San Diego-based Space Micro—to demonstrate spiral modulation in a Ka-band radio that’s radiation hardened and suitable for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) deployment.
Read more about both projects in our story here.
Thursday, February 3
“You have guac to be kidding me.”
… on hearing Avocados From Mexico wanted him to star in its upcoming Super Bowl spot.
Irving-based Avocados From Mexico took last year’s Super Bowl off, but they’re coming back to the big game on Sunday, February 13, with a 30-second spot featuring Richter.
“When I found out Avocados From Mexico wanted to cast me for the ad, I thought, you have guac to be kidding me, I’m in!” Richter said in a statement. “Avocados are always good and when you ‘Addvocados’ to Roman times, plus throw in a legend like Caesar, it’s sure to be a good time.”
AFM hired Austin-based GSD&M to concept and produce the ad, which will mark the brand’s seventh Super Bowl appearance.
In a first, this year’s spot will kick off a brand campaign that will continue throughout the year.
You can see a teaser for this year’s spot here.
Wednesday, February 2
“We tested an indecisive LEGO groundhog.”
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth
… on the building of a LEGO groundhog to celebrate Groundhog Day.
Happy Groundhog Day—and we’ve got good news: LEGOLAND built a groundhog, and as you can see above, it does not see its shadow. That means North Texas will have an early spring.
It’s especially welcome because a cold front is slamming North Texas, bringing Friday lows of a bone-chilling 13 degrees.
There’s one fly (groundhog?) in the ointment, however—Amy’s Last Word above. Her groundhog is “indecisive” because it’s a non-sentient being that’s incapable of thought or movement.
So, its LEGOLAND handlers moved it around themselves, offering different photo options, including one where it did see its shadow, which would mean six more weeks of winter.
We’re sticking with the photo above, though—because we’re already too dang cold.
Tuesday, February 1
“Hotels and agencies are short-staffed and can’t afford time-consuming back-office activities.”
Chief Commercial Officer
… on the launch of his company’s Tax Services solution.
It’s tax time, and we don’t mean April 15. Yesterday was the deadline for companies across America to send 1099 forms to millions of payees. That’s just one example of back-office activities that can bog a company down—and a big reason why Dallas-based Onyx launched its new Tax Services solution today.
The solution, powered by Onyx’s CommPay service, can help hotels across the U.S. overcome the challenge of manually collecting, registering, and maintaining travel agency demographic data needed for tax prep relating to 1099 reporting.
“Onyx has a unique position on both sides of the commission transaction, so our ability to synthesize data and business needs between hotels and agencies is a core strength,” Wagner said in a statement.
“We believe the value added to our clients will be substantial, and we plan to expand this solution to other markets on the global stage,” he added.
Monday, January 31
“Our priorities for 2022 are really basic: It’s get back to normal, get staffed, and get stable.”
CEO (as of February 1)
… on plans to bring his airline back to profitability, via D Magazine.
The Dallas Regional Chamber did something last week it hadn’t done in person in two years: It hosted its annual meeting at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
The headliner was Southwest’s new CEO, Bob Jordan, who will take over the role on Tuesday following the departure of former CEO Gary Kelly.
In a chat with Melissa Reiff, former CEO and Chairwoman of The Container Store, Jordan talked about his first task: getting out and communicating with Southwest’s 54,000 employees.
“I’m not a person in a video somewhere. I’m a real person and I care about them,” he said at the Meyerson.
He’s about to meet a lot more, because he says Southwest is hiring “tens of thousands new employees.” He also discussed plans to grow the airline to “1,000 aircraft” while getting to 5,000 flights a day from the current 3,000 to 3,500.
Friday, January 28
“This moment is also a reflection. IT is no longer a male-dominated field. Women are making the headlines.”
SVP and Chief Information Officer
… on winning the CIO award at the Tech Titans awards gala earlier this month.
When Neelu Sethi won the Corporate CIO award at the 21st annual Tech Titans Gala earlier this month, she did more than make a point about women’s achievements in IT.
She also caused more than a few tears with her tribute to her father—who died six months ago after contracting COVID-19.
“I also want to take this moment to pay a tribute to my dad,” Sethi said in her acceptance speech. “He has been the strongest inspiration behind every success of mine and why I’m standing here.”
“As my Texas accent gives it away,” she joked, “I’m from India. Grew up in the house of 3 girls. At the time, India belonged to boys…. For girls it was turn 18 and become a housemaker.”
“My dad had a different path for me. He wanted all of his girls to become the most educated he could afford. He worked multiple jobs, and I had the privilege to have two masters degrees—mathematics and computers—from the most Ivy League college in India.”
“A family friend asked my dad, Why are you celebrating girls? My dad said, ‘Give my little ants 20-30 years, see how they grow wings. I will be the wind under their wings. They will become the most beautiful butterflies and the sky will be the limit.'”
“Thank you, Dad, for believing in me,” Sethi said. Then, to the hushed crowd: “I lost my Dad to COVID six months ago. He left the biggest hole in this heart. However, his teachings will always be my north star:
“‘Nothing will ever be given to you on a platter… You may have to work three times harder than your male counterparts. There is no shortcut to hard work.'”
Thursday, January 27
“Together our voices are lifted.”
Fort Worth entrepreneur
… on launching The FoundHers Club podcast
Texas women trailblazing new paths are the subject of Cortney Gumbleton’s new podcast. The FoundHers Club series features real stories told by women founders “who are re-defining entrepreneurship” and explores lessons learned through overcoming adversity—and even failure, she says.
Gumbleton, the founder of Fort Worth shared commercial kitchen incubator Locavore, says her reality is the guide for the podcasts. After “dramatic” pandemic pivots, the much-loved home for foodie trailblazers closed last year, but the mission-driven Gumbleton is continuing to support entrepreneurs with her latest launch.
The first podcast, “A Bright Future,” highlights The Bright Factory founder Megahn Forest Farmer. Farmer launched the company after a more than $60,000 Kickstarter campaign.
Wednesday, January 26
“In this day and age, I’m not 100% sure what the headquarters definition means.'”
Charles Schwab Corp.
… on the shifting definition of headquarters and office, via the Dallas Morning News.
In a Q&A, Bettinger addressed a range of topics including crypto, the pandemic, integrating TD Ameritrade into Schwab, and more.
One thing he touched on was the Westlake headquarters of his company.
“The vast majority of our people are working from home,” he told the DMN. “Virtually any employee who wants to work remotely will be able to do so unless the position absolutely prevents that.”
But Bettinger doesn’t see this leading to the shrinking of his HQ’s footprint:
“For a firm growing as rapidly as us, it’s probably less that we will shrink our footprint and more that we might not have to add as much despite our significant hiring.”
Tuesday, January 25
“There are a couple of deals that will probably emerge this spring that you will hear about and you will say, ‘Oh my goodness, this is awesome.'”
Dr. Eric Anthony Johnson
Chief of Economic Development and Neighborhood Services
City of Dallas
… on relocation deals looming for Dallas, via Dallas Business Journal.
Johnson, who recently announced he’s leaving his city of Dallas post to become president and CEO of an affordable-housing nonprofit in Minneapolis, is still getting calls from companies about relo opportunities.
“The work is about trying to reposition the city for the future, and despite [a few challenges], calls are coming for relocation opportunities,” he told the DBJ.
“It’s about how we can move at the speed expected in the 21st century to match the requirements in terms of what is being asked,” Johnson added.
Monday, January 24
“We need to go to the next level. We need to punch it up, because there’s this little town south of us that gets all the glory.”
President and CEO
The Richardson Chamber of Commerce/Richardson Economic Development Partnership and Tech Titans
… at the D CEO and Dallas Innovates’ Innovation Awards earlier this month.
“We have three times the number of tech firms and over 10 times the number of tech workers,” said Sproull, who was named Innovation Advocate of the Year at the 2022 Innovation Awards hosted by D CEO and Dallas Innovates.
“There was a reason the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office went to Dallas and not Austin,” he said in an acceptance speech that was a call to action. “Let’s punch it up, so next year we’ll celebrate even more accomplishments by the North Texas region.”
Sproull hosted Tech Titans’ own awards at a gala last week, where Gearbox Entertainment won the corporate Innovation Award, and the Frisco-based company’s CEO, Randy Pitchford, took home the corporate CEO award.
RevTech Ventures Managing Director David Matthews was inducted into the Tech Titans Hall of Fame, while Anurag Jain, managing director of Perot Jain and CEO of Access Healthcare, won the Community Hero award.
For the full list of top tech winners in North Texas, check out this roundup in the DBJ.
Friday, January 21
“Hire people who can figure things out, not people who ‘know everything.'”
Craig J. Lewis
Founder and CEO
…on how to choose your employees, via LinkedIn.
Gig Wage is a Dallas-based fintech that aims to simplify payroll for the gig economy. So Lewis knows more than his share about hiring.
On LinkedIn, his advice is simple:
“Hire people who can work alone and w/ others.”
“Hire people for where they are going, not where they are.”
“Hire for their ability and desire to grow and learn and improve.”
“This is compounding.”
Thursday, January 20
“You don’t have to be rich to be powerful.”
Founder and Managing Partner
…on possibilities, via Twitter.
Dallas native Hamilton launched her VC firm in 2015 to invest in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. She and her Los Angeles-based team have made it their mission to minimize funding disparities in technology.
“When I asked Mark Cuban, a billionaire, why he invested $6M into my fund when he doesn’t usually enjoy investing in other people’s funds, he said without hesitation, ‘you’re in rooms I’ll never be in,’ Hamilton tweeted last month.
“Think about how powerful that is,” she wrote. “You don’t have to be rich to be powerful.”
Eight hours later, her tweet had made nearly 600,000 impressions and had gained Hamilton 1,500 new followers. “I suspect a few things about it are resonating deeply,” she wrote.
Last year, Hamilton was featured in Dallas Innovates magazine along with 11 other women shaking up the future of startup investment funding in Dallas-Fort Worth. You can also read our in-depth Q&A with the change-making VC.
Wednesday, January 19
“It’s our job to get people to understand the importance of what we’re facing and what they can do to help the future of our planet.”
Senior VP of Marketing
…on the value of media and partnership in addressing climate change.
We caught up with Stark to recap EarthX’s involvement at November’s COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
A contingent of Dallasites traveled to Glasgow for the conference. Environmental conservation nonprofit EarthX, its founder Trammell S. Crow, then-Co-CEOs Lynn McBee and Michael Fletcher, and SVP of Impact Matt Tranchin hosted a series of events.
The events included the world premiere of the U.N.’s “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies. The campaign kicked off with a video featuring Frankie the Dino voiced by actor Jack Black.
In the video, Frankie urges humans to stop making excuses and start making changes to address the climate crisis. EarthX wasn’t involved in making the video, but as the campaign’s exclusive nonprofit media partner, it’s intimately involved in developing and executing the U.N. campaign’s strategy.
“We’ll be co-organizing events and creating partnerships to amplify the campaign’s impact throughout 2022 in the lead up to COP27,” Stark said.
Stark believes the video is memorable “because it took a serious issue like climate change and turned it on its head using humor and allowing important messages to penetrate.”
Read more in our story.
Tuesday, January 18
“Manufacturing [is] coming back to the States and our neighbors to the south in a BIG way. ”
Co-Founder and Partner
Paladin Partners Commercial Real Estate Services
… on what’s driving the “industrial explosion,” via LinkedIn.
Madsen’s firm moved from Plano to Dallas’ Galleria Tower III last year, where it continues to use cutting-edge technology to drive its CRE platform.
“Everyone talks about the growing e-commerce sector driving the industrial explosion,” Madsen writes on LinkedIn, “but another sector is really adding more fuel to the fire: Manufacturing. It’s coming back to the States and our neighbors to the south in a BIG way.”
Commenters from Midlothian to Michigan chimed in with enthusiastic responses.
“I’ve been preaching manufacturing since day one in Midlothian,” Kyle Kinateder, president and CEO of the Midlothian Economic Development, commented on the post. “The workforce in DFW plus the network of support shops make the metroplex the premier location for expanding manufactures!”
Friday, January 14
“On most days for most Americans, the provider network is the health plan.”
Leader of Healthcare Strategy Practice
Faegre Drinker Consulting
… announcing a new provider network optimization consortium.
The Irving-based Health Plan Alliance, in collaboration with Faegre Drinker Consulting and ATTAC Consulting Group, announced the launch this week of its first Provider Network Optimization Consortium (PNOC).
The alliance supports 45 regional health plans in non-competing markets that work with each other and their provider networks to improve managed care in their communities.
“On most days for most Americans, the provider network is the health plan,” Mike Adelberg, the leader of Philadelphia-based Faegre Drinker’s Healthcare Strategy Practice and a co-facilitator of the PNOC, said in a statement. “And yet, health plans struggle to keep pace with member expectations and the many innovations changing healthcare. PNOC positions Alliance health plans to embrace the best of what is happening in healthcare today.”
Thursday, January 13
“Time kills deals, and we eliminate so much of the time and cost.”
Co-Founder and CEO
… on releasing TitleNotes, a new “CliffsNotes of the Courthouse,” with Austin’s Enverus.
From oil and gas companies buying up land to developers acquiring residential properties, one thing can’t be skipped: getting the title. That can mean sifting through lots of long, impenetrable court records to find needed key data. Now Gilmore’s Fort Worth-based startup has partnered with Austin’s Enverus on a “CliffsNotes of the courthouse” solution: TitleNotes.
“Tracts solves a huge problem. It automates running title and there’s a whole industry around that,” Gilmore told us. “When you buy a house, you’ve got to run title. Mineral title is far more complicated, and the industry spends somewhere between $2 to $8 billion on that.”
Gilmore and his co-founder, CTO David Dewey, relocated their team from Houston to Fort Worth in January 2020. Now they have their eyes on disrupting titling “as a whole.”
“We focused on oil and gas because it was something I was familiar with, and we could solve a huge pain point,” Gilmore said. “But Tracts and especially Titlenotes is directly applicable to all—not just energy companies—but also residential.”
“We’re actually looking at some different blockchain technologies to stack with Tracts. In order to solve the bigger title problem as a whole, I think we have one of the only platforms capable of really processing real property transactions.” Read more about his company in our story here.
Wednesday, January 12
“Communication is key. Constant communication, rapid bursts of communication, morning hurdles, or a daily wrap-up can all work.”
Co-Founder and President
… encapsulating an MIT Sloan article on supporting remote teams, via LinkedIn.
Crawford is an Afghan war veteran who launched Fort Worth-based Coltala Holdings in 2017 with partner Ralph Manning. The firm is focused on acquiring majority ownership in stable U.S. businesses in health care, manufacturing, and business services.
In November, Crawford was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to the Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board.
Writing in LinkedIn, he recommends an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review about the changing world of work. He encapsulates a key article message in his Last Word above.
“At Coltala we care about culture and community and pride ourselves in being ‘local’ to Dallas-Fort Worth,” he adds. “However, we also work with a high-performing remote team with partners and teammates in places as far as Wisconsin, California, Florida, New York, Louisiana, and Arizona.”
That’s why for Coltala and companies everywhere, communication really is key—now more than ever.
Tuesday, January 11
“Don’t be afraid to pivot.”
Rock Robinson IV
Co-Founder and CEO
… on being open to changing your business strategy—fast, via LinkedIn.
Robinson launched eCarra, a Dallas all-electric vehicle ridesharing platform, back in 2019 with co-founder and president Kevin Shea. Offering “luxury rides that matter” with its micro-fleet of Teslas, the startup promises to plant a tree for every ride given. When we wrote about them last January, Robinson said they had planted more than 6,500 trees, preventing 40,000 lbs. of CO2 emissions.
But it all started with one big pivot.
Appearing on the podcast Underestimated, Robinson explains that the platform was originally conceived as RideBrand, using gasoline-powered vehicles.
“I was walking away from it at that point,” he recalls on the podcast. “I just didn’t feel good about putting the next 20 years of my life into something that I knew that wasn’t going to value my grandkids. So I said but—if we go all electric, then I’m in.”
Robinson went back home and started googling some stuff. “I saw this word Escarra and said man, that’s sexy. I took the ‘s’ out and I said “Ecarra… Ecarra…’ Then my wife pointed out eCarra, and I put an acronym to it: electric car ride awareness.”
“Then I went to GoDaddy, typed in eCarra, and boom, it’s available for $7. I bought it that night, bro. Went to SquareSpace, built the whole website that night. I just took RideBrand and converted it over to eCarra. It was the same business model, but at this point the culture was all electric.”
“It changed everything from that day,” Robinson says on the podcast. “Literally how we approached the business model, how we were gonna get vehicles, how we were going to train people, how are you going to get charging, how are you gonna get funds. Everything changed that day.”
Monday, January 10
“Startups will dominate CX and it’s on CIOs and CTOs to pick the best of breed…not try to use their hammer for every nail they see.”
… on the future of customer experience tech, via LinkedIn.
“Half of companies expect to have customer experience (CX) be at the core of their technology strategy,” the seed investor writes on LinkedIn.
“The only problem: We don’t have enough tech leadership that truly understands modern CX.”
“Most current CIOs and CTOs cut their teeth in technology in the client-server era or early days of the web,” Evans writes. “Have they really kept pace with advancements in AI, VR, and blockchain while still keeping pace with the move to the cloud, microservices, big data, and more?”
Evans recommends a story at CIO Dive about what’s next for customer experience tech—and why it’s critical to deliver a cohesive CX experience across all touchpoints.
Friday, January 7
“Shift happens. How we respond is what matters.”
… on understanding and responding to disruption, via LinkedIn.
Retail guru Steve Dennis recently published the second edition of his book “Remarkable Retail: How to Win & Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption.”
A former C-level exec at two Fortune 500 retailers, Dennis is a frequent source for industry publications.
Commenting for a story in Retail Brew on whether “bricks and clicks may be heading for divorce,” Dennis says some e-commerce spin-offs may make more sense for some than others. He points to Saks as a “mature business” that has likely “run out of places to grow.”
But, he cautions, distinctions between channels have disappeared over time as buyers have become agnostic. “[It] sets retailers back like 20 years to think about e-commerce and physical retail as separate things,” he said in the publication.
Thursday, January 6
“Leaders get blindfolded by friendly customers… The best learnings come from the demanding end users who are looking for something better.“
Co-founder and Chief Digital Officer
...on “The Hard Truth About Being a Digital Leader,” via Forbes.
Singaraju believes digital transformation is a continuum. That’s why “digital leaders must make innovation a mainstream business function” in practice, not in lip service, he writes in Forbes.
While he admits “the fatigue is real,” Singaraju offers keys to success.
One that really jumped out at us is this:
“Leaders get blindfolded by friendly customers, while the best learnings come from the demanding end users who are looking for something better—improved speed, more features, zero downtime, and more.“
Wednesday, January 5
“If I didn’t make plans / set goals I would have nothing!”
Options Real Estate Investments, Inc.
…on why anything is possible if you plan and stay the course, via LinkedIn.
Anderson specializes in developing sustainable neighborhoods in Southern Dallas and Northern Ellis counties. His projects have included the mixed-use creative Oak Cliff development Tyler Station, the Texas Theatre, the Belmont Hotel, Main Station Duncanville, DeSoto Market Place, and MidTowne Midlothian.
He’s not what you’d call a spur-of-the-moment, play-it-loose type guy. In fact, he says he’s “stayed the same course” for over three decades, as his planning books since 1984 (at left) can attest.
“I talk to a lot of people about their business and growing wealth,” Anderson wrote this week on LinkedIn. “Some tell me they have goals and some don’t. I can tell you this for me, if I didn’t make plans / set goals I would have nothing!”
“The books you see on my desk represent goals, plans, and journals going back to 1984. Because of my writings I have managed to stay on the same course for over 30 years. My thoughts are this, if you want something write it down and study it and yourself. Anything is possible!!! I wish you all peace, prosperity, and happiness for this new year.”
Tuesday, January 4
“It’s a way in which we’re stress-testing the platform.”
Chief Technology Officer
…on today’s beta launch of Metrospaces’ MetroCrowd platform.
The blockchain-powered tokenization platform is designed to “democratize” the real estate investing process, according to the company.
“This is a closed beta for all of our early adopters. It’s a way in which we’re stress-testing the platform,” Metrospaces CTO Alejandro Laplana said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to seeing our beta testers’ feedback and constructive insights so we can polish and release a first-class platform when we go live.”
MetroCrowd offers benefits not found on traditional real estate platforms, like:
Fractionalization: Tokenization lowers the bar to investment entry by allowing interests in the asset to be more easily divided among a wider group of investors.
Democratization of Real Estate: “MetroCrowd enables the widespread participation of any investor in the global real estate market, through the acquisition of stable tokens backed by the most prestigious properties in the world’s most important cities,” the company says.
Operational efficiency: Implementing “smart contracts” to close deals digitally and securely can cut out intermediaries in the real estate sector, allowing investors to acquire properties more directly with reduced costs and time.
Reduced liquidation time: Tokenized product transactions can be liquidated almost instantly, as opposed to the days or weeks often needed to settle traditional financial transactions.
The beta testing will include 200-300 users, the company said.
Want more? Go here for Every Last Word 2021: The Archive.
Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.
One quick signup, and you’re done.
View previous emails.