ICYMI: Microsoft & Walmart Team on Dallas Cloud Factory, Health Wildcatters Pitch Day, StackPath Signs Cybersecurity Tech Accord

From business bytes (Mary Kay, Nexeon MedSystems, Children's Health) to impact (Paige Chenault is named Women of the World 'Mother of Invention') to the weekly Top 10 (JPMorgan Chase’s ‘Super Day’), here's your briefing on ideas and innovation in North Texas.

ICYMI Dallas-Fort Worth Dallas Innovates
Within icon

Dallas Innovates’ weekly mix of business, culture, and technology in Dallas-Fort Worth.  

In last week’s ICYMI, we highlighted a new venture from Sam’s Club: The Sam’s Club Now “future of retail” concept prototyping in Lower Greenville, which features a mobile-centric in-store experience and tech like allowing customers to scan as they shop or check out without a cashier.

This week, it’s Walmart’s turn in the spotlight. The Sam’s Club parent company announced it would be partnering with Microsoft to open a Dallas cloud facility as an expansion of the innovation hub. Per a report, the facility will be developed by a team of 30 technologists, with engineers from both companies. Walmart’s goals for the partnership include various tech deployments such as developing IoT sensors on HVAC, facial recognition technology, and refrigeration systems to mitigate stock loss.

Similar to the Sam’s Club Now concept, Dallas-headquartered 7-Eleven is piloting a new mobile self-checkout feature called Scan & Pay, set to launch at 14 local stores. The service allows customers to use the company’s branded app to avoid the checkout line and handle the entire purchase—from scanning items to completing the payment within the app—excluding those that require cashier assistance, such as hot foods, financial services, and age-verified products like alcohol, tobacco, and lottery tickets.

“Our customers are on the go, looking for faster, more convenient ways to shop more than ever before,” Gurmeet Singh, chief digital officer and chief information officer at 7-Eleven, said in a statement. “7-Eleven continues to redefine convenience by providing frictionless experiences for our customers with Scan & Pay. Our customers can now use their smartphone to skip the line, every time.”

RevTech Takeaways

To wrap up our segment on grocery-, tech-, and consumer goods-related news, RevTech Ventures’ David Matthews has a first-hand account of GroceryShop 2018 event observations, including news of two portfolio companies. Matthews covered all the latest trends and tech in a recap on the group’s website. Weis Market, a 206-store grocery chain based in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, announced in a keynote presentation it was deploying RevTech portfolio company, Birdzi. And, portfolio company Tastry won audience favorite in a startup pitch competition. Matthews also highlighted how the grocery space (a longtime stable business environment) is now facing major disruption from a number of areas, including Amazon, mobility, more competition and market segmentation, big data, eCommerce, delivery, and personalization.

Fast-growth tracks

There’s always a steady—and welcomed—stream of recognition news for North Texas companies and organizations, and this week was no exception. We rounded up the latest awards news, ranging from enterprise class businesses to startups, and everything in between.

Kicking things off is the 28th consecutive year of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business list of the 100 fastest-growing small- to mid-sized private companies in North Texas. The lineup was announced at the Dallas 100 Entrepreneur Awards event held at the Omni Hotel last week.

The top five include:

  1. Carrollton’s Revolution Retail Systems LLC
  2. Dallas’ Clavis Capital Partners
  3. Irving’s Monkedia
  4. Farmer’s Branch Ontronics
  5. Dallas’ ARCO/Murray

GET ON THE LIST: Dallas Innovates, Every Day. Click to sign up for the e-newsletter.

Collectively, the 100 companies generated $3.3 billion in sales last year and, between 2015 and 2017, grew at an average rate of 87 percent and created 11,096 jobs.

“These companies are amazing growth machines. They can create a fantastic number of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy,” said Jerry White, the Linda A. and Kenneth R. Morris Endowed Director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship at SMU Cox, in a statement. “For 28 years, the Caruth Institute at SMU Cox has honored the critical role of entrepreneurship in the DFW economy, which has thrived specifically because of its long history of entrepreneurial spirit.”

But that’s not all…

At the Urban Land Institute’s North Texas chapter recently held annual Impact Awards, the Vision Award went to Roger Staubach, founder of The Staubach Co., executive chairman of the Americas for JLL, and noted former quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. The Innovation Award went to Labora Group’s 400 Record, the Public Place award went to A Tasteful Place at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, the Influence Award went to Legacy West, and the Jury’s Special Award went to Toyota Motor North America’s Plano headquarters. Event attendees voted The Trust for Public Land’s Smart Growth for Dallas for the Next Big Idea Award. Back in August, Dallas Innovates ran a photo essay on some event finalists projects.


RoboKind was selected for the Red Herring Top 100 Global 2018 list. The award annually recognizes the most promising technology ventures worldwide. RoboKind, no stranger to Dallas Innovates readers, is a robotics and artificial intelligence company headquartered in downtown Dallas that focuses on educational applications of humanoid robots. Currently, the company is working closely with the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) community.

TopGolf Entertainment Group

Also, Topgolf Entertainment Group recently made a top 100 list. For the second year, its executive chairman Erik Anderson was named one of the top 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2018 at Goldman Sachs Builders + Innovators Summit.

Elbit Systems

Elbit Systems of America and its futuristic military technology, including an AR-driven head-mounted display for tank operators, had three of its programs recognized at the Program Excellence Awards Banquet. In conjunction with the DefenseChain Conference, the event was held in Mclean, Virginia, a couple of weeks ago. The Elbit winners include: Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) winning the Supplier Production category, Rockwell Collins Elbit Systems of America Vision Systems (RCEVS) winning the Special Projects category, and Airborne Systems Training and Research Support Aircraft (ASTARS) named as a finalist in the Prime Sustainment category. Elbit Systems of America is headquartered in Fort Worth.


Last-but-not-least, in our roundup of recognitions, CPG giant Kimberly-Clark Corporation recently received two awards around improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon footprint. For its innovative strategies in energy conservation — LEAN energy management programs — and its use of alternative energy sources, Kimberly-Clark received the 2018 Responsible Business Award for Climate Action from Ethical Corporation at the 9th annual Ethical Corporation Responsible Business Awards. Also, Kimberly-Clark was also honored by the Environmental Protection Agency with its 6th consecutive SmartWay Excellence Award for continuous improvement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of its SmartWay program partnership. Only 14 out of the program’s 3,700 partners received this recognition.

Business bytes

StackPath, a secure edge services platform, has signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord — joining 60 global companies as the first Dallas-based company to do so. The signature represents a commitment to protect and empower consumers online, as well as improve the security, stability, and resilience of cyberspace. The four key principles of the accord — strong defense, no offense, capacity building, and collective response — all represent the united common values of the signatories. Through these shared commitments, the companies all aim to be more effective in doing things like providing customers with tools to understand future threats and protecting users by delivering services that prioritize security.

“StackPath was created to make the internet safe and has always been a huge proponent of collaboration and community building,” Ryan Carter, VP of Security, said in a statement. “The Cybersecurity Tech Accord is a perfect blend of both — promoting a safer online world with other global technology companies committed to protecting users and helping them defend against malicious threats.”

In more StackPath news, the content delivery company partnered with global digital security company Sectigo (formerly Comodo CA) to bring no cost private SSL certificates to customers across StackPath’s content delivery network (CDN), web application firewall (WAF), and Edge Delivery subscribers. StackPath customers get a private SSL certificate for each CDN or WAF site they create on the platform. The offer is significant for customers, because Google recently began marking sites without SSL certificates as “not secure.”

“We’re on a mission to make the internet safe, and offering free SSL certificates is one of many ways we’re doing it,” said Ben Gabler, StackPath Senior VP of Product, in a statement. “SSL encryption has long been expected on login forms and checkout pages, but today it’s essential to have SSL encryption for your entire website or application. It makes the internet more secure as a whole, as modern browsers warn users if an SSL certificate is not present.”

Biometric testing in pilot set for 2019

The World Travel and Tourism Council is testing biometric technology to eventually make airports, car rentals, cruises, tours, and hotels a more seamless experience for travelers. WTTC is joined by industry partners, including American Airlines, Hilton, and MSC Cruises in its Seamless Traveler Journey initiative. North Texas is part of the first pilot set for next year, which will involve travelers between Dallas-Fort Worth and London.

Visia expands to Flower Mound

Visia Marketing is expanding into Flower Mound with a new office for its B2B and B2C clients. North Texas was chosen for the digital marketing firm’s newest office because of business growth in the region and the agency’s core business here, as reported by Markets Insider.

Mary Kay opens $100K Lewisville facility

Last week, Mary Kay Inc. opened its Lewisville manufacturing and R&D facility, the Richard R. Rogers Manufacturing Facility (also known as R3), after two years and more than $100 million invested in the structure, state-of-the-art equipment, and underlying technology.

Nexeon MedSystems gets $830K grant

Nexeon MedSystems’ subsidiary Puerto Rico Operations Corporation received an $830,000 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The corporation also got grant matching funds from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust earmarked for developing cloud-based software to improve programming for deep brain stimulation. The total funding from NINDS could be $1.5 million over three years, subject to annual review. The match from the Trust was for $50,000, and a possible additional $50,000, over the next year depending on meeting grant milestones. Nexeon MedSystems is headquartered in Dallas.

Happenings in healthcare

This week, the Harvard Business Review ran a case study on how Children’s Health System of Texas, in conjunction with Business Innovation Factory, is using “design thinking” to drive change in improving the quality of healthcare. The idea is that applying innovative methodologies to healthcare issues can help put a focus on understanding patient experiences and bring patients and partners into the process. The report described how using design thinking can “free us from cognitive blinders” and get healthcare professionals to see the patient experience beyond just the “lens of their own expertise.”

Speaking of design thinking, Dallas Innovates recently ran the multi-part “Design with a Big D” series, with a focus on the North Texas UI/UX community and industry.

READ NEXT ICYMI: Toyota and Pizza Hut Team on Robotic Pizza-Making Truck, Dallas Startups, Prop Tech, and Mobility

Health Wildcatters Pitch Day

Health Wildcatters held its fall cohort pitch day this week at the Majestic Theater. The six presenting companies included: ClikRX, Halo Mountain, MycoDart, Sentiv, Sppare.me, and Stingray Therapeutics. Since its launch in 2013, the healthcare-focus accelerator program has backed 57 portfolio companies from its 12-week program and raised over $50 million to support those startups.

Hubert Zajicek, Health Wildcatters CEO and founder [Photo: Adelfa Cardenas/Health Wildcatters]

The full pitch day presentation included a keynote address from Dave Albert, MD, the founder and Chief Medical Officer of AliveCor, with a message centered around how solutions come from innovation. Albert let the audience know that big data and artificial intelligence are bringing changes to healthcare and society overall.

[Photo: Adelfa Cardenas/Health Wildcatters]

The three pillars of Health Wildcatters are mentorship and education, workplace and collaborative environment, and access to business resources and funding, said Hubert Zajicek, Health Wildcatters CEO and founder, in his opening remarks. The pillars allow “these startups that are at the very beginning to have that critical edge to make it,” he added.

For the third year in a row, Health Wildcatters was named among the top accelerator programs in the U.S. by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, a joint study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Richmond, and Rice University.

What we’re reading

Mavs Gaming Passed to New Head Coach
Latoijuin Fairley, who goes by LT, is replacing Jonah Edwards as head coach of Mavs Gaming’s NBA 2K League affiliate team. Fairley, a Navy veteran, formed the My Player Basketball Association and served as Xbox commissioner for the first 10 seasons for the MBPA before joining Mavs Gaming. Take a virtual tour of the Mavs Gaming facility here.

City of Richardson Gifted Land, Money for Art Park
Hunt Companies Inc. has given the City of Richardson a swath of land and $200,000 to build an art park. The park, dubbed a “gateway to the city of Richardson,” is already adorned with an Ed Carpenter statue honoring the history of technology in the area.

Alto Leans on Bestmile’s Mobility Services Platform
Dallas-based ride-hailing service Alto is set to launch next week with rideshare demand managed by Bestmile’s Mobility Services Platform, a technology that specializes in routing services for both human-driven and autonomous vehicle fleets.

The Microchip Turns 60
Jack Kilby, a Texas Instruments engineer, took silicon transistors a step further in September 1958 and created the first iteration of a microchip in Dallas. Kilby and his team used the microchip in the first electronic handheld calculator, which was patented in 1972.

NASA Takes on Flying Taxi Challenges
NASA, which is working with Uber to bring flying taxis to Dallas-Fort Worth, announced last week at a convention in Seattle that it is kicking off a competition to create piloted or remotely piloted air taxis that can carry at least one adult passenger by 2020. Pretty soon, it won’t be a bird, a plane, or Superman — it’ll just be your ride.

The Future of Fossil Fuel Acquisition
Dallas-based Hunt Consolidated has created a technology that could allow raw oil and gas prospectors to find underground hydrocarbons as far as 14,000 feet below the surface. This tech could save fuel giants millions in dry-hole costs.

New Plano Shoe Store to Use Aetrex Technology to Find Perfect Fit
Later this month, shoppers at Dallas Running Co. in The Shops at Legacy will be able to find the perfect fit thanks to 3D arch-scanning technology. Dallas Running Co. has a sister store in Fort Worth.

Neiman Marcus Protects Customers’ Data with AI, but the Tech Isn’t for Everyone
Neiman Marcus is protecting its customers’ data with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, but Shamoun Siddiqui, vice president and chief information security officer at Neimans, said cost, regulatory requirements, and a lack of skills could hold some companies back from employing the tech.

Dallas Market Center Innovates to Compete in Changing Industry
Dallas Market Center’s evolution puts customers at the center of apparel, accessories, gift, and home decor options like never before. A dramatic expansion connects retailers with ideas and inspiration using displays, social media, and live events.

Drybar’s App-Driven Concept Simplifies Massage, Spa Experience
Squeeze shops could open in Dallas in 2019. Rates range from $39 to $129 and include a variety of massage and membership options.

Fort Worth Food Hall to Open Next Month
The 16,000-square-foot Foodhall at Crockett Row in Fort Worth is slated to celebrate its grand opening Dec. 7 and 8, just in time for holiday shopping season. Unlike typical cafeterias, the food hall will feature fares from celebrity chefs and lauded Fort Worth staples.

TELL US: What’s grabbing your attention right now? What should we be reading? Send your tips, links, and thoughts here

What we’re watching

Women in the World Texas 2018 (and Dallas’s Paige Chenault is Named ‘Mother of Invention’)
On Monday, Women in the World—a live journalism organizer that garners women leaders and changemakers—returned to The Lone Star State. Watch highlights from the annual Texas Salon held this year at the Dallas Museum of Art to hear media mogul Tina Brown and speakers like author Isabel Allende (who talks about art of storytelling, the loss of her daughter and mother, her years of living in political exile, the “joy” of her divorce after 27 years of marriage, and her attempts at online dating at age 73),  as well as local entrepreneur Paige Chenault. Chenault is the Dallas founder of The Birthday Project, which hosts parties for homeless children in 14 cities. She was the 23rd woman to be recognized as a Women in the World “Mother of Invention” and received a $50,000 grant from Toyota.

Top 10
Dallas Innovates most-read stories this week

1. JPMorgan Chase’s ‘Super Day’ Cuts Hiring Time by a Third

2. Future Worlds: Aurora Dallas 2018 to Converge Art and Innovation With Its New Forward-Looking Theme (And, check out Scenes from Aurora Dallas 2018)

3. Knock-Knock: Real Estate Startup With a Trade-In Platform Expands To Dallas-Fort Worth

4. ICYMI: Toyota and Pizza Hut Team on Robotic Pizza-Making Truck, Dallas Startups, Prop Tech, and Mobility

5. Southern Dallas Innovation Hub The DEC @ RedBird Awarded $200K Bank of America Grant

6. Dallas-based Ridesharing Startup Alto Raises $13M, Plans to Launch Next Month

7. Inner City 100: How 8 North Texas Businesses Benefit Low‑Income Areas

8. Meet Sally: A New Salad-Making Robot Has Landed in Dallas

9. Building With Data: How HKS’ LINE Innovation Team Drives Change Using Algorithms, Creativity, Nature

10. R&D: Maximizing Energy, Saving Time & Money at the Airport; Grant Backs UTA Quantum Communication Project

Things to Do
Events to inspire, connect, educate, and inform innovators

Calendar: WEDallas Boot Camp, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the International Supercomputing Conference
From startup celebrations (PostItPlayIt’s Fundraising Journey) to university contests (UTD Big Idea Competition), browse our curated selection of events to plan your next week — and beyond. You’ll also find MarketWaves18, The Year Ahead Summit, and the Lone Star Film Festival.

Quincy Preston, Alex Edwards, Lance Murray, and Payton Potter contributed to this report.

R E A D   N E X T