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Friday, November 18
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Raytheon Intelligence & Space Launches Paid Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program with the Department of Labor, Collin College
⓶ How Axxess’ John Olajide Built a Bootstrapped Unicorn in Dallas
⓷ McLaren’s Nicolas Brown on Opening the Supercar Company’s HQ in Coppell
⓸ CBRE Acquires Full Spectrum Group for $110M, Boosting Lab Solutions for Life Sciences Hubs
⓹ Merriman Anderson Architects Hires Director of Strategy, Development
⓺ South Korean EV Charging Company Picks Plano for Its First U.S. Manufacturing Facility
⓻ DOE Awards SMU-Led Research Team $2M Grant for Algorithms Improving Complex Energy Systems
⓼ Dallas-Based Island Extends Series B Funding With $60M Investment for Its Desktop Disruptor—a Browser Built for Enterprise
⓽ Grapevine Names Acting Director of Economic Development
⓾ Co-Warehousing Innovator Opens 2nd Location in DFW With New Outpost in Carrollton
More Things to Know
Pro Volleyball Federation Launches Out of Frisco and Columbus, Ohio
⟫ Women’s pro sports in North America just got a new attraction to cheer for with the launch of the Pro Volleyball Federation. The indoor women’s volleyball league is based locally out of Frisco as well as Columbus, Ohio, and will feature eight to 10 initial teams playing in “volleyball hotbeds” across the U.S. But the dinks, spikes, digs, and sets won’t happen until the league takes the court in February 2024. The two co-founders are Dave Whinham, president and CEO of Columbus-based The TEAM Management, and Stephen Evans, president of The Remedy, a sports and entertainment marketing agency based in Dallas. But the league will primarily be run by women, including two USA Volleyball Hall of Fame coaches and a Team USA veteran. Read more.
Lucid Motors Is Opening Its First Texas Location in Plano Saturday
⟫ Lucid Group, the maker of what it calls “the longest-range, fastest-charging electric car on the market,” will open its first Texas studio Saturday at Legacy West in Plano. The company now has 29 studio and service center locations open in North America and 32 globally. “We look forward to serving the people of Texas and introducing consumers to the full Lucid Air lineup, including the recently unveiled Air Pure and Touring at a more accessible price point,” said Zak Edson, Lucid’s VP of sales and service. The studio features a 4K VR configurator offering Lucid’s Virtual Reality Experience—which “combines the physical and virtual worlds to showcase seamless personalization of everything from interior finishes and materials to exterior color.”
Boozy Bites Wins EOSERA’s Inaugural EmpowHERment Pitch Competition
⟫ Boozy Bites—the world’s “first premium edible cocktail” featuring a proprietary vegan and wine-based gel in a patented push-up cup—took home the top prize of $10,000 at EOSERA’s inaugural EmpowHERment Pitch Competition in Fort Worth Thursday. Boozy Bites founder Dee Dee Bryant competed against two other women-led companies: Heralogie, a company that offers “unparalleled comfort, security, and peace of mind with their unique, tree-based, breathable period panties that mold to your body”; and PWR WMN, which makes blazers with pockets that are functional and feminine and which won the $2,500 people’s choice award. “You’re inspiring other women entrepreneurs to get out there and believe in themselves,” EOSERA CEO Elyse Stoltz Dickerson said to the three pitching founders. “That’s no small thing.”
Two Bit Circus ‘Micro-Amusement Park’ Opens in Dallas’ Shops at Park Lane
⟫ Last spring, we gave you a preview of Two Bit Circus, a “micro-amusement park” concept coming to The Shops at Park Lane near NorthPark Center. The venue opens today, offering 35,000 square feet of tech-enhanced entertainment fusing interactivity with the “wonder and spectacle of classic circus and carnival.” Calling itself a “brand new type of social playspace,” Two Bit Circus features multiple indoor zones, including a reimagined midway, an arcade filled with vintage classics and new hits, Story Rooms including an escape room-like experience, a multiplayer VR Arena, and VIP lounges. Did we mention the robot bartenders? You can find out more here.
Thursday, November 17
Amazon Clinic Offers ‘Message Board’ Healthcare for Millions in North Texas
⟫ Online giant Amazon announced that it is offering a new service called Amazon Clinic that provides virtual “message-based” healthcare for more than 20 minor health conditions, adding another affordable healthcare option for more than 8.5 million people in North Texas. Along with the company’s Amazon Pharmacy service, Amazon Clinic joins the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company as a new, affordable healthcare option for North Texans. Read more.
USPTO, Commerce Department Launch WE Initiative to Empower More Women Founders
⟫ The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Department of Commerce announced they have created Women’s Entrepreneurship—a community-focused, collaborative, and creative initiative to inspire women nationwide and tap their potential to increase equity, job creation, and economic prosperity. The WE Initiative launches ahead of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day this Saturday, November 19, and could offer benefits to female business owners and entrepreneurs in North Texas. It comes on the heels of President Biden’s recent proclamation naming this month as National Entrepreneurship Month. “Unleashing the potential of women entrepreneurs is good for business, good for families, and good for our economy,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. Read more.
New Temporary Tags from Texas DMV Embedded with Security Features
⟫ On Monday night, Grand Prairie police officer Brandon Tsai died in a crash with another police cruiser while chasing a car with fake paper license tags. While police continue to search for the offending driver, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has announced the upcoming deployment of redesigned temporary tags to reduce fraudulent tag use as seen in Monday’s incident. “With the support of our law enforcement partners, The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is setting a new standard for temporary tag security and design,” TxDMV Executive Director Daniel Avitia said in a statement. The tags—to be issued starting December 9—feature embedded data and text linked to law enforcement databases, and can be created only by internal TxDMV computer systems. They also have “active and passive security features” identifiable by law enforcement.
Wednesday, November 16
Dallas-Based Topgolf Launches Largest Brand Campaign Ever
⟫ Topgolf, the golf entertainment company based in Dallas, has launched its largest-ever global brand campaign. Inviting everyone to “Come Play Around,” the campaign includes this 60-second spot that shows everyone from a priest to long-bearded bikers to an Afro-topped karate kicker getting their swing on at a Topgolf venue. “We’re making the game of golf more inclusive and open for all to enjoy,” said Chief Brand Officer Geoff Cottrill, “and this campaign celebrates different people and personalities from all over the world coming together and enjoying a little golf… and a little of our ‘not golf.'” Led by New York-based agency Anomaly, the integrated campaign was created in partnership with photographer Amy Lombard, production company PrettyBird, and film director Kitao Sakurai.
Lovett Industrial Breaks Ground on 1.1M-SF Innovation Ridge Logistics Park in Forney
⟫ A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for Innovation Ridge Logistics Park in Forney, east of Dallas. Featuring three spec buildings, the class A industrial business park will offer 1.1 million square feet of space, a diversified site plan, and a newly constructed four-lane road. It’s being built by Houston-based Lovett Industrial with construction slated for completion in September 2023. “We’re bullish on East Dallas, as fundamentals remain solid and important markers including population growth are very strong,” Colby Everett, director at Lovett, said in a statement. “National, regional, and local users can serve key markets from this location while benefiting from high-quality surrounding labor. There continues to be demand for class A logistics products across Dallas-Fort Worth, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to partner with the city of Forney to deliver this project.” Forney Mayor Amanda Lewis appeared at the ceremony with Lovett Co-Owner and President Charlie Meyer.
Drone Racing League Coming to Esports Stadium Arlington in February
⟫ The Drone Racing League is premiering its 2022-23 DRL Algorand world championship season this Saturday with live TV coverage at 12:30 p.m. CT on NBC and top streaming platforms. Calling drone racing “the No. 1 sport for Gen Z,” the DRL will make a stop in North Texas in February with a live audience esports event in February at Esports Stadium Arlington. “DRL is the defining sport of the 21st century, challenging the status quo of other major properties,” CMO Anne Marie Gianutsos said. “We meet fans where they are and give them what they want—high-tech and high-speed competition across real-life racing, esports, and the metaverse.”
Tuesday, November 15
Plano’s Tyler Technologies Inks $54M Agreement with Department of State
⟫ Plano-based Tyler Technologies has signed has signed a five-year, $54 million agreement with the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service for Tyler’s Case Management Development Platform. It’s the largest-ever award for such a system, Tyler said. Tyler has been a State Department partner since 2017, supporting the DSS mission to lead global security and law enforcement efforts that advance America’s foreign policy and safeguard national security. The DSS will use Tyler’s platform “to modernize capabilities built within an industry-leading, high-security infrastructure,” Tyler added. Brian Combs, president of Tyler’s Federal Division, said in a statement that the comprehensiveness and scalability of Tyler’s platform makes it “a strong choice for large, secure, global deployments such as this one.”
90K SF of Dallas’ Pinnacle Tower Leased to 12 Companies
⟫ Pinnacle Tower at LBJ Freeway and the Dallas North Tollway in Dallas is seeing a lot of elevator action. The building recently attracted 12 companies occupying more than 90,000 square feet, including accounting firm Huselton, Morgan & Maultsby; USAA Real Estate; and law firm Haynes and Boone, which will each occupy over 10,000 square feet in the Class A tower, according to Stream Realty Partners. Stream represented the building’s owners, New York Life and Encore Enterprises in the recent tenant signings. The new leases will generate over $22.5 million in rental revenue for the landlord, Stream says. The building had a $10 million renovation in 2018 that added “work-relax” amenities including a fitness center, coffee bar, on-site restaurant, and tenant lounge, plus exterior refreshments. “Companies across the nation are looking for the best possible office experience for their employees in the most centralized location, reducing commute times and resulting in happier employees,” said Chase Lopez, a VP at Stream.
Irving’s Commercial Metals Company Acquires Galveston Metals Recycling Facility
⟫ Just yesterday, we told you that Barbara Smith, chairman, president, and CEO of Irving-based Commercial Metals Company, has been named an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Award winner. Today her company is already making news again. CMC has completed its acquisition of a Galveston-area metals recycling facility and related assets from Kodiak Resources and Kodiak Properties. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The facility processes approximately 55,000 tons of ferrous and non-ferrous materials annually, “with the majority of volumes related to obsolete ferrous scrap grades consumed by CMC’s long product mills,” the company said. The deal is expected to enhance the security and supply of competitively priced inputs to CMC’s steelmaking operations.
Monday, November 14
Irving’s Commercial Metals Company CEO Named an EY National Entrepreneur of the Year
⟫ Ernst & Young has announced that Barbara Smith (above), chairman, president, and CEO of Irving-based Commercial Metals Company, has been named an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Award winner. Smith joins nine others sharing the national award from New York, California, Florida, Indiana, and Maryland. Commercial Metals Company and its subsidiaries manufacture, recycle, and fabricate steel and metal products at facilities in the U.S. and Poland. “I’m extremely proud of our continued solid execution, which has enabled us to fully capitalize on very strong market conditions in North America and to navigate the volatile conditions in Europe,” Smith said in an earnings statement last month. Two additional “overall winners” topped the EY list, and both come from the same Texas company: Holly Thaggard, founder, and Amanda Baldwin, CEO, of San Antonio-based Supergoop!
ReCode Therapeutics Forms Scientific Advisory Board
⟫ Dallas- and Menlo Park, California-based ReCode Therapeutics, a genetic medicines company working to power the next wave of mRNA and gene correction therapeutics, has established a scientific advisory board. Chaired by UT Southwestern’s Daniel J. Siegwart, Ph.D., the board includes inaugural members Rafael Amado, M.D.; Carrolee Barlow, M.D. & Ph.D.; Justin Hanes, PhD; and Eric Olson, Ph.D. Another scientific advisor, Elliott Sigal, M.D. & Ph.D. was announced today. “These thought leaders bring tremendous expertise in genetic medicine, delivery technology, and drug development, which will be invaluable as we expand our differentiated platform into new areas, including muscle, central nervous system, liver, and oncology indications,” said Shehnaaz Suliman, M.D. (above), ReCode CEO and board member. She added that the advisors will also help advance ReCode’s “lead mRNA programs for primary ciliary dyskinesia and cystic fibrosis into the clinic in 2023.”
Innovative Hospitality: A La Quinta Near DFW Airport Offers ‘Holiday Home Layovers’
⟫ The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year—and people often get stranded by cancelled flights, forced to spend a night on the road. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Lowe’s have partnered to make the experience a little more cozy with 50 “holiday home layover” rooms in airport hotels across the U.S., including La Quinta by Wyndham DFW West Glades Park in Euless. Wyndham CMO Lisa Checchio says the rooms will offer “an extra special sanctuary” for visitors whose holiday travel season “needs a little extra joy.”
Thursday, November 10
Complexity Gaming Reopens Frisco HQ with Slate of Community Activities Throughout the Year
⟫ Frisco esports franchise Complexity Gaming announced the grand reopening of its Lenovo Legion Esports Center headquarters at The Star development. And it’s looking to bring in the community to celebrate. According to Justin Lake, Complexity’s CEO and global head of esports at Complexity parent GameSquare Esports, the team’s HQ has become a hub for esports and gaming. To continue to build on that, on weekends throughout the year the doors of the Lenovo Legion Esports Center will be open to residents to drop by to play popular titles and buy exclusive merchandise. The Complexity and Lenovo teams will also be hosting activities throughout the year, including LAN events, watch parties, meet and greets, tours, and educational opportunities. Things kick off this weekend with “Halo Infinite” free play, celebrating Complexity’s recently becoming a Halo Championship Series partner team.
Mobile Manicures: MiniLuxe Offers Home Nail Service in Dallas Area
⟫ Residents in Dallas, Plano, Grapevine, and Carrollton can now get professional manicures and pedicures without leaving their homes. Boston-based MiniLuxe has launched a new digital platform—called MiniLuxe Anywhere—that allows users to book appointments for various services with the manicurist coming to them, Culturemap Dallas reports. Up to three guests can book appointments at the same time. The service is available from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. The company said the move, which is currently offered in metro Boston, Dallas, and Tampa, Florida, is part of an “effort to overhaul the nail industry as a whole.”
North Texas Food Bank Teams up With Google.org to Provide More Meals for the Holidays
⟫ Seeing a 17% increase in the number of meals it has provided since March, the North Texas Food Bank is teaming up with Google’s philanthropic arm and Feeding America ahead of the holiday season. Through the partnership, the food bank will receive $250,000, along with tech solutions to help it scale, as it looks to feed those in need. The North Texas Food Bank serves more than 700,000 people across 13 counties, providing an average of 12.3 million meals each month. The partnership, which includes donated search ads, is part of a larger effort by Google.org and Feeding America to provide 50 million meals across the country.
Wednesday, November 9
Tourism Ramping Up in Dallas, Creating a $7.2 Billion Impact Last Year
⟫ According to Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Dallas, tourism is the 10th largest industry in Dallas. And it’s generating a lot of revenue for the city. Citing an economic impact study from the nonprofit group, the Dallas Observer reports that tourism brought in $7.2 billion last year with 22.5 million visitors spending $4.4 billion in the city. Next year, Visit Dallas expects tourists to bring in even more money to the city, with spending increasing to more than $10 billion, supporting more than 62,000 local jobs.
25 Women Entrepreneurs Selected for Total of $125K in TWU StartHER Grants
⟫ The Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Texas Woman’s University has selected 25 female entrepreneurs to receive $5,000 awards each through its StartHER Grant Program, part of an ongoing effort to boost women-owned businesses in Texas. Grant winners include Devon Brown of Brown Brownie in Dallas; Kamica King of King Creataive Arts Expressions in Dallas; Malaika Thomas of Emergident PLLC in Richardson; Sonia Barreau of Barreau Grows in Arlington; and Dominique Lewis of Remedy E-Design & Décor in Fort Worth. You can see all the local and Texas-wide grant winners here
The investment will support nonprofits in North Texas that focus on community needs such as affordable housing, community revitalization, small business, and the arts. The funds should help nonprofits already beleaguered by the COVID-19 pandemic to overcome the effects of inflation. Here are the nonprofits that will benefit from the investment.
Grant Price Brings ‘Magic with a View’ to Dallas from Atop Reunion Tower
⟫ Fort Worth magician Grant Price has brought his act to corporate audiences at places like Google, Ferrari, and Southwest Airlines. Now, residents can catch his comedy and “impossible magic” with a view of the Dallas skyline. Price will kick off his series of “Magic in the Air” shows at Reunion Tower tomorrow. But, while that show is sold out, Grant said on Facebook, due to “the overwhelming response, Magic In The Air will now be an ongoing show at the Tower. I cannot wait for you to experience this show at 470 feet up!” Price will be performing again at Reunion’s GeO-Deck on November 17, December 1, and December 15.
Tuesday, November 8
Dwellify Brings its ‘Digital-First’ Home Remodeling Platform to DFW
⟫ Dwellify is launching its “digital-first” home remodeling service in North Texas. Formed in 2018, the Utah-based company uses an app, “AI-powered design quiz,” and room visualizer tool to help users plan their remodel, using a team of in-house designers and specialists to manage the project from securing permits to purchasing materials. The move comes as the kitchen- and bathroom-focused company has been launching in a number of new markets this year, including in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Sacramento.
Opportunities Abound Thursday at Tarrant County Job Fair
⟫ 160 Tarrant County employers are looking to start filling more than 7,100 open jobs on Thursday, as Workforce Solutions for Tarrant Country brings its annual Red, White & You job fair to Globe Life Field in Arlington. Among the companies attending are Lockheed Martin, Wabtec, and Six Flags, along with several school districts and municipalities. The event is open to all, with priority access for veterans. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., companies will be conducting on-site interviews, in addition to opportunities for free professional headshots. According to Fort Worth Inc., the job fair joins others taking place in the region, collectively looking to fill more than 20,000 positions.
Can Retinal Scans Detect Signs of Alzheimer’s? UNTHSC Gets a $1.42M NIH Grant to Find Out
⟫ Building on the Alzheimer’s research it’s been doing for years, the Institute for Translational Research at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth has landed yet another grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging. With the five-year, $1.42 million grant, the institution will look into the use of retinal imaging to detect early stages of the disease. Researchers will evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of retinal biomarkers to detect Alzheimer’s. The announcement comes after UNT HSC landed a nearly $150 million grant last month to fuel one of the largest, most inclusive studies of the disease.
This Thursday: Local Creators and Vendors at Nexus Holiday Bazaar Help Support Recovery Programs for Moms and Their Kids
⟫ Nexus Recovery Center’s Holiday Bazaar is this Thursday—and proceeds will ensure that the kids at Nexus experience holiday magic this year while they’re on campus with their mothers. If you come shop for a cause, the Auxiliary of Nexus will offer a wide variety of gifts, snacks, and apparel from 16 different vendors. You’ll find everything from artful ceramics to python bags and clutches to men’s clothing, women’s apparel, skincare, Mexican glassware, handbags, scarves, and much more. Read more and find out how to RSVP here.
Monday, November 7
VR-Enhanced Dallas Police Training Facility May Be Coming to UNT Dallas
⟫ The Dallas Police Department needs a new training facility to help fill a shortfall of nearly 500 offices compared to 2014 staffing levels, the Dallas Observer reports. The city is hoping to replace its current, temporary facility with a new one at UNT Dallas that could cost from $130 million to $150 million. The modern new facility would feature a virtual reality training space along with classrooms, a gym, running trails, and an indoor firing range. Funding for the facility is on the city’s to-do list in the upcoming legislative session, the D.O. noted.
McKinney Libraries To Loan Out 3D Printers to People and Businesses
⟫ Libraries in McKinney “will soon begin lending 3D printers for our patrons to take home and use at their leisure,” the city’s Director of Libraries Spencer Smith (above) said in a LinkedIn post. “We are bringing the makerspace to your home or office! Patrons will borrow a 3D printer [below] for a period of 3 weeks so they can dive deep into the design and manufacturing process when it fits their schedule.” Smith said patrons can get in the queue today to be some of the first to borrow a 3D printer from a public library—“anywhere in the world, as far as we know.”
Irving’s McKesson Foundation Donates $4.1M to Five Pharmacy Schools
⟫ With a mission “to help increase diversity of the pharmacy workforce and improve overall health outcomes for vulnerable populations,” the Irving-based McKesson Foundation has donated more than $4.1 million to pharmacy schools at Hampton University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, UNC Chapel Hill, and University of New Mexico. The grants will support various pharmacy school education and community outreach programs, the foundation said.
Denton-Based Carton Council Aims to Get More of These Recycled by Consumers
⟫ The Denton-based Carton Council of North America wants more Americans to recycle their milk, juice, egg, and other cartons. But it notes that people are often confused by what can be recycled. The council commissioned a survey that shows 75% of consumers assume a package is NOT recyclable if it lacks a recycling logo or info on it. 50% say packaging is their top source of recycling info, followed by local community websites (41%). People do want to recycle—74% said knowing a brand’s packaging is recyclable makes them more likely to buy it over a comparable brand. To help out, the council has launched a new website, recyclecartons.com, that lets consumers across the U.S. see if cartons can be recycled from their address.
Friday, November 4
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ UpSmith, a Dallas Startup Led by Former Elevate Leader, Raises $3.3M to ‘Combat the Skilled Worker Shortage’
⓶ Mary Kay Ash’s Grandson to Take Reins of Cosmetics Giant She Co-Founded
⓷ Garland-Based Innovative Composite Ammunition Maker Set to Go Public with Expected $1.21B Valuation
⓸ EV Charging Tech Firm Wallbox Opens its First U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Arlington
⓹ Southfork Ranch Is Acquired by Centurion American Development Group, Which Plans New Homes on the Site
⓺ Jumbo (Shrimp) Deal: Dallas’ NaturalShrimp Set to Hit Nasdaq with Expected $275M Valuation
⓻ Local Innovators, Fastest-Growing Company Honored at Annual Tech Titan Awards Gala
⓼ Fort Worth’s City Hall Bitcoin Mine Went Viral—and Companies Nationwide Have Taken Notice
⓽ Irving’s Flowserve Partners with Chart Industries on Hydrogen as Alternate Fuel Source
⓾ Co-Founders Behind Fort Worth’s Rollin’ n Bowlin’ Launch Snacking Brand realsy to ‘Disrupt’ the Industry
More Things to Know
Trust for Public Land Receives Over $5.7M in New Commitments for Five Mile Creek Greenbelt
The Boone Family Foundation dedicated $2.65 million and Lyda Hill Philanthropies committed $2.5 million to help fund the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt, a network of parks and trails the TPL is developing across Oak Cliff and southwest Dallas. “For 80 years, Dallas has dreamed of a greenbelt along Five Mile Creek to benefit the city’s health, connectivity, and environment,” the TPL’s board chair said. Read more here.
Hover Energy Scales Up Production of Its Wind-Powered Microgrids
⟫ Dallas-based Hover Energy uses its patented wind turbine microgrids to leverage the wind and sun atop buildings, powering offices and systems below. Speaking at the Financing Wind North America 2022 conference, CEO and Co-Founder Chris Griffin said his company will begin “full-scale commercial production” of its solution in January. More than a dozen “large-scale installations” are in the late planning stages, he added. Last February, we wrote about Hover expanding to the United Kingdom in a partnership with U.K.-based Task Contract Solutions. Testing has shown a Hover wind-powered microgrid can offset 100% of a building’s power consumption in most cases, the company said, based on time of use.
Report: DFW is the No. 2 Real Estate Market to Watch in 2023
⟫ Dallas-Fort Worth is the No. 2 U.S. real estate market to watch next year, Culturemap Dallas reports, citing a recent joint report from the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers. In the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, which surveyed industry insiders, it ranks the region just behind Nashville for overall real estate prospects. DFW came in No. 6 for homebuilding prospects. Almost all major metro areas in Texas made the top 15, minus El Paso. The report lists DFW as a “magnet” market, putting it in the region it calls the “Super Sun Belt,” which spans from Phoenix to Atlanta to Miami.
MacKenzie Scott Gives $16M Gift to Grand Prairie ISD, Her First to a Texas School District
⟫ MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has an estimated $27 billion—and she’s been relentlessly giving much of it away to fulfill her signing of the Giving Pledge, a promise to donate at least half of her wealth during her lifetime. This week she surprised the Grand Prairie ISD by giving it $16 million—her first gift to a school district in Texas. The district said Scott “makes no specific demands for the use of the one-time, unrestricted donation,” but said it will ensure the money will be aimed at supporting student success, WFAA reported. “I believe the work we’re doing in Grand Prairie ISD is aligned with Ms. Scott’s philosophy of giving,” GPISD Superintendent Linda Ellis said. “While this isn’t something we applied for or sought out, we are truly grateful—and humbled—on behalf of our students and staff.”
Dallas Stars Boosting Multi-Sport Presence in North Texas
⟫ The Dallas Stars are expanding their footprint in multi-sport facilities for youth with the acquisition of a 38,000-square-foot property in Lewisville called The Mac. The facility features eight volleyball courts, four basketball courts, and a food court, D Magazine reports. That adds to a planned 90,000-square-foot project in Farmers Branch (above) that will feature 16 volleyball courts and eight basketball courts. It’s expected to break ground in December. The local franchise already operates eight youth ice rinks around the region. Stars CEO Brad Alberts told D that the franchise is looking to “grow our top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability” while tapping into the “tremendous need for basketball and volleyball facilities throughout North Texas.”
Thursday, November 3
Mark Cuban Becomes Owner of a Pro Pickleball Team
⟫ Today the Salt Lake City-based VIBE Pickleball League announced it has formally launched “as the elite professional pickleball league for team competition,” and introduced its first team owner: Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Cuban will own one of six teams in the league, which is slated to launch next year as a competitor of Major League Pickleball. “Just like millions of other Americans, I’ve been following pickleball over the past few years, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to invest in the fastest growing game in the country,” Cuban said in a statement. “VIBE presents an unparalleled opportunity to launch a new pro league that will feature the best-of-the-best in a highly competitive setting. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Report: Texas Is the No. 3 ‘Crypto Center’ in the U.S.
⟫ A new report by tastyworks identified the U.S. states that are becoming crypto hubs by examining Bitcoin ATM adoption per capita, as well as the cities that are investing in crypto the most in 2022. “With 154 ATMs in the state per 1,000,000 residents, Texas ranks third on our list.,” the report says. “Crypto is increasing in popularity in Texas, partly due to a 2021 cryptocurrency law confirming crypto’s legality within the Lone Star State.” The only states that ranked higher were Rhode Island (No. 1) and New Mexico (No. 2). Among cities investing in crypto, Frisco ranks No. 4 by snagging 1.58% of all cryptocurrency trades in the country. Just this week, Dallas-based MoneyGram International launched a new service enabling consumers to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency via the MoneyGram mobile app. And back in July, Irving-based Hyosung America launched new ATM machines that support “cryptocurrency purchases, payments, and gaming ticket redemption.”
Arlington Municipal Airport Gains FAA National Airport Status
⟫ In a move that could see it compete for more federal funding, Arlington Municipal Airport has been granted national airport status from the Federal Aviation Administration. The boost from regional designation “validates the current operational climate and based aircraft tenants utilizing the vast services” at the airport, Manager Trent Ballard said in a statement. Ballard added that the designation “increases the amount of formula funding earmarked in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 for our airport and enhances our project competitiveness for additional federal funding.” In the last four years, several development projects have been completed at the airport, the city said, including a 37,000-SF executive hangar for corporate aircraft. ATP, the nation’s largest flight school, also constructed a 13,875-SF facility to streamline training through its Airline Career Pilot Program.
Wednesday, November 2
CodeLaunch DFW is Bringing its Seed Accelerator Competition Finals to Dallas for the First Time
⟫ After years of holding its annual event in Frisco, CodeLaunch DFW is coming to Southside Music Hall at Gilley’s in Dallas on November 16. Six companies will face off for the top prize in an event that comprises a tech tradeshow, a startup conference, and a “raucous networking event.” And this year it’s modeling itself after local favorite Digital Fight Club. Read all about it here.
Dallas Is Pedaling Toward a New Citywide Bike Plan
⟫ Dallas has a Bike Plan—but it was written in 2011. Now, after creating 67 miles of bike lanes across the city, the city is working on an updated bicycle master plan that lays out future bike and roadway improvement needs. “We want to build connected bicycle routes that help you safely get from your home to your work, school, parks, and other destinations,” the city said in a statement. Plans include an updated Bicycle Network Map, updated design standards for bicycle facilities, and a phased implementation roadmap that identifies “quick win” priorities. Read more about it here.
With New Center, UT Dallas Researchers Are Looking into the Molecular Causes of Pain
⟫ With a five-year, $11.3 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, researchers at UT Dallas’ new Human Nociceptor and Spinal Cord Molecular Signature Center are digging into the causes of chronic pain and new ways to treat it. The center’s leader, Dr. Ted Price, says the data generated “will fundamentally change the way that we think about pain and how we develop therapeutics.” Read about the center and its work here.
Cooper Smith Agency Rebrands to Multistory Media, Plans Move
⟫ Cooper Smith Agency announced Tuesday it has changed its name and branding to Multistory Media to better reflect its specialization in storytelling for the commercial real estate, AEC (architecture, engineering & construction), and building materials industries nationwide. The newly renamed agency is one of only a handful of firms in the U.S. with a dedicated building products public relations practice area. The Dallas-based firm manages publicity, social media, awards, product placements, and content development for national and international brands. The firm’s new tagline: “Building Stories. Building Brands.” Read more here.
Tuesday, November 1
Dallas’ Blucora Sells Its TaxAct Software for $720M, Will Rebrand as Avantax
⟫ Dallas-based Bluecora, which provides data- and tech-driven solutions for wealth management, has sold its TaxAct software business to an affiliate of Cinven in a $720 million cash deal. After the transaction’s expected end-of-year close, Bluecora will rebrand under the name Avantax—the current name of its wealth management and planning partners segments. ““We believe that Cinven will provide the business and its talented team the opportunity to continue to serve customers and grow revenue as a more scaled software-only business,” Bluecora president and CEO Chris Walters (above) said in a statement.
Crow Museum of Asian Art to Offer 3D-Plus Preview of Its New UT Dallas Museum
⟫ After breaking ground in May, the Crow Museum of Asian Art is unveiling what its second location on UT Dallas’ campus will look like when its first phase opens in 2024. Through an exhibition called “Cast: Molding a New Museum for UT Dallas,” the museum will showcase 3D models of the new location, the planning process behind the new museum, and works from the Stevens, Beockman, and Horchow collections, CultureMap Dallas reports. Once completed, the second location for the Crow Museum will become part of the 12-acre Edith and Peter O’Donnell Jr. Athenaeum cultural district at UT Dallas, which will also include a performance hall and museum for traditional art in the Americas. The Athenaeum project is supported by the O’Donnell Foundation and the family of Trammell and Margaret Crow.
TCU Gets $1M Grant to Advance Racial Health Equity
⟫ With a $1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Texas Christian University is leading a study aimed at reducing health disparities. Aiming to ensure that “everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible,” TCU will serve as the lead entity on the research, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a partner. Dr. Dru Riddle (above), director of TCU’s Center for Translational Research, is the study’s principal investigator. The research will include a “comprehensive effort” to listen to community stakeholders, conduct an analysis of existing resources, and lay out next steps for systematic reviews.“Guidance documents for systematic reviews have not routinely considered health equity when selecting topics, considering outcomes, conducting critical appraisal, assessing applicability of evidence to specific populations or settings, nor when communicating findings to key stakeholders and communities,” Riddle said in a statement.
Plano-Based Frito-Lay Thinks Small with New ‘Minis’
⟫ If you like to grab a chip with a tiny squeeze of the tippy-tip of your fingers, you’re in luck. Plano-based Frito Lay North America has miniaturized its Cheetos, Doritos, and Sun Chips lines under the bite-sized monicker Minis. “They say great things come in small packages and consumers will see how true that statement really is when they try the brand-new Frito-Lay Minis,” said SVP of Marketing Stacy Taffet. “There aren’t many canister options out there, so we’re bringing more variety and flavor to the snack aisle with this new product line, helping our fans enjoy their favorite snacks from Doritos, Cheetos and SunChips in a fun and shareable way.”
Monday, October 31
Irving’s Flowserve Partners with Chart Industries on Hydrogen as Alternate Fuel Source
⟫ The two companies will partner on liquid hydrogen fueling pumps for more than 100 systems planned to be put into operation in California, Australia, and South Korea over the next five years. The pumps will be used in Chart’s liquid hydrogen fuel station equipment for fuel cell vehicles. Flowserve CEO Scott Rowe (above) says the partnership will “support the development and commercialization of hydrogen as an energy source to build a better, brighter world for everyone.” Read more here.
UNT Dallas Gets $1.5M Grant to Help Support Early College High School Students
⟫ With the help of an eight-year, $1.5 million grant from the Greater Texas Foundation, the University of North Texas at Dallas aims to increase the number of graduates from Texas Early College High School programs that transition to four-year programs and complete a degree. UNT Dallas will use the funding to provide scholarships to students in such programs to earn a bachelor’s degree there. The university will also look to support students and their family members with mentoring, financial literacy training, and more. UNT Dallas added that it has ECHS program pathways. It currently partners with Dallas ISD’s Sunset P-Tech and Lincoln B-Tech Early College High Schools.
Vegan Concept Primavega Comes to Dallas’ Commerce Fork Food Ghost Kitchen
⟫ A new ghost kitchen concept is starting to sling out vegan comfort food from Commerce Fork Food near Trinity Groves, Culturemap Dallas reports. Created by cook Alan Farris, Primavega Restaurant features menu items based on Farris’ food preferences, like biscuits and gravy, tacos, eggplant parmesan (above), and chicken pot pie. The concept will also offer vegan meats from Dallas’ Boneless Butcher. From 11 am to 8:30 pm and until 11:30 pm on weekend, Primavega is available for takeout or delivery via its webpage.
Friday, October 28
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Report: Dallas-Fort Worth Has One of the Top 5 Fastest-Growing Economies in the U.S.
⓶ Southfork Ranch Is Acquired by Centurion American Development Group, Which Plans New Homes on the Site
⓷ SMU Is Bringing Its ‘Innovative Biotech Research’ to Pegasus Park
⓸ UNT Geographers Get $1.5M NSF Grant to Explore Tech’s Impact on Urban Forests
⓹ DI People: Optic Gaming, Ziosk, Dr Pepper Keurig, and More Announce Leadership Moves
⓺ Coltala Holdings Makes Fourth Strategic Investment, Tapping Pond Robinson & Associates in All-DFW Deal
⓻ The Last Word: Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on the Southern Gateway Deck Park in Oak Cliff
⓼ New Spin: Concept Restaurant Crown Block Set for Spring Opening Atop Reunion Tower
⓽ Nanoscope Therapeutics Accelerates Sight-Restoring Drug Development with New Gene Therapy Manufacturing Partnership
⓾ Wall of Philanthropy Installation at Galleria Showcases Dallas Zoo Backers Ahead of Gala
More Things to Know
ParkHub Acquires California-Based Parking Software Provider
⟫ Two months after acquiring Fuzse, a payment processing integrator, Dallas-based ParkHub has scooped up Smarking to broaden its product suite and expand into new end markets. Founded in 2014, San Francisco-based Smarking is a SaaS-based solution that enables customers across North America to effectively manage their parking assets through access to real-time data and analytics. “The addition of Smarking allows us to expand our product offering and better support our existing customers while continuing to grow and serve new markets,” ParkHub President Conner Mowles (above right beside founder and CEO George Baker Sr.) said in a statement.
UT Southwestern Named Top University for Technology Transfer
⟫ Think tank Heartland Forward is out with its ranking of the top technology transfer universities in the country. Coming in at No. 1 in Texas and No. 4 nationally is Dallas’ UT Southwestern Medical Center. Looking at things like invention disclosures, number of licenses, and number of startups formed, the University of Texas system ranked No. 3 overall. The only other North Texas institution to crack the list was the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. Noting that Dallas is ranked as a top metro for life sciences companies, UT Southwestern says its scientists have been issued nearly 750 patents, with technology from the institution helping to launch 90 startups, including Taysha Gene Therapies, ReCode Therapeutics, OncoNano Medicine, and Peloton Therapeutics.
Lockheed Martin Parks a Prototype Raider X at Globe Life Field
⟫ Lockheed Martin will be showing off its high-tech reconnaissance helicopter at the Lockheed Martin Commanders’ Classic at Arlington’s Globe Life Field next month. The S-97 Raider X—made by Lockheed company Sikorsky—is a vertical take-off and landing craft designed to fly fast and low, according to the Fort Worth Report. It’s currently in competition with a Bell Textron-made helicopter for a multi-billion-dollar contract with the U.S. Army for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, replacing the UH-60 Blackhawk. The two rivals are set to take part in a “fly off” next year. Both Lockheed and Bell are major employers in the Fort Worth area.
Neiman Marcus Unveils Luxury Holiday Gift Guide
⟫ Dallas-based retailer Neiman Marcus has unveiled its high-priced luxury gift collection for the upcoming holidays. The item with the highest price tag on this year’s list is a 600-diamond Cartier tiara, which is going for $3.2 million. Next is a Barbie-themed Maserati SUV (above) that’s available for a cool $330,000. Other offerings include a trip to Paris to create a signature perfume, a polo trip to Aspen, and a chance to shoot hoops with Scotty Pippen and his son. A portion of the proceeds from the gifts are donated to a number of charities and nonprofits.
Thursday, October 27
Former Las Vegas Waste Management Firm Moves HQ to Full Floor of Addison Tower
⟫ After moving to the region to North Texas in 2021 from Nevada, sustainable waste removal and recycling services firm CheckSammy is shifting its headquarters to Addison. The company’s 90 employees will take up an entire floor at The Madison building, reports the Dallas Business Journal. According to CheckSammy co-founder and CEO Sam Scoten (above), the company chose DFW due to its “central location” and “access to high-quality employees.”
DFW Ranks No. 4 Among U.S. Metros for Veteran Entrepreneurs
⟫ National nonprofit PenFed Foundation is out with its annual list of best U.S. cities for veteran entrepreneurs. Beating out all other Texas metros was the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, which came in at No. 4 nationwide. The Houston area ranks No. 5 and the Austin area No. 6. The study, conducted by the nonprofit’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program and Edelman Intelligence, looked at things like livability, economic growth, support for veterans, and the ability to start a business across 390 metro areas.
Esposure Helps Bring Texas Esports League State Championships to DFW
⟫ Youth esports development platform Vanta is collaborating with Duncanville-based esports educational organization Esposure to bring its first in-person Texas Esports League state championships to the region. At Esposure’s esports arena in December, the top middle and high school esports team in the Lone Star state will go head-to-head in titles like Rocket League, Valorant, and League of Legends. The event takes place on December 17 and 18.
Texas A&M, UNT Get $50K NSF Grant to Study Enhanced Stormwater Management
⟫ Wendy Jepson, Ph.D., associate director of research at the Texas Water Resources Institute at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Dallas, is researching water security and resource issues facing Texans as climate change increases periodic flooding. With a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, she’s leading a team along with colleagues at the University of North Texas to explore adaptive stormwater infrastructure and management, also known as blue-green infrastructure or BGI. The Denton-focused project will support efforts to reduce local stormwater flooding in innovative ways, like the bioretention system in the photo above.
OOMI Digital Kitchen Coming to Dallas with Food From Up to 10 Restaurants
⟫ Urban Tacos owner Markus Pineyro (above) is bringing a digital food hall concept to Dallas. Called OOMI Digital Kitchen, the Ross Avenue venue will feature food from up to 10 restaurants, five of which will be OOMI-owned brands focusing on things from bowls and biscuits to salads and Asian street food, according to CultureMap Dallas. Through the OOMI website, its mobile app, or a third-party delivery service, customers will be able to order items from multiple restaurants within the concept in a single order. OOMI will also feature a market with local goods. The digital kitchen is set to open next month.
Wednesday, October 26
UT Southwestern’s $200K Pitch Competition Is Thursday, and You Can See It Online
⟫ Set your calendar tomorrow for a chance to hear some of the latest innovative ideas in healthcare. Starting at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, faculty, staff, and learners will take part in the annual UT Southwestern Pitch Competition, hosted by UTSW’s Office of Technology Development. The competition will be held at the Biotech+ Hub at Pegasus Park (above), where pitchers will present early-stage technologies in three categories: therapeutics, diagnostics/medical devices, and digital health. Up for grabs are $200,000 in cash prizes to help participants fund their startups. You can register to see the virtual event via a webinar here.
Plano is Exploring Gondola-Like JPod People Movers
⟫ A transportation system similar to a “network of horizontal elevators” could one day be coming to Plano. Through the Transportation Infrastructure Certification Program of the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Regional Transportation Council, the city has submitted an application to learn more about the system, called JPods. According to Community Impact, JPods have been compared to a modern gondola system, with passengers stepping onto suspended pods that move along a set track. As part of its application, Plano proposed a route around Legacy West and The Shops of Legacy area along the Dallas North Tollway.
Three Dallas Companies Make Top 10 List in American Opportunity Index, with AT&T at No. 1
⟫ Measuring the 250 largest public U.S. companies on their ability to create economic mobility for their workers, the American Opportunity Index is out with its latest rankings. And at the very top of the list is Dallas-based AT&T. Also making it in the top 10 locally are HF Sinclair at No. 7 and Southwest Airlines at No. 10. Using “real-world outcomes” of workers in roles open to non-college grads, the index looked at three key determinants of opportunity: access, wage, and mobility. In a blog post, the index notes AT&T’s investments in training and its efforts to increase diversity in hiring as reasons for the company’s top spot on the list, which was released earlier this month.
The 701 Development in Fort Worth Snags HQ, Restaurant
⟫ A newly opened mixed-use development is bringing businesses to Fort Worth’s Near Southside neighborhood. Called The 701, the 68,000-square-foot development from Dodson Commercial Real Estate is the new headquarters for architecture firm VLK Architects, housing more than 100 of its employees, per the Fort Worth Report. In addition, The 701 will be the site of a Texas Health Resources specialty clinic, an office for Frisco-based Monument Realty, and a seafood-focused restaurant called Walloon’s. According to Fort Worth City Councilmember Michael Crain, the development’s revitalization of an existing space helps to meet the commercial space demands of the area.
Tuesday, October 25
Report: Plano and Frisco Are the Top 2 U.S. Cities for Remote Workers in 2023
⟫ Outdoor home services marketplace Lawnstarter is out with a list of the best U.S. cities for remote workers in 2023—and topping the list are two North Texas cities. Taking the No. 1 spot is Plano, followed at No. 2 by Frisco, its neighbor to the north. Dallas comes in at No. 15, with Carrollton and McKinney close on its heels at No. 19 and No. 21. Several other DFW cities appear on the list as well, including Irving (No. 27) and Arlington (No. 32). The rankings were based on a number of categories, including internet connectivity, financial incentives for remote workers, earning potential, and average home workspace size.
Dallas Startup Zirtue Lands Top Prize at America’s Got Access Pitch Competition
⟫ Taking the stage at the inaugural America’s Got Access pitch competition at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Dallas relationship-based lending app Zirtue took home the top prize. In addition to the recognition, the company received a $100,000 uncapped SAFE note and will join the portfolio of San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm Commerce Ventures. Focused on structuring and automating personal loans between friends and family, Zirtue has raised at least $6 million from backers including Northwestern Mutual, Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and the Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute Capital Fund.
Southwest Airlines Becomes the Official Airline of Paul Quinn College
⟫ Southwest Airlines is now the official airline of local HBCU Paul Quinn College. The move comes as the Dallas-based carrier is joining the school’s Urban Work College Program as its first airline member. With the goal of promoting “diverse academic pathways,” Southwest said it will provide paid internships for Paul Quinn students in its network operations control center and finance department. Paul Quinn President Michael Sorrel said the “unique academic program” will “result in employment opportunities” for students.
With $3.5M Grant, Dallas College is Looking to Train Local Construction Workers
⟫ Looking to help local firms fill positions in the construction industry, Dallas College is planning to use a $3.5 million Texas Workforce Commission grant to train and upskill workers in partnership with 18 Texas employers. Noting that technology is becoming more involved in the industry, Dallas College will work with the businesses to train 1,571 workers in areas ranging from plumbing to HVAC and electrical. While construction jobs in the Lone Star state are increasing, Pyeper Wilkins, vice chancellor of workforce and advancement at Dallas College, told The Dallas Morning News that many employers are struggling to fill open positions. Dallas College will be working largely with businesses based in Dallas and Tarrant counties.
Monday, October 24
Texas Led the U.S. in Job Growth Over the Past Year
⟫ Businesses across the Lone Star State added 40,000 jobs last month, with North Texas employers accounting for 7,800 of them. That puts Texas behind only Florida for the most number of jobs added last month, per The Dallas Morning News. All together over the past year, the state has added nearly 722,000 jobs, a 5.6% increase That makes Texas the U.S. leader in job growth among all other states since September 2021. A majority of the jobs added last month in Texas were in the leisure and hospitality sector, followed by the trade, transport, and utilities sector. According to the DMN, the Dallas Fed expects job growth to increase by 3% for the rest of the year.
Dallas’ Invitation Homes Looks for $1B Joint Venture Partner
⟫ With mortgage rates spiking close to 7% and commercial lending rates rising as well, the recently booming housing market has begun to slow. Dallas-based Invitation Homes, which snapped up foreclosed properties in the wake of the Great Recession for its single-family home rental portfolio, sees opportunity in the current uncertainty. It’s now looking for a partner for a $1 billion joint venture, the Dallas Morning News reports. Invitation Homes currently owns 85,000 homes across the U.S. and its seeking of external capital through a joint venture partner remains in the early stages, the DMN notes.
DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas Distributes $19M for Local COVID Rent Relief
⟫ In a little more than a month, DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas (formerly the Dallas Housing Authority) has distributed all of its allocated rent relief funds via the City of Dallas COVID-19 Rent Relief program. Beginning on August 18, DHA was authorized to distribute up to $19 million In funding, which it completed allocating on September 27, helping nearly 1,800 Dallas families. Funding for the program came from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which is aimed at helping low-income households and individuals that have been impacted financially by the pandemic.
⟫ University of North Texas faculty members Alexandra Ponette-González and Matthew Fry will soon launch a a five-year study—backed by a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation—to explore how digital tools like i-Tree influence urban forest sustainability and equity. Cities across the U.S. use this technology to help make decisions about our urban forests—which encompass all the trees and shrubs that exist on public and private land within each city. Read more here.
Friday, October 21
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Mirasol Capital Closes Deal for Wells Fargo Campus in Las Colinas, Plans Lakeside Mixed-Use Project Next Door
⓶ Wells Fargo To Build a $200M Corporate Campus in Irving, Creating 650 New Jobs
⓷ Follow the Money: Medical Device Firm Orthofix Merges to Form Nearly $700M Revenue Business, Stealthy Men’s Health Startup Looks to Raise $2M, Dallas SPAC Targets $200M IPO, and More
⓸ Nanoscope Therapeutics Accelerates Sight-Restoring Drug Development with New Gene Therapy Manufacturing Partnership
⓹ Report: Dallas-Fort Worth Has One of the Top 5 Fastest-Growing Economies in the U.S.
⓺ Mammoth Interest: The CIA Invests in Dallas-Based Colossal Biosciences
⓻ Dallas’ Foundry Brands Is Building a Portfolio of ‘Micro-Tribe’ Direct-to-Consumer Businesses
⓼ Longtime Dallas Investor Aaron Pierce Joins Perot Jain as Partner
⓽ HiFAB Studio and Plant in Grand Prairie Will Create Modern Modular Homes by Lake/Flato Architects
⓾ The Last Word: ‘Fast N’ Loud’ Star Richard Rawlings On Selling His Collection and Opening Two New Venues
More Things to Know
Raytheon Intelligence and Space Aims to Hire 675 in North Texas
⟫ Raytheon Intelligence and Space—which already employs over 6,700 in North Texas—is seeking talent for 675 open jobs in the region, reports the McKinney Courier-Gazette. Raytheon is looking for senior software engineers, system engineers, and system architects, along with talent for analytics, planning, logistics, digital tech, and manufacturing roles. If the company sounds like it has some secrets to keep, you’re right—it’s also hiring cyber security specialists. “There’s a myriad of universities and high-tech talent in the Dallas area, so it makes natural sense for us to want to attract talent and bring it here to the North Texas area,” Doug Greene, head of talent acquisition at RIS, told the Courier-Gazette. Raytheon opened its advanced integration and manufacturing center (above) in McKinney last year, and recently helped open the NAF Newman Smith Academy of Innovation in Carrollton.
A New Restaurant Will Soon Be Atop Reunion Tower—But It Won’t Rotate
⟫ Las Vegas husband-wife team Elizabeth Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla are bringing a restaurant with a view to DFW. Set to open next spring atop Reunion Tower is Crown Block, a new steak and seafood concept. It replaces Five Sixty, the Wolfgang Puck eatery that closed amid the pandemic in 2020. Calling the restaurant a “celebration of all things grilled, seared, and roasted,” Crown Block will feature ingredients from regional farms, ranches, and the Gulf of Mexico. But unlike Five Sixty, according to multiple reports, the Crown Block team has decided not to use the tower’s rotating restaurant feature. Along with a sushi set up and dessert bar, the restaurant will also offer an event space one floor down in Reunion Tower, offering 360-degree views of the city. Crown Block plans to offer daily dinner services and weekend brunches.
Techstars Startup STRAFFR Raises $100K in Crowdfunding in Seven Days
⟫ Just seven days after launching a crowdfunding campaign on SeedMatch, STRAFFR has garnered €100,000 (around $98,000) in support. The Germany-based company—a member of the inaugural cohort of the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator program—has developed a smart fitness band that connects with an app to provide real-time workout assistance, along with workout sessions and progress tracking. This isn’t the first time STRAFFR has gone the crowdfunding route. After forming in 2018, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign that landed it over $41,000 in funding.
Lippert Opens 81K-SF Manufactured Housing Chassis Plant in Mansfield
⟫ Indiana engineered components manufacturer Lippert has opened a new facility in Mansfield—its first in more than two decades that will solely focus on producing chassis for the manufactured housing industry. With 78,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 3,300 square feet of office space, the facility will employ a team of 24 workers and produce around 30 chassis per day. The company said it also has space to add another production line at the facility to meet demand. Lippert said it has already committed to supplying Champion Homes in Mansfield and Burleson with products from the new facility.
First Robot Manicures, Now ‘Flash Facials’ at DFW Targets
⟫ Last January, we wrote about robots that are still providing manicures at select Target locations in Dallas-Fort Worth. Now five Targets in DFW are offering flash facials right in their stores. Targets in Frisco and Addison plus three locations in Fort Worth have made room for licensed Face Haus “esthies” (six are shown above). They offer 30-minute “electrolyte-infused hydro jelly masks,” LED light treatments, microdermabrasions, and more. In a hurry to hit aisle 7? They’ll do 15-minute oxygen infusions, “emergency spot treatments,” and other quickies. Leah Frazier of Think Three Media tried out the one in Addison and gives it a thumbs up with a video of her experience here.
Thursday, October 20
AT&T Seeks Partner for $10B to $15B U.S. Fiber Optic Expansion
⟫ As AT&T looks to expand its broadband coverage footprint in other parts of the country, the Dallas-based company is in talks with infrastructure investors to form a new joint venture, Bloomberg reports. Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg says the join venture would be valued at between $10 billion and $15 billion and invest in fiber-optic network expansion. According to the report, AT&T is looking to expand its territory, focusing on areas that are underserved with broadband and where it can be the first provider of fiber to residents.
Trend Micro Forms Committee of Six ‘Current U.S. Government Executive Leaders’
⟫ Irving-based cybersecurity software firm Trend Micro Incorporated aims to increase its work with federal agencies by 15%. To do so, the company formed a committee staffed by six “current U.S. government executive leaders.” While not disclosing names, Trend Micro said the members represent agencies that oversee critical infrastructure, energy, finance, and transportation. The move comes after Trend Micro set up a Washington, D.C.-based federal business unit earlier this year. According to Trend Micro COO Kevin Simzer, the committee is looking to share “breaking threat insights” and to deploy “protection over data critical to the nation and our citizens.”
Indy Autonomous Challenge To Feature Cisco STEM Zone at Texas Motor Speedway
⟫ College students will get a chance to test out their self-driving technology in racecars at the upcoming Indy Autonomous Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. But younger students will have interactive, hands-on opportunities, too. Event sponsor Cisco will bring its STEM Zone to the November 11 event. At the activation, students will have the chance to check out exhibits, interactive programs, and other “innovative activities.” The pit-located zone will also give attendees a view of the international Indy Autonomous Challenge, where nine teams will be competing with the goal of increasing safety and performance in both powersports and transportation.
EOSERA Announces Three EmpowHERment Pitch Finalists
⟫ Fort Worth biotech EOSERA wants to highlight female founders during the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Week in Panther City with its inaugural EmpowHERment Pitch Competition. After narrowing it down from 10 semifinalists, three finalists are set to take the stage at the UNT Health Science Center Next Offices in Fort Worth for a shot at a $10,000 prize. Taking part in this year’s competition are Austin-based “edible cocktail” company Boozy Bites (above), Austin-based sustainable period product maker Heralogie, and Dallas-based workwear for women brand PWR WMN. EOSERA plans to make the pitch competition an annual part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in Fort Worth.
Wednesday, October 19
Fort Worth Explores Landing U.K. Aerospace R&D Facility with $7M Tax Credit
⟫ U.K.-based GKN Aerospace employs 15,000 people at 38 manufacturing sites in 12 countries. It’s about to grow even more with a new Global Technology Center serving all its R&D activity in North America—and Fort Worth might be where the center lands. The Panther City is being considered as one of the top candidates in GKN’s national site selection process, and to sweeten the offer, city staff is recommending R&D tax credit grants of up to $7 million. The city council will vote on the recommendation on Oct 25. Fort Worth’s R&D credit program—designed to compete for R&D-intensive projects precisely like this one—would require GKN to generate around $40.5 million in R&D costs and around $91.6 million in new property tax increment. “The city and region have a lot to offer, and we look forward to continuing discussions as we progress the selection process,” a GKN spokesman said in a statement.
Dallas’ VectorNav Technologies Helps Power Indy Autonomous Challenge
⟫ When racecars don’t need race drivers, who’ll pop the champagne in the winner’s circle? We may see soon right here in North Texas. Nine teams from 21 universities across nine countries are set to descend on Texas Motor Speedway next month for the upcoming round of the Indy Autonomous Challenge. And VectorNav Technologies will be helping the self-driving racecars navigate the track. The Dallas-based inertial navigation solutions company has been tapped to supply global navigation satellite and internal navigation systems with real-time kinematic position for the Dallara AV-21 vehicles. By enabling position estimation down to centimeter-level accuracy, VectorNav will help each of the teams test their technology, with the goal of exploring the “feasibility of large-scale unmanned vehicle racing.”
DFW Student Scholars Gain Global Attention
⟫ Four North Texas students have joined the newest and largest cohort of the World Science Scholars program. As part of the World Science Festival initiative, Irving’s Jeffrey Chang, Dallas’ Luke Ting, and Frisco’s Ria Garg and Shobhit Agarwal will join more than 50 other student scholars to “examine the ways that advanced mathematics skills can be applied to solve complex challenges.” Members of the fifth World Science Scholars program, ranging in ages from 11 to 18, will take part in a year-long, self-paced program that includes interactive demonstrations, exercises, and discussions, in addition, they’ll get connections with mentors including Nobel and Breakthrough Prize winners.
Speaking of local student scholars, Daniel Thomas, a 9th grader at Colleyville Heritage High School, took home the fourth-place title and $1,000 at the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The invention competition was put on by 3M and Discovery Education, aimed at highlighting how STEM thinking can solve real-world problems. Thomas took home the prize for developing a diluted chlorine solution, peristaltic pump, and Wi-Fi programmer to help prevent clogging and organic overgrowth in air conditioner condensate lines.
Nowitski Will Seat You Next Summer: New Sports-Themed Restaurant Is Coming to DFW Airport
⟫ DFW Airport put out an RFP for a new space in Terminal C, and Dallas-based D&B Mitchell Group apparently pitched a slam dunk. The company won the space with its proposal for Nowitski, a sports-themed restaurant concept steeped in the brand power of the Dallas Mavericks legend. Slated to open in summer 2023, the concept will offer “a VIP sports entertainment experience paired with exceptional culinary expertise and the feel of an upscale club suite or sports lounge,” according to Frisco-based Aireal, which provided an immersive tech and design visualization to help land the project. Aireal delivered the interior design for the restaurant “by pulling in elements of Dirk’s life and basketball career” and also designed Nowitski’s uniforms, merchandise, and branding. The coolest detail: Aireal will be creating an augmented-reality version of Dirk that customers can take selfies with.
Tuesday, October 18
Kodiak Robotics’ Self-Driving Trucks Roll IKEA Goods From Houston to Frisco
⟫ Kodiak Robotics continues to use North Texas as a hub for its autonomous freight delivery technology. The California-based company unveiled that it has been using its self-driving semis to transport goods for IKEA from its distribution center in Baytown—west of Houston—to the home goods store’s retail location in Frisco. Building on deliveries Kodiak has been making between DFW and Houston since 2019, the company said the move will help it better understand road safety conditions, in addition to increasing safety for long-distance drivers. Kodiak—which just announced landing a $30 million growth capital credit facility from Horizon Technology Finance Corporation—set up its operations hub in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster in 2019. In addition to routes from the region to Houston, the company’s autonomous vehicles also have routes from Dallas to San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta.
Dallas Cowboys’ Official Accounting Firm Merges with BKM Sowan Horan
⟫ Dallas public accounting firm BKM Sowan Horan is combining with the official accounting firm of the Dallas Cowboys. In a deal expected to close at the beginning of next month, BKM will merge with CohnReznick, the 15th largest accounting firm in the country, according to The Dallas Morning News. With the deal, CohnReznick will have 86 professionals in the Dallas area. And according to CEO David Kessler, the firm is looking to expand its Texas workforce by at least 20% over the next year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Concert Truck Will Soon Be Rolling Back Through Dallas
⟫ The Concert Truck will soon be rolling through Dallas again. Through a partnership with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the mobile music venue will be bringing pop-up outdoor concerts to parts of the community for the third year in a row from October 24 through December 5, Culturemap Dallas reports. This year, members of the DSO and other arts organizations will join The Concert Truck founders Susan Zhang and Nick Luby to bring 45-minute to 60-minute performances at places like NorthPark Center, the Turtle Creek Conservancy, and White Rock Ale House. Performances are free and are aimed at connecting the community through music. You can check out a full schedule here.
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Gets $3.8M Gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott
⟫ As part of an $84.5 million gift to the Girl Scouts of the USA, the organization’s Northeast Texas chapter has received $3.8 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The money will help support the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’ (GSNETX) mentorship and programming, which is aimed at building “girls of courage, confidence, and character.” Calling the gift “transformational,” GSNETX CEO Jennifer Bartkowski said the donation comes as the organization is currently “reimagining itself,” focusing on greater diversity, equity, and access. The GSNETX has a network of more than 8,000 volunteers across a 32-county region that includes much of DFW.
Monday, October 17
Irving Teen Lands Prize at National Entrepreneurship Competition
⟫ After joining 40 other regional finalists at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, a local teen took home one of the top prizes. Taking the stage in New York for the pitch-style competition, Irving’s Thomas Vo shared one of two runner-up prizes, landing the Nimitz High School student $2,500 for his startup Reheats, an electric heated glove designed for construction workers. The top prize went to St. Louis’ Josh Kreuger for his digital marketing agency business MODRN Media.
Plano-Based At Home Launches App and Expands Delivery Options
⟫ At Home, the Plano-based home decor megastore, is focusing on speed and convenient options for consumers, just in time for holiday shopping. “They’re both key components of our continued journey to reduce friction for our customers across all our channels,” said Richard Armour, At Home’s Chief Digital Officer in an announcement. At Home’s new delivery partners—DoorDash and Roadie—will expand customer reach and make “thousands of items available for fast, same-day delivery.” It’s the latest in a series of convenience options the company has rolled out over the last couple of years including its website, buy online, pick up in-store, curb-side shopping, and more. The app is
UNT Offering Degree in Science of Industrial Distribution at Its New College in Frisco
⟫ The University of North Texas’ UNT New College at Frisco, which houses the institution’s multidisciplinary programs, has a new degree program. Ahead of the opening of a new UNT Frisco campus next year, the university is offering a bachelor of science in industrial distribution, which it says “teaches students how to find creative solutions to intricate industry problems while applying STEM principles.” In addition, the four-year program will teach students about the mechanical and electrical engineering foundation of tech products, along with material on operations and supply chain management. Program Director Thomas Brindle said the program will help bolster the growing local tech workforce.
Burnett Foundation Donates $4.5M for 1917-Era Downtown Fort Worth Park
⟫ The Burnett Foundation has given Downtown Fort Worth Inc. a grant that will help maintain and operate a park in the city that bears its name. With the $4.5 million grant, which serves as an endowment for the three-acre Burnett Park on the edge of Fort Worth’s downtown area, Downtown Fort Worth Inc. will continue maintenance, repairs, and improvements on the park. According to Fort Worth Report, future improvements to the George Kessler-designed park, which opened in 1917, include an upgraded play area for kids.
Friday, October 14
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Wells Fargo To Build a $200M Corporate Campus in Irving, Creating 650 New Jobs
⓶ American Airlines Is Finishing a 600-Room Hotel for Visiting Employees at Its Fort Worth HQ Campus
⓷ Texas Instruments’ Newest Fab Plant in Richardson Kicks Off Wafer Production
⓸ UT Arlington Researcher Takes a Page From Ancient Romans to Reinvent Concrete
⓹ SMU Cox Caruth Institute of Entrepreneurship Releases Alphabetical Dallas 100 List
⓺ Mammoth Interest: The CIA Invests in Dallas-Based Colossal Biosciences
⓻ Tech Titans Announces 22 Fastest-Growing North Texas Tech Companies
⓼ Richardson’s Mavenir Raises $155M in Open Radio Access Network Push
⓽ The Last Word: Dialexa Co-Founders on How They Started Their Company, Which Was Just Acquired by IBM, With a Beer
⓾ JLL’s DFW Life Science Snapshot: What’s Driving the North Texas Biotech Boom
More Things to Know
Report: Dallas, Plano Among Top 20 U.S. Cities for Foreign Business Investment
⟫ The Financial Times and Nikkei have released their inaugural “Investing in America” report—and three North Texas cities came out like gangbusters in it. The report ranks the best cities in the U.S. for foreign multinationals to do business in. Dallas (No. 6) and Plano (No. 13) both rank in the top 20 of cities overall, in data points from workforce and talent to openness, business environment, foreign business needs, quality of life, investment trends, and aftercare. Looking only at workforce and talent, Plano comes in No. 1 in the entire country, edging out Austin, San Francisco, and Seattle, with Dallas and Irving both making that Top 20 ranking at No. 19 and No. 20. Irving also ranks high in openness (No. 3), quality of life (No. 10), and aftercare (No. 8). Aftercare signifies the administrative support given by cities to foreign companies after they’ve invested, and Dallas did great on that measure too, coming in at No. 3. READ MORE
Nowitzki, Romo, Spieth, and Scheffler Kicked Off a PPA Pickleball Weekend in Frisco
⟫ Here’s more proof that DFW is becoming pickleball central: Cowboys and Mavericks greats Tony Romo and Dirk Nowitzki played in a Professional Pickleball Association pro-am celebrity competition in Frisco last night, joined by local PGA Tour golfers Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth. (You can see Dirk putting the pressure on in this tweet.) The event was broadcast live on the Tennis Channel. It will be followed up today through Sunday with a PPA Tour Round-Up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at Life Time Frisco, 4900 Throne Hall Drive. Events will feature DJ entertainment, meet & greets, glow-In-the-dark pickleball, food trucks, vendors, VIP experiences, and more. Top pro pickleball players from around the world are playing in mixed doubles today; men’s and women’s doubles on Saturday; and championship matches on Sunday. Coverage will be on the Tennis Channel as well as PPAtv.
McKinney National Airport May Offer Commercial Flights by 2026
⟫ If you want to book a flight out of Dallas-Fort Worth, you have two choices: DFW Airport or Love Field. But in a few years, one more option may take off just to the north: McKinney National Airport. It currently serves only private planes, corporate jets, and flight school training. But city leaders are eyeing empty land on the airport’s east side for a commercial services terminal with four passenger gates (rendered above). Mayor George Fuller told WFAA the region needs a third airport to keep pace with its growth, saying “Just Collin County alone will grow from 1.1 million to over 3 million people.” The rendering above shows what the airport could look like, right down to the passenger-filled commercial airliners at the gates. According to WFAA, plans are in the early stages, with the project tagged at $300 million. The airport could serve half a million passengers a year and generate “billions of dollars of economic impact to the region,” the mayor says.
Irving Is Piloting FLIR, a Wrong-Way Driver Detection System
⟫ Wrong-way drivers can cause catastrophic accidents, like the one that killed Dallas Police Officer Jacob Arellano earlier this week. Now the city of Irving is test-piloting a system that could help prevent such tragedies, WFAA reports. The FLIR traffic incident detection system uses cameras to spot vehicles moving toward oncoming traffic, sending alerts to spring police into action. The tech has been installed on State Highways 183 and 161 with help from a $164,430 grant, and has already been credited with preventing at least four wrong-way driver crashes, the city told WFAA.
DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas Launches Onsite Community Hubs
⟫ DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas (formerly the Dallas Housing Authority) has teamed up with Parkland Health to launch onsite community hubs at two of its residential public housing communities—Park Manor (above) and Buckeye Commons. Focused on addressing health disparities and expanding access to care, both hubs will provide in-person services like health screenings, financial assistance for health care, and other community resources. Park Manor is open every Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Buckeye Commons is open every Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. Virtual appointments can be made Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, October 13
nVenue Brings Micro-Betting Opportunities to NFL Games
⟫ After landing $1 million from the commercial gaming arm of North Carolina’s Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Dallas-based predictive sports analytics platform nVenue is continuing its push into the micro-betting market with the addition of NBC Sports analyst Matthew Berry as an advisor. And that’s not the only move it’s making in the industry. The startup also announced it will apply its platform to the NFL micro-betting market, unlocking 70,000 weekly betting opportunities during the league’s regular season. nVenue already offers tens of thousands of betting opportunities for MLB games, with its predictive platform being used to show potential outcomes of plays during Friday night MLB games on Apple TV+. When nVenue landed its most recent funding last month—bringing its total to around $4.1 million—co-founder and CEO Kelly Pracht (above) told Dallas Innovates that the company expects to add six other leagues to its platform in the near future.
UT Southwestern Researcher, Stanford Professor Win $3M Breakthrough Prize for Discovering the Cause of Narcolepsy
⟫ UT Southwestern researcher Dr. Masashi Yanagisawa has landed the Silicon Valley entrepreneur-sponsored Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, which UTSW says is known as “the world’s most lucrative science award.” The $3 million prize stems from Yanagisawa’s 1998 discovery of a protein—called orexin—that regulates wakefulness, which led to treatments for narcolepsy, as well as the design of new, sleep-inducing drugs. Yanagisawa is one of three UTSW scientists to land the honor since the awards were launched in 2013. He will receive the award alongside Stanford University School of Medicine researcher Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, who independently made the same discovery.
Mark Cuban Considers Leaving ‘Shark Tank’
⟫ Local serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban is looking to make his exit from “Shark Tank.” According to an interview with CNN, the Dallas Mavericks owner said that he’s made a promise to do at least one more season with the ABC show. While not saying if that will be his final season, Cuban said he wants to spend more time with his family—something that’s difficult given that the show shoots over the summer. He also wants to devote more focus to his pharmaceuticals business, the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, which aims to lower the cost of generic drug prices. According to the Dallas Morning News, citing data from Sharkalytics, Cuban has invested nearly $20 million across 85 deals in his 111-episode run on the show.
Report: DFW Saw Nearly $300M in VC Investments in Q3
⟫ The Dallas-Fort Worth area saw $299.5 million in venture capital investments across 38 deals in this quarter, according to the Q3 2022 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report. While those numbers were down from the $1.66 billion across 58 deals the region saw in Q2, it’s up from pre-pandemic Q3 numbers. The report notes that while investments were down in the region, exit deals increased from the same period of last year with $270 million invested across seven deals. The downward trend in venture capital investments follows a state and nationwide trend. During the quarter, Texas saw $1.38 billion invested across 145 deals compared to the $2.1 billion across 223 deals the state had in Q3 of 2021.
Wednesday, October 12
Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas to Become Ritz-Carlton Showplace in $55M ‘Transformation’
⟫ A joint venture aims to establish a new hotel in Irving as a “premier meetings and leisure travel destination.” After acquiring the Four Seasons Resort Dallas at Las Colinas earlier this year, the joint venture—made up of Swiss private markets firm Partners Group and funds managed by Trinity Fund Advisors, an affiliate of Fort Worth’s Trinity Real Estate Investment—has inked a management agreement with Marriott International to bring the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand to the landmark resort. As part of a $55 million “transformation” of what will become The Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Las Colinas, 90,000 square feet of meeting and event space, along with 14,000 square feet of spa space, will be renovated. The hotel will offer guests access to the nearby amenities of the Golf and Sports Club, which includes the TPC Las Colinas golf course. Marriott International will assume management of the hotel.
North Texas Solar Farm to Create Hundreds of Jobs, Generate $265M in Revenue
⟫ After selecting a site in Denton and Wise counties, North Carolina’s Pine Gate Renewables is set to break ground this month on Porter Solar, a 245-megawatt solar farm. The company expects the project to generate $265 million in revenue and create around 200 jobs for its construction, the Denton Record-Chronicle reports. The 1,700-acre solar farm, to be called Porter Solar, is expected to be completed next year. Pine Gate, which has partnered with Blue Ridge Power for talent recruitment and training, said the location was a fit due to its proximity to a major population hub, with the DRC noting that low production costs and the fact that Texas operates its own grid have drawn a number of energy-related projects to the state.
Dallas Firm to Launch U.S. Expansion of Earth Burger, a Plant-Based Fast Food Concept
⟫ Dallas’ Sinelli Concepts International, the parent company behind restaurant brands like Which Wich and Genghis Grill, is partnering with San Antonio plant-based fast food restaurant Earth Burger to launch a national franchise expansion. With a new brand design and menu update, the two companies are hosting a launch party for the effort in November. While not saying what regions and how many locations its targeting, Sinelli founder Jeff Sinelli said there has been a growing demand across the U.S. for plant-based fast food options. Earth Burger said a portion of sales from select menu items will be donated to its foundation Peach on Earth Project, which looks to help feed those in need.
Uptown Players Gets a New Home in the Dallas Design District
⟫ Uptown Players, the only professional LGBTQ+ focused theater in the Dallas area, has been the primary tenant of the historic Kalita Humphreys Theater in Oak Lawn since 2010. But now the Players have a new home: 1327 Motor Circle in the Dallas Design District. “We always knew we’d have to move our offices because there is a master plan being developed to restore the Kalita” and open it up to other arts groups, said Jeff Rane, an executive producer at Uptown Players (at right above, with fellow EP Craig Lynch at left). The 3,922-square-foot Design District space will be used for offices, rehearsals, set construction, and a costume shop. Eliza Solender (center above) of Solender/Hall represented Uptown Players in the lease with option to purchase. Transwestern’s Paul Wittorf, Kim Brooks, and Laney Delinrepresented the owner, Quadrant Investment Properties.
Mark Cuban to Give Closing Keynote at Upcoming Venture Dallas Conference
⟫ Local investor, billionaire, and serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban will be the closing keynote speaker at the upcoming Venture Dallas conference on Nov. 3, participating in the event for the first time. Building upon the anticipation of the upcoming event, Aaron Pierce, Venture Dallas’ co-founder and board chair, said prospective attendees should snag a ticket early to hear what the Dallas Mavericks owner will be talking about. Cuban has amassed 215 companies in his Mark Cuban Companies investment portfolio, in industries ranging from blockchain and apparel to media and biotech. Venture Dallas is set to be held at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on SMU’s campus.
Tuesday, October 11
Dallas Museum of Art Offering Color-Correcting Lenses to Visitors with Color Blindness
⟫ The Dallas Museum of Art is looking to help people with color blindness see the works in its galleries in a new light. In a partnership with California glasses maker EnChroma, the museum is offering visitors glasses with lenses that adjust red-green deficiency in wearers with colorblindness, artnet reports. The move comes during Color Blindness Awareness Month, with the museum planning to bring back the offering each year. Visitors are able to pick up the glasses at the guest services desk and reserve them for 90-minute slots. The DMA joins Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Museum in offering the technology.
Richardson’s Mavenir Raises $155M in Open Radio Access Network Push
⟫ Richardson-based Mavenir, an industry leader known for supplying software to communications service providers, has raised $155 million as it looks to accelerate investment in innovation for mobile networks. The funding bolsters the company’s balance sheet, enabling it to continue developing products with disruptive potential. “We will continue to lead the 5G transformation by investing in disruptive products to accelerate innovation in mobile networks,” says Mavenir President and CEO Pardeep Kohli. Read more in our story here.
Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport Named a Top 20 U.S. Cargo Airport by FAA
⟫ The airport moved up three spots to No. 20 in the rankings and landed more than 2.4 billion pounds of cargo in 2021, a volume increase of nearly 46% from the previous year. “This recognition reinforces the incredible growth and demand we’ve experienced at the airport over the past five years,” Christian Childs, president of Alliance Aviation companies at Hillwood, said in a statement. “The airport plays a critical role in our national security efforts and in ensuring Americans have access to essential household goods.” Read more in our story here.
Revolving Kitchen is Opening a New, Bigger Location in Fairview
⟫ Revolving Kitchen is expanding to Fairview Town Center to offer eats to the residents of Dallas’ northern suburbs. The new location for the commercial kitchen rental space operator will be about 37,000 square feet—slightly larger than its original Garland location that opened in 2019—and will have space for 34 kitchens, founder Tyler Shin (above) told D Magazine. Expected to open next year, the new space is part of a plan to have four or five locations in the pipeline by the end of 2023 that Shin said he is hoping to partly fund via a crowdfunding effort on the Republic platform. Unlike the Garland location, the Fairview one will offer in-person dining opportunities. A number of customers from the Garland location are expanding into the new Revolving Kitchen location, including Wingstop, Five Guys, and Cotton Patch Café, D reports.
Thursday, October 6
Pickleball.com Launches Out of Dallas as Home for All Things Pickleball
⟫ Pickleball.com is launching with the help of a Dallas-based investment firm to be the go-to hub for the sport’s enthusiasts. With a soft launch this week and a full launch planned for January, the site will offer instructions and merchandise, along with data and live coverage of the Professional Pickleball Association Tour.
The PIckleball.com site is the culmination of recent moves made by Dundon Capital Partners, a Dallas firm led by Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon (above). Toward the end of last year, Dundon Capital made a “multimillion-dollar” majority investment in Pickleball Central, an e-commerce platform that owns the tournament organization website PickleballTournaments.com and equipment maker Pickle-Ball Inc. The firm followed that up earlier this year by acquiring the Professional Pickleball Association.
Sweet Tooth Hotel Is Opening Its Flagship in Downtown Dallas
⟫ After opening its doors in Victory Park in 2018 and expending to locations in Allen and Fort Worth, immersive art space Sweet Tooth Hotel is set to launch a new location in downtown Dallas. Opening on Oct. 19, the new Elm Street location will kick off with an art exhibition titled “Dreamland,” along with 10 other projects by local artists, the Dallas Observer reports. The new 6,000-square-foot Sweet Tooth location will also feature a cocktail lounge featuring drinks from local and national brands. Tickets for the opening can be found here.
Local Students to Rep the U.S. in International Robotics Competition
⟫ A team of students from North Texas high schools will represent the U.S. for the second time at an international robotics competition. The 15-person team, called the Technicbots, will rep America at the FIRST Global Challenge, described by the Frisco Enterprise as an “Olympics-style global robotics event.” Taking place in Switzerland later this month, the event will host 180 teams in robotics challenges centered around the theme of carbon capture and storage. The Technicbots—made up of largely Plano and Frisco high school students—represented the U.S. at last year’s FIRST Global Challenge, as well.
Haltom City School Is Building a Hydroponic Farm With $178K from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club
⟫ The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club charitable program has awarded $178,000 to help fund construction of a hydroponic farm at the IDEA Achieve Academy and College Preparatory school. This will be the eleventh IDEA farm and the first hydroponic farm in IDEA’s Tarrant County region. IDEA previously received $100,000 from Sun Club for a solar array to power the district headquarters building. “We teach students about science and agriculture in the short-term, but we also want them to think twice about where their food comes from, how it is grown, and why proper nutrition is essential to staying healthy for life,” said Deborah Ray, Child Nutrition Farm Program assistant manager at IDEA. Since 2002, the GME Sun Club has donated nearly $11.7 million for sustainability projects with 143 nonprofits across Texas and the Northeast.
Wednesday, October 5
Fort Worth’s Dubs Group Partners with Atlanta E-Commerce Platform to ‘Empower’ Student Athletes
⟫ Fort Worth marketing, sales, and talent representation firm The Dubs Group is partnering with collegiate athletics-focused e-commerce platform Fans Meet Idols to help student athletes monetize their brands. Dubs founder Allie Miller (above) said she believes recently passed name, image, and likeness rules should “empower all student athletes.” To help do that, Dubs will work with the athletes it represents to create online storefronts on the Atlanta-based platform, offering a range of products from merchandise and digital experiences to web3 goods and appearance bookings via the partnership. Miller said the goal is to help clients “generate income through fan engagement,” supplementing endorsement deals cultivated by Dubs.
Irving-Based Vistra Corp. Seeks to Add 20 Years to Life of Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant
⟫ Many see nuclear power as a key solution to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. Keeping existing plants operating may be key to that effort—including ones like the Comanche Peak in Somervell County, south of Dallas, which has operated since 1990. This week, Vistra Corp. applied for license renewals that could extend its power generation through 2053. “Comanche Peak is one of the lowest-cost and highest-performing nuclear power plants in the country and is a large, dispatchable source of carbon-free electricity,” says Vistra CEO Jim Burke. Read more here.
Electrifying Construction: Irving-Based Caterpillar Displays 4 BEV Prototypes
⟫ Loud, diesel-burning construction machines may one day be a thing of the past—and Irving-based Caterpillar is working to bring that day closer. The company announced that it will display four battery electric prototypes at the bauma 2022 trade fair in Munich, Germany, October 24-30. The prototypes will include the 950 GC Medium Wheel Loader (above), along with an excavator, a mini-excavator, and a compact wheel loader. Caterpillar battery prototypes power the machines using an onboard AC charger, with an offboard DC fast-charging option in the works. “Caterpillar is well positioned to help customers reach their sustainability goals, including lowering emissions on the jobsite,” said Construction Industries Group President Tony Fassino.
Compass Datacenters Is Expanding Its Red Oak Campus with a New, $100M Facility
⟫ Dallas’ Compass Datacenters is looking to expand its existing campus south of the city. Citing regulatory filings, the Dallas Business Journal reports the company is building a new $100 million, 252,000-square-foot data center on its campus in Red Oak (which already includes Red Oak 1, above). Compass previously bought a 225-acre site in Red Oak, where it has a $64 million renovation to existing data centers underway. According to the DBJ, the Red Oak facilities will include a data hall, infrastructure, and tenant office spaces.
Tuesday, October 4
See Inside: Vari Opens New Global HQ in Coppell
⟫ Vari’s new global HQ, VariSPace Coppell, was designed by Dallas-based BOKA Powell. The company’s goal: “continue to probe the future of how we work.” With open stairwells inside and walking trails outside, getting up and about is encouraged. So is staying healthy: The new HQ is the third building in DFW to receive Fitwel certification for healthy workplaces, the company says. “Most executives are still trying to figure out the future of work, the workforce, and workspaces—that’s where we come in,” said Vari co-founder and CEO Jason McCann. Read more—and see inside—here.
First Battista Pure-Electric Hyper GT Cars Delivered in U.S., Dallas Retail Partner Added
⟫ Italy- and Germany-based Automobili Pininfarina says it has delivered the first Battista pure-electric hyper GT car to a “bespoke owner” in the U.S., with another Battista Anniversario on the way this month. (Both cars are seen above with AP CEO Per Svantesson.) Only five Battista Anniversarios will be built, priced from $2.6 million each (which could empty a bank account almost as fast as these cars drive). Billed as “the most powerful road-legal Italian car ever made,” one can be ordered locally through AP’s newest U.S. retail partner, Dallas-based Avondale Group.
Dallas Police, Dallas Fire-Rescue Launch New Location Tech for Precise 911 Response
⟫ “Shed Three Echo.” Those three words mean nothing unless you’re using the what3words app—which translates the words into a precise 3-square-meter spot at Dallas Police headquarters. The team behind the London-based location app say they’ve divided the world into three-meter squares and given each square its own unique three-word combo. Now the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue are rolling out the app to help them improve response to 911 calls. “Having an additional tool like what3words will help us to find a location quickly, and respond to an emergency faster to get help to those who need it,” DPD Chief. Eddie Garcia said in a statement. Emergency callers can use the app or an online map system to give 911 operators the three-word code for where help is needed.
Monday, October 3
City of Dallas Proclaims ‘FBI Dallas Hate Crimes Awareness Day’
⟫ Inspired by an FBI national media campaign to fight hate crimes, the Dallas City Council on Monday proclaimed October 3 as “FBI Dallas Hate Crimes Awareness Day.” Wrap ads on DART buses and trains will help spread the word, and newly painted murals in two Dallas communities aim to help, too. “Through this proclamation, we are acknowledging that hate is real. But so is love,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said. Read more here.
Fort Worth Mayor Lands on TIME’s List of Emerging Global Leaders
⟫ TIME has released its second annual TIME100 Next list, highlighting 100 emerging leaders from across the globe “who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership.” And one of those is Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker. In an article written by Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger, the mayor of the country’s 13th largest city is described as learning from diversity, doing the “hard work of good governance,” and carrying “the torch.” Elected last year, Parker is a licensed attorney as well as the founding CEO of Fort Worth Cradle to Career and the Tarrant To & Through Partnership.
Report: JPMorgan Chase Hiring 2,000 Engineers By End of Year
⟫ In an interview held in Plano during DevUp—a conference that brought together 500 of the company’s top engineers—JP Morgan Chase CIO Lori Beer told Reuters her company is bucking an uncertain economy by hiring 2,000 additional engineers by the end of this year. “When you’re going into a tough economic time and things are very volatile, it does play into our favor,” Beer told Reuters of the hiring effort, which includes roles in cybersecurity, cloud computing, software engineering, data science, and other areas.
QTS Aims to Build a New $180M Data Center in Irving
⟫ Another company is looking to add data center space in North Texas. Citing a regulatory filing, the Dallas Business Journal reports that Kansas-based QTS Realty Trust listed a proposed data center building that will be added to a 55-acre-plus existing campus in Irving. The new building includes more than 337,000 square feet of office, storage, and critical power support spaces, along with a screened equipment yard. According to the filing, the project has an expected cost of $180 million and a projected delivery date of the end of 2023.
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