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Each weekday, Dallas Innovates brings you up to date on what you may have missed in the region’s innovation, technology, and impact news. From startup to enterprise, education to invention, and creative to social innovation, here’s our daily mix of what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth.
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Thursday, June 30
DFW Added Nearly 295,000 Jobs In Last 12 Months
⟫ Citing new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas-Fort Worth added nearly 295,000 jobs in the year ending in May. That puts the region behind only the New York and Los Angeles areas, which have significantly larger workforces. In terms of job growth rate in non-farming industries, the DFW area saw an increase of 7.7%, second only to Las Vegas among metro areas with more than 1 million residents. However, new job creation wasn’t spread evenly across the local region. In the 12-month period, the Dallas-Plano-Irving part of the region added 224,400 new jobs, while the Fort Worth-Arlington side saw only 70,300 new jobs added. According to the DMN report, North Texas’ growth rate can partly be attributed to transplants from the coasts moving to the region.
Logistics Startup Aims to Have 200+ Dallas Employees
⟫ Experiencing impressive growth without any institutional investors, Atlanta-based logistics startup CargoBarn aims to grow its team to at least 1,200 nationwide by 2025. And part of that growth will be in Dallas. In its newest batch of hires, the company has brought on 16 new employees locally, with plans to eventually move the Dallas team to new offices that can accommodate more than 200 workers. CargoBarn, which formed in 2007, currently has a team of 132 and has seen its sales increase by about 73% since 2020, driven by the launch of new services like transporting cargo from port to point of destination.
Locals Nominated for Texas Restaurant Awards
⟫ Next month, the Texas Restaurant Association will be honoring the recipients of the Texas Restaurant Awards in Dallas with a few locals as nominees. Highlighting businesses across the state in a number of categories, two North Texans—Christian Dortch of Georgie by Curtis Stone and Tiffany Derry of Roots Southern Table—are in the running for the Rising Star Award, which recognizes the work that goes into opening a new restaurant. In addition, Ruth Thompson of Hugs Café in McKinney has been nominated for the Community Impact Award, while Christopher Aslam of Rock Strategic Restaurant Group and Bob Bratcher of Daddy Bob’s Smokewagon have been tapped by their respective local TRA chapters as recipients of the Outstanding Restauranteur of the Year Awards. Winners in each category will be unveiled on July 10 at the TRA’s Lone Star Bash at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.
Dallas Firm Lands Best Technology Award in Europe
⟫ Nearly a year after Dallas-based Spectral MD, which uses artificial intelligence to help health care professionals better heal wounds, hit the London Stock Exchange, the company is getting some recognition across the pond. Earlier this week, the company took home the Best Technology Award at the European Mediscience Awards for its wound imaging tech, which evaluates physiological information that would go unseen by the human eye. Since 2013, Spectral says it has received funding commitments totaling about $93 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop the technology.
Wednesday, June 29
New Investment Group Launches From TCU Institute
⟫ Fort Worth’s entrepreneurial ecosystem could use some help in spurring investment in early-stage startups. To do just that that, leaders at the TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and RevTech Labs Capital quietly formed the Horned Frog Investment Network, a VC-angel hybrid organization that uses student talent to source and do due diligence on deals. Since forming in March, the organization has amassed around 40 members and looked into nearly 300 potential investments. So far it’s made two deals, including one with Rizzle, a California-based video app similar to TikTok, that valued the company at $250 million. The VC network’s leaders told Fort Worth Report that their overall goal is attracting more activity and investment in the region.
GeneIQ Launches New Diagnostic Report
⟫ Dallas-based molecular diagnostics company GeneIQ has launched its One Choice Report and Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. The new report can provide clinicians with clinical guidance for treating infectious diseases. To avoid overusing antibiotics, clinicians can use the report to quickly identify pathogens with precision, incorporating advanced antibiotic-resistant detection methods. One Choice features a PCR-based detection method with a panel of microbial organisms commonly found in urinary tract infections, women’s health-related infections, sexually transmitted infections, and wound infections. A key goal of the new product: decreasing community spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.
Reducing Supply Chain Risk in Health Care
⟫ Vizient, an Irving-based health care management services company, is teaming up with California’s Supply Risk Solutions to help its more than 5,000 health care system members avoid supply chain disruptions. Through the strategic partnership, Vizient will add automated monitoring and risk prevention to their supply chain through Supply Risk’s technology, which incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning to map supplier manufacturing and product data. Margaret Steele, senior VP of medical and surgery for Vizient, said the move will help “increase transparency” and “ensure continuity of patient care” for the company’s clients.
AR-Powered Art Walk in Fort Worth
⟫ Now you can see art and get a little cardio, too. An augmented reality art walking trail app will debut Thursday in Fort Worth’s South Main Village. Amphibian Stage Productions partnered with Blue Zones Project Fort Worth and the Devhouse Agency to create the app, which can help you explore 20+ works of art, various parks, and numerous independently owned shops and eateries. The app launches Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will remain live this summer. Newly commissioned works of music, visual art, movement, and storytelling from local artists will be mixed with existing public art pieces on the 30-minute walk. The app is available on Android and Apple’s App Store.
Fort Worth’s Proposed African American Museum and Cultural Center Gets Funding
⟫ The Fort Worth City Council voted Tuesday to earmark $40,000 for a feasibility study for a proposed African American Museum and Cultural Center. According to Fort Worth Report, six sites are being scoped out for the museum, including the Fort Worth Community Arts Center (above). Other locations being explored include the National Juneteenth Museum site on East Rosedale and the Southside Community Center.
Tuesday, June 28
Dallas Lands New Bank Office for Small Businesses
⟫ Already the largest lender of Small Business Administration loans in the region, North Carolina-based Live Oak Bank has opened a Dallas office to help businesses across the South and Midwest. Acting as a “lending hub” in the time zone, the Live Oak Bancshares subsidiary’s offices house 12 employees from its 25-person Texas team, offering services in industries spanning from restaurants to physician’s offices, the Dallas Business Journal reports. Citing data from SBA District Director Herb Austin, the publication writes that Live Oak has made close to $93.4 million in SBA loans across North Texas since 2021.
Fort Worth Suburb to Create Its Own ‘Eastern Gateway’ to Aledo
⟫ The city of Aledo, about 20 miles west of Fort Worth, has annexed 283 acres of land that it hopes will become an “eastern gateway” to the city. The move is part of a more than 1,800-acre mixed-use community on the Fort Worth-Aledo border, called Dean Ranch, where Houston development firm Levens Capital Partners plans to buy a large portion to build up to 3,000 new homes, along with other amenities like a community center commercial space. With Aledo Mayor Nick Stanley calling the move a “major win” for the city, Aledo is setting up its first public improvement district to help finance up to $41 million in infrastructure improvements to the region. As The Dallas Business Journal notes, Fort Worth and its surrounding suburbs have become a “hot spot for residential developers.”
Waymo Begins Autonomous Pilot with Home Goods Marketplace Wayfair
⟫ After making North Texas a hub for its autonomous trucking operations in 2020, Waymo is looking to deliver more goods along Texas highways. The Alphabet-owned company announced deepening its ties with logistics firm J.B. Hunt Transportation Services with a multi-week pilot to transport products from home goods marketplace Wayfair between Dallas and Houston along the Interstate 45 corridor. Like with a previous pilot with J.B. Hunt running freight between Fort Worth and the Bayou City, drivers will be in the cab to take control, if needed, with the two hoping to become the “first fully autonomous commercial freight transport.
Rold Gold Gives Away Real Gold
⟫ Rold Gold, the popular pretzel brand from Plano’s Frito-Lay, is turning 106 years old. And it’s doing so by giving customers a chance to win real gold. Through its new Gold Hunters campaign, the company will be posting clues to TV shows and films throughout the decades where the product has appeared between now and September 11. Customers who post that they’ve identified one of the clues will be entered into a drawing where 60 winners will split a $106,000 prize of gold bars. In addition to highlighting its past, the company unveiled a “modern, evolved” design to its packaging.
Monday, June 27
Dallas Lands Aerial Lift Maker’s HQ
⟫ LGMG, a maker of mobile elevating work platforms, is moving its North American headquarters to Dallas, just three years after opening its doors in the U.S. in Pennsylvania. According to the trade publication forconstructionpros.com, the move follows new tariff rates placed on the products from Chinese manufacturers by the U.S. Department of Commerce. In addition to the HQ moves later this year, LGMG is also consolidating warehouse operations and locating its parts and services support operations in its new Dallas digs.
Developing a PCR Test for Monkeypox
⟫ After developing a PCR test for COVID-19 early on in the pandemic, a company with local ties is developing a test for another virus making headlines. BioGX—a provider of PCR reagents that’s headquartered in Frisco and Birmingham, Alabama—is teaming up with California molecular diagnostics firm Cepheid to develop a PCR test for monkeypox. While the test is still in the development stages, the companies said the test would be able to be quickly deployed to the 40,000 diagnostic devices created by Cepheid that are used in 180 countries. The companies pitch the test as a “preparedness plan,” noting that the CDC currently says the risk of contracting monkeypox is low.
Healthy-Living Community Coming to South Dallas
⟫ The city of Dallas has awarded $450,000 to help develop a new community center focused on healthy living in South Dallas, CultureMap Dallas reports. The funding, which comes from Dallas’ Small Business Center’s South Dallas Fair Park Opportunity Fund and the Southern Dallas Investment Fund, is going to Kingdom Legacy, a real estate firm founded by Ferrell Fellows, which plans to develop the MLK Wellness Complex. Located in the former offices of the news outlet Dallas Weekly, the complex will include a fitness center, a health-focused restaurant, and office space. According to Kingdom Legacy’s website, Ferrell’s goal is to “dismantle systems of poverty through development, advocacy, and policy reformation.”
Friday, June 24
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Dallas-Based Granite Properties Named National 2022 Developer of the Year
⓶ Hook, Line, and Sinker: Fort Worth Lands Top Fishing Brand’s First Brick‑and-Mortar Store
⓷ ‘Full-Strength Fort Worth’ Aims to Create Equitable Economic Vitality in Underserved Communities
⓸ From TikTok Recommendations to New Trends, the Mark Cuban Foundation’s Bootcamp Aims to Teach Students About AI
⓹ 32 North Texas Companies Make List of 2022 Best Workplaces in Texas
⓺ Caterpillar To Move Global Headquarters From Illinois to North Texas
⓻ See the Winners of Three AIA Dallas Architecture Awards Competitions
⓼ Aakha Biologics Relocates from BioLabs Pegasus Park to Permanent North Texas HQ in Frisco
⓽ AlgoPear Eyes $2M Seed Raise for Automated Stock Trading Marketplace
⓾ Marine Vet Creates Evacuation Tech To Light Up ‘Pathways To Safety’ in an Emergency
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
$30B Bullet Train Developer Gets Land-Seizing Power
⟫ The bullet train just got a new breath of life. The Texas Supreme Court ruled today that Texas Central, the company behind the proposed $30 billion high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, “has eminent domain authority” to seize land needed for the project.
In a 5-3 split decision, the court ruled that Texas Central and its entities have that authority as “interurban electric railway companies” under Chapter 131 of the Texas Transportation Code.
Texas Central’s CEO resigned two weeks ago in the run-up to the ruling, after months of recent headlines like Congressmen urge Texas Supreme Court to kill bullet train and Texas Bullet Train Challenged Over Property Taxes.
The ball is now in Texas Central’s court. Will new leadership emerge to assert the eminent domain authority it’s now been granted?
Sandbox VR Opens Today in Dallas’ Mockingbird Station
⟫ Sandbox VR, an “immersive metaverse experience” offering “full-body virtual reality” is opening a new location today at Mockingbird Station in Dallas. Once you don your helmet and body gear and grab your virtual weapon, you can play one of six games including Star Trek: Discovery, Deadwood Valley, Amber Sky 2088, Curse of Davy Jones, Deadwood Mansion, and UFL: Unbound Fighting League. Sandbox VR—which also opened a Fort Worth location recently at Crockett Row—says it offers “a futuristic VR experience for groups of up to six where you can see and physically interact with everyone inside, just like the real world. Inspired by Star Trek’s Holodeck, our exclusive worlds let you feel like you’re living inside a game or movie, and are built by EA, Sony, and Ubisoft veterans.” The company’s backers include Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Kevin Durant, and Will Smith.
UNT, Choctaw Nation To Partner on Mobility Corridor
⟫ The University of North Texas and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma are collaborating to develop an Advanced Regional Mobility Corridor with a goal of spurring “future economic opportunity and growth.” The partners plan to leverage emerging transportation technologies including automated ground vehicles and advanced air mobility. In 2017, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was selected as the only tribal government lead participant for the FAA’s UAS [Drone] Integration Pilot Program, and later the FAA’s UAS BEYOND program. For its part, UNT recently announced plans for an outdoor testing facility—the UNT Advanced Air Mobility Test Center—to increase its research capacity for unmanned aerial vehicles and other emerging areas of research.
Fort Worth Is a Top City for Women in Tech
⟫ SmartAsset is out with its eighth annual study on the Best Cities for Women in Tech, and Fort Worth grabbed the No. 6 spot. “The Fort Worth tech industry has grown substantially in recent years, with employment growing by 26.5% between 2017 and 2020,” the study said, adding that the percentage of women in Fort Worth’s tech force is 27.3%. “After housing expenses, women tech workers [in Fort Worth] can expect an income of $52,737. When compared to men tech workers, women earn 94.3% what men do,” the study said. Fort Worth jumped several notches up the list since last year, when it was No. 18. Houston is the only other Texas city on the list of 15, clocking in at No. 3.
TXDOT Has a $400M Plan To Put EV Chargers All Over the State
⟫ The Texas Department of Transportation doesn’t want EV owners to get “range anxiety” when they’re driving around the state. So it has a $400 million, five-year plan to build a network of chargers throughout the Lone Star State. “The plan should ensure that every Texan can access the infrastructure they need to charge an EV,” Governor Greg Abbott wrote in a letter last month. According to the Dallas Morning News, the plan’s goal is to have fast-charging 150kW EV charging stations every 50 miles “along most non-business interstate routes” and every 70 miles in most other parts of the state.
Primoris Services To Build $260M Solar Project
⟫ Here’s more buzz on all things electric today: Dallas-based Primoris Services says it’s been awarded a project with an estimated value of $260 million for “the engineering, procurement, and construction of a utility-scale solar facility in the South.” Tom McCormick, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement that “with over 3,200 megawatts of solar power projects under construction currently in 2022, Primoris ranks as one of the leading EPC contractors in the space. This contract brings our year-to-date total of new solar business to more than half of a billion dollars.”
Thursday, June 23
Pittsburgh Public Company Moves HQ to Dallas, Changes Name
⟫ One of Pittsburgh’s largest public companies is relocating its headquarters to Dallas. Specialty metals producer Allegheny Technologies Inc. made the announcement via a SEC filing. The company also changed its name to ATI Inc. in the application, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We adopted the name most of you know us by because while the difficulties we tackle are challenging, our name does not have to be,” the company explained on its website. The move reinforces the company’s strategic focus and enables autonomous operating of its other hubs, the company said in the SEC filing. ATI’s address is McKinney & Olive tower (above) at 2021 McKinney Ave. in Uptown. In an email, ATI spokesperson Natalie Gillespie said that “no one is being asked to relocate.”
Southlake’s AllergenIQ Selected for National Accelerator
⟫ Southlake’s AllergenIQ, an early-stage remote allergen testing startup, is set to get a boost by the Test Equity Hub, a 12-week accelerator program aimed at Black and Latina female founders put on by law firm Davis Wright Tremaine. The program provides mentorship and workshops covering topics like product development, fundraising, and business strategy. It will cap off with a pitch competition event at the end of September in New York. The move adds to other programs AllergenIQ’s founder Dr. Nana Mirekuis an alum of, including Dallas’ Health Wildcatters.
The Statler Is Pampering Pooches
⟫ The Statler wants to be top dog among downtown Dallas hotels. So they’ve sniffed out an innovative marketing angle—offering a “Fluffy Stay” service for dogs under 25 pounds who accompany human guests. At check-in, pooches are given a bandana, a dog cookie, and a love letter from The Statler’s brand ambassador, Llinda Llee Llama. A special pup-themed welcome mat will be at the guests’ door. Inside, they’ll find custom-made plush pet beds, food and water bowls, and a bone-shaped placemat. Room service dog treats are available, including a $5 Unleashed cocktail (detoxifying, broth-infused water). Well-behaved pups can join their humans on The Statler’s two restaurant patios. (P.S., cats are welcome at the hotel, too.)
Wednesday, June 22
Dallas Approves $31.4M for Southern Dallas Development
⟫ The Dallas City Council has voted to approve up to $31.4 million in tax increment financing for phase one of University Hills, a planned 270-acre development that could “rewrite perceptions” of Southern Dallas. Located next to the University of North Texas at Dallas campus, the development from local investment group Hoque Global is slated to ultimately include 1,500 multi-family units and hundreds of single-family homes, along with more than 50 acres of green space. “This is a huge step for Dallas in helping end our racial and financial segregation in the city; lots of opportunities for homeownership and building of wealth in Southern Dallas,” said council member Cara Mendelsohn, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Dallas Approves $18M in Incentives for New Goldman Sachs Office for 5,000 Workers
⟫ The Dallas City Council also voted today to give Goldman Sachs more than $18 million in economic incentives to support the building of its new downtown campus near the Perot Museum. Goldman Sachs plans to bring 2,500 new jobs to Dallas while transforming its downtown skyline. The company, which already employs about 2,500 full-time permanent employees in Dallas, would add another 2,500 workers, said Robin Bentley, director of Dallas’ office of economic development, in the Dallas Morning News. North Texas is Goldman Sachs’ largest employment base outside of New York, and the new employees are expected to earn at least $90,000 per year in base pay. The new campus would be part of Hunt Realty Investment’s North End redevelopment (rendered above), an 11-acre mixed-use project surrounding a public park. One of its proposed towers could become the second tallest building in Dallas—at 83 stories.
Jerry Jones Makes $1.6B on Natural Gas Bet
⟫ Why is the Dallas Cowboys owner smiling? You would be too if you made $1.6 billion on a single bet. Jerry Jones took control of natural gas producer Comstock Resources four years ago, at the bottom of a bust in the commodity. Now he’s more than doubled his $1.1 billion stake to $2.7 billion, reports the Wall Street Journal. The liquified natural gas export terminals on the Gulf Coast south of Comstock’s drilling areas have bustled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, helping Europe replace Russian gas imports with LNG from the U.S. Still, it’s not Jones’ smartest bet ever. That would be buying the Cowboys and Texas Stadium in 1989 for $150 million. Last year, the team was valued by Forbes at $6.5 billion.
American Airlines Launches Mobile ID With Facial Recognition
⟫ Fort Worth-based American Airlines has launched Mobile ID, enabling customers enrolled in TSA PreCheck to “breeze through the airport with just their phone and their face.” Fliers can create their secure American Airlines Mobile ID with TSA PreCheck membership, AAdvantage number, plus either a driver’s license or U.S. passport for a “streamlined security experience.” The service is available now at every TSA PreCheck location at DFW International Airport, with plans to deploy it later this year at select TSA PreCheck checkpoints at Miami International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Washington Reagan National Airport, and more.
Hunting for Art Across Dallas
⟫ AURORA, the Dallas public arts organization, is launching some artful fun in the sun this summer. Art Quest will be a month-long, public art discovery and workshop program with a playful “game element” July 9 through August 6. AURORA has commissioned five 3D-printed sculptures (including Victor Enam’s “Yeezy Walks” above) that will be hidden in “secret locations” in five Dallas neighborhoods. Clues for finding a hidden artwork will be revealed on the morning of each Art Quest. The first finder wins it and can collect it on the spot. Also this summer, AURORA will offer educational workshops on technology’s influence on culture, led by artist Nitashia Johnson July 23 and July 27 at Urban Art Center. For more info about both AURORA offerings, you can go here.
Susan G. Komen Invests $21.7M in Breast Cancer Research
⟫ Dallas-based Susan G. Komen, a leading breast cancer organization, is awarding $21.7 million to fund 48 new research projects at 26 academic medical institutions in the U.S. Srinivas Malladi of UTSW, whose lab in the department of pathology is focused on understanding how dispersed cancer cells survive and give birth to overt metastasis, will be awarded a grant in North Texas. The grants are a “critical research investment,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D. (above) Susan G. Komen’s chief scientific advisor, in a statement. 79% of the funding supports research focused on the most aggressive breast cancers, metastasis, and recurrence, according to the organization. In the 40 years since its founding, Komen says it’s committed more than $1 billion to breast cancer research—more than any other nonprofit and second only to the United States government.
Tuesday, June 21
Report: Mark Cuban Could Have Saved Medicare $3.6B
⟫ Medicare could have saved $3.6 billion in 2020 by buying generic prescription drugs at the same prices offered by the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, according to a new study from Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School compared the prices of 89 generic drugs sold by the MCCPDC online pharmacy to the amounts paid out by Medicare in 2020 to arrive at the eye-popping figure. Cuban’s online pharmacy launched in January, offering 100+ generic drugs for the cost of ingredients and manufacturing plus a 15% margin, $3 dispensing fee, and $5 shipping fee. MCCPDC topped out its planned 22,000-square-foot pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Deep Ellum earlier this year.
Toyota Aims to ‘Close the Loop’ on Its EV Battery Ecosystem
⟫ Plano-based Toyota Motor North America is partnering with Nevada-based Redwood Materials to create a sustainable, closed-loop battery ecosystem for its electrified powertrains. The project is focused on the collection, testing, and recycling of batteries into raw materials to create a sustainable supply chain, and also aims to develop “second-life opportunities” for remanufactured and repurposed Toyota hybrid electric vehicle batteries. The companies plan to do that by leveraging battery health screening tools and empowering data from Toyota’s vehicles. “We’re committed to developing sustainable solutions that allow our batteries to provide value beyond the initial lifecycle in an electrified vehicle,” said Christopher Yang, group VP of Business Development at Toyota, in a statement. “This also contributes to our carbon neutrality goals and our mission to build a more sustainable world for all.”
Luxe Party Supply Delivery Service Relocates from NYC to Dallas
⟫ A luxury party supply business founded by native Texans has come home from Brooklyn to the Dallas Design District. Social Studies—backed by investors including Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Bumble founder Whitney Wolf Herd—provides rentals of luxury party supplies within 7 days of ordering. “The cost of doing business in Texas is just much better than it is in Brooklyn,” CEO Jessica Latham (above left with co-founder Amy Griffin) told D CEO. “And being located in the center of the country just made sense from a distribution process. It doesn’t hurt that Texans love to entertain, and Texans are good at entertaining, too.” Founded in 2019, Social Studies raised $3 million in its first round of funding, and is near the close of its seed funding round of between $4 to $5 million.
Topo Chico Gets a Live-Stage Home in Grandscape
⟫ Molson Coors and Grandscape have signed a naming rights partnership to the live entertainment venue located in the heart of Grandscape’s lifestyle center in The Colony. The venue will now be known as the Topo Chico Hard Seltzer Stage & Lawn at Grandscape. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will be the presenting sponsor of Grandscape’s Sounds of Summer concert series, with free public performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through Labor Day weekend. Molson Coors is betting big on hard seltzer: Earlier this month, it broke ground on a new, $65 million variety packing warehouse at its Fort Worth brewery. The facility is part of a long-term plan to invest in “bringing more hard seltzer production in-house,” the company said.
Esports Center at Carrollton Rec Center
⟫ The city of Carrollton is partnering with South Korea-based BearClaw Sports to open an esports facility (rendered above) at the Crosby Recreation Center, reports WFAA. Twenty PC stations will be provided for tournaments, league play, and open play in top games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Minecraft. “A couple of years ago we requested some additional funds from city council to start a program,” Carrollton recreation manager Heather Smith told WFAA. “As we started calling around to some other municipalities, we realized this isn’t really being done in the municipal parks and rec world right now.” When the center opens later this summer, BearClaw employees will staff it and offer one-on-one coaching, Smith added.
Friday, June 17
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Toyota Makes Multiple Leadership, Structural Changes to Further Its Mobility Transformation as Four Execs Retire
⓶ Clockwork Nails It at Target: Now You Can Get a Robot ‘Minicure’ in DFW
⓷ 32 North Texas Companies Make List of 2022 Best Workplaces in Texas
⓸ GAF Is Building Its First Shingle Recycling Facility in North Texas
⓹ Texas Central High-Speed Rail Leader Announces Resignation
⓺ Caterpillar To Move Global Headquarters From Illinois to North Texas
⓻ Open Wide: Robots Are Doing Dental Implants in DFW
⓼ Hoque Global Plans 270-Acre Development That Could ‘Rewrite Perceptions’ of Southern Dallas
⓽ Follow the Money: Dallas Mavericks Players’ Web3 Startup Raises $26M, Mark Cuban Invests in Sensor Startup, and More
⓾ Google Creates New Cloud Region in Dallas, Expanding Capacity and Flexibility
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
Alliance Airport Renamed to Honor Ross Perot Sr.
⟫ Alliance Airport has a new name: Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport to honor Ross Perot Sr. The Fort Worth City Council adopted the renaming on Tuesday. It’s overdue, said Councilman Leonard Firestone, who sponsored the resolution.
Ross Perot Sr. and son Ross Perot Jr. contributed 380 acres of property through Alliance Airport Ltd. (a Perot corporation) to support the world’s first industrial airport in 1988, per the Fort Worth Business Press. The airport’s growth to approximately 1,198 acres has contributed to the region’s economic success.
Fort Worth Councilman Michael Crain said Ross Perot Sr.’s vision for north Fort Worth led to commercial and residential expansion: “That vision has led to national and international recognition of Fort Worth as a business-friendly environment. I can think of no more fitting memorialization of his leadership than naming the airport he founded in his honor.” The legendary businessman and iconic innovator passed away at the age of 89 in 2019.
Dallas Will Be a Host City of the 2026 World Cup
⟫ FIFA has named Dallas as one the 16 North American host cities for the 2026 World Cup. The DFW matches will be played in Arlington at AT&T Stadium, and should get a lot more viewers than even Dallas Cowboys games: More than 3.5 billion people watched the 2018 Russia World Cup. FC Dallas owner Dan Hunt told the Dallas Morning News the hosting honor “will be like having six Super Bowls,” and the Dallas Sports Commission has estimated a local economic impact of $400 million, with 3,000 jobs created. The 15 other North American host cities in 2026 include one other Texas city—Houston—plus a lineup of soccer-mad sites from Mexico City to Seattle to Vancouver.
HomeLight Brings Second Office to DFW
⟫ Real estate startup HomeLight is opening a new office in Coppell. And it’s looking to create 50 new jobs to staff it, the Dallas Business Journal reports. The move adds to the Addison presence the homebuying marketplace company established in the region in 2020. It also comes as the Arizona-based company raised a $115 million debt-and-equity round, valuing the company at $1.7 billion.
Fuel for Small Businesses in Tarrant County
⟫ Small business still feeling the financial impacts of the pandemic have the opportunity of some relief. The Tarrant County Commissioners Court has set aside $25 million for grants for small businesses to help hire and train employees. Grants can total up to $27,500. According to the Fort Worth Business Press, businesses in the county that had 50 or less employees as of Q1 20202 can apply for the grants starting July 11 through August 31.
Plant-Based Eating: Here’s How We Rank On List of Top 20 Vegan Cities
⟫ A recent survey of the top 20 vegan-friendly U.S. cities has revealed the most vegan city. It’s not Dallas, but Big D had a “respectable showing,” ranking No. 12 with 209 vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants, writes Teresa Gubbins in CultureMap. She ticks off reasons why our vegan scene is noteworthy. For one thing, it’s the “defacto birthplace of the Mexican vegan trend” that was pioneered at Dallas’ El Palote Panaderia, she writes. But, “the misleading story” is Fort Worth’s last-place ranking with 68 restaurants. “Despite what the numbers may say, Fort Worth has the buzziest vegan scene in Texas right now,” Gubbins notes, citing standouts Pizza Verde, Zonk Burger, Mariachi’s Dine-In, and Spiral Diner (above).
By sheer numbers, NY, LA, and Chicago ranked Nos. 1, 2, and 3 on the list that examined what most-populous cities in the U.S. offer the most vegan food options. Houston, Austin, and San Antonio also ranked at Nos. 6, 8, and 13.
Innovators, take note: Last year, a report by Bloomberg Intelligence said plant-based foods are positioned for explosive growth, with the market “poised to reach $1.2 trillion” by 2030. By some measures, 10% of Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian.
Thursday, June 16
$1M to Support Brands on Influencer Marketing Platform
⟫ After raising $300 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 late last year, Dallas-based influencer marketing platform LTK is looking to invest in small, direct-to-consumer businesses. The company, led by Amber Venz Box (above), announced a $1 million investment to provide brands with financial support on its LTK Connect platform, which helps businesses build and manage their own creator marketing campaigns. Citing data from eMarketer, the company said the move comes as DTC sales have increased nearly 500% in less than a decade.
Dallas-Area Companies Make List of the 50 Most Community-Minded U.S. Firms
⟫ Dallas-based Comerica Bank and Westlake-based Charles Schwab & Co. have been named as 2022 honorees of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, an organization dedicated to volunteer service, in recognition of their support for local communities. Other companies on the list with a significant presence in North Texas include Deloitte, Capital One, Liberty Mutual, and Tata Consultancy Services. Since 2012, The Civic 50 has provided “a national standard for superior corporate citizenship and showcased how companies can use their time, skills and other resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business.”
Tune In: Children’s Health Teams With OpTic Gaming for Stream-a-Thon
⟫ More than 25 esports celebrities and content creators are teaming together for a one-day battle to raise money for a pediatric health partner. On Friday, June 17, you may tune in for an all-things OpTic stream-a-thon to benefit Children’s Health and the Children’s Health Medical Center Foundation. OpTic Gaming President Hector “Hecz” Rodriguez, Call of Duty hero Seth “Scump” Abner, online personalities Team Summertime, the top-ranked OpTic Texas Call of Duty League, and OpTic Halo teams, are among those taking part. Viewers can tune in beginning at 2:00 p.m. until at least midnight. There’ll be talent and activations—and opps to snag exclusive goodies.
DFW Airport Busier Than Before COVID
⟫ In April, passenger traffic at DFW International Airport surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time, reports the Dallas Business Journal. Over 6 million passengers traveled through the airport that month, a small but historic 1% jump over the number of passengers who passed through DFW Airport in April 2019. April’s passenger traffic was also 28% higher than that seen in April 2021, DBJ added. “DFW is expecting more than 23 million passengers from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, which is 99% of 2019 passenger levels,” airport spokesman Brian Brooks said in a statement. “DFW Airport has added exciting destinations to our network, and customers can travel to 194 domestic and 70 international cities on one of our 30 airlines.” The DBJ reports that Love Field hasn’t caught up to pre-pandemic levels yet, with year-to-date passenger traffic of 3.86 million passengers still 26% less than it saw in the same period in 2019.
Dallas Firm Brings Solar Project to Southwest Texas
⟫ Dallas’ Leeward Renewable Energy has broken ground on a new 200-megawatt (MW) solar facility in Pearsall, Texas, about 55 miles southwest of San Antonio. Construction on the project, which is expected to be operational by the end of next year, will create about 400 jobs. Called Horizon Solar, the facility will supply energy to Verizon Communications via a 15-year renewable energy purchase agreement. Leeward said the facility will be its second solar project in Texas and expects to be producing more than 1,200 MW by the end of next year.
Wednesday, June 15
1 Million Cups Comes Back to Dallas
⟫ After going on hiatus, entrepreneurial networking event 1 Million Cups is coming back to Dallas. Its “grand relaunch event” will be held both in-person and virtually next Wednesday, June 22, at 9 a.m., with plans to meet at 9 a.m. each Wednesday thereafter. The event consists of entrepreneurial presentations, Q&As, networking, and (of course) free coffee. Next Wednesday’s meeting will be held at Connected Coworking at 211 N. Ervay in downtown Dallas. Now in more than 160 communities, 1 Million Cups was created in 2012 by The Kauffman Foundation and takes its name from the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee.
Hilti Launches Asset-Tracking API Tool
⟫ Plano-based manufacturing giant Hilti North America is launching a new tool to help make tracking assets on the job site more seamless. Through a new API tool called ON!Track Unite, users can take data from multiple applications for construction professionals, making it more streamlined and automated. Hilti says the tool can be used off-the-shelf or to create customizable, scalable integrations.
Medical Device Maker Goes Public
⟫ Southlake medical device company Heart Test Laboratories is going public and looking to raise nearly $6.4 million in its IPO. The company began trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market today under the ticker HSCS. The company’s shares began trading today at $3.75 each. As of 4 p.m. CST, that price had fallen to $1.70 per share. Heart Test said it’s planning to use the money from the IPO to fund clinical validation and FDA clearance for its MyoVista device, which uses AI to detect abnormal heart functions, in addition to using it for working capital and general corporate purposes.
Dallas Consulting Firm Opening New U.K. Office
⟫ Looking to boost its presence in the U.K., Dallas boutique consulting firm Credera is opening an office in the Northeastern English city of Newcastle, adding to its other U.K. offices in London, Leeds, and Manchester. Over the next three years, the company expects to create 200 new jobs at the office, focusing on consultants and engineers with backgrounds in things like data, cloud, and software engineering. Credera is also hiring PMO consultants as it looks to expand its program management services. The move is being aided by a £1 million grant from the North of Tyne Combined Authority. Credera was acquired by Omnicom Group in 2018.
Tuesday, June 14
Two Months Into Its Bitcoin Mining Pilot, Fort Worth Gets a New Machine
⟫ Fort Worth, which became the first city to mine bitcoin less than two months ago, is already exchanging its three machines for a “single, more efficient model.” District 3 council member Michael Crain called it a “learning opportunity” for the city. After receiving the updated machine as a gift from Shepler Capital, the Texas Blockchain Council offered it to Fort Worth. “The new model will use 18% less energy and mine 147% more bitcoin,” according to a Fort Worth Business Press report. Mayor Mattie Parker powered up the original mining machines in City Hall in April (above).
‘Aviation First’: Second DFW Airport Terminal Gets Smart Glass
⟫ Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s new “High C” gates just became the second terminal at DFW to get View Smart Glass and environmental sensors after its Terminal D expansion that opened last May. The glass uses AI to adjust in response to the sun and plays a part in the airport’s plans to achieve net-zero by 2030. The installation was part of an “aviation first”: Six fully prefabricated modules with View Smart Glass—each weighing up to 550 tons—were transported a quarter-mile across the airfield and placed within a half inch of design specifications.
City of Dallas CFO Stepping Down
⟫ Dallas’ Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Reich, is stepping down from her role at the end of the month, The Dallas Morning News reports. Reich, who joined the city in 2016, is leaving for an unspecified new job outside of city government. Taking her place will be Jack Ireland, the city’s management services director. According to the DMN, while Reich has navigated difficulty and scrutiny during her career with the city, her highlights include helping Dallas land more than $800 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds and led a team that helped transfer oversight of Fair Park to an outside partnership.
Panther Island Development, Revisited
⟫ This summer, representatives from the Fort Worth government, real estate, and other Panther Island stakeholders will meet to discuss development ideas for the region, according to the Fort Worth Report. A lot has changed in two years, per Michael Bennett, CEO of Bennett Partners Architecture, who’s overseeing the project for the Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth. Officials want to evaluate existing plans to see if they require updating or adjusting. “The idea is not to change what’s already started or not to do a single thing that would delay anything, but to step back and say, ‘Fort Worth is a very different place today than it was 20 years ago,’ and ask if what’s on paper from 20 years ago, all the right stuff? Or, is there anything that needs to be tweaked or rethought,” Bennett told FWR. The $1.17 billion flood control project, which got more real with $403 million in federal funding in January, will have a significant economic impact on the city. It will open up nearly 800 acres of land immediately north of downtown Fort Worth for expansion or redevelopment.
Dabbling in Dallas’ Restaurant Scene
⟫ FOHBOH (which stands for Front of the House, Back of the House), a Dallas- and London-based restaurant marketing and tech consulting agency, is partnering up with Dabble, an app focused on connecting users with drink and dining promotions in the Dallas area. Through the partnership, restaurant clients will have access to engagement services and digital marketing. FOHBOH founder Michael Atkinson says the move will help the restaurant industry at a time when it’s still recovering from the pandemic.
Monday, June 13
Tech Firms Eye Expansions in Plano
⟫ Economic incentive packages are on the table for two tech firms in Plano. California’s CCI Integration, a computer server equipment company is planning to plant a new presence in the city, leasing a 51,000 square-foot space in the Shiloh Commerce Center (above) that’s expected to be home to nearly 140 employees. Plano’s City Council is preparing to vote on incentives of nearly $90,000 for the project, which is set to open in August, The Dallas Morning News reports. In addition, New Jersey-based IT services company Cognizant Technology Solutions is planning to invest more than $2.7 million to expand its Plano presence, leasing 69,000 square feet of space that could host up to 500 employees. If it’s able to meet those goals, the city would award it with a grant of up to $273,000.
Juice On Demand
⟫ Pressed, the cold-pressed juice chain, is opening a new storefront in Dallas—but this one is digital. Through a partnership with Instacart, the juice brand will have a dedicated virtual storefront on the delivery company’s platform, with Instacart delivering Pressed’s products on-demand. The service will be available to Instacart users in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, as well as in Southern California.
On-Demand Lawn Care Comes to Dallas
⟫ After bringing its services to a number of the Dallas’ surrounding suburbs, Nashville on-demand lawn services app GreenPal is launching in the city. Through the app, users can list the services they need, then have vetted professionals bid on the project based on Google street images of the property. With the launch in Dallas, the company says it now operates in 48 states and has more than 25,000 professionals operating on the app.
Comerica Bank Awarded for Financial Education
⟫ For the third year in a row, Dallas-based Comerica Bank has landed the Texas Bankers Association’s Leaders in Financial Education Award. The award highlights banks in the Lone Star state that promote consumer and financial education in the community. Comerica was awarded for its “Banks for Babies” program, which it runs alongside local nonprofit Project Still I Rise. Through the program, nearly 1,000 preschoolers at a number of Head Start of Greater Dallas campuses in the southern part of the city were taught the fundamentals of setting goals and savings, then given a piggy bank and a dollar to get started. “Our North Texas External Affairs Manager Brandon Jones (above right) partners with innovative leaders like Project Still I Rise executive director Kevin Mondy to empower youth from under-resourced communities,” said Comerica’s Dallas Market President Amanda Mahaney (above left) in a statement.
Underwater Mortgages Decrease Across DFW
⟫ Citing CoreLogic’s most recent Homeowner Equity Report, the Dallas Business Journal writes that Dallas-Fort Worth has some of the lowest percentages of negative equity in the country. Compared to the first quarter of last year, the part of the region including Dallas, Plano, and Irving saw its percentage of underwater mortgages in Q1 drop .22% to 1.21%. The area including Fort Worth and Arlington saw its negative equity share drop by a similar amount to 1.17% in the same timeframe. Those numbers put DFW below nearly every major metro area in the state. The report attributes the decline to quickly rising home values.
Friday, June 10
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ BANKSYLAND Is Coming to ‘Secret Location’ in Dallas
⓶ Clockwork Nails It at Target: Now You Can Get a Robot ‘Minicure’ in DFW
⓷ South Korea Robotics Maker Is Opening an Americas HQ in Plano
⓸ Hoque Global Plans 270-Acre Development That Could ‘Rewrite Perceptions’ of Southern Dallas
⓹ After Quietly Moving Its HQ to DFW, OrangeGrid Sees Growth in Mortgage Loan Servicing Business
⓺ DI People: City of Frisco, SMU, UNT, CBRE, Aero Design Labs, Invited, T.D. Jakes Foundation, and More Leadership Moves
⓻ Global Cybersecurity Firm Eyes ‘Rapid’ Growth from New Irving HQ
⓼ Southwest Airlines Invests in Startup That’s Turning Corn Waste into Jet Fuel
⓽ Mark Cuban Launches His Online Cost-Plus Pharmacy, Takes on Big Pharma with Low‑Cost Generics
⓾ Molson Coors Breaks Ground on $65M Hard Seltzer Plant at Fort Worth Brewery
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
New Coworking Space Coming to Grandscape
⟫ Ferris wheels, restaurants, and furniture marts in Grandscape are about to get some company: laptop-lugging entrepreneurs with a dream. Atlanta-based coworking company Roam is coming to the destination in The Colony in 2023, Grandscape announced. “Differing from more traditional coworking concepts, Roam features a unique combination of shared workspace, offices, and meeting rooms to offer a comprehensive solution for members and guests alike,” Grandscape stated. “In addition to 70 private offices, a design-enhanced coworking space, and full-service coffee bar, Roam [will offer] an expansive inventory of 17 luxury and technology-equipped meeting and event rooms ranging in size and design.”
NY and Dallas Investment Firms Join Forces
⟫ New York alternative investment firm Atalaya Capital Management has acquired the portfolio of loans from Dallas alternative asset management firm Elm Park Capital Management, which focuses on mid-market loans and secondary market purchases of private credit assets, and is joining the Elm Park team with its new offices in the Crescent. The move brings the $8.5 billion alternative asset manager’s team to around 100 and expands its sourcing efforts in “Texas’ financial epicenter.” Atalaya kicked off the year by announcing the close of its inaugural $100 million real estate private equity fund, following that in April by naming former York Capital Management president and COO Nathan Romano as its new president.
Luxury Home Sales Dip in Dallas
⟫ Sales of luxury homes have fallen across the U.S. year-over-year in the three month period ending April 30, with the Dallas market seeing a decline of 33.8%, the third biggest in the U.S. That’s according to a report by real estate marketplace Redfin. Defining luxury homes as the most expensive 5% in any given market, the company said sales began slowing last year amid a shortage of available housing stock. Locally, the report says Dallas’ median luxury home price is $1.35 million, an increase of 27.4% during the same YOY time period. In Fort Worth, sales declined 25.8% in the same period with a median price increase of 29.4%. Both cities saw sales decline higher than the national average of 17.8%.
Virtual Reality Rehab
⟫ Neuro Rehab VR, a Fort Worth-based virtual reality startup focused on physical therapy, is launching a State Board-approved certification program for the use of its XR Therapy system to treat patients with issues ranging from strokes and falls to those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The company’s FDA-registered device uses “game-like scenarios” to help patients with mobility, reach, and balance. Neuro Rehab VR says the program is the first of its kind in the country.
Toyota Finishes First Year of Leadership Academy
⟫ Toyota Financial Services has wrapped up the first year of its Toyota Leadership Academy program with Lancaster ISD. The program is designed to increase high school graduation rates and prepare students for future careers. Through the program, the company provided more than 200 educators in the district with training in “new educational techniques.” In addition, around 1,500 high school students were able to choose different curriculum paths, focused on areas like business administration, engineering, cybersecurity, and software development.
Thursday, June 9
DFW Airport Lands 110,000 Pounds of Baby Formula
⟫ A FedEx plane with 110,000 pounds of Nestle baby formula arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport this afternoon. “This formula will be distributed online to be distributed and into parents hands as quickly as possible,” said Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, speaking from the tarmac. This shipment is part of the President’s “Operation Fly Formula” initiative, reports WFAA. 10 more shipments are expected arrive in the coming weeks. Watch the video here.
Capturing Carbon along the Mississippi
⟫ Dallas-based energy company Enlink Midstream is partnering with Honeywell to deliver carbon capture solutions to industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters in Louisiana. The companies will focus on the Mississippi River corridor from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, an area with many large, concentrated sources of industrial CO2 emissions. Honeywell’s new “advanced solvent CO2 capture and hydrogen solutions” allow CO2 to be captured, transported, and stored at a lower cost while using smaller equipment, compared to existing technologies, the company says. “When coupled with Honeywell’s proven carbon capture and hydrogen technologies, we can provide customers with a cost-effective approach to CO2 capture and transportation that will ultimately accelerate carbon reductions in a key industrial region,” EnLink Chairman and CEO Barry Davis said in a statement.
New Cold Storage Coming to DFW
⟫ After launching last year, Austin’s Arcadia Cold has broken ground in North Texas to begin its national cold storage platform. The company began construction on one of its first 43,000-pallet-position facilities in Burleson this week (above), with the facility slated to open in Q2 of 2022. Arcadia Cold said the location will give it access to Interstate 35 and the broader DFW market. According to its website, Arcadia has two other facilities under construction in Pennsylvania and the Atlanta region.
Powering Financial Professionals to WFH
⟫ Frisco’s Tango Networks, a communications solutions business, aims to help people in the financial industry adapt to remote work. To better meet legal requirements in the U.S. and U.K. surrounding recording communications in securities and financial transactions, the company is launching Mobile-X Extend. The solution allows the calls and texts of financial services professionals on their own devices to be separated from personal matters and secured for future reference. According to Tango, the technology doesn’t require downloading an app and enables an eSIM in the personal device.
$548M for Capital Highway Construction
⟫ Continuing what it calls its “Texas-centric infrastructure focus” on one of the “most traveled” interstates in Texas, Irving-based engineering and construction giant Fluor Corporation has landed a $548 million contract for the I-35 Capital Express South project in Austin. As part of the project, Fluor will construct two non-tolled high-occupancy vehicle lanes to the interstate on a nine-mile stretch south of downtown Austin, which sees more than 150,000 vehicles per day. Construction kicks off this year with completion expected in 2027. Thomas Nilsson, president of Fluor’s infrastructure business, said the project is the first in a series of projects along I-35. The company is also working on projects in the DFW region on Interstate 635 and Interstate 30.
Wednesday, June 8
PE Consultancy Aims to Double Size in New Digs
⟫ After opening a presence in the region due to Texas’ density of PE firms and target companies, private equity consulting firm Accordion Partners is moving into new digs at the Parkview at 1920 McKinney in Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood, the Dallas Business Journal reports. (The Parkview really does have park views, by the way, as the balcony view above attests.) With a local workforce of around 35, the firm aims to grow that up to 60 by end of Q4. For the past year, Accordion’s local operations have been housed in Preston Center in the former offices of Mackinac Partners, a financial advisory firm that Accordion acquired last May. Accordion is headquartered in New York City, with operations in eight other markets.
RentBarker Emerges From Stealth with Tenant Auction Platform
⟫ A Dallas startup is emerging from stealth and looking to change the rental process. Called RentBarker, the platform places prospective rental tenants in an auction, where landlords make bids based on the tenants’ needs and qualifications. The platform also allows landlords to search through anonymized, pre-screened tenants in order to make more targeted advertising efforts. According to LinkedIn, the company was formed in 2020 by co-founder Mitchell Abergel, a former business development manager for WeWork.
Cowboys Hit Homers for Charity
⟫ Dallas Cowboys stars including Zack Martin, Micah Parsons, Leighton Vander Esch, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott took part in the Reliant Home Run Derby yesterday. Held at Riders Field in Frisco, the ninth annual charity raised $135,00 for 22 nonprofit organizations, the most in event history. Linebacker Vander Esch was named the 2022 derby champion for raising the most money, but Parsons wowed the crowd by hitting 13 homers, including one that went out of the park. “Our players love a little friendly competition, especially for a good cause, and look forward to this event every year,” Charlotte Jones, the team’s EVP and chief brand officer, said in a statement.
214 Area Code is No. 2 in the U.S. in Robocalls
⟫ If you think your phone’s been buzzing with endless robocalls, you’re not going crazy. According to a study by YouMail, Dallas’ 214 area code received the second-most robocalls in the U.S. in May, logging 156.1 million calls. Only Atlanta had more, with 169.5 million. YouMail estimates that 28% of May’s robocalls were scams; 32% were notifications; 20% were payment reminders; and 20% were from telemarketers.
Tuesday, June 7
RumbleOn Roars into Sturgis Rally Sponsorship
⟫ Irving’s RumbleOn, the tech-based powersports platform, has inked an exclusive 10-year sponsorship agreement with the city of Sturgis, South Dakota, for its annual City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally event. Founded in 1938 by a group of Indian Motorcycle riders, the rally’s grown into an iconic event, attracting 555,000 attendees last year alone. The deal includes both an official powersports sponsorship and a “prime downtown retail property” lease through 2031. “Seldom do brands have the opportunity to promote their products on the biggest stage to the highest concentration of their most defined demographic,” RumbleOn President and COO Peter Levy said in a statement. “Every one of the hundreds of thousands of annual attendees sits on the seat of the motorcycles we proudly sell.”
Coppell Behavioral Health Startup Rebrands After Merger
⟫ Following its merger with North Carolina-based, therapist-led video content platform Youturn, Coppell’s Heritage CARES, a virtual behavioral health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention company, is rebranding as Youturn Health. The company’s CEO, Hamilton Baiden (above), said the move reflects his company’s transformation since the beginning of the year and its combination of video content with care management programing and coaching. As part of the rebranding, the company plans an updated website for later this year.
Student Entrepreneurs Vie for National Title
⟫ Three local student entrepreneurs have won $1,500 in prize money and a chance to pitch for the title of national champion at a ‘Shark Tank’-style competition hosted by the nonprofit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Here are the local student winners who’ll be pitching at the national competition in October:
- Alberto Arroyo—the Molinas High School student behind TKicks, an online marketplace for sneaker enthusiasts
- Thomas Vo—a Nimitz High School student who created Reheats, a heated glove designed for construction workers
- James Umoeka—a Grand Prairie School for the Highly Gifted student who created ToolTooth, a “finger glove” toothbrushing kit
Frisco Firm Providing Therapy for ALS Patients
⟫ Frisco specialty pharmacy services firm Soleo Health is one of four companies selected as limited drug distribution partners for Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America’s oral therapy treating Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The drug (above) was approved by the FDA in May. As part of the deal, Soleo will provide care management by a team of interdisciplinary professionals through its dedicated ALS Therapeutic Care Management Center. Soleo has been working with Mitsubishi since 2017, providing the pharmaceutical commercialization company’s intravenous ALS treatment.Earlier this year, Soleo Health joined only five other U.S. companies as an Accreditation Commission for Health Care-accredited specialty pharmacy with distinction in rare disease and orphan drugs, CEO Drew Walk (above) said.
N5B Capital is Relocating HQ to Southlake Town Square
⟫ Private equity firm N5B Capital and Granite Properties have formed a joint venture to build Granite Place II (above) in Southlake Town Square, reports the Dallas Business Journal. N5B plans to relocate its HQ in the building once it’s complete. California-based DPR Construction has started work at the site, with the five-story, 143,500-square-foot office building slated for completion in March 2023. “Southlake Town Square will provide an amenity-rich environment for the tenants of Granite Place II, adding much-needed commercial real estate capacity to Southlake,” N5B Managing Director and CEO Mark Jones told the DBJ.
Monday, June 6
Music, Brews, and Business
⟫ McKinney craft beer maker TUPPS Brewery is expanding into a new 45,000-square-foot attraction on the four-acre site of a 120-year-old McKinney grain mill. It will feature a taproom, restaurant, and an outdoor stage for music and theater events. The space will also be used for TUPPS’ new B.Y.O.B. Courtyard, which will provide local businesses a place to work and sell products to customers, along with mentorship in things like sales and marketing. The new space and B.Y.O.B. program are set to open this December, with the deadline for B.Y.O.B. applications coming on June 30.
Coppell Skincare Brand Makes Its Debut
⟫ Publicly traded consumer products company Edgewell Personal Care is launching a new brand based in Coppell. Called Fieldtrip, the brand is debuting with a lineup of unisex skincare products, including cleansers, moisturizers, and facial mists. The line’s “minimalist” vegan ingredients are aimed at attracting Gen Z customers, the company says. Starting in August, Fieldtrip can be found in Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and Macys.com, with additional product launching salted for the fall.
FetchGoat Joins Microsoft for Startups
⟫ Fort Worth-based FetchGoat plans to accelerate its growth through the Microsoft for Startups program. Launched last year, the last-mile delivery management company has become the program’s newest member, providing it with business support, subscription credits, and the potential for seed funding. Bill Hale, FetchGoat’s founder and CEO told FrieghtWaves the company has been bootstrapped since its launch.
Irving P.D. Lands Racial Justice Grant
⟫ The Irving Police Department is the winner of a $100,000 Police Reform and Racial Justice grant from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in partnership with retail giant Target. The Irving P.D. was one of three departments in the U.S., including New Orleans and Central Falls, R.I., to receive one of the grants, aimed at promoting policing practices that drive racial justice. Irving was awarded for its Shop Talk program, a barbershop outreach program engaging community members who may not ordinarily attend town hall meetings.
Hacking STEAM Solutions for the Future
⟫ The Dallas Mavericks and Goldman Sachs are teaming up with nonprofit The T.D. Jakes Foundation to host its third annual STEAM Academy, which this year will be a two-week “hackathon,” aimed at helping students 14 through 18 to ideate and prototype “an innovative solution to one of the world’s toughest challenges.” Starting today, 200 local students and 125 others from across the U.S. and Canada will be split into teams to work on their solutions, with the top five presenting for “special prizes” at the event’s close on June 17. The nonprofit’s chairman T.D. Jakes said the goal of the program is to “open new doorways” for students in STEAM-related industries.
Friday, June 3
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ First Look: BANKSYLAND Street Art Exhibit Coming to ‘Secret Location’ in Dallas
⓶ Frisco’s New Firefly Park Development Gets Dream Hotel As Anchor
⓷ Local Investors Anurag Jain and Ross Perot Jr. Help Bring Major League Cricket to North Texas and Beyond
⓸ ‘The Future of Dining’: Chili’s Expands Robot Servers to 61 Total Restaurants
⓹ Southwest Airlines Invests in Startup That’s Turning Corn Waste into Jet Fuel
⓺ 17-Year-Old Dallas Twins Launch UPwords Apparel and Accessories Brand to ‘Bring Joy’
⓻ Women’s Business Pioneer Valerie Freeman Sells Imprimis Group to Company VP
⓼ Fuel Delivery Startup with Fort Worth Ties Lands $125M to Push for Renewable, Alternative Options
⓽ Preventing Heatstroke Deaths: Plano-Based Toyota Uses 4D Radar to Detect Passengers Who’ve Been Left Behind
⓾ Meow Wolf and Its Surreal, Immersive Art Experiences Are Heading to Grapevine
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
Dallas’ Inland Port Could Get Its Own Government
⟫ Dallas County commissioners are expected to explore giving the International Inland Port of Dallas—one of “Dallas’ fastest-growing economic hubs”— its own commission, reports the Dallas Morning News. The creation of a local government corporation for the 76,000-acre inland port could lead to more development and easing of supply chain challenges. The port is home to 30,000 jobs and hundreds of employers, including Amazon, FedEx, and Walmart. The fast-growing manufacturing and shipping hub spans parts of unincorporated Dallas County and the cities of Dallas, Desoto, Ferris, Hutchins, Lancaster, and Wilmer. On June 7, commissioners will discuss the topic of an inland port authority, followed by a vote on whether to pursue its creation.
Predicting Life Events with AI and DNA Data
⟫ Richardson-based InterGen Data is partnering with Predictiv to enhance its critical illness prediction capabilities. InterGen Data will integrate and utilize Predictiv’s fully anonymized next-generation DNA sequenced data to improve the accuracy of its patent-pending Life Stage/Life Event algorithms, the company said. InterGen Data provides “life event data and analysis” to banks, financial services, and insurance companies, using AI-based machine learning techniques and proprietary algorithms to identify when someone is likely to have an important life event occur, and how much of an economic impact it would have on their finances. It currently predicts 93 life events in categories from marriage to children to divorce to homes, as well as business, cancer, heart issues, and more.
Supporting Food Service Entrepreneurs
⟫ Dallas-based Santander Consumer USA Holdings has selected Dallas for the launch of Cultivate Small Business, a Santander U.S. program that supports food-service entrepreneurs for women-, minority-, and immigrant-owned businesses in low- and moderate-income communities. The free, immersive, 12-week learning experience combines MBA-level education with mentorship and capital grants to support entrepreneurs dedicated to working on their business while working in their business. Dallas-based nonprofit start-up accelerator Impact Ventures will serve as a corporate partner for the program, identifying qualified small businesses to participate and local food-industry experts to serve as mentors. Applications are available here.
Fort Worth-U.K. Partnership on Neural Health
⟫ The Fort Worth-based Rainwater Charitable Foundation, one of the largest independent funders of neurodegenerative disease research, has announced a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute at the University of Oxford. The partnership’s goal will be accelerating the development of novel therapeutics aimed at the treatment of tauopathies, a group of progressive neurodegenerative diseases. “”This collaborative partnership is a significant step forward in our plans to bring potential treatments closer to the clinic for patients suffering from tauopathies,” said Leticia Toledo-Sherman, PhD., senior director of drug discovery for the Tau Consortium at the RCF, in a statement.
Baseball Deal in North Texas
⟫ McKinney-based Baseball Nation, a baseball organization that hosts training and multiple leagues and tournaments at its North Texas facilities, has been acquired by Houston PE firm ZT Corporate. Terms weren’t disclosed. ZT currently operates baseball facilities in Houston and a training facility in Anaheim, California. The renamed ZT Baseball Nation will partner with Perfect Game, a scouting organization that hosts amateur events in the U.S., exclusively hosting the organization’s tournaments beginning June 18. ZT Baseball Nation will operate 12 fields, highlighted by Aviator Ballpark in McKinney, an 18-acre complex with seven baseball fields, outdoor and indoor hitting cages, concession buildings, and a newly renovated 12,000-square-foot indoor training facility and pro shop. James Belt, owner and president of Baseball Nation, will transition into the new role of COO of ZT Baseball Nation.
Thursday, June 2
Training Today’s Athletes to be Tomorrow’s Leaders
⟫ Dallas’ Trey Athletes, a Harvard-incubated nonprofit aimed at helping student athletes become societal leaders, is teaming up with the University of North Texas athletics department to kick off an Athlete Transition Program. Beginning this summer, the nonprofit will work with graduating underrepresented and first-generation college athletes to place them in internships based on their interests and goals. Trey will also provide them with support and mentorship along the way. Co-founders and co-CEOs Rebecca Feickert and Brian Reynolds said the goal is to train the “athletes of today to be tomorrow’s changemakers.”
‘Next Phase of Digital Transformation’
⟫ With the goal of driving “the next phase of digital transformation in the market,” Plano-based NTT DATA, an IT and business services provider, plans to acquire New York digital consultancy Postlight for an undisclosed amount. Postlight interdisciplinary teams of creative technologists work with clients like MTA, Audobon, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, Medium, Mailchimp, and more. The deal is expected to close at the end of June. NTT says the move will build on previous acquisitions in the space aimed at strengthening its digital app development and modernization abilities. Wayne Busch, group president of consulting and digital transformation at NTT DATA’s Plano-based division, said the move is part of a “deliberate plan to build differentiated digital engineering and design capabilities.”
A New Logo and a Relaunched Website
⟫ A logo is like a company’s signature: It expresses a lot in a few bold strokes. Today Dallas-based Comerica Bank unveiled a new one (above). The trademark typeface and blue color haven’t changed, but three new ribbons arc above to visually convey energy and forward motion. “As we continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing landscape of banking, we believe that our brand identity should also reflect this change,” said Jim Weber, Comerica’s chief experience officer, in a statement. “We believe this new treatment reflects our commitment to our 173-year legacy as well as our vision for the future.” In addition, Comerica has relaunched its website with a new design aesthetic and navigation. The new logo will appear across Comerica’s ecosystem during 2022, with exterior signage transitioning “over the course of the next several years,” the company said.
⟫ TOCA Football, a California-based indoor soccer center operator founded by U.S. World Cup player Eddie Lewis, says it’s now the largest operator of indoor centers for the sport, after acquiring Blue Sky Sports, which operates four Dallas-area indoor sporting venues (including one in Carrollton, above). TOCA sees North Texas as becoming an important hub for the company, noting current operations it has in Mansfield and its big plans to bring its TOCA Social entertainment concept to the Dallas Design District next year. The company also said it’s bringing its TOCA Strikers program, which is designed to get young children interested in the sport, to the region. The move comes as TOCA is looking to add 20 new soccer centers by the end of the year and three TOCA Social locations by the end of next year.
Short-Term Rental Management Franchise Expands in DFW
⟫ After bringing the iTrip Vacations franchise to the region with a focus on Fort Worth in 2019, wife-husband owners and managers Deanna and Jeff Reed (above) are expanding their reach in North Texas. iTrip Vacations DFW, which helps people list and manage their properties for short-term rental on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo, is adding Dallas, Irving, Arlington, and lake properties across the region to its area of operations. Jeff Reed told Dallas Innovates the company focuses on properties in “vibrant areas” with “numerous surrounding attractions.”
Wednesday, June 1
Breaking Ground on The Railhead
⟫ The Railhead, a $2.5 billion mixed-used development by Heady Investments that will feature offices, retail, hotels, and apartments surrounding a park, broke ground in Frisco this week, The Dallas Morning News reports. The 80-acre project will kick off with a 450-unit multifamily community by developer JPI. Once completed, the project will join other major mixed-used developments in the city along the Dallas North Tollway corridor, situated between PGA of America’s new headquarters and the Dallas Cowboys’ development The Star.
Winning Big in London
⟫ A few months ago, we told you Dallas-based Hover Energy was marketing its wind-powered rooftop microgrids in the U.K. Last week its President and Co-founder Chris Griffin (center above) was in London for an even better reason: Hover won the Innovation of the Year award at the 2022 Wind Investment Awards, following the Financing Wind Europe conference. The company’s Wind-Powered Microgrid combines proprietary wind power technology and solar energy generation with an electronic control system for behind-the-meter power integration—offering the potential to offset nearly 100% of a building’s power consumption.
Reimagining Rikers Island
⟫ New York City is reimagining what Rikers Island (above) will look like after its infamous jail complex is closed later this decade—and a Dallas-based company has an idea. Engineering giant Jacobs has been tapped by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to study the feasibility of consolidating four existing wastewater recovery facilities into a new single facility that could treat more than 1 billion gallons per day. Jacobs’s study will run through October 2023. Gary Morris, Jacobs’ people & places solutions SVP, says the project provides “a transformational opportunity to consider how to drive social equity, redefine the city’s landscape, and create a legacy for NYC residents” with the “biggest and boldest” community redevelopment program of this century.
Solar- and Ad-Supported EV Charging
⟫ As more and more electric vehicles hit DFW roads, demand for charging stations is rising. Now EV owners can have something to watch while their cars juice up. Tennessee-based EOS Lynx plans to install 100 EV charging stations in Texas for the Lone Star Business Association Cooperative, a network of gas & convenience stores primarily located in DFW and across North Central Texas. The solar-supported EOS charging stations feature a 75-inch digital display designed to “maximize brand exposure and engagement” by reaching a captive audience of waiting EV owners, driving “incremental traffic and revenue for stores,” the company says.
Pagoda’s First-Ever Creative Director
⟫ Dallas-based Banter by Piercing Pagoda, a leading U.S. specialty kiosk retailer, has named its first-ever brand creative director: Grammy-nominated rapper, songwriter, and artist Tierra Whack (above). The company says Whack will use her “boundless creativity” to engage customers with designs that elevate the brand’s “bold spirit.” As creative director, Whack has designed a capsule collection of jewelry in conjunction with designer Malyia McNaughton, a member of the Black in Jewelry Coalition. Part of the Signet Jewelers portfolio, Banter rebranded in 2021 and caters to a Gen Z and millennial customer. Similar to Whack, the company says, the brand’s goal is inclusivity for all people.
Tuesday, May 31
New Soccer ‘System’ at AT&T Stadium
⟫ With World Cup matches potentially coming to Arlington’s AT&T Stadium in 2026, a great pitch is vital. Austin-based Hellas Construction installed new Matrix Real M synthetic turf at the stadium for last Saturday’s Mexico-Nigeria “friendly” match to kick off World Cup prep for later this year in Qatar. The new SoftTop System soccer field installed by Hellas can be installed and removed within 12 hours. The Matrix turf features “predictable ball roll” on the playing surface, with a unique construction that encourages blade recovery, promising “play that is closest to natural grass with reaction time and speed.”
Ford Snags Avanci Patents
⟫ Dallas-based patent marketplace Avanci, which aims to make it simpler to share tech for connected vehicles in the IoT era, has signed a patent license agreement with Ford Motor Company. Ford’s agreement gives the automaker access to all 4G, 3G, and 2G standard essential patents owned by the 49 patent owners currently participating in the Avanci licensing program—as well as any patent owner who joins the program in the future—for use in Ford’s connected vehicles. A total of 41 auto brands and more than 65 million vehicles are now licensed by Avanci, the company says. Ford is the fifth U.S.-based automaker to adopt the industry solution offered by Avanci’s marketplace.
EoS Fitness Moves HQ to Dallas
⟫ Phoenix-based gym chain EoS Fitness is moving its headquarters to Dallas as part of its expansion plans into Texas. The company has been growing rapidly, with more than 100 locations open or underway in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Southern California, and Utah. Focused on “high-value, low-price” memberships, EoS is opening a Euless location later this year, followed by locations in Fort Worth and DeSoto in 2023. “EoS Fitness is putting down roots in Texas and we’re bringing with us our energy and excitement for accessible and affordable fitness,” CEO Rich Drengberg said in a statement.
Robot Cargo Haulers to Pilot at DFW Airport
⟫ Autonomous “tow tractors” will soon be hauling cargo at DFW Airport. Software developer EasyMile, which enables existing vehicles to be automated, and cargo handling vendor Menzies Aviation will pilot the program, according to American Shipper. A robot tractor with a cart will ferry cargo between “an airside warehouse and a parked freighter,” John Ackerman, EVP of global strategy and development for the airport, told AS in an interview. “It’s essentially a fixed loop on the cargo ramp. We’ve got it marked. It’s a very short run at first. We’ve got a safety rider onboard who’s got a big red stop button,” he said according to AS. “So we’ve de-risked it as much as possible. We believe the technology is ready and we’re anxious to learn.”
Self-Storage Is Hotter in DFW
⟫ The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro is the No. 3 most active self-storage market in the U.S., with new supply of over 5.4 million square feet in the pipeline. A new report by RentCafe attributes the new construction to HQ moves and migration to the region. Business storage is “emerging as a significant component of the industry,” the report notes. More nuggets: Up to two-thirds of the new space is located in urban areas, with another third in the suburbs. Despite a per-capita inventory of eight square feet, rental rates in metro Dallas are holding strong with a 7.2% year-over-year increase, “most likely due to rising population numbers and economic growth.”
Oakley “Levels Up” Commitment to Gaming with Envy Deal
⟫ Oakley, the eyewear company known for its sunglasses and optical innovations, has signed a deal to sponsor Dallas-based esports group Envy Gaming. This is the first deal Oakley has signed in the esports industry. The OpTic teams and talent will wear Oakley eyewear during online competition, major LAN events, and outside of the arena including the company’s first eyeglasses designed for adult gamers, NXTLVL. Last year, popular OpTic player Seth “Scump” Abner (above) was Oakley’s first—and only—professional esports player added to a roster of “Team Oakley” elite athletes including trailblazers Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Derwin James, and more.
Thursday, May 26
Tax giant Ryan gets $2.5B valuation with new PE investment
⟫ Dallas-based Ryan will receive new investment from Ares Management, along with continued investment from Onex Partners. Ares has committed to acquiring a significant minority equity interest in Ryan, valuing the company at $2.5 billion. Ares has experience driving tech transformations and long-term growth, said G. Bring Ryan, chairman and CEO of Ryan. The company has been on a “growth trajectory,” he said. In March, Ryan acquired property tax consulting firm Marvin F. Poer and Company, which it says is the second largest in the U.S.
So Far, Sow Good
⟫ After changing its name from Black Ridge Oil and Gas and relaunching with a focus on freeze-dried food products, Irving-based Sow Good announced raising $3.7 million. Freeze-dried food and healthy snacking is trending up, and the company plans to buy two new freeze-driers to come online early next year. The move comes as Sow Good has been expanding its distribution across North America. The company says it recently launched 16 SKUs with KeHE Distributors, which has centers in Dallas and Flower Mound, along with launching 12 SKUs with Star Wholesale LTD in Canada and expanding its e-commerce presence with launches on Walmart.com and Target.com. The new funding brings the company’s total to at least $11 million.
Upgrading Entertainment Solutions
⟫ Plano-based Enseo, which provides tech services solutions in hospitality, senior living, and education, has been doing some rebranding and feature updating. Its Enseo Entertainment Experience has been given upgraded control and visibility through advanced tools, and has been rebranded as Core by Enseo. “Enseo innovates,” says Kris Singleton, (above), who joined the company in 2020, becoming president and CIO last year. CORE, which powers the company’s products, “is the source of everything” Enseo offers, she said, enabling “more features, strength, and speed than ever before.”
Green Fleet to Double, Hire Up to 200
Dallas-based GreenPath Logistics plans to double the size of its 100% alternative fuel fleet and hire up to 200 employees to support that growth. The green-minded company, which focuses on sustainable and reliable delivery solutions, is deploying 15 to 20 new vehicles every month. The carrier services customers large and small, including Amazon, UPS, and the USPS. In 2023, GreenPath will roll out electric powertrain “Hypertrucks” (above) through a new partnership with Texas-based Hyliion. The company is committed to air quality in an industry it says is the third-largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. “We’re seeing more customers interested in ‘green’ transportation solutions as companies look for strategies to reduce carbon emissions and improve their ESG scores,” said Shan Zaidi, president of GreenPath parent company NGV Global Group. “Our business has grown exponentially in the past year with daily customer shipments increasing by 900% since 2021.”
Electric Ground Movement for Planes
⟫ Plano-based Green Taxi has acquired intellectual property from aviation and defense giants L3 Technologies and Honeywell to make jet aircraft more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Founded by David Valaer, a former Air Force pilot and leader of Simplex Aerospace, Green Taxi is commercializing electric motors attached to an aircraft’s landing gear, allowing planes to taxi without have to use fuel to power their jet engines.
Chili’s Helps Out Bonton Farms
⟫ Since April, diners at all Dallas-based Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants across the region have had the option to make a donation to Bonton Farms—an urban farming and market nonprofit in South Dallas—by either rounding up their bill or making a flat contribution. This week, Chili’s owner Brinker International presented Bonton with a check for over $60,000 from the effort. The money will help fuel Bonton’s mission of tackling the lack of healthy food options and economic opportunities in Southern Dallas.
FROM THE GROUND UP
Buying Austin’s Historic Driskill Hotel
⟫ Woodbine Development Corporation, the Dallas-based real estate investment firm whose portfolio includes Reunion Tower, has scooped up the historic Driskill hotel in Austin’s Sixth Street Entertainment District, alongside Pixiu Real Estate and a handful of individual investors from Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. The investor group plans to “invest a substantial amount of capital” to update the nearly 140-year-old, 189-room hotel, and hopes that will help “revitalize” the surrounding area. Hyatt will continue daily management of the hotel—the site of Lyndon B. Johnson’s first date with future First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson.
Coming to North Fort Worth
⟫ North Fort Worth is set to get hundreds of new homes and apartment units. Dallas-based brokerage firm Davidson Bogel Real Estate has sold a 55-acre plot of land in the area to HPI Real Estate Services & Investments, which has operations in the region and is planning to develop around 630 multifamily rental units and nearly 200 single-family rental units on the land. Other amenities at the development will include trails, pools, and a pickleball court. HPI Multifamily President Tim Shaughnessy said North Texas is one of the “strongest real estate markets in the country” and the firm is seeing strong demand along the Alliance Corridor, where a number of technology and supply chain companies have set up operations. Groundbreaking on the new development will take place early next year.
Wednesday, May 25
Nuclear Meltdown Retrieval Robot
⟫ Dallas-based engineering giant Jacobs has designed and built a robot to collect crucial debris from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactor in Japan. The remotely operated device (above) will collect pebble-like debris that fell to the bottom of the reactor containment vessel after the 2011 meltdown, which was caused by an earthquake and tsunami. The retrieved samples will provide data to help guide the next steps in the plant’s clean-up and decommissioning, Jacobs says.
Co-Working Coming to Flower Mound
⟫ Dallas real estate agents Brian and Tisha White are bringing the Dallas-based coworking franchise SUCCESS Space’s first facility to North Texas with the planned opening of a coworking space in Flower Mound this winter. Launched last May, the subsidiary of Washington’s eXp Holdings is also opening locations in San Antonio, Florida, New York, and Indiana. The company’s 5,000 square-foot locations include things like professional development coaching and media production services, along with spaces that can be rented by the minute or all the way up to a year.
Coppell Lands Cybersecurity Center
⟫ Fresh off new funding from RunTide Capital, Minneapolis-based cybersecurity firm Ascent Solutions is planting its “global center for cybersecurity excellence” in Coppell, with plans to make it a hub of innovation for the industry. Slated to take up an entire floor of a building in the Cypress Waters development (above) by early next year, the center will feature space designed for investigations, automation, and intelligence. It will also have a stadium-seating auditorium to host seminars and workshops on cybersecurity trends. Ascent said it plans to hire locally, and will also use the site as an education center for the company’s cybersecurity apprenticeship program.
Ice Cream by Drone in Granbury
⟫ In March, Israeli-based Flytrex began delivering chicken wings by drone to homes in Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth. The partnership with Brinker International delivers It’s Just Wings menu items from a local Chili’s to homes and businesses within a one-mile radius. Today, Flytrex announced its second brand partnership in Granbury: Flytrex will drone-deliver treats from The Ice Cream Shop, the first-ever digital storefront from Unilever, which owns brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Breyer’s, Klondike, Good Humor, Popsicle, and more. Flytrex will also fly the brands across three cities in North Carolina, where it also operates. The company is now planning future expansion to “multiple” DFW suburbs.
Tuesday, May 24
Tech Giants Gather at Trend Micro Hacking Event
⟫ Global cybersecurity leader Trend Micro’s annual hacking competition, Pwn20wn, puts vulnerability researchers to work targeting enterprise software to find new application issues to patch before they can be abused by criminals. This year’s competition pushed boundaries to further innovation, the company says, benefitting more than 1 billion business and consumer end users from the improved security that will result. At the 2022 event in Vancouver—the 15th anniversary of the contest run by the Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative—more than $1 million was awarded to industry researchers for 25 “zero-day vulnerabilities” disclosed to software providers, including event partners Microsoft, Tesla, and Zoom, and sponsor VMware. Researchers from team Synacktive, which won $75,000, demonstrated their exploits against a Tesla Model 3 Infotainment System involving two unique bugs (pictured above). Here’s a rundown of event results.
$5.25M for Neiman-Marcus’ Cityplace Move?
⟫ The city of Dallas is set to vote on a $5.25 million grant agreement to bring Neiman-Marcus’ headquarters to Cityplace Tower at Haskell and North Central Expressway. As part of the deal, Neiman will need to create 300 new corporate jobs by the end of 2026 and have a minimum of 1,100 employees—with 35% of those living in city limits—by the end of next year. The upscale retailer would also be required to operate its flagship downtown store through at least 2031.
AI-Powered Driver Safety Tech
⟫ Westlake-based risk management and asset protection software company Solera Holdings is launching new technology to help keep drivers safe on the road. Called SmartDrive Protect, the solution incorporates artificial intelligence and cameras to record what happens in and outside of the vehicle for small fleets, providing feedback to reward drivers for safe driving and coaching for risky practices.
Still Near the Top in Tech Job Postings
⟫ From January to April, North Texas saw the number of tech job postings in the region rise to nearly 74,000, marking a 53% year-over-year change, NTX Inno reports, citing CompTIA data. That puts the region behind only the New York City and Washington, D.C., areas in terms of year-to-date growth. Overall, between March and April Texas added more than 44,000 tech job postings, making it the top state. However, the NTX Inno report notes that things could be changing in the tech industry as large players are seeing stocks slump and startups are seeing valuations cut.
Monday, May 23
Dallas’ Fortune 500 Companies
⟫ Dallas is No. 5 among all U.S. cities at hosting companies on the 2022 Fortune 500 list. The 11 Dallas-headquartered companies on the list include AT&T at No. 13; Energy Transfer at No. 54; CBRE Group at No. 126; Builders FirstSource at No. 176; Tenet Healthcare at No. 181; HF Sinclair at No. 197; Texas Instruments at No. 234; Southwest Airlines at No. 234; AECOM at No. 260; and Jacobs Engineering Group at No. 262; and EnLink Midstream at No. 485. The only cities with more Fortune 500 companies are New York City at No. 1, followed by Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago.
GameStop Opens Its Wallet
⟫ Grapevine-based GameStop has launched a “digital asset wallet” that allow gamers and others to store, send, receive, and use cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) across decentralized apps without having to leave their web browsers. The GameStop Wallet is a self-custodial Ethereum wallet, the company says. The wallet extension can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store, and will also enable transactions on GameStop’s NFT marketplace, which the company expects to launch soon.
Nokia and T-Mobile Partner on Private 5G
⟫ Nokia, whose North America HQ is based in Dallas, is partnering with T-Mobile to develop 5G private mobile networks and hybrid mobile networks, the companies announced today. The solutions will be part of T-Mobile’s newly announced 5G Advanced Network Solutions, a suite of 5G networks designed to give enterprise and government customers “superfast” speeds, lower latency, and connectivity control, with options at the edge. The companies say their flexible solution “delivers real-world results and next-level performance.”
Storing Energy for a Hot, Hot Summer
⟫ Irving-based power generation company Vistra announced that its DeCordova Energy Storage Facility in Granbury, Texas, is online and storing and releasing electricity to the ERCOT grid, in time for the summer’s yearly 100-degree assaults on the Texas grid. The 260-megawatt/260 megawatt-hour battery energy storage project is the largest of its kind in Texas, Vistra says. With more than 3,000 individual battery modules, the facility “can store enough electricity to power approximately 130,000 average Texas residences during normal grid conditions.” The system works by capturing excess electricity from the grid—primarily overnight during high wind-output hours—and releasing the power when customer demand peaks.
Friday, May 20
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ TI Breaks Ground on New Semiconductor Wafer Plants in Sherman with Potential $30B Investment
⓶ 12 Acres of Creativity: UT Dallas Breaks Ground on a $158M Cultural Arts District
⓷ Follow the Money: OxeFit Lands New Celebrity Backers, Dallas Biotech Raises $10M to Fight Cancer, Blockchain Investor Raises New Fund-of-Funds, and More
⓸ Worldwide Express Is Moving into The Stack in Deep Ellum and ‘Hiring Aggressively’
⓹ DI People: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, DallasNews Corp., JCPenney, Solo Brands, and More Make Leadership Moves
⓺ Deloitte’s New DEI Institute Announced at Westlake’s Deloitte University
⓻ Meow Wolf and Its Surreal, Immersive Art Experiences Are Heading to Grapevine
⓼ A Laser Built in McKinney Can Destroy Drones, Mortar Rounds, and More
⓽ CBRE Report: DFW Leads the U.S. in Multifamily Real Estate Investments
⓾ The Water Cooler at Pegasus Park Unveils its Newest Impact-Focused Tenants
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
A&M Board Approves $170M for Fort Worth Campus
⟫ The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents gave initial approval yesterday to $1.5 billion in future projects across the state, including the first two buildings of what A&M’s chancellor calls “Aggieland North”—a new urban research campus in downtown Fort Worth (rendering above). The board approved $85 million for a Research and Innovation Center and $85 million for a law and education building at the Fort Worth site. Laylan Copelin, the system’s vice chancellor of marketing and communications, told Dallas Innovates that a third building in the project, also with an estimated $85 million budget, would take the amount to $255 million. “We will now design, then come back to the board to get authorization to begin construction,” Copelin told us.
Dallas is Best Place in U.S. for Freelancers
⟫ A new study from ToolTester looks at cities across the U.S. to see where freelancers “can make the most of their income,” and places Dallas at the top of the list. Dallas scored the best for having 50 coworking spaces; an average coworking cost of $267.39 a month; and average Wi-Fi cost of $92.49. Following Dallas on the list from No. 2 to No. 5 are Jacksonville, Florida; Houston; Memphis; and Indianapolis. Irving clocks in at No. 14 followed by Fort Worth at No. 15.
Top 50 Healthcare Tech CEOs
⟫ Anurag Jain, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Access Healthcare, has been honored at No. 4 on a list of the Top 50 Healthcare Technology CEOs in 2022 by The Healthcare Technology Report. “Anurag Jain has helped his firm scale from 100 people in 2012 to over 18,000 global employees today, while also devoting time to philanthropy and his venture capital firm [Perot Jain LLP],” the report states, noting that Access Healthcare’s platform “utilizes AI and RPA to transform the revenue cycle management industry.”
Fighting Human Trafficking
⟫ Dallas-based DeliverFund, a nonprofit intelligence organization that leverages technology to combat human trafficking, announced it has joined Airbnb’s newly formed Trust & Safety Advisory Coalition (TSAC). “The hospitality industry has elevated risk when it comes to modern slavery, from both commercial sex exploitation and labor trafficking,” said DeliverFund President of Commercial Operations Greg Switzer, in a statement. “The traditional approach of spotting indicators through personal interaction is quickly becoming obsolete with the industry’s move to digital engagement models. Airbnb is deeply committed to helping prevent modern slavery in all its forms, protecting their users and hosts, and ultimately keeping communities safer. We’re excited to have a seat at the table and be part of this important work.”
Breaking Ground on New Water Utilities Lab
⟫ City of Arlington officials took part in a groundbreaking today at the John F. Kubala Water Treatment Plant in South Arlington on a new, $12.3 million laboratory and maintenance building for the city’s water department. Three buildings will be combined, expanded, and updated into one modern 26,825-square-foot facility. The project includes the remodel of a mini-lab, offices, and control room improvements. Fort Worth’s Source Building Group was selected for the construction project. In 2021, the city’s two water treatment plants produced more than 18 billion gallons of water, with the Arlington Water Utilities laboratory team collecting and testing 6,131 samples during the year, the city said.
Thursday, May 19
Another HQ Move from California
⟫ Review Wave, a California-based patient management and engagement platform for health care providers, is opening a second location next month, which it says will be its new headquarters, at the Common Desk in downtown McKinney. The company, No. 328 on last year’s Inc. 5000 list, says it plans to hire 100 new employees this year, but didn’t specify where the employees would be located.
Unleashed Brands Looking for Buyer
⟫ Bedford’s Unleashed Brands, the parent company of entertainment franchises like Urban Air Adventure Park and Snapology, is courting buyers, founder and CEO Michael Browning (above) told Axios. The announcement comes as the company is looking to make four new acquisitions this year in the areas of arts and sports, in addition to adding 235 brick-and-mortar locations to its current lineup of 800 in 2022. Browning said Unleased is expecting to see $160 million in revenue this year.
Health Innovation Pitch Competition
⟫ Ten startups from across the U.S. competed at a Health Innovation Pitch Competition yesterday in Dallas. Presented by local accelerator Health Wildcatters at the MedVentures Conference 2022, it brought together players in the health care and life sciences industry. Taking the top prize of $5,000 in funding, $2,500 of in-kind prizes, and six months of rent at Health Wildcatters’ space at Pegasus Park was Parrots, a company using computer vision and machine learning to assist people with neurodegenerative and neurological disorders (founder and CEO David Hojah, above). Taking the No. 2 spot was St. Louis-based Kwema, which makes smart badges for health care workers’ emergency alerts and contact tracing. Landing at No. 3 was Sovrinti, a Waco-based company that helps track seniors’ daily activity in the home.
REIT Targets Homes for Rentals
⟫ Dallas alternative investment firm NexPoint Advisors is launching a new advised real estate investment trust (REIT), alongside rental home company HomeSource Operations, targeting single-family homes in secondary and tertiary markets across the Southeast and Sunbelt regions. With the REIT, it’s planning to acquire existing homes built no earlier than 2000, in addition to constructing new built-to-rent homes. Already, there are more than 1,000 homes in the REIT’s portfolio, with plans to add thousands more by the end of the year.
Rising Rents in North Texas
⟫ No wonder people are forming new REITs to target the home rental market. Fueled by high home prices and a lack of available rental units, rents increased across the country for the 14th month in a row, per Realtor.com. In North Texas, the median rent is now $1,655, a 21.3% year-over-year increase. According to the company, one-bedroom rentals saw the largest YoY increase, jumping 22.4% to a median rent of $1,508. Nationally, median rent is $1,827, a 16.7% YoY increase.
Wednesday, May 18
Aligned Data Centers Gets Nearly $2B in Green Financing
⟫ Aligned Data Centers has received nearly $2B in sustainably linked financing to date. The company has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to accelerate the next phase of growth and expansion for its adaptive and build-to-scale data center solutions. That increase is due to a recognition of the “precipitous demand for digital infrastructure and services”—and a “singular demand” for Aligned’s platform, says Anubhav Raj, Aligned CFO. The green financing supports the company’s ability to “innovate disruptively in pursuit of a climate-secure industry, and world,” he said in a statement. The latest increase to Aligned’s sustainability-linked loan is a follow on to several major milestones in the company’s “ historic green financing,” which includes the “largest-ever” inaugural securitization as part of sustainability-linked financing.
Koddi announces Memorial Day hotel biz up 39%
⟫ Fort Worth adtech company Koddi predicts record hotel demand and booking growth this summer—and into 2023. As of April, the startup’s data show hotel demand this year has surpassed peak 2021 levels. “Pent-up demand is leading to record growth expectations,” the company said. “Last year, destination trends shifted away from crowded urban areas in favor of outdoor locales. While demand for outdoor destinations has remained strong in 2022, the industry is seeing significant growth returning to urban markets as well.”
CBRE invests $100M more into Industrious
⟫ In a sign that the look of the traditional office is changing, CBRE Group is upping its investment in a flex-space solutions provider. The Dallas-based commercial real estate giant announced a new $100 million investment in New York flexible office and suites company Industrious, adding to hundreds of millions of dollars CBRE has poured into the company in past years as it sees more clients looking for hybrid office solutions. Read more about it in our story here.
Stranger Things Pop Up Brings the Upside Down to North Texas
⟫ Get close to a Demogorgon this weekend. Fans of the global hit series Stranger Things can immerse themselves in a world of supernatural mystery and ’80s vibes starting on May 21. Produced by Netflix, a limited time pop up shop at Grapevine Mills mall will be a unique retail experience packed with interactive photo ops and explorations of Hawkins’ most iconic locations. But be warned, you never know when things will turn Upside Down!” says Greg Lombardo, head of experiences at Netflix. Tickets are complimentary, but limited. Reserve tickets here.
Tuesday, May 17
JCPenney Lease Will Trigger ‘Amenity Activation’
⟫ JCPenney will come full circle this fall by moving its HQ back into its former home, 6501 Legacy in Legacy West (above). The company originally built the campus—a 1.8 million-square-foot property now known as CALWest—back in 1992 as its HQ, and owned it as recently as 2016. It moved out of the facility in November 2020 in the depths of the pandemic, when most of its corporate staff were working remotely. Its new landlord, Capital Commercial Investments, says JCPenney will be leasing 318,067 square feet of the campus with a move-in date slated for late fall. The lease will trigger “significant amenity activation,” CCI says, potentially including fire pits, walking trails, pickleball courts, and lakeside food and beverage options.
Coinsource, Quik Trip partner on Bitcoin ATMs
⟫ Fort Worth-based Coinsource is partnering with Kwik Trip to install Bitcoin ATM machines in some of the convenience and gas station chain’s 800-plus U.S. locations. Founded in 2015, Coinsource gives any person the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin with U.S. dollars, charging a fee of 11% nationwide, based on an “accurate Bitcoin price,” with miner fees covered for each transaction. The Fort Worth company says it operates over 2,500 Bitcoin ATMs in 46 states, leading the sector nationally.
AllergenIQ Ties for Best Prez at FOC
⟫ Nana Mireku, founder and CEO of Fort Worth-based AllergenIQ, tied with two other startup leaders for “Best Presentation” at the Founders of Color Showcase in Atlantic City, New Jersey, yesterday. The Southlake physician, whose two kids both suffer from life-threatening food allergies and other health challenges, wants to improve access to allergy care. Eighteen funds and angel groups were present at the event and will be “entering due diligence” next week. Last year the Next Wave Impact network invested $500,000 into three startups that pitched at the FOC Showcase, and it plans to explore funding opportunities via special purpose vehicles this year as well, it announced.
The Dallas Opera Streams Freely
⟫ The Dallas Opera is expanding access to its streaming service, thedallasopera.TV, by removing the paywall and offering free viewings of full-length performances and other programming. “We learned a great deal during the pandemic shutdown about creating content for this digital stage, understanding demand, and generating interest via social media,” said Ian Derrer, TDO’s Kern Wildenthal general director and CEO. “We also learned that free access creates a better user experience and offering a variety of access points is an important part of growing new audiences.”
Hope Cottage names former Bonton Farms leader as CEO
⟫ North Texas nonprofit Hope Cottage, a pregnancy and adoption center that’s served North Texas since 1918, has named Stephanie Bohan (above left) as its new CEO. Bohan was most recently the director of health and wellness services for Dallas-based Bonton Farms. Before that, she was the executive director of the Agape Clinic for 10 years.
DART announces a new COO
⟫ Bernard Jackson (above center) has been named as the agency’s new chief operations officer. Jackson will assume his new role on May 23. Jackson joins the transit authority from the Los Angeles County Metro where he served as the chief operations officer of service delivery. Prior to that, he was with the Chicago Transit Authority for nearly three decades.
GameStop ‘poaches’ former Belk CEO as for COO position
⟫ Nir Patel (above right) will be the new COO of GameStop starting May 31, per a securities filing. Patel was CEO of retailer Belk for about a year before he stepped down last week, reports Retail Dive. GameStop’s new COO is “set to make a base salary of $200,000 and is eligible for $3.4 million in sign-on bonuses,” according to the publication. He’s the second to fill the role since March 2021, after Jenna Owens left the company in October.
Friday, May 13
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Meet The Best Workplaces in North Texas, According to Inc.
⓶ Center of Gravity: Capital Factory Kicks Off New Dallas Digs With Startup Crawl and Health Supernova Event
⓷ Dallas Has Opened Its Newest—and Largest—Downtown Park
⓸ The Crescent Announces Eight Leases, from UBS to JPMorgan Chase to an Investment Firm behind ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’
⓹ UTD Team’s Wearable Sweat Sensor Can Detect Key Biomarkers of Infection
⓺ SMU Lands One of its Largest Gifts Ever to Fund Entrepreneurship⓻ Frisco-Based esrp Merges with Cresa, the World’s Largest Occupier-Focused CRE Firm
⓼ Dallas High School Team Wins 2022 International NASA Rover Challenge
⓽ Payroll Giant Opens Grapevine Office, Making North Texas Home to its Second Largest Operation
⓾ Blackstone LaunchPad Blasts Off at UT Arlington
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
Meow Wolf Is Coming to Grapevine
⟫ Meow Wolf began as a collective of Santa Fe artists, writers, performers, and architects. Today, at permanent installations in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Denver, Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive art experiences “that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration.” In 2023, Meow Wolf plans to do just that in a new location at Grapevine Mills mall, followed in 2024 by another permanent installation in Houston’s Fifth Ward. You can read all about it in our story here.
DFW Is No. 1 in Multifamily Investment
⟫ A new report from Dallas-based CRE services and investment firm CBRE shows that Dallas-Fort Worth was No. 1 in the U.S. in multifamily investments over the last four quarters. Nationwide, Q1 2022 saw the strongest multifamily absorption since 2000. Among other findings, Texas is leading the nation in multifamily completions, as rent growth continues to gain momentum. “The rise in demand has been fueled by household formation, job and wage growth, and sharply rising home prices,” the report said. You can read more in our story here.
Crypto Data Center in Denton
⟫ Core Scientific has broken ground on the next phase of its cryptocurrency data center on a 31-acre lot in Denton, reports the Denton Record-Chronicle. The 140,400-square-foot project is slated to include three data halls and one tech building. The news comes amid what Forbes calls a “$1 trillion crypto meltdown,” with currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many others seeing serious drops in value, especially in the last month.
Ruiz Foods’ Co-HQ Coming to Frisco
⟫ California-based Ruiz Food Products rolls out frozen Mexican food to grocery stores across the U.S. and Mexico—and soon it’ll be rolling into Frisco to move into a new co-headquarters in Hall Park, reports the Dallas Morning News. The company has been around for more than 50 years. It produces everything from heat-and-ready taquitos to bake-and-nosh tamales under the El Monterey and Tornados brands. The company’s president and CEO, Dan Antonelli, has already moved to Frisco, and the company aims to have 125 employees by 2026, the DMN says.
Halo 2+ Collar Released
⟫ Plano-based Halo, which was co-founded by IoT specialists Ken and Michael Ehrman along with celebrity dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, has released a new version of its GPS-powered dog collar, the Halo 2+. It features enhanced GPS with 50% more coverage and 21 hours of battery life, enabling dogs to “live safely off leash” within wireless smart fences. You can see Charli and Dixie D’Amelio above with two pooches wearing the new device.
Thursday, May 12
A New HQ in Plano
Louisiana-based consumer loan provider Republic Finance is planting its new headquarters in Plano, according to the Dallas Business Journal. As it looks to grow its operations into four new states this year, the new HQ will house more than 250 workers in areas like financial and project management across 58,000 square feet and four floors of space, once the building above is completed in 2023. Republic’s former HQ will act as a support center to the Plano office. The company, founded in 1952, told the DBJ it chose the region due to its talent pool.
Nano-Level 3D Printing
Technology developed by a local company is being used to develop more durable 3D-printed materials. Desktop Metal, which acquired the technology when it acquired UT Dallas spinoff Adaptive3D last year, is launching a new line of photopolymers that separate and cure together at the nano level while being printed, in order to create a more durable and long-lasting material. According to InvestorPlace, Desktop paid $24.1 million in cash and stocks to acquire Adaptive3D.
DFW is No. 2 in Magnetic Attraction
Dallas-Fort Worth ranks near the top of places people are moving to, according to moving container company PODS. Citing the same reasons many business leaders do for relocation—relatively low cost of living, room to grow, and no state income tax—the company released a report placing DFW No. 2 among metros its customers are moving to. Taking the top spot was Sarasota, Florida. Based on moves between last January and March of this year, Houston (No. 12), San Antonio (No. 13), and Austin (No. 16) also made the list.
Dallas Vet Network Expands
Dallas-based CityVet is growing with six new partner/owner practices through its “unique business model” that helps vets scale and succeed. The clinic network plans to open another 10 to 15 offices in the next year, focusing on core Texas markets and Denver in the “immediate future.” The network launched an academy last year to train newly graduated DVMs to become leaders in their field.
The Woz Headlines Stream Realty Event
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is in downtown Dallas today to be the keynote speaker at Stream Realty Partners’Central State of the Market event at The Statler. The private event brings over 400 Stream clients—investors, CRE execs, and industrial and office tenants—together for panel discussions and networking. Wozniak, the co-founder of Efforce andWoz U, is slated to explore how technology is impacting commercial real estate today. But he’ll also talk about meeting Steve Jobs and explode some myths about their relationship, Stream said in a statement.
Presidential Scholars in the Arts
Three Dallas-area high school students are among only 20 in the nation to be named 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. The local honorees (left to right above) are voice student Isabella Gueck from the Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy; design arts student Tomek Marczewski from St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas; and visual arts student Ella Reaugh from Lovejoy High School in Lucas. All were YoungArts award winners. YoungArts artistic director Laren Snelling said the honorees demonstrated “both a dedication to academic achievement and a commitment to creativity in mediums spanning the visual, literary, and performing arts.”
Wednesday, May 11
$220M NASA Testing Contract
⟫ Dallas-based engineering giant Jacobs has been awarded a $220 million Aerospace Testing and Facilities Operations and Maintenance (ATOM-5) contract at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Jacobs will continue aerospace testing, facility operations and maintenance, IT system administration, and support services for the center over the next year, followed by four one-year options. Jacobs has worked on projects with NASA for more than 60 years.
Puttshack Is Rolling Into Addison
⟫ Dallas’ status as a “golf Mecca” continues to grow. Puttshack, an upscale, tech-infused mini golf experience with “global food and drink,” will enter the local market in summer 2023 with a two-story, 28,000-square-foot venue in Addison’s Village on the Parkway. Puttshack has four locations in the U.K. and opened its first U.S. locations last year in Atlanta and Chicago (above). Co-founded in 2018 by Steve and Dave Jolliffe, the twin brothers who founded Topgolf, Puttshack will be joining the Dallas-area minigolf wars—taking on Puttery, Drive Shack’s minigolf entertainment concept at Grandscape in The Colony.
Regional Economic Development
⟫ The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and 18 other entities have announced a Regional Economic Development Partnership with a goal of bringing unity, economic growth, and prosperity to the Fort Worth region. “Our whole goal is just to get everyone around the table so we’re having a comprehensive discussion around economic development,” Chris Strayer, the chamber’s EVP of economic development, told Fort Worth Report. The collaboration with municipalities and counties across western North Texas aims to strengthen community relationships, track business trends, and share resources.
Charged Up in Fort Worth
⟫ Amazon has been testing electric vehicle delivery in Fort Worth with Rivian vans since last summer. Now it’s investing around $1 million to construct charging stations at its distribution center at 10001 South Freeway in Fort Worth, according to the Dallas Morning News. The company has ordered 100,000 EVs from Rivian and has planned for 10,000 of them to hit roads this year. Rivian has struggled to keep up with production projections, however, as it deals with supply chain issues and a steep drop in its stock price.
Teaming Up for a Bigger HQ
⟫ The Dallas Wings and Panther City Lacrosse Club have signed a 10-year lease extension for their shared corporate HQ at 500 E. Border Street near UTA in Arlington, reports D Magazine. The teams plan to grow their HQ as well, expanding it from 7,000 to 16,000 square feet. Plans include a new digital media studio, an upsized lobby and lounge, and additional private offices.
Tuesday, May 10
Expanding for Growth
⟫ Lone Star Analysis is expanding its office space in Addison to accommodate additional employees and business growth. The provider of predictive and prescriptive analytics and guided AI solutions held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expansion featuring Addison Mayor Joe Chow and Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (at center above with the Lone Star team). The company— which recently announced expansions in the U.K. and Norway—is increasing its Addison footprint by 10,000 square feet to over 41,000 square feet and expects to have its new space fully occupied by June.
⟫ Dallas-based Navigator CO2 Ventures is partnering with Iowa-based Big River Resources and Big River United Energy on a long-term carbon capture project. Navigator will capture, transport and utilize or permanently store CO2 from three Big River ethanol biorefineries in Iowa and Illinois over a 20-year period. The project involves an annual volume of 1,000,000 metric tons of CO2—the equivalent to offsetting the carbon emissions of 215,469 vehicles driven annually. Operations are slated to launch at the beginning of 2025. “The Big River platform and its members are making the pragmatic decision to reduce the carbon intensity of its products while increasing economic flexibility for a dynamic marketplace,” Navigator CEO Matt Vining (above) said in a statement.
Molecular Science Expansion
⟫ Molecular science company Caris Life Sciences, which recently expanded by leasing 37,000 square feet of space at VariSpace Las Colinas (above), is in the process of building out a new 117,000 square-foot lab in Irving. The company will be testing blood samples for cancer out of a new $45 million liquid biopsy lab in Phoenix, bringing the company’s total lab footprint in the state to about 160,000 square feet. The move, which Caris says will add hundreds of new jobs to its 1,500-person workforce, will allow the company to boost its molecular and tumor profiling capabilities. Last year, Caris raised an $830 million equity funding round led by Sixth Street at a post-money valuation of $7.83 billion.
KUDOS GO TO…
World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers
⟫ Two Dallas companies have been honored as 2022 Technology Pioneers by the World Economic Forum. One is Colossal Biosciences, a biosciences and genetic engineering company led by co-founder and CEO Ben Lamm (above left) that’s working to bring back the woolly mammoth. The other is Recuro Health, an integrated digital health solutions company led by founder and CEO Michael Gorton (above right), which delivers a personalized and proactive approach to virtual care. They represent two of only 33 U.S. companies named to the global list of 100 for 2022.
2022 Best Managed Companies
⟫ The U.S. Best Managed Companies program, sponsored by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal, has revealed its 2022 list, and two North Texas companies made it. Dallas-based Associa, America’s largest homeowners association management company, returns to the list as a three-year honoree. Just to the north in Addison, Mary Kay Inc. made the list as the only other Texas company out of 51 honorees for 2022. To be considered for the “mark of excellence,” private companies must have annual revenues of at least $250 million and are evaluated on strengths across four core criteria.
Founders of Color Showcase Finalists
⟫ Last month we told you that Nana Mireku, founder and CEO of Fort Worth-based AllergenIQ, was competing to be a finalist for the 2022 Founders of Color Showcase. Today the organization named her one of five finalists (above) for the national FOC Showcase to be held May 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. CST at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. You can register to attend the free event or view the livestream by going here. Last year’s event spurred nearly $1 million in investments to BIPOC-led startups, the organizers said.
Monday, May 9
Toyota Moves Near Top of DEI List
⟫ Plano-based Toyota Motor North America has been named the No. 4 company in the U.S. for diversity and inclusion by DiversityInc. The DiversityInc 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list moves Toyota up three spots from its No. 7 ranking last year. Three of Toyota’s U.S. plants are run by women or people of color, the Dallas Morning News writes, and its nearly 4,000-employee Plano HQ closely resembles DFW’s demographics. Other companies on the list with expansive North Texas operations include Accenture (No. 1), Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (No. 8), and Capital One Financial (No. 22)—as well as KPMG, Boeing, Cigna, Wells Fargo, General Motors, Raytheon, PepsiCo, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS. See the full list here.
Nokia Opens New Dallas Security Lab
⟫ Nokia is looking to boost its cybersecurity capabilities. The Finnish telecom giant announced opening its Advanced Security Testing and Research Lab at its Dallas offices, which also serves as the home of the company’s Energy Innovation Center, Cloud Collaboration Hub, and Nokia Services Lab. The new lab will provide a place for Nokia and its clients to test the security of 5G networks, along with their related software, hardware, and apps. Nokia said the lab will “serve as a central repository for cybersecurity knowledge.”
PQC Grads Get $250K Surprise
⟫ In a move aimed at tackling intergenerational poverty, Alfred Street Baptist Church announced forming an investment fund, seeded by a $250,000 gift, for Paul Quinn College’s graduating class of 2022. Managed by JP Morgan Chase, the fund will look to grow over the next decade, after which it will provide a direct monetary gift to individuals in the class to help them further their careers and education. Paul Quinn said the 2022 class—it’s 145th—was its largest since 2008.
JP Morgan Chase Invests $2M to Prep Students
⟫ Over the past two years, JPMorgan Chase has invested $2 million in the Tarrant To & Through Partnership—marking the company’s largest investment in an educational initiative, the Dallas Business Journal reports. Launched in 2020, the T3 Partnership focuses on prepping students with the workforce skills and credentials they need to succeed. JPMorgan’s funding of the initiative will help the nonprofit launch a new engagement model with Fort Worth ISD that will help educate parents and families on certification and credentialing opportunities within the school district to help set them up for success before graduation.
Irving Firm Taps Former eBay, Google Exec as CFO
⟫ New Western Acquisitions, an Irving-based real estate investing firm focused on sourcing distressed residential investment properties, has tapped Dipak Joshi as its new chief financial officer. Joshi, a former director of acquisitions at eBay and corporate financial controller at Google, has worked as CFO for at least five other firms, most recently with California’s SightCall.
Friday, May 6
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ SMU Lands One of its Largest Gifts Ever to Fund Entrepreneurship
⓶ ‘Thinking Big to Succeed’: EY Names 46 Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalists for 2022
⓷ ‘The Future of Dining’: Chili’s Expands Robot Servers to 61 Total Restaurants
⓸ Dallas Is About to Open Its Newest—and Largest—Downtown Park
⓹ Bitcoin Mining Company Investing $333M for New Facility South of Dallas
⓺ Ericsson Launches Global Utilities Innovation Center in Plano
⓻ Frisco-Based esrp Merges with Cresa, the World’s Largest Occupier-Focused CRE Firm
⓼ Follow the Money: Trive Capital Raises Nearly $2B, Securonix Adds Investors to its $1B+ Funding Round, Cardinal Midstream Partners Launches with $300M Investment, and More
⓽ With a New CEO at the Helm, Bottle Rocket Creates Three Leadership Roles
⓾ See How Three of the Top Four NFL Draft Picks (and Many More) Trained at Exos Institute in Frisco
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
⓵ $2B Aviatrix Moves HQ to North Texas
Aviatrix, a cloud networking and security unicorn whose former home was in Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara, has relocated its HQ to Dallas and is looking to lease office space.
The company is temporarily operating out of a Dallas co-working space with 50 employees here now, reports Dallas Business Journal, but aims to lease its own office of around 25,000 square feet, giving it room for up to 250 people. Aviatrix began the move in the last half of 2021.
Aviatrix raised $200 million in a Series E according to a September statement, the DBJ says, valuing the company at $2 billion. Its clients include Dell, Toyota Financial Services, and Raytheon Technologies.
Why did CEO Steve Mullaney (above) choose North Texas?
“It’s a good talent base,” he told the DBJ. “It’s centrally located. There are a lot of good things about Dallas. A lot of the people that we’re going to have to hire are going to be the 20- and 30-year-old people. And they don’t really want to live in Silicon Valley anymore. It’s too expensive.”
⓶ SMU Breaks Ground
SMU broke ground today on a $140 million renovation and expansion project of the Cox School of Business, aiming to drive Dallas innovation by “training students for a collaborative and technologically integrated world.”
The two-year project is rendered above, and will expand the school’s footprint by more than 30%. Four new buildings will connect the existing facilities into cohesive space that supports collaboration within the Cox School and across the campus, as well as with the Dallas business community.
“Since 75% of our Cox School graduates stay in Texas, this ambitious project is a commitment to SMU’s role as a talent magnet for the state and the North Texas region,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner in a statement.
Dallas-based Rogers-O’Brien Construction will partner with GFF architecture firm on the project.
The renovated and expanded facilities will be called the David B. Miller Business Quadrangle, honoring Miller (seen above just left of center with blue tie) for his decades-long financial support and leadership of the Cox School. You can take a virtual tour of it by going here.
⓷ Meta Makes Good in Fort Worth
Meta’s Fort Worth Data Center has announced its 2022 Community Action Grants recipients, donating funds to 13 nonprofits and schools.
Through its Data Center Community Action Grants program, Meta is providing the funding “to support the long-term vitality of Fort Worth.” The program funds projects that help put the power of technology to use for community benefit; that connect people online or off; and improve STEM education.
The grants include $31,000 for The Atatiana Project to deliver its STEAM summer school program and enable learning outside the classroom ;$30,000 for the Fort Worth Zoological Association to provide tech and showcase women in STEM careers; $30,000 for the Junior Ag Robotics Challenge at the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show; $26,750 for CommUnity Frontline to expand its Community Hub outdoor library, rental tech, and support for seniors; and more.
To see the full list of Meta Fort Worth grant recipients, go here
Free Yoga With Dak Prescott
⟫ You may not get to play football on the field at The Star Monday evening, but you can have a good stretch. The Dallas Cowboys and health services company Optum are holding a free “Stretching for Mental Health” yoga event in observance of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott will kick off the event by sharing his personal mental health journey and his outlook on overcoming adversity. The free event begins at 6 p.m. Monday at The Star in Frisco. Registration is free, first-come-first-serve, and available here.
Capping Off Small Business Week
⟫ Dallas County is No. 1 in Texas and No. 4 in the U.S. for small business owners. That’s according to a new ranking by SmartAsset. Four other Texas counties also made the top 10 nationally. Check out the interactive map here.
Daytime Emmys 2022: Dallas Symphony Gets a Nod
⟫ The Dallas Symphony Orchestra was nominated for an Emmy award for outstanding arts and popular culture program, reports the DMN. The broadcast of a performance Mahler’s First Symphony was a result of a “historic collaboration between the DSO and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra“ using robotic cameras at the Meyerson. The online concert had tens of thousands of views around the globe in the pandemic.
Dallas Company Snags $130M Solar Project
⟫ Dallas-based Primoris Services, which trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker PRIM, has won a solar project with an estimated value of $130 million. The contract is for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a “utility-scale solar facility in the South,” the company says. Construction will begin in Q4 with project completion slated for Q3 2023. “In addition to the photovoltaic work that our Energy/Renewables Segment will execute, our Utilities Segment will perform the high-voltage work,” Primoris President and CEO Tom McCormick said in a statement.
$272K for Community Health Workers
⟫ Dr. Teresa Wagner, an assistant professor at UNT HSC’s Department of Lifestyle Health, has been awarded a $272,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Fort Worth Inc. reports. The funding will help provide free certification courses for community health workers in both English and Spanish. “Community health workers are the grassroots helpers invested and connected in their community,” Wagner told FWI. “They really are a conduit for health literacy, sharing health information in a way that’s culturally appropriate, understandable, and usable for people who have no other way of either accessing or understanding the information in a way that’s actionable.”
Thursday, May 5
⓵ ‘Sandbox’ of Innovation
Looking to build upon the region’s deep ties to the telecom industry, a publicly traded company is opening a “sandbox” for 5G experimentation in Dallas.
Amdocs, a Missouri-based software and services provider to communications and media companies, is opening its 5G Experience Lab in the city, which will allow businesses to test out solutions in areas like private wireless networks, cloud services, and security.
Trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker DOX, Amdocs has nearly 30,000 employees and reported about $4.3 billion in revenue last year. According to Anthony Goonetilleke, Amdoc’s president of technology and head of strategy, the new 5G lab will help “unlock a limitless number of amazing experiences and re-imagine the future.”
⓶ Fintech Financing
Eyeing a public launch later this year, a Dallas-based startup is bringing on new funding.
Backflip, a company providing technology tools and financing to help residential real estate investors acquire, renovate, and list single-family properties, landed $8 million in seed equity and $27 million in debt funding, the Dallas Business Journal reports. The equity round, which will help Backflip build out its team ahead of launching its platform in Texas and Colorado (where it also has operations), was co-led by Vertical Venture Partners and Austin’s LiveOak Venture Partners.
The company launched its beta platform last year, with its app analyzing more than $2 billion in investment properties, the DBJ writes. As part of the funding, LiveOak Founding Partner Krishna Srinivasan and Vertical Managing Director Brad Corona are joining Backflip’s board.
⓷ Going Public
North Texas is set to get a new public company.
ProFrac Holdings, a provider of services to the hydraulic fracturing industry, has launched its initial public offering with the aim of raising $334.6 million. The company began selling its shares this week on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker PFHC. With the money, the company plans to pay off a number of outstanding loans.
ProFrac, headquartered in Willow Park, Tx.—about 25 minutes west of Fort Worth—has operations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Its majority stakeholders are billionaire brothers Dan and Farris Wilks, who sold their previous venture Frac Tech to a group of businesses led by Temasek in 2011 for $3.5 billion. Late last year, ProFrac acquired public government contractor FTS International in a $407.5 million deal.
Linesight sets its sights on Dallas
⟫ Linesight, a global construction consultancy valued at more than $57 billion, is opening an office in Dallas, to accelerate its practices in the data center, life sciences, and commercial real estate spaces. The office in Uptown, which adds to four others on the East and West Coasts, will house the company’s Scheduling Center of Excellence. Linesight VP of Americas Central Region Gavin Flynn said the company chose Dallas due to its “location, talent pool, and infrastructure.” Linesight currently lists 16 open positions on its website in the DFW area, in positions like talent acquisition, project management, and cost management. Linesight, which was acquired by Integrated Project Services and a subsidiary of Alleghany Capital Corporation last October, has more than 900 employees across 25 global offices.
Fast-Growing Female Businesses
⟫ Two local companies have landed on the Women Presidents Organization’s annual list of the 50 fastest growing female-led or -owned businesses in North America. Coming in at No. 11 is BuzzBallz/Southern Champion, a Carrollton-based pre-made cocktail company led by Merrilee Kick (above). Taking the No. 39 spot is Fort Worth-based Fast-Trak Construction, a general contracting firm led by Anna Cicur. Overall, Texas companies made up more than 10% of the total list, which required businesses to have an annual revenue of at least $500,000 for the past five years. In total, the 50 companies on the list collectively employ more than 30,000 people and generated a combined $6.8 billion in revenue.
Life-Changing Disabilities Research
⟫ UT Arlington has landed a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Ishfaq Ahmad (above), professor of computer science and engineering, says the grant will help UTA’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates remain open. The multidisciplinary site within the university’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering focuses on researching and prototyping hardware and tech that can help people with disabilities better find access to employment, navigate public spaces, communicate, and live independently. The recent funding builds upon around $1.5 million in U.S. Department of Education and matching UTA funds that have gone into the project since 2018.
Wednesday, May 4
⓵ Talent Attraction ‘Snap Poll’ Results
A recent snap poll showed more than half of all DFW companies surveyed are utilizing a hybrid work arrangement. The results of the DRC survey were shared at a recent “Talent Talk” about recruiting and retaining talent amid the “Great Resignation.”
An expert panel—including ANM Healthcare’s Marisa Bingham, Talent Suite’s Melanie Shaffer, and Bank of America’s Sophia Smith—agreed that “companies need to dig deep to find and keep talent in a shifting labor market.” Writer Dave Moore shares five top takeaways:
- Money isn’t everything. Flexibility Is.
- Leadership is (almost) everything.
- Incentives don’t hurt, either.
- Get social for diversity.
- DFW employers are offering flex office hours
Read more and find survey results here.
⓶ Reinventing Landlord Insurance
Digital insurance provider Honeycomb, which serves multifamily owners and landlords, has gotten approval to write policies in Texas. The news follows a recent $15.5 million Series A that will help it scale in the U.S.
Texas hit the radar for the fast-growth insurer with its occupancy rate for multi-family properties among the nation’s highest—90.9% in Dallas-Fort Worth, 91.6% in Austin, 92.2% in San Antonio, and 91.4% in Houston.
Honeycomb’s proprietary proptech includes satellite imagery, computer vision, AI, and machine learning that can eliminate the need for on-site assessments—and improve the speed of quotes, according to Itai Ben-Zaken (above), Honeycomb cofounder and CEO.
Founded in 2019, Honeycomb started writing policies in the U.S. last summer and now insures over $1 billion in real estate assets. Currently operating in seven states including Texas, it plans to cover 60% of the country this year.
The company says its tech provides real-time bindable quotes and “more robust underwriting at a lower cost than previously possible.”
⓷ Fracture Fixers
Orthofix has received FDA pre-market approval for its bone-healing therapy device, which provides a nonsurgical treatment for fresh fractures and “nonunions” of breaks that haven’t healed.
The Lewisville-based company’s AccelStim device stimulates the bone’s natural healing process to promote fracture healing through ultrasound. Commercial availability of the device is expected in Q2.
Orthofix President of Global Spine Kevin Kenny says the company is “now the first and only” one to offer both types of bone growth stimulation devices, and “one of only two companies in the U.S. with a fresh fracture indication.” Expanding that access can “grow the existing $100M market for fresh fracture LIPUS solutions,” he said in a statement.
DFW Ranks on ParkScore Study
⟫ In a new Trust for Public Land ParkScore study of the 100 most-populous cities in the U.S., Plano ranked the highest in Texas at No. 15. The city of Dallas ranked No. 53, on the heels of its opening of the new Carpenter Park in downtown Dallas. Read more about the power of parks—and see the rankings for other North Texas cities here.
—Bob.AI Streamlines Rental assistance at DHA
⟫ “Vacancies are money,” says DHA chief Troy Broussard. The public housing authority decided to “think different” in coming up with solutions to a time-consuming process. DHA Housing Solutions for North Texas has simplified the delivery of rental assistance using artificial intelligence. Bob.AI lets clients and landlords complete submissions and inspections online to speed things along. Broussard says the proptech could help other agencies around the U.S. Read more here.
Signing Up GM
⟫ Dallas-based Avanci has signed a patent license agreement with General Motors, increasing the total number of auto brands licensed through the Avanci marketplace to 37. Through the marketplace, GM’s connected vehicles can now receive licenses to the 2G, 3G, and 4G essential patents of the 48 participating patent owners today, as well as patent owners that join Avanci in the future. Avanci enables auto makers to license IP from many different patent holders in a single transaction “at low, fixed rates,” paid once for the lifetime of the vehicle. The company says more than 55 million connected vehicles worldwide are licensed through Avanci.
Tuesday, May 3
⓵ Targeting Alzheimer’s disease
A publicly traded Dallas company using synthetic peptides to activate the body’s immune response aims to use its platform to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Vaxxinity announced that its immunotherapeutic vaccine treating the disease has received a fast track-designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which means it will be working closely with the governing organization to bring the therapy to market. The vaccine is expected to begin Phase 2b trials later this year. That makes the Alzheimer’s vaccine the second furthest along in the Vaxxinity’s pipeline, behind only its COVID-19 vaccine. The company is also in trials for vaccines targeting Parkinson’s disease, migraines, and high cholesterol.
Vaxxinity, whose co-founder and CEO is Mei Mei Hu (above), hit the public markets in November with an $80 million IPO that saw it list on the Nasdaq under the ticker VAXX with a market cap of around $2 billion. That was only about eight months after the company was formed to combine two spin-offs of United Biomedical—United Neuroscience and C19 Corp.
⓶ Welcoming new tenants
VariSpace Los Colinas, the second “space-as-a-service” location of Coppell-based workspace furniture company Vari, has signed three new leases representing nearly 130,000 square-feet of office space.
Taking up the most space at 75,000 square-feet is an unnamed “education organization.” It’s followed by local cancer-focused molecular science company Caris Life Sciences, which leased 37,000 square-feet of space, adding to its four other offices in the U.S., Japan, and Switzerland. In addition, Canadian technology company CAE scooped up 16,000 square-feet of space. VariSpace also has a location in Southlake and a third location in Coppell in the works.
⓷ Last Call, Physical Health Innovators
The newly created physical health-focused Techstars program in Fort Worth says it’s seeing applications coming in from companies working in areas spanning human performance to sports medicine ahead of its upcoming application deadline. And it’s looking for more.
The Techstars program, one of 11 around the globe, has an application deadline of May 11 for its 13-week program this fall, where 10 companies will be eligible to receive up to $120,000 in seed funding capital from the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and Goff Capital. They’ll also receive mentorship and programming
Island’s C-Suite Moves
After reaching unicorn status just weeks after launching in February, a Dallas tech startup is adding to its C-suite.
Island, which says it’s creating the “desktop of the future” with an enterprise-focused browser that helps company’s protect their SaaS tools and internal web applications, has tapped Jennifer Park, a former human resources leader at American Express, Google, and D2iQ, as its new chief people officer.
The announcement comes after Island named B2B tech leader Ellen Roeckl as its new chief marketing officer at the beginning of last month and as it’s been growing at a remarkable clip. The company emerged from stealth in early February with nearly $100 million in funding and more than 100 employees. Already with research and development operations in Tel Aviv, Island announced in March that it closed on a $115 million Series B round at a $1.3 billion valuation, in addition to expanding operations to Europe with an office in Reading, England.
Welcoming new tenants
⟫ VariSpace Los Colinas, the second “space-as-a-service” location of Coppell-based workspace furniture company Vari, has signed three new leases representing nearly 130,000 square-feet of office space. Taking up the most space at 75,000 square-feet is an unnamed “education organization.” It’s followed by local cancer-focused molecular science company Caris Life Sciences, which leased 37,000 square-feet of space, adding to its four other offices in the U.S., Japan, and Switzerland. In addition, Canadian technology company CAE scooped up 16,000 square-feet of space. VariSpace also has a location in Southlake and a third location in Coppell in the works.
50,000+ Drone Deliveries
⟫ Drone deliveries used to be jaw-droopingly amazing. In Q1 2022, they became just a little more routine due to sheer volume. Wing, a drone delivery service from Google’s parent company Alphabet, says it made over 50,000 drone deliveries in the first quarter alone, including recent service in the Dallas suburbs of Frisco and Little Elm. Wing also made deliveries in Virginia, in two locations in Australia, and in a city near Helsink, Finland.
Virtual Dog Park
⟫ Plano-based Halo has launched what it calls “the first-ever virtual dog park.” The startup sells the Halo Collar, which stores up to 20 GPS wireless smart fences, with dog-training tech built in. Now founding partners Michael Ehrman, Cesar Milllan, and Ken Ehrman (above) are leveraging Zoom Meetings to offer its Halo Pack members an interactive pet training and customer experience in the virtual world, with a goal of giving dogs a “safe life off leash.”
Monday, May 2
⓵ Celebrating the Pioneering Spirit
President Joe Biden has proclaimed it Small Business Week in America (May 1 -7). More than 32 million small businesses employ almost half of America’s workforce.
Today in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has invited “all Texans to celebrate the important role small businesses play in job creation in communities throughout the state” as he issued a proclamation.
The Governor’s Office of Small Business Assistance in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism, which is the focal point in the state for start-ups and small businesses of all sizes, offers a variety of services for Texas entrepreneurs looking to start, strengthen, and grow their business in the state, including:
- Start a Business in 7 Steps
- Governor’s Small Business Handbook
- Governor’s Small Business Resource Portal (including new permit and licenses feature)
- Texas Business Licenses & Permits Guide
- Governor’s Small Business Webinar Library
⓶ Order Fulfillment Expansion
On the heels of a $40 million growth equity investment, a Toronto-based company is eyeing Dallas for its latest expansion.
Shipfusion, a company providing e-commerce fulfillment and order management solutions, is planning to open a new warehouse in the region, along with other facilities in New Jersey and Atlanta. The company operates its own facilities, offering fulfillment infrastructure to e-commerce brands. The facility will add to Shipfusion’s other operations in Canada, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. The company didn’t say when the new Dallas facility will come online.
Shipfusion was launched 2014 and was largely bootstrapped until April, when it landed a large investment from the growth equity arm of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors.
⓷ Online Auto Auctions
In other expansion news, a Mississippi startup is expanding to North Texas to help residents sell their used vehicles.
As its first stop on its expansion throughout Texas, Carmigo is bringing its service to DFW. The company’s platform allows people to solicit bids on their cars from dealerships in Carmigo’s network just by taking photos on their phone.
Carmigo, which has a team of around 30, launched at the beginning of 2021. Since then, the company has helped sell more than 1,500 vehicles and generated more than $1 million in sales. Its expansion to Dallas adds to its service area, which includes Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. According to Crunchbase, the company has about $3 million in total funding.
Dishing Up DISH Solutions
⟫ Richardson-based Ceragon Networks has struck an agreement with DISH Wireless to provide ultra-high capacity IP-50C microwave and IP-50E millimeter wave transport solutions. DISH will leverage Ceragon’s transport, maintenance, and support solutions to ensure the smooth roll-out of its 5G network—which DISH says is the country’s “first cloud-native 5G smart network”—in select locations across the U.S.
Build-to-Rent in McKinney
⟫ parcHaus at Skyline, a brand-new, 136-unit, luxury single-family rental community in McKinney, has been sold by Dallas-based Provident Realty Advisors to Pennsylvania-based Morgan Properties—one of the top three multifamily owners in the U.S. Morgan plans to rebrand the community as Elevate at Skyline. The deal is Morgan’s first build-to-rent acquisition and its third rental community in Texas. Terms were not disclosed.
Top Half of the Top 1%
⟫ Dallas-based Uplift Education, the largest group of free public charter schools in North Texas, has been recognized by the Jay Mathews Challenge Index as having some of the top high schools in the nation. Nine Uplift schools were ranked by Mathews among the top half of 1% of high schools in the nation in terms of success and demographics. The Challenge Index rates schools by the ratio of the number of AP, IB, and Cambridge exams taken by all students to the number of seniors graduating. Except for Uplift North Hills in Irving, all of Uplift schools have large majorities of low-income students.
Friday, April 29
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Construction Begins in Fort Worth on America’s First Rare Earth Magnet Manufacturing Facility
⓶ Meet Invited. The Largest Owner of Golf and Country Clubs in the U.S.—Dallas-Based ClubCorp—Unveils a Major Rebranding
⓷ ‘The Future of Dining’: Chili’s Expands Robot Servers to 61 Total Restaurants
⓸ Fort Worth Founder Aims to Help People Tackle Debt Through Content Creation
⓹ Fort Worth Becomes First U.S. City to Mine Bitcoin, Right From City Hall
⓺ SMU Lands One of its Largest Gifts Ever to Fund Entrepreneurship
⓻ PNC Bank Launches Newest Tech Hub in North Texas
⓼ Consumer Product-Focused Investor Eyes Opportunities in Dallas
⓽ UTD Team Develops Rapid Virus Test That’s ‘150 Times More Accurate’—and They’ve Launched a Company to Commercialize It
⓾ Creation RE and J.P. Morgan Form Joint Venture to Invest $1B, Announce Fort Worth Industrial Project
⓵ Texas Eyes New Federal Biomedical Agency
The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) was established last month by the Biden administration with $1 billion in funding to advance biomedical and health research. Now it needs a home—and a Texas coalition is working hard to bring it to the Lone Star State.
The Coalition for Health Advancement and Research in Texas—an alliance of hospital systems, research institutions, and chambers of commerce—is pushing Texas as the ideal site for the federal biotech agency, reports the Dallas Morning News.
“We are ready, willing and able to work together to meet the science and bioscience needs of our nation and the world,” the coalition’s spokesperson, Thomas Graham, told the DMN.
Dallas is particularly putting itself forward, as the home of the research centers of UT Southwestern, the 23-acre Pegasus Park biotech campus, and more.
“We cannot get left behind as other nations invest in this kind of vital research,” Dallas Rep. Colin Allred said in a statement. “We’ve seen this model can succeed with the Defense Department’s similar agency, so let’s put North Texas’ best and brightest minds in biotech research to work solving our health care problems.”
⓶ ‘Life-Saving’ Electricity Map
An Electricity Supply Chain Map of critical infrastructure—the first of its kind in Texas—has been adopted for use in disaster and emergency preparedness and response.
The Texas Electricity Supply Chain Security and Mapping Committee adopted the map, which includes more than 650,000 facilities including natural gas-powered electricity generation plants, electrical substations, natural gas processing plants, underground gas storage facilities, oil and gas well leases, saltwater disposal wells, and more than 21,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines and around 60,000 miles of power transmission lines.
“This map will save lives in Texas,” said Thomas Gleeson, executive director of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and chairman of the committee. “Our agencies have collected an enormous amount of critical information in one place, available to state emergency officials with a click of a mouse. That means better coordinated preparedness before a disaster and faster response times in an emergency, to protect the Texas grid.”
⓷ Rent-to-Own Acquisition
Grapevine-based ONM Living has sold the Cottages of Bell Station, a Fort Worth development of 140 rent-to-own cottage-style units, to Dallas-based MBP Capital.
Cottages of Bell Station covers 10 acres at 10150 E. Hurst Blvd, ranging from large studios to 3-bedroom floor plans. ONM led the entire project from land acquisition, planning, zoning, and design to construction, leasing, and stabilization to prepare for the sale. ONM says it will now reinvest for further expansion in the DFW and Houston markets.
“As the popularity of ‘missing middle housing’ continues to grow, the sale of Cottages at Bell Station serves as proof that both renters and investors are receptive to high-quality horizontal multifamily offerings,” said Zac Thompson, president of ONM Living, in a statement. “The DFW housing market continues to move at a rapid pace and our goal is to ensure that consumers at all stages of life have a diverse array of options when choosing their next home.”
Big Fun in Little Elm
⟫ A 35,000-square-foot social entertainment venue is coming to Little Elm in June. Tinman Social will offer indoor/outdoor dining and full-service bars with a park view, along with 14 bowling lanes, six axe-throwing lanes, a 48-game arcade, corn hole, bocce ball, fowling (football bowling), and more. “Every game, activity, and detail of the layout is designed for people to gather and have fun together,” founder and CEO Kenneth Wynn said in a statement.
Toyota Backs Bees
⟫ Plano-based Toyota Motor North America has a 26,000-acre “land footprint” in North America. To give back to nature and the environment, it’s donating $400,000 to the National Environmental Education Foundation and the Pollinator Partnership to enhance 26,000 acres of pollinator habitat across North America over the next five years. Seventeen Toyota sites have also planted pollinator gardens to nurture monarch butterflies and other pollinator species along the monarch migration path.
Homes Are More Connected Than Ever
⟫ If you find yourself surrounded by more and more high-tech devices, you aren’t alone. Dallas-based research firm Parks Associates says U.S. Internet households now have an average of 16 connected devices—three more than they had just one year ago. “In today’s hybrid work environments, secure, reliable, and private connectivity is essential for all of us,” noted David Henry, president and GM of connected home products at Netgear. Parks Associates will host the 26th annual CONNECTIONS Conference May 17-19 at the Omni Frisco Hotel.
DFW Home Showings Stay Hot
⟫ Home-buying demand in Dallas-Fort Worth remains red hot. It’s still among the top U.S. metros in the number of showings per home, according to Showing Time, a home tour tech and data firm, writes the Dallas Business Journal. DFW’s ratio of showings to listings was 16.1 in March, way above the U.S average of 9.3 showings per home. The biggest lookie-Lou’s in the country? Denver (22.4 showings per listing), Burlington, VT (21.9), and Seattle (18.3).
Thursday, April 28
⓵ HBCU Connection
Another tech company is moving from California to North Texas.
HBCU HUB, a startup focused on connecting students to recruiters at historically Black colleges and universities, is moving its headquarters to McKinney with the aid of grant funding from the McKinney Economic Development Corporation’s Innovation Fund.
Formed in 2016 and led by Jonathan Swindell, a former IBM application development specialist, HBCU HUB has developed an app that automates the digital and physical communications between potential future students and academic recruiters at HBCUs. According to Swindell, part of the draw to the region is California’s lack of HBCUs, with the closest here being Paul Quinn College in Dallas.
Read more about it in our story here.
⓶ TV Segment Turns Into Plano Store
Carrollton-based MorningSave, which helped pioneer internet “daily deals” and has segments featured on several daytime TV shows, is going brick-and-mortar in Plano.
MorningSave was founded in 2015 by the creators of Woot.com, a daily deal website that was acquired by Amazon.com in 2010.
You may have seen their segments on shows like “Inside Edition,” “Extra,” “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” “Rachel Ray,” and “The Talk.” This weekend, you can check out the grand opening of MorningSave’s real-life 21,000-square-foot store in Plano’s Preston Shepard Place shopping center, reports the Dallas Morning News.
⓷ Old Techniques for New Tech
UTA assistant professor Cesar Torres has received a three-year, $402,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to explore how to bring classic makerspace techniques to new technologies.
Torres—who works out of UTA’s Computer Science and Engineering Department and his creative tech research makerspace The Hybrid Atelier—is exploring how materials like clay and silicone can be used in 3D printing, leveraging workflows from soap and candle makers.
He’s also exploring how age-old processes used by glass and ceramics artists can inform today’s digital fabrication technologies. Torres and Justin Ginsberg from UTA’s Art and Art History Department will lead research that places sensors on bodies, clothing, and tools to document complex motions used in UTA’s hot glass workshop. The data will be used to design AI-based learning tech for novice glass makers.
“Most people approach manufacturing from an engineering perspective, but there are ways to integrate technology into ancient processes and make manufacturing better,” Torres said in a statement. “We’re bringing people who are traditionally left out of these conversations in to participate in this interdisciplinary approach to innovation.”
Fort Worth Zoo Trumpets Big Award
⟫ The Fort Worth Zoo‘s newest habitat, Elephant Springs, has won a prestigious international honor: the 2022 Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Themed Entertainment Association. Elephant Springs is one of only 13 international honorees this year. Among the Outstanding Achievement award recipients, it’s the only zoo, the only Texas institution, and one of only six facilities in the U.S. to be recognized.
Best Small Cities to Start a Business
⟫ WalletHub has ranked the best and worst small cities to start a business in—and many Texas suburbs made the top 400 in the list of more than 1,300 towns, reports InnovationMap. Cities making the list near Dallas-Fort Worth include Farmers Branch (No.102), Greenville (No. 275), Waxahachie (No. 306), Hurst (No. 312), and Sherman (No. 368).
Now Hiring 60,000 People
⟫ Irving-based 7-Eleven, Speedway, and Stripes are hosting a National Hiring Day event on May 3 with a goal of hiring 60,000 employees across more than 13,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Career opportunities will include both entry-level and management positions inside stores as well as support roles, IT positions, and maintenance technicians to help fuel the companies’ technological initiatives.
It’s a Deal: 1 GW of Solar Cells
⟫ CubicPV, a solar manufacturing and materials company with ties to Dallas, is looking to boost India’s solar manufacturing ecosystem by supplying one of the country’s largest solar module makers. The company, which was formed last year through the merger of Dallas’ Hunt Perovskite Technologies and Massachusetts-based 1366 Technologies, has inked a multi-year agreement to provide Waaree Energies with 1 gigawatt of silicon cells annually to the Indian-based subsidiary of Waaree Group, in a move that CubicPV says will provide Waaree. CubicPV is backed by Hunt Energy Enterprises, First Solar, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, among others.
Wednesday, April 27
⓵ TIAA Is Moving to Frisco
Frisco’s The Star, the mixed-use development owned by Jerry Jones, is getting new tenant that’s bringing thousands of new jobs to the area.
Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), a pension fund and financial advising giant, announced plans to occupy a soon-to-be-built 15-story building at the development—and it’s planning on investing $58 million on the offices. Along with the investment, the New York-based firm said it plans to create 2,000 new jobs when the offices are fully staffed by 2029.
Aiding TIAA’s move is a $18 million grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund, which is aimed at attracting investment and employment opportunities to the Lone Star state. According to The Dallas Morning News, the move marks one of the biggest office deals in the region since the beginning of the pandemic.
⓶ Mobile Game Giant Names Female CEO
Female CEOs—especially at a game development studio—are rare.
Dallas-based PeopleFun, one of the world’s top developers of mobile games including Wordscapes and Word Stacks, has named Carol Miu (above) as CEO. Miu succeeds co-founder and CEO Tony Goodman, a gaming icon behind Age of Empires who anticipated the rise of mobile free-to-play games and grew the company since 2011. Today, the mobile games giant has more than 30 million monthly active game users in 248 geographies.
Miu, who was the first employee on its product team, plans to “develop more hit games through excellence at data-driven product innovation.” Miu’s first gig in free-to-play mobile gaming was at Boss Fight Entertainment working on roleplaying game Dungeon Boss, and later at Scopely on The Walking Dead: Road to Survival. Prior to that, she was a university marketing lecturer and an economic expert in antitrust, intellectual property, and consumer law.
Miu has been with PeopleFun since 2018, the same year it was acquired by AppLovin.
⓷ First-Ever DIFF Spring Preview Weekend
The Dallas International Film Festival won’t happen until this fall. But you can get an advance look at several of the featured movies like Happening (above) this weekend, April 29 to May 1, at Alamo Drafthouse Cedars just south of downtown Dallas.
“We’re excited to give movie lovers a reason to get out to the theater, especially with how we’ve all changed our viewing habits over the last three years,” said Scott Eustace, chairman of the Dallas Film board of directors, in a statement. “This is a precursor to our full celebration of film this fall when we’ll get to share art North Texans might not otherwise be exposed to, and to do so with illuminating context and participation from the filmmakers themselves. It’s the popcorn, it’s the people, and it’s the perfect complement—great programming.”
For a peek at DIFF films you can see this weekend, read our story here.
WiFi from SpaceX’s Starlink
⟫ Dallas-based hop-on jet service JSX has become the first air carrier to offer high-speed internet service from SpaceX’s Starlink satellite system. The company has placed an order to begin outfitting 100 aircraft operating across the U.S. with the technology. JSX says the first Starlink-equipped JSX plane will take off later this year. The service will be offered free to all JSX customers at no charge, requiring no logging in or other steps that stand between you and your Instagram account.
UT Dallas Team Aims for NASA Mission
⟫ Another local university has been tapped to help out with NASA’s Geospace Dynamics Constellation mission, which aims to better understand the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space. A thermal plasma sensor created by a UT Dallas research team led by physics professor Philip Anderson is being considered for delivery on the mission’s spacecraft, which is set to launch early next year. The mission, which is being led in part by UT Arlington physics professor Yue Deng, will seek new insights into how the ionosphere and thermosphere respond to energy from the sun and how that energy is internally redistributed.
TPG raises $7.3B for climate-focused investing
⟫ Fort Worth- and San Francisco-based investment giant TPG is closing out its climate investing platform’s fund at its hard cap of $7.3 billion. The global alternative asset manager launched TPG Rise Climate, which is led by TPG Founding Partner Jim Coulter and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, last year with an initial close of $5.4 billion. TPG Rise Climate is part of the $14 billion impact investing arm of the firm TPG Rise. TPG Rise Climate focuses on areas like clean energy, decarbonized transport, and agricultural solutions. Its recent investments include leading a $375 million Series B funding round for Vermont electric aviation systems company BETA Technologies and funding a sustainable faming solutions initiative called Monarch Bioenergy.
Dallas’ Unleased Brands has made its fifth acquisition in about twice as many months.
⟫ The parent company of franchises focused on creating entertainment and engagement experiences for kids, including Urban Air Adventure Park and Snapology, is getting into the esports game by scooping up North Carolina-based youth esports franchise XP League for an undisclosed amount.
With Unleashed as its parent company, XP will continue to offer coach and player training, along with hosted tournaments in titles like Fortnite, Rocket League, and VALORANT. It’s founder Jay Melamed will join Unleashed’s leadership under founder and CEO Michael Browning, a board member of the International Franchise Association who formed Unleashed last year.
Tuesday, April 26
⓵ $1B Amazon Venture Fund
Amazon has announced a new $1 billion venture fund to spur supply chain, fulfillment, and logistics innovation.
The first round of investments in the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund focused on robotics and on wearable tech that enhances safety in fulfillment buildings, and were made in five companies from Oregon to South Carolina to Israel. None were in Texas, but Amazon is offering an open invitation to startups from North Texas and across the state—and all points beyond.
“We know there are companies out there that share our curiosity and excitement to invent. Whether our investment helps them grow or leads them to work with Amazon, or both, we’re excited to help advance these technologies as online shopping becomes even more important to people who are looking for more convenience and time savings,” said Alex Ceballos Encarnacion, Amazon’s VP of worldwide corporate development, in a statement.
More info—including how to reach the investment team—is available here.
⓶ Informed Acquired for $170M Cash
Irving-based Informed Diagnostics, a leading national independent pathology laboratory, has been acquired by California-based Fulgent Genetics for around $170 million in cash.
Founded in 1996 as Pathology Partners, Inform Diagnostics has grown into one of the largest national pathology labs in the U.S., providing diagnostic services to around 1,300 clients who represent over 2,700 physicians.
Inform CEO Darryl Goss (above) said he looks forward to bringing his company’s assets onto the Fulgent platform.
“We believe that with Inform Diagnostics’ capabilities across hematopathology, neuropathology, and anatomic pathology, coupled with our nationwide footprint of physician and managed care relationships, we’ll create a truly differentiated and comprehensive genomic testing suite for physicians and patients,” Goss said in a statement.
⓷ Name This Trail!
The 60-mile Fort Worth to Dallas Regional Trail is over 80% complete—and you could help name it.
North Texans are invited to go here to offer feedback on the project and choose between two trail name and logo options. You can also offer input on points of interest along the trail. The North Central Texas Council of Governments developed the name and logo options with the help of public input late last year.
Over 50 miles of the trail are now open, spanning Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving and Dallas—including sections like the Trinity Skyline Trail, River Legacy Trail, The Trinity Trails, Campion Trail, and more. Slated for completion in early 2024, the entire trail will showcase the region’s topographical diversity and growing interconnectedness for bikers, joggers, hikers, and tourists alike.
PM Lounge Comes Back to Life
⟫ In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby famously says, “Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can!” Now three Dallas entrepreneurs are trying to bring their own legendary party back to life. Until it closed in 2012, PM: A Nightlife Lounge was a chic underground bar in The Joule hotel—the place to see and be seen downtown. Chris and Mark Beardon, founders of SBBC Hospitium and Twinning Concepts and Twinning managing partner Jonathan “Vegas” DuBois are giving PM a second act. PM Lounge will open in June at 2918 North Henderson Avenue—former home of The Dram—as “a spot for nightlife fashionistas, rich in atmosphere and service,” reports CultureMap Dallas.
World Robotics Champions
⟫ A robotics team from Irving’s Cistercian Preparatory School has won the 2022 FIRST Robotics Competition world championship in Houston as part of a four-team alliance. The international tournament featured 456 teams from 12 countries and 43 U.S. states, with more than 37,000 people in attendance April 20-23. Of the six division-winning alliances, Cistercian’s Fusion Corps was the only Texas team represented.
SMU Center gets $630K Walton Family Grant
⟫The Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE) at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development has been awarded a three-year, $630,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to support the launch of CORE’s new Advancing Evaluation in Philanthropy Fellowship program.
Arcosa Sells Storage Tank Biz for $275M
⟫ Dallas-based Arcosa, Inc., a provider of infrastructure-related products and solutions, has sold its storage tank business to Black Diamond Capital Management for $275 million in cash. Founded in 1933 and marketed under the Arcosa Tank and TATSA brands, Arcosa’s storage tanks operation is a leading manufacturer of steel pressure tanks for propane, ammonia, and other gases serving the residential, commercial, energy, and agricultural markets in the U.S. and Mexico.
Monday, April 25
⓵ PNC Tech Hub in Farmers Branch
PNC Bank has officially opened its North Texas Technology and Innovation Hub, which PNC calls “the first hub of this type to be established in Texas.”
The majority of the hub’s 200 employees will focus on developing—and elevating—PNC’s innovation and technology endeavors. Located in Farmers Branch, the modern space is designed to encourage a culture of collaboration with multipurpose rooms and an open layout.
“PNC’s new North Texas Technology and Innovation Hub is another example of how we’re leading the financial industry in the innovation space, especially in a region that is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the country,” said Brendan McGuire, PNC regional president for North Texas, in a statement.
⓶ Fort Worth Votes on Crypto
The City of Fort Worth is slated to vote on a resolution tomorrow that will mint the city as “crypto-friendly, welcoming to the industry and to those responsible businesses contributing to the development of this evolving technology,” according to multiple published reports.
According to Bitcoin Magazine and MSN, three bitcoin mining machines would be given to the city free of charge by the Texas Blockchain Council for a six-month pilot program, presumably pending the resolution’s passage by the city council.
So is Panther City about to dig into bitcoin mining? Dallas Innovates will keep on top of this story and let you know what happens at Fort Worth City Hall tomorrow.
⓷ Founders of Color Finalist
AllergenIQ, a Southlake-based telemedicine allergy clinic, has been named one of 16 finalists for the 2022 Founders of Color Showcase in Atlantic City.
The startup, led by Founder and CEO Dr. Nana Mireku (above), offers a full suite of allergy testing and telehealth services that families can use from the comfort of their own homes. AllergenIQ joined the Health Wildcatters accelerator program last year, and took part in LaunchBio’s Think Lab accelerator at Pegasus Park, presented in partnership with TechFW.
AllergenIQ will now advance to the next round of the FOC Showcase. Up to seven semifinalists will compete at the showcase on May 16 in Atlantic City and via a livestream from 4 to 6 p.m. EST. The event is produced by Next Wave Impact, a global impact investor syndicate with more than 200 investors. Last year’s event spurred nearly $1 million in investments to competing startups.
Flea Style Expansion
⟫ Flea Style, a lifestyle retailer that highlights local small businesses, is opening its fourth location at Galleria Dallas, reports Preston Hollow Lifestyle. Founder and CEO Brittany Cobb (above) told PHL that a mall setting is unusual for her brand, but “what I liked about the Galleria is that they’re bringing local boutiques into the mall and they’re looking for experiential retail.” Like its other locations, the Galleria location will offer a “hat bar” where hats can be customized for shoppers on the spot. It’ll also offer a Flea Style first: customized vintage boots.
Sourcing Solar Modules
⟫ Dallas-based Leeward Renewable Energy has entered a multi-year procurement agreement with Arizona-based First Solar, Inc. to acquire 1 gigawatt of advanced, ultra-low carbon thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. Leeward will deploy the modules across its 20GW solar development and construction pipeline in the U.S. over 2023 and 2024, the company says, adding that the modules have a carbon footprint 2.5 times lower and a water footprint three times lower “than the average crystalline silicon solar panel made with cells produced in China.”
New $45M Liquid Biopsy Lab
⟫ Irving-based Caris Life Sciences announced the opening today of its new $45 million liquid biopsy lab in Phoenix, Arizona. The investment will enable the company to continue to develop and launch its blood-based diagnostic assay, Caris Assure, to deliver tumor profiling and cancer diagnostics.. “This new lab is just one example of how we’re continuing to innovate as we develop the most powerful blood-based assay ever,” said David Spetzler, Caris’ president and chief scientific officer, in a statement.
Friday, April 22
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Impact Ventures Raising $20M Dallas Inclusive Capital Fund to Make the Region a Hub for Diverse Entrepreneurs
⓶ Dallas Real Estate Brokerage Plans to Add 1,000 Agents—and It’s Paying to Get Them Licensed
⓷ The ‘Largest Multifamily Solar Installation in the U.S.’ is Going Up Now in North Texas
⓸ Frisco Startup Lands First U.S. Authorization for COVID-19 Breathalyzer Test
⓹ How Composting Saves Landfill Space and Reduces Costs at DFW Airport
⓺ ‘Crushing It’: 17-Year-Old Dallas Twins Launch UPwords Apparel and Accessories Brand to ‘Bring Joy’
⓻ Dallas-Based Recreational Realty Secures $300M Credit Facility to Grow Its U.S. Footprint for Storing ‘Grownup’s Toys’
⓼ Dallas Construction Giant Is Bringing AI to the Jobsite to See What the Crane Hook Sees
⓽ SMU Collaborates on High-Res Cameras That See Around (and Through) Hidden Objects
⓾ AMLI and Stream Realty Will Develop 18-Acre, $472M Transit-Oriented Showplace at Addison Circle
⓵ Partnering for Ocean Health
Today is Earth Day, and a Dallas-based corporation is marking the day through its partnership with The Nature Conservancy to pursue healthier oceans.
The Nature Conservancy has embarked on a journey to protect our oceans, with support from Dallas-based Mary Kay Inc., “which holds water at the heart of its sustainability strategy,” the company said.
“This Earth Day, our oceans need us all,” said Jeffrey Parrish, TNC’s global managing director for nature protection, in a statement.. “With support from our corporate partners, TNC is working every day across the globe to conserve the reefs, coasts and fisheries that make life on this planet, and our own lives, thrive. Together, we are making every day Earth Day.”
⓶ Clean Energy Team-Up
Dallas-based Stream Realty Partners is teaming up with Boulder-based Catalyze to deploy solar, battery storage, and EV charging solutions across Stream’s development pipeline of over 40 million square feet
The move is equivalent to over 450 megawatts of on-site solar and battery storage projects. Stream and Catalyze are initially considering 42 properties across the U.S. in markets including Texas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. They aim to deploy fleet EV chargers at many of the properties over the next few years.
“Our partnership with Catalyze makes it effective and profitable to streamline deployment of clean energy solutions across our growing pipeline of industrial facilities, while supporting the power grid throughout our industrial portfolio,” said Adam Jackson, Stream’s chief investment officer and chairman of its ESG committee.
⓷ $641M to Reduce Texas Pollution and Traffic
Congressman Colin Allred has announced that Texas will receive more than $641 million in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to give Texans more transportation options and reduce traffic and carbon pollution across the state.
Ahead of Earth Day, the Biden administration announced investments totaling more than $6.4 billion across the U.S., to be administered under the Federal Highway Administration’s Carbon Reduction Program. As North Texans deal with high gas prices and rising inflation, the new funding will allow Texas to deliver more transportation alternatives and reduce commute times, the congressman said.
Read more in our story here.
Buy a Scooter, Plant Two Trees
⟫ Dallas-based e-mobility company GOTRAX is marking Earth Day by partnering with Trees.org to plant two trees for every electric scooter and e-bike purchased between today and the end of the month. It’s also offering 10% off any e-bike and select scooter models in the same time period, with the discount code TREES10. The Trees for the Future nonprofit aims to plant 100 million trees with farmers across the globe—and 1 billion trees by 2030.
⟫ Marking Earth Day, Dallas-Fort Worth-based investment firm Satori Capital today launched Satori Environmental, a long/short equity strategy primarily focused on securities impacted by the global energy shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources.“We believe capital markets are truly awakening to the tremendous long-term fundamentals for sustainable energy,” Satori managing partner James Haddaway said in a statement. Chief Investment Officer Paul Strigler, an 18-year veteran of renewables-dedicated investing, will lead the new strategy.
Digital Communications Infrastructure
⟫ Ubiquity, a Kansas-based digital communications owner, developer, and operator, announced plans today to invest further in open-access infrastructure in Texas by expanding to Weatherford and Mineral Wells in North Texas, as well as three new locations in the greater Austin area. The investments build on its recently announced plans to break ground on multiple city-wide fiber optic networks in markets north of Austin.
Thursday, April 21
⓵ Jaunt Signs $100M Air Taxi Center Deal
Dallas-based Jaunt Air Mobility has signed a $100 million-plus deal with L&T Technology Services to open an Engineering and R&D Center in Québec.
The center will provide engineering services for the Jaunt Journey eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) air taxi.
The Journey air taxi takes off like a helicopter and transitions to flying like a fixed-wing plane using patented Slowed-Rotor Compound technology, flying more than 68 miles in the air in 25 minutes or less, Jaunt says. The single-pilot aircraft will carry four passengers and offer urban air mobility, cargo delivery, military missions, and medical transport.
NYSE-listed L&T, which is headquartered in India with offices in Montreal, will offer global engineering services to support and build the Jaunt Journey in the multi-year deal, including its power distribution system, air data management, cockpit display system, flight control system, battery management, electrification, power electronics, structural design, stress analysis, testing, certification, and manufacturing engineering.
⓶ Fort Worth ‘Main Street’ Program
A Main Street America pilot program is coming to Fort Worth, the first of its kind in Texas.
To be part of the program, neighborhood managing organizations can apply to become the recipients of up to $320,000 worth of services, support, and grants.
“This is a unique opportunity for the city to align with signature neighborhood commercial corridors and their community organizations,” Robert Sturns, director of economic development for the city of Fort Worth, wrote on LinkedIn. He added that the program’s goal is “to drive change and bring the expertise, experience, and investment needed to help spark change for the preservation and future of our neighborhood districts that serve our residents and many of our visitors as well.”
More details and info on how organizations can apply through June 6 are available here.
⓷ Dallas Is Turning Green for Earth Day
Friday is Earth Day, and while countless North Texas businesses are recognizing it in their own ways, downtown Dallas will light up in green in honor of Earthx2022.
Ten iconic downtown Dallas buildings will switch their lights to green Friday evening to help raise awareness of the Earthx2022 conference—which is being hosted through April 24 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center by Dallas-based international environmental nonprofit EarthX.
The Omni Hotel will also be displaying the EarthX logo for drivers traveling to downtown along I-30. EarthX says the green lights serve as a reminder to everyone to do their part to preserve and protect our planet, not just on Earth Day, but all year round. If you have any green holiday lights sitting around, EarthX is encouraging all buildings throughout DFW to switch their lights to green if they can Friday evening. Otherwise, the organization says, consider turning lights off for a few hours instead, “to show support for a greener world.”
For more info about Earthx2022 including registration details, go here.
⟫ Dallas native Claire Fagin—an “artist to the stars” including Olivia Rodrigo, Kate Hudson, and Tame Impala—has created a large-scale floral installation at The Shops at Park Lane in Dallas. The work uses 500 preserved florals and took over 150 hours to create. It’s available for viewing through May 15 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., complete with a selfie stand for Insta addicts. (Or you could simply gaze at it and welcome spring.)
⟫ Dallas-based electronic waste recycling company Re-Teck is celebrating Earth Day tomorrow at Flower Mound Elementary School, where they’ll launch their Recycle Avengers gaming app. The Recycle Avengers electric car will be on site and game character Kit will distribute T-shirts and sign posters at the event as kids learn to recycle their electronics. The best part? In 2023, Re-Teck will give away a battery electric Nissan Leaf to one player using the app.
Tops in Ranch Sales
⟫ Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty announced that its Ranch and Land division was No. 1 in ranch sales in North Texas in 2021, with 32% of the market, the latter according to land.com. In all of Texas, the group was No. 3 for the year with a total sales volume of $371 million. “That volume is on par with ranch brokerages twice the size,” CEO Robbie Briggs said in a statement.
Wednesday, April 20
⓵ Southern Gateway Park Nears Goal
Southern Gateway Park—a five-acre “bridge park” to be built across I-35 by the Dallas Zoo—has reached 75% of its fundraising goal, the Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation announced.
Slated to open in 2024, the “park with a purpose” aims to close the opportunity gap created by the highway’s 1950s construction through the middle of Oak Cliff. The foundation says it’s raised more than $62 million of the estimated $82 million needed to bring Phase One of the park to life, including grants from the Rees-Jones Foundation, the Communities Foundation of Texas (W. W. Caruth, Jr. Fund), the Eugene McDermott Foundation, and the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.
The announcement was made at an event hosted by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and attended by former mayors and Southern Gateway Alliance Co-Chairs Ron Kirk and Mike Rawlings, among other civic and community leaders. You can read and see more about the park in our story here.
⓶ DIRTT Opens Co-HQ in Plano
Calgary, Canada-based DIRTT Environmental Solutions, a Nasdaq-listed provider of industrialized interior construction, is opening a “co-headquarters” in Plano’s Legacy West district.
The company, which was founded in 2003 and now has over 900 employees, will share executive leadership, sales operations, and other corporate functions between its Calgary and Dallas-area locations.
“As the Dallas-Fort Worth region continues to experience a surge in high-profile corporate relocations and unprecedented overall economic growth, we see this as a strategic opportunity to join the vibrant North Texas business community,” said Jennifer Warawa (above), DIRTT’s Dallas-based chief commercial officer, in a statement.
The Legacy West co-HQ will also serve as a hands-on, “living lab” design center, DIRTT says—where architects, designers, contractors, and business leaders can experience the company’s products, tech, and services. The company says it works with construction and design leaders to build adaptable workplace, educational, and healthcare spaces.
⓷ Expanding Access to Clinical Trials
Dallas-based Reveles Clinical Services, a decentralized clinical trial management company, has launched tech that digitizes the clinical trial process—working to expand access and eliminate research barriers.
50% of FDA trials are conducted in 1% to 2% of America’s zip codes, Reveles says, and 70% of all patients live more than two hours away from research sites. With communities of color representing less than 5% of clinical trial participants, despite making up 42% of the total U.S. population, the company says it’s difficult to obtain research samples “representative of all racial and ethnic minorities.”
Reveles says it’s “the only fully integrated, decentralized clinical management company to leverage a robust, blockchain-based software platform and a curated and trained network of local healthcare providers.”
Read more about it in our story here.
Digital Fight Club Back IRL
⟫ Digital Fight Club is infamous in the Dallas tech scene for its raucous crowd, no-holds-barred commentary, and big-name guests. The annual event pits experts against each other in their respective industries to “battle it out” on hot topics. Now, after two years of virtual events, Digital Fight Club is back in real life—and will hold its 2022 Dallas event at Lower Greenville’s Granada Theater (above) on August 11 during Dallas Startup Week. The DFC team has secured Accenture as an anchor sponsor, but says it’s now looking for five “fight card” sponsors.
Lexus Unveils First All-Electric
⟫ Lexus—whose U.S. headquarters are based in Plano—unveiled details today of the luxury brand’s first global battery electric vehicle (BEV), the all-new 2023 RZ 450e. The first thing most gearheads will notice? Lexus’s famous “spindle” grille has been transformed into a “spindle body” on the nose of the RZ. The second thing? The RZ’s estimated range on 18-inch tires is 225 miles. That may seem a tad low compared to BEVs like the 2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition R all-wheel drive (520 miles) and the Tesla Model S Dual-Motor AWD (405 miles). But like we said, this is Lexus’ first BEV—and certainly not its last.
Kubota Connects with Kids
⟫ Grapevine-based Kubota Tractor Corporation is partnering with Crayola to highlight the role machines play in building and shaping communities. The brands will transform Crayola Experience family attractions into “Kubota Machine Adventures” in a five-market national takeover tour beginning in May. The immersive, interactive event will roll into Plano September 27-October 31. The partnership also includes a Kubota Coloring & Activity Book, classroom activities, educational content, and at-home crafts.
Tuesday, April 19
⓵ Interior Design Trend Report
Dallas-based Daltile has released its first-ever Trend Report, tracking key 2022 interior design trends.
The company explores seven 2022 trends—Restorative Nature, Self-Expressionism, Origins Exploration, Female Celebration, Noble Simplicity, Nostalgia Escape, and Tech Retreat—and how each is expressed in Daltile’s product lines.
⓶ Eosera Graduates from TechFW
Fort Worth-based Eosera, a biotech startup specializing in innovative ear care products, has graduated from the TechFW accelerator and business incubator—and now its co-founder and CEO Elyse Dickerson (above, with co-founder and CSO Joe Griffin) is joining the nonprofit’s board.
“We have the honor and pleasure of working with founders from idea-to-scale and Eosera is a prime example of that value proposition, having been with TechFW from its beginning to where it is today—close to moving into a 40,000-square-foot facility,” said Hayden Blackburn, executive director of TechFW, in a statement.
⓷ Advancing Autonomous Mobility
Hillwood is partnering with Ericsson Routes to ensure wireless 4G/5G connectivity for drones and autonomous vehicles in The MIZ at AllianceTexas.
Planning and operations in the Mobility Innovation Zone require a consistent and reliable connection throughout the whole journey of each tested vehicle—whether it’s a self-driving truck or a delivery drone dropping test packages. Ericsson Routes, an incubation unit within Ericsson, offers Waze-like connectivity predictions for planned routes and journeys.
Fair Park Is Getting a Park
⟫ Designs have been revealed for a “much anticipated” year-round park coming to Fair Park. The 14-acre park includes open green spaces that are “complemented by playgrounds, a lookout tower, vendor space, and a stage,” per KERA. Brian Luallen, CEO of Fair Park First, says the designs by California-based Studio-MLA are a “prairie wonderland” that authentically interweaves “the unique personality of sunny South Dallas.”
⟫ Marvel Avengers Station: Evolution will have its world premiere this summer when it opens at Grandscape in The Colony. Its predecessor, Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., has attracted millions of fans worldwide by enabling them to experience the Marvel Cinematic Universe through an immersive exhibition. The new experience opening this summer is the first to reflect key moments from all four phases of the MCU, including “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” “Black Widow,” and more.
Toyota Invests in U.S. Manufacturing
⟫ Plano-based Toyota Motor North America says it will invest $383 million in four of its U.S. Toyota and Lexus manufacturing plants to advance the company’s commitment to vehicle electrification. The new investment will support the production of four-cylinder engines—including options for hybrid electric vehicles—at the company’s Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee plants. Last year, Toyota announced $5.1 billion in new investments into its U.S. manufacturing operations to support electrification efforts.
Monday, April 18
⓵ First Celeb + New Co-Founder
Meet Akina—the Dallas-based social platform for Black mothers, aunties, bonus moms, and caregivers—has its first celebrity ambassador and a new co-founder.
In November, we wrote about the launch of Meet Akina—named for a Swahili word meaning “strong family bond”—and its founder Leigh Higginbotham Butler. Today the startup announced Butler has a co-founder, Stephanie Roberts, and its first celeb ambassador in actress/singer Deborah Joy Winans, from OWN TV’s “Greenleaf.”
The startup also announced new features to its existing chat spaces, meetinSg rooms, live streams, and events. It’s now added a desktop version, an online marketplace, digital classes, on-demand yoga and fitness instruction, mental health resources, a membership program, and the new Akina Circles.
⓶ Get Your VR Game On
A virtual reality arcade concept is opening its first Texas location with a new space in Plano.
Through a franchise deal, husband-and-wife team Beth and Shawn Reynolds are set to open the doors to Ctrl V this summer, Community Impact reports The Canada-based company offers space for customers to rent out virtual reality gear and play a number of interactive games from zombie apocalypses to surgery simulations, in a space with padded walls for player protection.
According to Crtl V’s website, the Plano location will be the first in Texas and only the third in the U.S. Other U.S. locations are in Florida and Delaware. The Plano location is slated to open in July.
⓷ Dallas ISD ‘Future Engineers’
Four Dallas ISD students each got surprise $40,000 Amazon Future Engineers scholarships at an event Thursday at Dallas’ DeGolyer Elementary School.
Invited to the school as computer science high school ambassadors, the students—Brenda Campuzano, from Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School; Axel Livias, from Skyline High School; and Angie Landin and Ephraim Sun, from Townview’s School for the Talented and Gifted and School of Science and Engineering—will receive the $40K over four years to pursue a computer science degree at a college of their choice. They’ll also get a paid internship offer at Amazon after their first year of college.
The scholarships were four of the 250 that Amazon awarded to students across the U.S. in 2022 for a total of $10 million. The event also celebrated Dallas ISD’s two-year partnership with Amazon and BootUp, enabling teachers at 74 Dallas ISD elementary schools to receive the resources and training to implement computer science instruction for nearly 30,000 students.
⟫ Dallas-based unicorn o9 Solutions, the enterprise AI software planning provider, and Deloitte announced a launch today. They’re rolling out Smart Planning, a subscription offering that combines Deloitte’s supply chain planning and data science capabilities with o9’s planning platform. “Smart Planning ensures enterprises remain rightsized resource-wise by providing them with demand, inventory, supply, and integrated business planning services on a single, scalable platform that’s designed to automatically adapt to evolving supply chain conditions,” o9 president and COO Igor Rikalo (above), said in a statement.
Sustainable Chip Delivery
⟫ Just in time for Earth Day this Friday, Plano-based Frito-Lay introduced its first pilot 100% electric Ford eTransit delivery truck (above) in Carrollton today. The company is investing in a fleet of 40 of the vehicles by this summer to advance its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. With the trucks operating in Carrollton, Frito-Lay says it expects a reduction of around 390 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Drone airport on the radar?
⟫ Walmart-backed DroneUp could have Dallas in its sights for a new hub, reports DBJ. Walmart, which invested in the company in early 2021, launched hubs in Northwest Arkansas in November (above). DroneUp told Dallas Innovates the company has considered the Dallas area, but did not comment on timelines for additional hub launches. DroneUp hubs—or drone airports—”will act as central operations for both delivery and drone flight services in communities across the U.S. in the coming months,” the company said. In addition to consumer delivery, the hubs “will also facilitate drone inspection services with their partners in insurance, property management, commercial real estate, construction, utilities, technology, and for public sector organizations.”
Cranking out coffee
⟫ Through an agreement with Montana-based Wild Society Coffee, publicly traded Plano coffee company NuZee is making its first entrance into co-packing for the single-serve instant coffee space. The company said the agreement is non-exclusive. However, should Wild Society purchase $2 million of product over the next year, the co-packing and manufacturing agreement will become exclusive. NuZee uplisted from the OTC markets to the Nasdaq in 2020. At the time, the company had a fully diluted market value of $133 million.
Thursday, April 14
⓵ Keeping the look fresh
Sally Beauty Holdings wants to help get beauty entrepreneurs’ products in the hands of consumers nationwide.
The Denton-based specialty retailer, along with its distribution subsidiary Cosmo Prof, is opening up applications for its third Cultivate Accelerator Program, which seeks to find, launch, and support small business beauty brands working on things like hair care, hair color, hair tools, and nails. Two winners will be selected to receive $15,000 in funding each, along with mentorship on things like marketing, e-commerce, and store operations, in addition to a distribution deal.
Previously, the program was only available to female founders, but this year Sally said it is opening it up to all beauty innovators, in an effort to increase diversity . Applications are due April 22, with finalists being announced in May. Previous iterations of the Cultivate Accelerator saw Sally help propel Curlanista, PuffCuff, Peculiar Roots, Patti Yankee, UniQurl, and True + Pure Texture.
⓶ Data-driven home runs
If you’ve caught a baseball game via Apple TV+’s MLB broadcast package, you likely also saw a bit of tech from a Dallas-based startup.
Sports prediction platform nVenue has landed a deal to provide its tech for real-time game data, offering users graphs and stats for sports betting, with AppleTV+ for the 2022 MLB season. It’s starting by providing the odds of a batter reaching a base, and plans to include other information such as how likely a batter is to get a hit, a strikeout, or a home run. Co-founder and CEO Kelly Pracht said nVenue’s platform can deliver about 15,000 betting opportunities in any given baseball game.
The company made its first live debut during an NBC Sports broadcast of a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Oakland A’s, following its acceptance into the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator. Early last month, raised a $3.5 million funding round, co-led by KB Partners and Corazon Capital.
⓷ Hitting the links
Dallas’ ClubCorp is bringing a tech-driven golf entertainment concept to one of the country clubs in its portfolio—a first for the company and a move that could signal more to come.
The owner and operator of more than private golf and country clubs across the country is bringing Dallas-based BigShots Golf, of which ClubCorp is a majority owner, to its Firestone Country Club in Ohio, the site of numerous PGA Championships and World Golf Championships. The BigShots’ concept is similar to that of Topgolf, with visitors hitting golf balls from a two-story set of tee boxes facing a driving range with different targets. It also offers virtual golfing experience for golfers to play rounds at courses around the world.
The Firestone location will feature 22,500 square feet of golfing, entertainment venue, and dining space. Construction on the facility kicks off this month with a planned opening date this fall. BigShots currently has locations in five open locations in the U.S. and U.K., including one in Fort Worth, and has an additional two under construction
Funding female veterans
⟫ Texas Woman’s University is looking to bolster economic activity in the region by empowering female veteran entrepreneurs. Entering its second year, the Denton-based university’s Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant program is looking to fund ten existing or soon-to-be-formed veteran-led businesses with $5,000 grants that can be used for things like purchasing inventory and equipment, making property improvements, marketing, and other business-related activities. In addition to grant funding, awardees will meet with advisors and mentors at the university’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs to receive training and assistance on things like business plan development, accounting, and legal issues.
Architect firms join forces
⟫ Addison’s VAI Architects Incorporated is merging with Michigan-based Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED), the architecture and engineering firm behind places like Ford Motor Company’s Robotics Building at the University of Michigan, in a move that will combine VIA’s staff with HED’s Dallas office—one of eight it has across the country. And it says it’s planning to hire more to further build out the combined team. The two firms have a shared commitment “to create positive impact for clients and the greater community” said HED CEO Peter Devereaux, who expects the move to create new opportunities across a number of market sectors. VAI focuses on areas including civic, transportation, and education sectors.
⟫ Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has inked a more than €200 million ($216 million) 10-year contract with French mobility company Alstom for it to provide operation and maintenance services for its SkyLink automated people mover system. Alstom has been working with the airport since 2000, helping it open SkyLink in 2005. The airport was recently named the second busiest in the world by the Airports Council International, with the SkyLink system carrying more than 20 million passengers per year.
Wednesday, April 13
⓵ ‘Doing Good While Doing Well in Business’
HundredX, an Addison-based data analytics firm focused on market share strategy, announced landing a Series D round that brings its total funding to more than $80 million. Its big-name investors include billionaire Charles Schwab and FC Dallas and Kansas City Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt.
HundredX works to help nonprofits fill their coffers by rewarding their community members for giving feedback on thousands of consumer brands in its database. It takes that data to the brands to help drive strategy insights and new customer acquisition. Founder and CEO Rob Pace, a former senior partner at Goldman Sachs and former national char at the Salvation Army, calls the feedback “ethically sourced” since user-only demographic data is collected.
Launched in 2012 as Goodsnitch, HundredX relocated to North Texas in 2017. According to the Dallas Business Journal, the company has around 50 employees. HundredX also counts John Hayes, former CMO at American Express as a previous backer.
Read more about HundredX in our story here.
⓶ Meet the New Real Estate Investors
Dallas’ Trive Capital is looking to get in on the hot real estate market with a new strategy.
The private equity firm, which typically focuses on debt and equity investments in mid-market companies across multiple industries, is launching Trive Capital Real Estate and has tapped Troy Daniel, a former managing director at Thackery Partners, to lead the team.
Trive Managing Partner Conner Searcy (above) said the new value-add real estate strategy will incorporate the investment strategy it brings to other investments, including off-the-run sourcing and a hands-on operational approach. Ahead of a formal raise, Trive said it’s looking for acquisition and development opportunities in the multifamily and industrial sectors, though it says it will also look into pursuing other assets.
⓷ Interactive Learning for Businesses
Bluewater Learning is adding a new vertical to its business.
The Plano-based company is a nearly 20-year-old consulting and services partner for the upskilling and talent management industry. Today it announced the launch of Bluewater Interactive, which focuses on creating custom content, integrations, and data visualizations for businesses to train and develop their workforces.
Leading the new business is Curt Swayne (above), the former president of Lewisville’s MLink Technologies, which also focuses on creating interactive learning solutions. Formed in 2003, Bluewater offers services to businesses in a number of industries, including aviation, life sciences, and manufacturing.
⟫ Gearbox CEO and avid magician Randy Pitchford is the new owner of Hollywood’s exclusive Magic Castle, a private club that’s home to the Academy of Magical Arts and other entertainment. The Dallas video icon is a longtime member and wants to preserve the 1908-vintage building the club is housed in. “The Magic Castle is like bedrock—the center point of magic,” Pitchford said in a statement.
Prepare for Landing—a Lot
⟫ Dallas Fort Worth International Airport was the second-busiest airport on earth in 2021 with over 62 million passengers served, according to a report from Airports Council International. Only Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was busier, serving over 75 million passengers. DFW Airport saw a +58.7% jump in service compared to pandemic-slowed 2020—and its 2021 passenger service was only 16.8% less than pre-pandemic 2019. The other busiest 2021 airports from No. 3 to No. 10 were in Denver; Chicago; L.A.; Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando, Fla.; Guangzhou, China; Chengdu, China; and Las Vegas.
EdTech CEO of the Year
⟫ Dallas-based Cambium Learning Group CEO John Campbell has been named CEO of the Year by EdTech Digest’s 2022 EdTech Awards. The 12th-annual U.S. awards program is the world’s largest recognition program for education technology, recognizing top names in edtech and outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology. The award honored Campbell out of 25 finalists “for leading Cambium’s six business units through the pandemic, helping them find effective ways to pivot, and continuing to help teachers and students so they felt seen, valued, and supported,” Cambium said in a statement. The company has 2,300 employees, and Campbell’s honor comes with great timing—he’s retiring next month.
⟫ Packaging giant Pratt Industries plans to bring a regional manufacturing and innovation center to North Texas—its fifth box facility in Texas. The privately held Georgia-based company has agreed to take 1 million square feet in Cedar Hill and could employ 150 people, reports the DBJ. Pratt engineers and designers can test and customize all levels of corrugated packaging, supporting a rise in e-commerce and shipping needs.
Tuesday, April 12
⓵ Laid-Back Seniors
Latitude Margaritaville—55-plus senior communities built around the beachy, laid-back Jimmy Buffett lifestyle—is expanding to Dallas and two other Texas markets.
The senior living lifestyle brand is inspired by the lyrics and flip-fop vibe of singer-songwriter and bestselling author Buffett—offering homes where Parrothead fans can “grow older, but not up” as they search for that lost shaker of salt.
Three communities are already operating in Florida’s Daytona Beach and suburban Panama City and South Carolina’s Hilton Head, developed by Minto and global lifestyle brand Margaritaville. Residents get a resort-style pool, live entertainment, “signature Margaritaville food and beverage concepts,” arts and learning programs, and more.
“Latitude Margaritaville has redefined how pre-and-active retirement living is viewed forever with a combination of world-class amenities and island-inspired villa, single-family, and cottage homes,” said Scott Rogers, Minto’s VP of acquisition and development for Texas. (Austin and Houston are two other planned expansion cities.)
⓶ Electrifying Launch
Plano-based Toyota Motor North America officially launched its all-new bZ4X battery-electric SUV today.
With an EPA-estimated range rating of up to 252 miles per charge for XLE FWD, the electric SUV aims to “further Toyota’s commitment to a carbon neutral future,” the company says. It arrives in dealerships this spring with a starting MSRP of $42,000.
Toyota says its electrified vehicles accounted for 25% of its total U.S. sales volume last year, including hydrogen fuel cell electrics, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. Now its first U.S. battery electric vehicle gets added to the mix.
According to the EPA, 2023 bZ4X XLE FWD buyers can expect average estimated fuel cost savings of up to $5,000 over five years, compared to the average new vehicle.
⓷ ‘Airbnb of Vehicle Storage’
STOW IT—a Colorado startup that connects people who have extra space with those who need to store their cars, boats, RVs, and other vehicles—is continuing its Texas expansion.
The startup began serving Dallas-Fort Worth in February, offering parking rentals from people’s barns, garages, and open land as well as being a go-between for parking options at DFW Airport and other businesses.
STOW IT has also expanded to Houston, San Antonio, and most recently, Austin.
Monday, April 11
⓵ ‘Beyond Zero’ Networking Event
Conscious Capitalism Dallas is screening the documentary “Beyond Zero” Tuesday April 12 at a networking event in SMU’s Crum Auditorium.
The feature-length doc tells the story of visionary founder Ray Anderson and his company Interface, which embarked on a “high-stakes journey to become a 100-percent sustainable enterprise.”
Conscious Capitalism Dallas aims to bring business, education, and community leaders together at the event to network and learn about “sustainability, stakeholder capitalism, ESG, and the related challenges organizations face going forward.”
The screening, Q&A session, and networking event will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets for non-members are $75, with registration available here.
⓶ Is Dallas Introvert Heaven?
According to a new study, Dallas is a global leader of “introvert” cities, ranking No. 14 on earth.
The 2022 Best Cities for Introverts list was released by gaming website MrQ, which measured 50 global cities for solo leisure activities, average 1-bedroom apartment rent, number of walking trails and parks, average Wi-Fi speed, number of remote jobs, museums, libraries, theaters, percentage of gamers, and other factors.
Tokyo topped the list despite having 37 million people. New York (No. 9), Chicago (No. 10), Houston (No 12), and Las Vegas (No. 13) were the only U.S. cities more introvert-friendly than Dallas.
The worst place for introverts? Zurich, Switzerland—too expensive, not enough things you can do by yourself.
⓷ Autonomous Checkout at AAC
Two food and beverage shops at American Airlines Center are opening with no clerks or humans in sight—just a ceiling covered by AI-powered cameras and a downloadable app.
Autonomous checkout is already available at a Market To-Go shop on the terrace level, with a second opening on the main concourse later this month. They’re being opened by Levy and its innovation studio, DBK Studio, powered by tech from Standard AI and SpotOn.
Customers download an app to purchase things in the shop without waiting in a line or pulling out money. Each shopper is assigned a different-colored identifier (in the case above, purple) and tracked as they shop. Products have their own image capture zones, so when a customer picks up, say, a candy bar, the AI system knows what it is, how much to charge, and how many were taken. When the customer walks out, they’re automatically charged for their purchases. Here’s a good video demo.
Cattle Ranch Goes Vegan
⟫ Dallas-based All Y’alls Foods is donating a portion of every sale of its plant-based foods to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary—a former cattle ranch in Wadeler, Texas, that’s gone vegan by caring for around 120 animals that will live out their natural lives without being slaughtered. Rowdy Girl is also helping other ranchers transition to plant-based products through its rancher advocacy program, All Y’Alls founder Brett Cristoffel said in a statement.
5,000th Mining Wheel
⟫ Wabtec has delivered its 5,000th electric mining drive system wheel built at its plant in Fort Worth. The giant wheels power 400-ton mining trucks, delivering more tractive effort than two train locomotives combined, Wabtec says. The tech also delivers 5% fuel savings over mechanical drive-powered mining trucks, helping mines meet emission reduction goals. Wabtec has produced the drive system wheels since 2012.
Housing Options Wanted
⟫ 80% of homeowners and renters across Dallas-Fort Worth support the construction of duplexes, triplexes, or accessory dwelling units in residential neighborhoods, according to a Zillow survey. Nationwide, 77% support the options. Allowing “modest densification” on a fraction of U.S. single-family lots could add 3.3 million homes to the nation’s housing stock, Zillow says—boosting “critically needed” supply for years to come.
Friday, April 8
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ Game On: North Texas is a ‘High-Tech Entertainment Concept’ Paradise
⓶ In DFW, Population and Job Growth are Fueling the Nation’s Hottest Multifamily Market
⓷ Plano’s Food Hall Co. Appoints New CEO and COO as it Pursues U.S. Expansion
⓸ Comparably’s List of Best DFW Workplaces Tees Off with Topgolf, Alkami, Ericsson, and More
⓹ Eatertainment Innovators: Dave & Buster’s to Buy Main Event in $835M Deal
⓺ Hillwood EVP: Dallas-Fort Worth Is Now a ‘Gateway Market’
⓻ Big D Can Be Davos for the Brain Economy
⓼ From Dumpling Makers to VR Job‑Trainers, Impact Ventures Welcomes its Newest Startups
⓽ Global Semiconductor Maker Sets Up its First North American R&D Operation in Richardson
⓾Flytrex and Brinker Are About to Drop Wings by Drone Into DFW Back Yards
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
⓵ Mask-Checking Robots
Seven-foot-tall robots at Love Field Airport will tell you a thing or two if you’re not wearing a COVID-protective face covering—or you’re waiting in your car too long at the pickup area.
The SCOT robots (short for Security Control Observation Towers) are standing watch near security checkpoints and the baggage claim area. Face masks continue to be required at U.S. airports, so a key SCOT mission is spotting passengers who aren’t wearing one. Offenders hear a verbal alert from SCOT which gets louder if they ignore it, and can even lead to a call to airport security or the police, according to Fortune.
Love Field is one of only two airports in the U.S. testing the robots made by Michigan-based Robotic Assistance Devices, Fortune says, noting that Six Flags Over Texas has been testing its own robotic security guard, ROAMEO (Rugged Observation Assistance Mobile Electronic Officer). It’s also made by RAD.
⓶ ‘8 Pentagons worth of warehouses’
Dallas Innovates has been packed for months with reports of new warehouses being built in Dallas-Fort Worth. And the boom continues.
How big is it? According to WFAA, over 54 million square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space is being built in North Texas, more than anywhere else in the U.S. by far.
That’s equivalent to eight Pentagons, WFAA says.
What’s behind all this? The pandemic fueled an e-commerce explosion, creating huge demand for places to store all the stuff people “click” on every day. Plus, a seemingly endless supply chain crunch is causing companies to stockpile goods in a new kind of hoarding. A push for more manufacturing in the U.S. creates even more demand—and all these ingredients are coming to a head right here in DFW.
⓷ EarthX Film Festival
EarthX Film Festival unveiled its 2022 lineup today with over 75 feature films and shorts screening from May 12-15 in the Dallas Arts District.
This year’s theme is “A Celebration of the Outdoors,” featuring an opening night world premiere of “Deep in the Heart,” directed by Ben Masters (above) and narrated by Matthew McConaughey.
In December, we wrote about the festival’s new director, Hayley Nenadal, and the move to the Arts District downtown.
This year’s festival is sponsored by Curiosity with screenings in five theater venues, all celebrating “nature and outdoor adventure stories exploring the environment, conservation, climate change, and science while honoring the heroes working to protect our planet.”
For more info and tickets, you can go here.
Saturday: 100 dog adoptions in 1 day
⟫ That’s the goal of The Barking Project, an adoption event being held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Griggs Park in Dallas. Dogs will be available from a long list of agencies including Dallas Animal Services, SPCA, Saving Hope, Rockwall Pets, The Love Pit, Weimaraner Rescue of Texas, White Rock Dog Rescue, and Cane Rosso Rescue. “The rescue groups are kind of maxed out as far as resources and capacity go,” organizer Allison Frizzo told NBC DFW. “So, we put our heads together about two months ago and decided that we wanted to do something on a large scale.”
⟫ Yep. Fort Worth-based American Airlines is getting into the bus business to replace short flight hops between cities, in a partnership with Fort Collins, Colorado-based Landline. The service takes off—uh, rolls—June 3 for customers traveling to or from Allentown/Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, via American’s Philadelphia International Airport hub. “Customers can start and end their journey at their local airport, relax on a comfortable Landline vehicle, and leave the driving to someone else while they work or start their vacation early,” said Brian Znotins, American’s VP of Network Planning, in a statement.
Young filmmakers hit the red carpet
⟫ Students at Duncanville High School spent the last two months producing a 20-minute documentary about gentrification’s impact on youth in metro Dallas. They worked on the project with California-based Young Moviemakers of America and the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition through a partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. After months of virtual and in-person filmmaking training, they’ll get a red-carpet premiere for their doc Saturday April 9 at Youth World, 1121 W. Whitehead Rd. in Dallas. Free food, drinks, and entertainment start at 1:30 p.m. followed by a 3 p.m. screening and Q&A. For more info go here.
Thursday, April 7
⓵ Big BrainHealth Donation
The UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth has received a record-breaking donation from Sammons Enterprises.
The dollar amount of the gift, which was described as a “transformational investment in the future of brain health,” was not disclosed.
The Center for Brainhealth says the donation will “turbocharge” its pioneering work to protect, strengthen, and restore brain health. Center chief Sandra Chapman says the gift will help researchers develop strategies and technologies “to make sure our best brain years are ahead of us.”
You can read more about it in our story here.
⓶ Autonomously Atlanta-bound
Autonomous trucks are pulling out of Dallas-Fort Worth so often now, it might one day become news when a human driver steers one out. Only yesterday, Aurora Innovation announced it was opening new terminals in Fort Worth and El Paso to haul freight autonomously for Werner Enterprises.
Today, Mountain View, California-based Kodiak Robotics is dropping news. It’s partnering with U.S. Xpress, one of America’s largest carrier fleets, to launch autonomous freight service between Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta using Kodiak’s self-driving trucks.
The partners completed a first-of-its-kind pilot in late March, hauling four round-trip freight runs between Dallas and Atlanta 24 hours a day for 131 total hours—covering 6,350 miles over nearly five-and-a-half full days.
You can read more about it in our story here.
⓷ Autonomous Parking, Too
“Auto-valet” services are coming to DFW International Airport.
Autonomous parking tech company STEER Tech is planning to use the airport as a testbed for an automated parking ecosystem as part of the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ program to use driverless tech to accommodate the region’s growing population.
“The [autonomous vehicle] tests fit into the airport team’s focus on efficient mobility throughout the airport,” said Paul Puopolo, executive VP of innovation at DFW International Airport, in a statement.
Maryland-based STEER Tech said its autonomous ecosystem will be comprised of three subsystems: automated valet parking, digital curb management, and parking lot management for autonomous vehicles.
You can read more about it in our story here.
VINO Pops Its First Cork
⟫ The Dallas restaurant set has been buzzing about the recently opened Italian restaurant CARBONE in the Design District. An outpost of the Michelin star-rated eatery in New York’s Greenwich Village, today it gets a new next-door neighbor with the opening of VINO—which serves both as CARBONE’s wine cellar and its swankily designed extension. VINO enables diners to experience CARBONE’s most famous dishes as walk-in guests, along with its first-ever signature pizzas, and is the brand’s first experience to offer “a true, world-class bar suited for dining.”
⟫ Pharmaceutical giant AmerisourceBergen, which has a large presence in North Texas, is launching a $150 million corporate venture capital fund. Called AB Health Ventures, the fund will focus on investing in early- and mid-stage startups working in areas like clinical development, pharmaceutical commercialization, and animal health. AmerisourceBergen opened a 300,000 square-foot campus in Carrollton in 2019, the second largest operation for the company at the time.
Energy and Renewables
⟫ Dallas-based Primoris Services has announced two projects with a combined value of more than $155 million. The awards were secured by the company’s Energy/Renewables segment, including a $48 million heavy civil contract awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation and a $110 million water and mechanical project in the state of Florida. Both projects begin in Q2, with the Texas one due for completion in 4Q 2024.
Wednesday, April 6
⓵ Aurora Hires former Ryder CTO, Opens FW-El Paso Terminals
Aurora Innovation announced a key hire today: Kendra Phillips, the former CTO and VP of new products for Ryder System Inc., will now lead Aurora’s trucking and logistics partner programs.
The move comes as Aurora opens new autonomous vehicle terminals in Fort Worth and El Paso as it partners with Omaha-based Werner Enterprises to haul autonomously driven loads between the cities.
The collaboration will “strategically broaden Aurora’s customer ecosystem to include multiple carrier types,” Aurora announced today.
The Pittsburgh- and Mountain View, California-based company is also opening a new terminal in Houston. Aurora is now hauling goods autonomously for FedEx, Werner, and Uber Freight “day and night” across multiple high-volume freight corridors in Texas.
You can read more in our story here.
Illustration: Michael Samples
⓶ Texas Triangle ‘megaregion’
A new book says that to improve infrastructure and prepare for climate change, the U.S. needs to plan things from 13 jurisdictional “megaregions”—and one is the Texas Triangle.
Megaregions and America’s Future, by planning scholars Robert D. Yaro, Ming Zhang, and Frederick R. Steiner, says that although the 13 megaregions only make up 30% of the country’s land, they account for the majority of the U.S. population, writes Fast Company.
From high-speed rail to hurricane response to restoring wetlands, megaregions would be ideal for planning the right solutions, the authors say.
“When the Army Corps gets around to doing things, they do it one place at a time, one estuary at a time,” Fast Company quotes Yaro, who was head of the Regional Plan Association focused on New York-New Jersey-Connecticut for 25 years. “We need a broader, coordinated strategy.”
⓷ CEO launches record label
By day Vanessa Ogle is CEO of Plano hospitality tech company Enseo. By night, she fronts a rock group called GEM, featuring her husband and other Enseo execs. Now she’s mixing music and business by launching her own record label.
The Dallas-based record label and artist incubator is called HigherHill Studios, the Dallas Morning News reports, aiming to boost the careers of underrepresented songwriters, producers, engineers, and recording artists.
“I asked, ‘Where are the incubators for women, brown or other nonbinary artists? Where are the incubators for them to learn how to do this?’” Ogle told the DMN.
Since Enseo’s 120-plus patents enable guests to stream music and entertainment in 2,000-plus hotels, Ogle had a lot of data to tap on what music was streamed most. Now she wants people to hear from someone new. “I think it’s really important to have a different voice be heard,” she told the paper.
Billionaires near you
⟫ Forbes is out with a new list of the world’s richest people. While the top spot went to Austinite Elon Musk (net worth: $219 billion), Dallas-Fort Worth churned out 15 of the 2,578 on the list, Culturemap Dallas reports. In North Texas, Walmart heiress Alice Walton took the highest rank, coming in at No. 18 with a net worth of $65.3 billion. She was followed by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (tied for No. 185), with a net worth of $10.6 billion. Serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban tied for the No. 601 spot with a net worth of $4.7 billion. The only other Texan to come close to Walton’s ranking was Michael Dell, who took the No. 24 spot with a net worth of $45.1 billion.
Networking for the DoD
⟫ Oceus Networks, a Virginia-based telecoms company, has landed an $84 million contract to design a mobile cellular network for the Department of Defense—and much of that work will likely be happening in North Texas, as the company’s R&D labs are in Plano and its integrations and operations center is in The Colony. The contract will see Oceus engineer, install, and operate a communication system that can support the DoD’s wireless apps and any future updates.
A heroic effort for Ukraine
⟫ A Dallasite is sending a superhero to help Ukraine. Hector Rodriguez, the creator of the comic book series El Peso Hero, sends his superhero character, Ignacio Rivera, to the European country in the comic’s newest edition. Rodriguez, who also works locally as a teacher, created the comic in 2011 as part of a way to bring Hispanic representation to the comic book industry, NPR reports. Typically, El Peso Hero spends his time helping immigrants, while fighting bad guys like corrupt officials and human traffickers.
Tuesday, April 5
⓵ Conserving Texas
Texan by Nature, a conservation-focused nonprofit, has named its annual Conservation Wranglers. The four selected organizations in this year’s group will be highlighted at Texan by Nature’s Conservation Summit in Dallas this November.
The organization’s Conservation Wranglers program is an accelerator aimed at “catalyzing” conservation projects in the state. Over the course of about a year, selected projects will receive support in areas like marketing, strategic planning, and program management.
2022 Conservation Wranglers include: the honeybee conservation nonprofit Hives for Heroes (above); the Bringing Baffin Back initiative by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute; Texas A&M Forest Service’s Texas Partnership for Forests and Water; and the Texas Water Foundation’s Texas Runs on Water campaign.
⓶ Fujitsu get new leader in Richardson
The global head of Fujitsu’s network business is coming from Japan to Richardson to take over as president and CEO of its North Texas-based network communications operations.
Shingo Mizuno took on the role at the beginning of the month, replacing Doug More, who has been tapped as the CEO of Fujitsu North America. Mizuno has been with the Japan-based company for more than three decades.
As the Dallas Morning News notes, Fujitsu placed its first telecom R&D facility outside of Japan in Richardson in 1990. Its Richardson operations now focus on 5G and broadband network solutions. The region plays host to around 1,500 of the company’s employees.
⓷ New 1 million-SF center
Ariat International, the maker equestrian and outdoor apparel, has opened a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Fort Worth.
The company was lured to the AllianceTexas area in part by a $2 million incentive package from the city of Fort Worth in 2020, with the company planning 450 full-time jobs at the time. The company said proximity to BNSF Railway’s intermodal operations were also a draw.
Once fully up and running, the distribution center is expected to house around 2 million shoes and boots and 6 million items of other Ariat apparel.
Cracker Jack, meet Cracker Jill
⟫ Plano-based Frito-Lay is taking Cracker Jack—a 125-year-old snack beloved in baseball stadiums everywhere—out to a whole new ball game. Today it introduced Cracker Jill “to celebrate the women who break down barriers in sports.” Five different special-edition bags will be available at the start of MLB season this weekend at ballparks across the U.S. As part of the launch, Cracker Jack is donating $200,000 to the Women’s Sports Foundation, and will send a Cracker Jill bag to fans who donate $5 or more themselves, while supplies last.
Rents on the rise
⟫ It might not be a surprise to some, but rents of single-family homes have really gone up in DFW. According to a study by rental platform Dwellsy, the Dallas region ranked No. 6 among U.S. metros with more than 1 million residents in asking rent increases from March 2021 to March 2022, with an average one-year increase in DFW of 63%. Dwellsy said the median asking rent in Dallas is now $2,050. Overall, the company said the DFW area ranks No. 28 for most expensive single-family rentals and No. 52 for apartment rentals. Nationally, it said rents have increased by 19.4% over the past year.
Keepin’ it fresh
⟫ Kroger is looking to help Dallas restaurateurs keep their flavors fresh. The grocery company’s local division is rolling out a service called Restaurant Supply in the region. The service allows restaurants to purchase items by the case or unit at wholesale prices. It also comes with free next-day deliveries on orders over $250. Businesses need to submit an EIN and state tax ID to start their orders.
Monday, April 4
⓵ Ice cream, pet meds & first aid Wing deliveries
Wing will begin public drone deliveries from Frisco Station on Thursday—”the first in a major U.S. metro area,” the company says.
Frisco and Little Elm residents will be able to order drone deliveries of Blue Bell Creameries ice cream, easyvet prescription pet medications, and Texas Health Resources first aid kits.
“We’ll start small with thousands of eligible people in Frisco and Little Elm in the coming months, before expanding based on demand,” Wing says on its DFW website, which offers a newsletter subscription enabling residents to be notified when their neighborhood is eligible.
Last October, Wing began doing demos of its Frisco Station service and announced the testing of drone deliveries from Walgreens stores in Frisco and Little Elm.
You can learn more in our story here.
⓶ Best Workplaces in DFW
Comparably has released its list of the 15 Best Places to Work in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area—and Topgolf tees it off at #1.
Following Topgolf in the top 5 are fintech Alkami Technology, Ericsson, Invitation Homes, and U.S. Dermatology Partners.
Comparably is a workplace culture and corporate brand reputation platform with over 15 million anonymous employee ratings on 70,000 companies.
You can see the full list of 15 and learn more in our story here.
⓷ A Record-Setting WrestleMania
⟫ WrestleMania 38 “shattered” all-time revenue and attendance records at AT&T Stadium over the weekend.
The annual pop culture event attracted “156,352 fans from all 50 states and 53 countries,” according to the WWE.
“We’re thrilled that WrestleMania’s return to Dallas again generated record results, proving that everything is indeed bigger in Texas,” WWE EVP of Special Events John Saboor said in a statement. Saboor thanked the Jerry Jones family and the entire Dallas Cowboys organization, the Dallas Sports Commission, the city of Arlington, the city of Dallas, and public and private sector partners for “making WrestleMania 38 the most stupendous two-night WrestleMania in history.”
Friday, April 1
The Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates This Week
⓵ How the Dallas International District Is Taking Shape, from a ‘People Mover’ to a 20-Acre Park to Smart Cities Tech and More
⓶ Flytrex and Brinker Are About to Drop Wings by Drone Into DFW Back Yards
⓷ Plano’s Food Hall Co. Appoints New CEO and COO as it Pursues U.S. Expansion
⓸ DI People: Frisco’s EDC, Vistra, Lennox International and More Make Moves
⓹ From Automated Airport Parking to On-Demand Rides, North Texas Boosts Autonomous Vehicle Capabilities
⓺ Frisco EDC’s First Director of Innovation Will Focus on Startups, Tech, and Venture Capital
⓻ Dallas Cybersecurity Company Acquired by Former U.S. Secretary of Treasury-Owned Firm in a $525M Deal
⓼ DRC Launches Investment Recruitment Tool for Southern Dallas County
⓽ EdTech Steps Up: AT&T Launches The Achievery; Istation Intros Educator Hub; and Toyota Offers STEM Tours of Its Plants
⓾ See Inside: BioLabs Coworking Lab Opens at Pegasus Park for North Texas Life Science Startups
MORE THINGS TO KNOW
⓵ Regional Simulation Center
Simulation is a key part of health care education—but the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth will take it to a whole new AI-powered, virtual-reality level with its Regional Simulation Center.
Slated to open in June, the $6.75 million center will feature “immersive simulation spaces” powered by 360-degree virtual-reality projections; 14 realistic-looking examination rooms; VR headset learning experiences; an adaptable procedural skills suite; a daily-living activities suite designed to look like a home’s interior; and assorted team and learning rooms, according to Fort Worth Inc.
The immersive simulation space can plunge students and veteran health care workers into realistic environments, like a ruggedly wooded roadside where a patient must be treated in the wild (above). HSC says “learners will acquire new skills and maintain competence in high-risk, low-frequency situations while promoting communication and efficiency.”
⓶ Growing Greens
New York-based Gotham Greens is planting roots in North Texas.
The New York-based indoor farming startup announced plans to open a greenhouse facility in Seagoville. The move is part of a nationwide expansion, with the company also setting up greenhouses near Atlanta and Denver, as it expands its existing facilities in Chicago and Rhode Island.
Locally, Gotham’s 220,000 square-foot facility, which is set to open later this year, will employ around 55 people.
Overall, Gotham Greens says it’s adding more than 600,000 square feet of space across the country. The startup, which hydroponically produces salad-related products, said it chose the new locations based on climate change’s impact in the areas.
⓷ Paul Quinn Makes 150th Moves
Paul Quinn College is turning 150 years old, and it’s celebrating with some big announcements.
The Dallas institution is forming an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of opening a new campus in Oakland, Calif.—a move it says would create the first historically Black college and university on the West Coast.
That comes as Paul Quinn announced a new five-year fundraising campaign to build its endowment. It also plans to expand its partnership with Lancaster ISD, enabling every Pell Grant-eligible graduating senior in the district with a GPA of at least 3.0 to receive automatic admission to the college.
To top it all off, it’s hosting a parade. The Parade of Champions will take place Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Paul Quinn College, celebrating six Southern Dallas schools that brought home titles to the city of Dallas in the same calendar year: South Oak Cliff, Duncanville, DeSoto, and Madison High Schools, as well as Oak Cliff Faith Family Academy and Paul Quinn’s own men’s basketball team.
⟫ Dallas-based GOTRAX, a leader manufacturer of e-rideables, announced today it’s launching the GMAX Pro XL Ultimate Deluxe V7 Edition (above). Targeting the “billionaire class,” the solid gold, $1 million V7 has a diamond-encrusted console, a telescoping caviar tray, and a rear-mounted jet engine. We were ordering one for our Dallas Innovates office when we realized today is April Fool’s Day. Oh well. Back in the real world, GOTRAX says it’s actually launching a far more attainable new GTX series this July, with longer ranges, dual suspension, and max speeds of 31 MPH.
Manufacturing in McKinney
⟫ Raytheon Intelligence & Space is looking to build on its presence in McKinney. After opening a $100 million intelligent manufacturing center (above) in the city last September, the aerospace and defense company has filed plans with the state to build a $216 million, 478,000-plus-square-foot high-rise and manufacturing facility, the Dallas Morning News reports. When Raytheon opened its McKinney site last fall, the company said it had plans for a new plant and lab by 2025. At the time, it said the new construction will create about 700 new jobs.
Cleaning Up With New Stores
⟫ Dallas-based Buff City Soap has a vision of becoming a $1 billion “Starbucks of soap” by growing its list of corporate-owned and franchise locations, as we wrote last summer. Since 2020, it’s grown from two stores in Dallas-Fort Worth to 13, with two new locations being added in April in Dallas and Plano, according to the Dallas Morning News. The plant-based, handmade-daily soap company now has 195 stores in 29 states—a nice, clean jump from 35 in 11 states in 2020.
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