ICYMI: What’s New and Next in Dallas-Fort Worth Innovation

Four of America's richest self-made women are in DFW; Cashierless retail startup AiFi has raised more funds and plans to expand to Texas; Teach for America is piloting a Yale social-emotional program in DFW; Marie Kondo is launching an exclusive line with Coppell-based Container Store; and more.

Plus, you’ll find four new "Forces for Good" and our Top Ten most popular stories.

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Dallas Innovates’ daily mix of business, culture, and technology in North Texas 

News travels fast, and we’re here to help you keep up.

Every weekday, Dallas Innovates brings you up to date on what you may have missed in the region’s top innovation, technology, and impact news. From startup to enterprise, education to invention, and creative to social innovation, we curate what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth.

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Tuesday, Oct. 20

The NanoStore [Image: AiFi]

⓵ TEXAS BOUND?: Cashierless checkout startup AiFi raised $15 million and plans to expand to Texas. The Santa Clara startup wants to eliminate the traditional checkout stand and help retail stores of all sizes become fully autonomous. Its OASIS tech could power 330 new stores across the U.S. and Europe by the end of the year, the startup said in July. AiFi might be best known for its NanoStore (pictured above): The fully-autonomous, retail-ready, container-sized store solution can deploy in just days. “We envision a future where instead of asking people to go to the shopping center to shop, we push these tiny automated stores as close as possible to where people live,” Co-founder and CEO Steve Gu said earlier this year. The latest funding from Qualcomm and other backers double AiFi’s total raised to $30M, according to VentureBeat. AiFi has partnerships with half of the top U.S. grocery chains and three of the top five European chains, per the company’s website.

⓶ STATE OF WELL BEING: Teach for America is piloting a new social-emotional program in Dallas-Fort Worth to help teachers feel less burnout. A partnership with Yale program RULER will give educators a playbook for five skills of emotional intelligence, per WFAA. “The same way that airlines tell us to put on our own air mask ourselves first before helping others, that applies at work and with educators themselves,” Rea Foster, executive director at the Dallas-Fort Worth Teach for America chapter, said in a virtual conference today. The nonprofit, which has 504 educators in area districts, places teachers in disenfranchised communities for two years.

⓷ SCIENCE IN THE CITY: A new series of meet-and-greets between scientists and the public will give folks a look behind the scenes of “advances percolating across Dallas-Fort Worth.” The Dallas Morning News and its partners SMU, UTSWtalkSTEM, the Perot Museum, and UTD’s Center for BrainHealth will host free online events this fall. The first one, on Nov. 14, will focus on black holes. SMU’s Jodi Cooley and Stephen Sekula, married physicists who study exotic phenomena, will share research in “From a Trampoline to the Unseen: What a Rubber Sheet Can Teach Us About the Dark Universe.”

Coppell-based retailer Container Store is launching an exclusive co-branded collection of organizing tools by tidying expert Marie Kondo. The new Container Store x KonMari line, debuting Jan. 2021, will have more than 100 sustainably sourced products designed to inspire a tidy and joyful home.

Monday, Oct. 19



[Illustration by William Potter]

⓵ MONEY MOVER: Encore Bank, a private boutique bank with a commercial focus, has launched two new lines of business, Small Business by Encore and Speciality Finance by Encore. The move adds SBA lending and equipment finance to its offerings. “Encore has an enormous opportunity to reach a new set of clients in the SBA lending space,” Julie Fuller Jones said in the Fort Worth Business Press. Jones will lead the small business product line. Encore Bank President Phillip Jett announced the expansion of Encore Bank into Dallas-Fort Worth last month.

⓶ SEEDED: A Wichita Falls school with plans to open campuses in Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin by late 2021 has closed a $1.4 million seed round. Dexter, which offers online and in-person education from around the world, wants to make the world more intelligent by building the school of the future”—one that is “radically accessible financially and geographically.” Likening the school to the “Model T of private education,” CEO Michael Olaya writes, “the transition from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles transformed our nation. Our goal is for Dexter to do the same for education; not just by building the technical system underlying it, but by redefining what it means to be an educated citizen in the modern age.” The seed round was led by LAUNCH, NewFund BluePoint VC, and angels.

⓷ ACQUIRED: Kainos Capital is adding national weight-loss brand Nutrisystem to its portfolio of food industry companies. The Dallas PE firm acquired the firm in a $575 million deal. According to Kainos’ Andrew Rosen, the deal for the direct-to-consumer weight management company is timely in the COVID-19 pandemic, “when it’s more challenging for many people to access affordable, healthy meals.”


Poo-Pourri and Alive OS founder Suzy Batiz [Photo: SuzyBatiz.com]

Four Dallas-Fort Worth women made the list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. Forbes released its ranking of the country’s most successful women entrepreneurs and executives last week. 

⟫ Robyn Jones (No. 16) has an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, per Forbes. The founder of Westlake-based Goosehead Insurance Agency and its more than 1,100 franchised offices is new to the list this year.

⟫  April Anthony (No. 29) has a net worth of $700 million, the publication estimates. Also new to the list this year, she’s CEO of the home health and hospice division of Dallas-based Encompass Health Corp

⟫  Kathleen Hildreth (No. 59) has an estimated net worth of $370 million. Hildreth is the co-founder of Denton-based aviation logistics company M1 Support Services

⟫  Suzy Batiz (No. 84), pictured above, has an estimated net worth of $215 million. The entrepreneur is the founder of the Addison-based Poo-Pourri

Eight Texans made the list in all. The North Texans join SHI International Corp.’s Thai Lee (No. 8), Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd (No. 39), AMD’s Lisa Su (No. 44), and Entrepreneur Kendra Scott (No. 47). Topping the list is co-founder and chairwoman of Wisconsin-based ABC Supply Co., Diane Hendricks, with an estimated net worth of $8 billion.

Friday, Oct. 16


Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates   

  The First Black Woman to Head Community Relations at Dallas Police Department is Joining Dallas Habitat for Humanity

  Exonerated Texas Athlete Greg Kelley Is the New Face of Hari Mari’s Fall Boot Collection

  ‘We Believe Cities Like Frisco Will Benefit by the Return of Growth To the Suburbs,’ Says Economic Developer Jason Ford

  Former Pro Athlete Turned Fitness Entrepreneur Opens First Black Female-Owned Gym in Richardson

  Beth Bowman on Corporate Expansion and Retention in Irving: ‘We’re Seeing More Companies Investing in Their Existing Footprint

  Fast-Growing Telehealth Startup Expands HQ With McKinney EDC Innovation Fund Grant

  There Will be New Opportunities,’ Says Lancaster Economic Development Director

  CBRE’s Jeff Ellerman: The Future Is Bright for Dallas-Fort Worth Corporate Relocations and Consolidations

  Dallas-Based Arcosa Makes $87M Acquisition That Could Reduce Transportation Costs, Carbon Footprint

  Photo Gallery: Winners of AIA Dallas’ 2020 Built Design Awards


Trending today, you’ll find a TWU biology team with a new patent for anti-cancer compounds that could save lives and a Dallas-based clearing company that says, “If it plugs in, younger investors love it.” Even in the face of pandemic-related volatility, Apex Clearing has seen the number of millennial investor accounts across its client platforms double since the beginning of the year. 


Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

⟫ COUNTDOWN TO ELECTION DAY: Read four key takeaways from the DRC’s recent virtual discussion with Politico campaign pro reporters about how pivotal Texas races will play a role in the national electoral landscape.

⟫ WFH, CONTINUED: Remote work is expected to remain a fixture in the U.S. even after the coronavirus crisis fades. The DMN has the rundown of a September report on how 800 executives envision the post-pandemic workforce.

⟫ TOP RANKED: Frisco ranks No. 6 among the nation’s fastest-growing cities, per Wallet Hub. The city tied for first on key measures—highest job and population growth. Other North Texas cities among the fastest-growing were McKinney (No. 11) and Richardson (No. 30). The researchers ranked cities by 17 metrics, including economic growth.




People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

⟫   As part of Facebook’s nationwide Voting is Voice public art initiative, murals have been installed across Fort Worth from diverse artists. The goal behind the initiative is to encourage people to vote in the upcoming election, with each mural including QR codes that bring viewers to Instagram and the Facebook Voter Information Center.

⟫  Credit Union of Texas (CUTX) and McKinney nonprofit Streetside Showers have teamed up to offer mobile hot showers and personal hygiene care to the homeless population. Bringing showers to the homeless is Streetside Showers’ mission, which will have expanded reach, mobility, and capability thanks to CUTX’s donation of a three-stall shower trailer and Dodge Ram 2500 truck. Learn more about the local nonprofit in our profile here.

⟫  Popular fast-casual chain Chipotle has extended its debt-free degree program to include Dallas’ Paul Quinn College, the first HBCU in the program. Chipotle will cover 100 percent of tuition costs up-front of more than 75 business and technology degrees for employees who have worked 120 days, per CultureMap. Already, 8,000+ employees have benefited from the program.

⟫  As part of a new $30 billion initiative, JPMorgan Chase this week committed $10 million to creating and sustaining opportunity in underserved communities. The firm allocated $7 million of the funds to a collaboration with Dallas-based nonprofit The Commit Partnership for career pathway development and living wage obtainment to prepare students for the future of work.


[Image: Commit Partnership]

The Commit Partnership has released its latest Dallas County Scorecard, which tracks progress being made in public education. The annual study evaluates the overall health of Dallas’ cradle-to-career pipeline through 11 educational indicators. This year, the nonprofit added a look at living wage attainment. Go here for more insights on progress and community action.


Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Deadlines coming up include:

  • Impact VenturesFall 2020 Program (Oct. 17, pictured above)
  • The Greater Dallas Planning Council’s Urban Design Awards (Oct. 23)
  • Zpryme’s [email protected] (Oct. 23)
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s Staircase Project (Oct. 30)
  • The Greater Dallas Planning Council’s Urban Design Awards (Oct. 30)
  • 8th Innovation Leaders Summit (Nov. 4)
  • Tory Burch Foundation’s Fellows Program (Nov. 12)
  • Plano’s Sustainable Community Grants (Nov. 16)

Thursday, Oct. 15

funding acquired

[Image: koratmember/istockphoto]

⓵ BIG DEALS: While the latest report is mixed, venture investment dollars have “surpassed all of last year” in DFW. So far this year, the number of deals are down (155 compared to about 165), but the total dollars are up ($1.075 billion for nine months in 2020, compared to under $850 million in total for 2019), reports the DBJ. DFW has boosted large funding deals this year, including Alkami which recently raised $140 million.

⓶ SOLAR POWERED: Home Depot will use the electricity generated from a massive solar project in North Texas that’s being built by Enel, a multinational energy company. It’s a step toward the retail giant’s sustainability goals, the company says. The renewable procurement deal is its largest-ever, per the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

⓷ TRAFFIC TIMING: New state-of-the-art technology is helping Fort Worth improve traffic flow. Staff members can make real-time adjustments to signalized intersections and corridors with a centralized traffic software system. A new center includes video monitoring with more than 120 traffic cameras, communication with 904 traffic signals, and travel time sensors. 


The tech-centric Timmy Awards has announced the winners of its first annual Dallas event, which can all be found here. On Oct. 29, the Dallas winners will compete on the national stage for the chance to win a National Timmy Award.

Wednesday, Oct. 14


⓵ THE JACOBS LAWN: The Dallas tech and engineering giant is giving $8 million to Klyde Warren Park. Jacobs will have naming rights for a key part of KWP’s second phase, a 1.65-acre expansion being built over Woodall Rodgers Freeway. A 36,000-square-foot “multiuse green space will host markets, festivals and other recreational community events. In the winter, it will be converted into an ice rink being designed in conjunction with the Dallas Stars,” the DMN reports.

⓶ E-COMMERCE EXPANSION: A California-based online retailer is putting a big shipping hub in Mesquite. 18-year-old Best Choice Products sells everything from pet supplies to furniture, per the same publication. 

⓷ GAME ON: GameStop is attracting more attention on Wall Street after a New York investor took a 5-percent-plus stake in the Grapevine video game retailer. It’s more big backing, after RC Ventures, Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen, boosted a stake in the company last month, noted the DBJ. Last week, Gamestop unveiled a multiyear agreement with Microsoft.

Tuesday, Oct. 13


⓵ ‘BORDERLESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP’: Dallas-based VC firm Perot Jain has joined forces with FalconX, a Silicon Valley-based B2B startup accelerator. The strategic partnership will help startup founders through mentorship, funding, and access to corporate customers and partners in Silicon Valley, Texas, and beyond. Perot Jain co-founder and managing partner Anurag Jain will join the FalconX Board as part of the deal. FalconX told us that Dallas startups interested in learning more should reach out here.

⓶ VETERAN INCUBATOR: In partnership with WeWork, the Bunker Labs’ Veterans in Residence incubator program is focused on helping veterans transition from military to civilian life with business tools and resources. A free, six-month program kicks off in January. But hurry, applications close on Oct. 15. Bunker Labs is a nonprofit with locations in 21 cities, including Dallas.

⓷ JUST YOUR STYLE: The concept for new Richardson-based startup Layerist is similar to apparel service Stitch Fix but for jewelry lovers. Launched last week by Hannah Brown and Kelsey Fraley, the company sends curated boxes to customers based on styles they like and how much they’re willing to spend. 


Meet the finalists for The Innovation Awards 2021, presented by Dallas Innovates and D CEO. Now in its second year, the program honors disruptors and trailblazers driving a new vision for North Texas. Here are this year’s finalists.

Here are a few to know—and why.

[Image: Catalyze Dallas/D CEO]

⟫  Meet the ‘American Pickers’ of Aerospace Technology: Joe and Tricia D’Cruz work with “defense contractors and industrial companies to bring proprietary technology to market,” per D CEO. Their company, Catalyze Dallas, which has an advisory board that helps identify needs in the marketplace, commercializes intellectual property.

⟫  Chris MacFarland, CEO of Plano-based software-defined networking company Masergy, will join the board of directors for Linear Labs. The Fort Worth-based startup just raised $6M for expansion.

⟫  Gore Range Capital, a healthcare venture capital firm with a new headquarters in Southlake and an office in New York, has expanded its Industry Advisory Board for the launch of Gore Range Capital Fund II, a new fund focused entirely on skin health. Joining the advisory board are industry experts Dr. April W. Armstrong, Dr. Neal Bhatia, Dr. Joel L. Cohen, Dr. Seemal R. Desai, Dr. Aaron S. Farberg, Dr. Gary Goldenberg, and Robert Moccia. The seven new members will work with the fund to “source, diligence, and support early-stage companies with innovative treatments and technologies for skin health.” Managing Partner Ethan Rigel and Partner Humberto Antunes recently have recruited skin pros to the region. 

Monday, Oct. 12


⓵ INDUSTRIAL BOOM: DFW has set a new record in leasing so far this year, bolstered by surging consumer product demands during the pandemic. Distribution and warehouse tenants have “gobbled up 21 million square feet of industrial space in North Texas through September,” the DMN reports.

⓶ REGIONAL HQ: International logistics firm DSV has big plans for Lancaster. The Danish company plans to build a 1 million-square-foot warehouse and a three-story office building, along with three satellite offices in the city. The operation could employ 450 people in its first five years, with “250 employees expected to make an average of $76,000 per year,” the DBJ reports.

⓷ ORGANIC EXPANSION: One of the largest organic and specialty food distributors in the nation is planning a giant new warehouse in Southern Dallas. Illinois-based KeHe Distributors will include 120 docks, cold storage, dry storage, and an office in a 994,000-square-foot facility that’s expected to be complete in October 2021, according to the same publication.


[Image via Walmart]

Walmart is piloting a tech service kiosk that will compete with Apple’s genius bar and Best Buy’s Geek Squad. Launching first in four Dallas-area stores, the company has partnered with NY-based True Network Solutions to staff and run the program. Prices for basic services will be up to 50 percent lower than the nearest competitor, the DMN reports.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Friday, Oct. 9


Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates   

  Phase IV, The Star: Jerry Jones Moves Forward With a $65M Spec Building in Frisco

  Dallas-Based Shavelogic Is a Cut Above, 11 Years in the Making

  Gates Foundation Scientist Joins Dallas Philanthropist To Talk COVID-19 Vaccine—and Biotech in DFW

  Alkami Technology Closes a $140M Funding Round

  Power Couple: How Jamie and Melbourne O’Banion Run Two of Dallas’ Fastest-Growing Brands

  Poo~Pourri Combats ‘Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020’ With New Bidet 

  Capital One’s $200M Impact Initiative Partners With Two Local Orgs

  Meet the 19-Year-Old Dallas Native Who Went Viral on TikTok With Advanced Science Videos

  Alliance Center North 7: Spec Industrial, E-Commerce Space Touts Worker Amenities—and Green Space

  Eye on the Future: Planned Developments Keep DFW On the Forefront of Industry and Livability


Trending today, you’ll find a UTSW scientist who Zoomed with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Jennifer Doudna to talk CRISPR technology and a Frisco marketing firm that helps businesses make high-quality commercials via its flat-fee virtual production shoots that use an iPhone.


Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

⟫ PROPTECH: Oakland-based Roofstock, which has an office in downtown Dallas, has teamed up with Lennar, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. Roofstock will work with Lennar to sell newly built homes to real estate investors for rental in popular markets, initially in Dallas and Atlanta.

⟫ RECONSIDERATION: Gov. Greg Abbott’s office will ‘re-evaluate’ its Texas bullet train project stance “after being provided ‘incomplete information,'”  reports the DMN.

⟫ REPORT CARD: Texas earns an ‘F’ in how it teaches students about climate change, groups say. States were evaluated on “what they teach students about climate change and if lessons include what can be done to mitigate it,” per the same publication.


[Image: Contributed]

Two Dallas-based architecture firms—D2 Architecture and global firm HKS—have merged. The move will expand HKS’ senior living practice. It’s a market “poised for tremendous innovation and growth,” writes Bianca Montes in D CEO. D2 Founder David Dillard, above, will lead HKS’ senior living efforts.


[Image: Texas Women’s Foundation]

⟫  Texas Women’s Foundation announced that its 35th Annual Luncheon raised more than $926,000. Themed “Texas for All,” the 35th Annual Luncheon was presented by Toyota and powered by the Dallas Mavericks. It featured a conversation between America Ferrera, the actress and New York Times best-selling author, and Laysha Ward, chief external engagement officer for Target. Pictured above is luncheon co-chairs Bonnie Clinton, VP and chief procurement officer of Toyota, and Cynt Marshall, president and CEO of the Dallas Mavericks.

⟫   Aurelia and Brad Heppner and family have committed $11.5 million to SMU’s Cox School of Business to foster “the leadership skills of tomorrow’s executives” and “invest in groundbreaking research.” Of the money, $10M will go to establishing a hub for collaboration in the Cox community and $1.5M to supporting Cox faculty research.

⟫  Dallas nonprofit OurCalling has a new 16,000-square-foot, $1.7 million-plus center for vulnerable homeless women. It’s funded in part by financial gifts and professional services from real estate- and construction-related companies, led by developer/project manager KDC and general contractor Balfour Beatty.

⟫  Pasos for Oak Cliff, an organization started by two local educators to donate new sneakers to low income students in their community, received a donation of 500 shoes from international footwear chain Payless. It all happened this morning when the co-founders were guests on “The Drew Barrymore Show.” 


Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Deadlines coming up include:

Thursday, Oct. 8

[Courtesy: goPuff]

⓵ DALLAS DELIVERS: Delivery startup goPuff just raised $380M at a $3.9B valuation. Last year, Dallas was the third of four markets the Philly-based company entered in Texas. This year, the billion-dollar app made news by delivering groceries to doctors and nurses on the front lines of the pandemic. In related news, Lalamove, an on-demand delivery and logistics startup, announced its expansion to Dallas-Fort Worth earlier this week. The Hong Kong unicorn has plans to onboard 1,000+ delivery partners by the end of the year to make delivery more accessible to small and medium businesses.

⓶ GOING PUBLIC: Another large local tech player is joining the IPO party. McAfee, one of the largest employers in the region, has filed for an initial public offering. The San Jose-based digital security firm has a large office in Plano.

⓷ RENTAL RISE: Dallas-based Invitation Homes has formed a new venture to buy up to $1 billion in rental homes. “We believe both the fundamentals in our sector and the need for high-quality rental housing in the U.S. are as strong as they have been in our company’s history,” Invitation Homes CEO Dallas Tanner said in a statement. The company currently owns 80,000 homes.


Illustration of the Orthofix FIREBIRD SI Fusion System with NANOVATE technology [PHOTO: Business Wire]

Illustration of the Orthofix FIREBIRD SI Fusion System with NANOVATE technology [PHOTO: Orthofix]

No bones about it: Lewisville-based Orthofix has high-tech help on the way for low back pain related to the sacroiliac joint. The company has gotten FDA clearance for its 3D-printed bone screw featuring nanotechnology. It’s the first of its kind specifically designed for the SI joint. Other recent company news includes a $10 million partnership with a Swiss medtech firm and a new division president.

Here are three to watch.

[Photo: Courtesy Dallas Habitat]

⟫  Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity has brought Joli Robinson onto its team as VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy. Robinson, who was previously the director of Community Affairs and Youth Outreach at the Dallas Police Department, will serve as a liaison and spokesperson for the community.

⟫  Sandi Karrmann, who has previously held leadership roles at PepsiCo, YUM!, Pizza Hut, and Tenet Health, has been appointed senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Kimberly-Clark. Karmann will be responsible for recruiting, development and performance management, labor relations, and more for the global company.

⟫  Supply chain company Frog Mask, founded by TCU student Kinh Pham, gave 10,000 face masks to the Tarrant Area Food Bank, reports Fort Worth Business Press. Since Frog Mask was created in July 2020, the company has sold more than 100,000 masks and donated around 27,000 more.

Wednesday, Oct. 7


⓵ COMING TO TOWN?: Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed on Twitter that he has been in talks with Nasdaq about potentially relocating its electronic trading systems to Dallas-Fort Worth. “They want to flee high taxes,” he wrote in a tweet of the exchange’s New Jersey location. “I let them know that we just passed a constitutional amendment banning an income tax in Texas.” The DMN reported that Nasdaq is planning to visit Texas and meet with the governor.

⓶ MOVING IN: Microsoft could be set to lease 80,000+ square feet at Vari’s newly opened space-as-a-service offering, VariSpace Southlake. Though Vari hinted that a major Fortune 50 company would move in on Jan. 1, sources close to the deal say that it’s Microsoft, per the DBJ. This follows last year’s news that Microsoft planned to hire more than 500 people and make a $30 million investment into a strategic hub in Irving.

⓷ GOING PUBLIC: Richardson-based Mavenir, a cloud-native provider of software for mobile communication networks, has filed its IPO for $100M, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mavenir’s tech enables wireless service providers to easily, efficiently, and cost-effectively operate networks. Its customer base currently includes 250+ service providers.


Co-founder Amber Venz Box [Image: rewardStyle]

⟫  Dallas-based Cherry, an on-demand nail service app, has expanded to Houston. Founded in 2017 by tech entrepreneur/influencer Amber Venz Box, the idea is that the convenience of the service is the “Cherry on top” for women who want to have it all, per innovationMAP. Box, the founder of LIKEtoKNOW.it and rewardStyle, said that a career, a family, and a mani are “nearly impossible with a salon model.”

⟫  Greenlight, the “largest distributed ledger storing verified academic records,” will soon connect San Antonio’s Southwest ISD students with educators and businesses. Students can get access to the Credentials Locker, which is a state-of-the-art digital pathway for students to securely share their lifelong records and achievements. Dallas-based Greenlight—a self-funded startup founded in 2018—calls its platform an “economic mobility platform.” 

⟫  Carrollton standing-desk innovator Vari has confirmed the company is eyeing a sales office and furniture showroom in North Carolina, according to the Triangle Business Journal. The state is known for its robust furniture industry.


streaming commercial flat fee virtual production shoot iphone

Sophos Marketing already had an affordable way to run targeted TV commercials on popular streaming services, but was missing a key element: the commercial itself. The company has solved that with its new flat-fee virtual shoot, said Founder and CEO Aditya Varanasi (bottom right). [Image via Sophos Marketing]

Frisco-based Sophos Marketing wants to make awareness affordable. The company’s Virtual Commercial Production Shoots let businesses reach customers on streaming services at a fraction of traditional costs. By using an iPhone in the process, the agency can remotely produce high-definition, highly-targeted commercials for its clients. Learn more about it here.

Tuesday, Oct. 6


⓵ “BOLD RISK-TAKERS”: Fast-growing Plano fintech Alkami is acquiring a privately owned fraud prevention provider. Tennessee-based ACH Alert will extend Alkami’s platform with “secure money movement tech,” according to the DMN. The deal, on the heels of $140 million in new backing led by D1 Capital Partners last week, gives the company “market-leading fraud prevention capabilities,” Alkami CEO Mike Hansen said in a statement.

⓶ BIG DEAL: Charles Schwab has completed its acquisition of TD Ameritrade. The all-stock deal, valued at $22 billion, is “$4 billion less than the original valuation,” according to industry pub 401k Specialist. Integration of the companies is already underway. Schwab also announced the designation of its $100 million Westlake campus as the firm’s corporate HQ is expected to be completed in January 2021.

⓷ IN BRIEF: Curious about the state of the commercial real estate market in DFW? Site Selection Group Partner Lee Wagner sums it up in 8 words


Meet the “bold risk-takers.” D CEO has the finalists in EY’s 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year program. The winners will be revealed on Oct. 7 at a virtual event. 

[Image: Courtesy Tech Titans]

See who could take home an award at Tech Titans’ 20th Annual Awards Gala. The Roaring Twenties-themed virtual event will be a live, cinematic experience complete with a “Speakeasy Party To Go” feature for at-home watch parties.

Monday, Oct. 5


Toyota-Hino XL Series

Toyota-Hino XL Series [Courtesy: Hino USA]

⓵ TRUCK TRANSFORMERS: Toyota plans to roll out a fuel cell electric big rig in North America early next year. It’s a joint development with Toyota truck and bus subsidiary Hino USA, per the DMN. Tak Yokoo, an engineer at Toyota Research and Development, said it’s a “win-win for both customers and the community. It will be quiet, smooth, and powerful while emitting nothing but water.”

⓶ SHUTTERING: Her.HQ, “the pretty coworking concept in Oak Cliff,” announced the space’s permanent closure later this month on Instagram, per PaperCity. Launched in 2018, it was one of the first female-focused coworking spaces in Dallas.

⓷ GEARING UP: Video-game firm Gearbox is hiring again, per the DBJ. The pandemic has boosted business: “It turned out that our sales spiked, and the demand on our business increased dramatically,” Founder Randy Pitchford said.

Friday, Oct. 2


Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates   

  How Verizon Retrained Nearly 20,000 Workers to Avoid Layoffs

  Alkami Technology Closes a $140M Funding Round

  Nastia Liukin: Becoming an Entrepreneur Is Like Training for the Olympics

  Dallas Startup Launches Beta of Its Robotic Takeout Stations

  The Coupon Industry Is Big. And The Coupon Bureau Is Changing the Game Using Dallas-based Hedera’s Tech

  DI People: Comerica, Shermco, Encore Bank, Mary Kay, and More Moves

  Dallas-Based Sentrics Uses Tech to Revolutionize Senior Living—And Has Made Five Acquisitions to Do So

  Silicon Valley’s Founder Institute Brings Its Startup Accelerator to Dallas

  DRC Appoints Its First-Ever SVP for Community Engagement

  It’s National Drive Electric Week. Here’s What’s Happening in Dallas


Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

⟫ TEXAS TESTING: Lone Star state leaders hope rapid testing will restore normalcy in the pandemic. The governor has said Texas will get millions of new tests that deliver results in 15 minutes or less. But, per the Texas Tribune, health experts have cautioned that the tests have limitations.

⟫ FAST FORWARD: Irving-based Vistra is accelerating its pivot to invest in clean energy and combat climate change. The company, which announced the planned retirement of [its] entire Midwest coal fleet, will break ground on about 1,000 megawatts of renewables and storage.

⟫ RANKED: Smart tech like latch sensors, stall lights, touch-free dispensers, and toilet paper trackers have put DFW Airport’s bathrooms—some 137 of them—in the finals of America’s Best Restrooms contest. DFW, the world’s fourth-largest airport, is up against the Portland Japanese Garden (“zen-like abodes”) and others, per the DMN.

⟫ WOMEN TALK SCIENCE: Last week, Gates Foundation scientist Dr. Lynda Stuart (virtually) sat down with Dallas philanthropist/entrepreneur Lyda Hill and LH Capital CEO Nicole Small for a timely conversation on the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine, the future of Pegasus Park, and DFW’s role in biotech. Here’s a takeaway


Census Sky mural located in West Village in Uptown Dallas. Artists: Shaylene Reynolds and Brad Namdar. [Image: Uptown Dallas Inc.]

⟫   Miles of Freedom, a local nonprofit that equips, empowers, and employs individuals returning home from prison, is teaming up with Reliant to support Dallas individuals and families impacted by incarceration. Reliant will power Miles of Freedom’s reentry assistance program with a donation of $30K over the next three years.

⟫  TXU Energy is donating $100K to Texas food banks that are working through soaring demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, $25K will go to the North Texas Food Bank and $25K to the Tarrant Area Food Bank. It’s part of a $225K commitment to food banks nationwide from TXU Energy’s parent company, Vistra.

⟫  Until Oct. 10, Reunion Tower and the Hunt Building will be dimming their lights to 25%. The move is part of the Lights Out Texas initiative led by former First Lady Laura Bush, which aims to protect birds as they migrate across the United States.

⟫  The “Census Sky” mural (above) by artists Shaylene Reynolds and Brad Namdar, located in West Village in Uptown Dallas, is part of an initiative to increase our U.S. census.


Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Deadlines coming up include:

Thursday, Oct. 1


⓵ WHAT DO THEY REALLY THINK?: Ray Blanchette, CEO of Dallas-based TGI Fridays, went on “Undercover Boss for a “first-hand look at how his employees are earning their red-and-white stripes.” According to CBS DFW, it took two hours to transform the CEO to a burger chef. How did it go? “You can learn things that they wouldn’t tell a CEO,” he told CBS DFW. The episode airs this Friday.

⓶ GOING PUBLIC: Dallas-based Thryv Holdings “made its move to the Nasdaq Stock exchange–and in an unusual way,” reports the DBJ. The company started trading under the symbol “THRY” through a direct listing, rather than an IPO. The company’s valuation reached above $350 million, according to the publication.

⓷ ‘MISSION READINESS’: Dallas-based One Network Enterprises, an intelligent business platform for autonomous supply chain management, was awarded a $61.9M contract from the U.S. Air Force. The contract will allow One Network to support the Air Force’s logistics initiatives, and provides for commercial off-the-shelf software licenses and related technical support services.


[Photos: Courtesy Maggie Burruss]

Meet the 19-year-old Dallas native who went viral on TikTok with advanced science videos. Known to 500K fans by @MagsForScience, Maggie Burrussis working to pioneer the idea that STEM is for everybody, no matter your education, identity, or background.

TOP 10

Here are Dallas Innovates’ 10 most popular stories in September. Rising to the top of the list: How the private charitable foundation of Dallas MavericksOwner and “Shark” Mark Cuban partnered up with tech companies to bring an “AI Bootcamp” to underserved DFW students. Here’s our roundup. 

⟫  An SMU venture capital event aims to connect innovators with VC leaders. Entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and others can register now for VC University LIVE where they can unlock their venture finance skills and build their networks in Dallas and beyond.

⟫  It’s time to register for Global Entrepreneurship Week Fort Worth. The “All Virtual, All Week Pop In & Out As You Please” event runs Nov. 16-20. Themes for 2020 are Entrepreneurship 101, Main Street North Texas, Emerging Tech/Innovation, Inclusion, and Funding. Earlier this summer, GEW FW and Dallas Startup Week partnered on this year’s events to share ideas, staff, and resources.  “It takes a proverbial village,” said Meghan Wright, a Texas Wesleyan University professor and co-lead organizer of GEW FW,

Wednesday, Sept. 30


[Image: Massive Brands]

⓵ SHELF SPACE: Irving-based Massive Brands‘ relaxation “drank”—Screw’s Southern Soda—is one of nine local brands picked (out of 4,800) for Walmart’s annual open call for new products. On Thursday, they will join 36 Texas companies among the 850 small businesses who will get 30-minutes to make a one-on-one live digital pitch, per the DMN.

⓶ UNMANNED FLIGHT: Bell Textron showed off its Autonomous Pod Transport 70, or “Apt 70,” as part of a NASA trial. Flying at a 500-foot altitude on a 10-mile path along the Trinity River, the flight on Monday was the first time the eVTOL flew in a controlled airspace without a pilot. It was a success, according to Michael Thacker, Bell’s EVP for Innovation and Commercial Business, who said the demonstration shows “great potential for the Apt 70 to complete complex missions for businesses and healthcare providers,” according to AIN Online.

⓷ SHARES SOLD: Taysha Gene Therapies, which emerged from stealth just five months ago, is raising $181 million with its IPO—up from about $157 million last week. Underwriters fully exercised the option to purchase additional shares of stock.



The Richards Group veterans Pete Lempert and Dave Kroencke are leading the launch of a new consulting agency from the Dallas-based advertising firm. Richards Venture will help companies solve issues such as “understanding the consumer’s relationship with the brand” and “how the brand can grow (or not) into new consumer segments,” per D CEO.

Here are a few to watch.

Poo-Pourri and Alive OS founder Suzy Batiz [Photo: SuzyBatiz.com]

As Founder Suzy Batiz steps down, Jeff Berry becomes the new CEO of Poo~Pourri. The brains behind Poo~Pourri, Batiz, will move into the role of chairwoman and chief visionary officer. She remains the ‘creative force’ behind the business.

The Dallas Regional Chamber appointed its first-ever Senior Vice President for Community Engagement. In her new role, Latosha Herron-Bruff will build on the chamber’s years-long efforts to grow and promote underserved areas as attractive places to live, work, and do business.

[Image via Pizza Hut]

The CEO of Plano-based Pizza Hut, Artie Starrs, has joined the board of directors of First Book, a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit social enterprise that’s focused on equal access to quality. Pizza Hut has worked with First Book for the past four years on the company’s initiative dedicated to tackling illiteracy, The Literacy Project.

NMSI Laure O'NealVeteran fundraiser Laure O’Neal will join the Dallas-based National Math and Science Initiative as its first chief development officer. She will lead a restructured fundraising team that aims to diversify the organization’s funding sources. O’Neal is ready for the challenge, and says “No one was prepared for everything that the pandemic has thrown at us, but NMSI was already on a smart path to reaching more students and teachers and NMSI staff showed incredible flexibility and innovation in not missing a beat in service of our mission.”

Tuesday, Sept. 29


[Rendering: Westdale Real Estate Investment & Management]

⓵ EPIC SUBLET: About a year after announcing it was opening a second hub at The Epic in Deep Ellum, Uber is looking for tenant to fill the space. Citing COVID, the ridesharing giant wants to sublease five floors of its office space at The Epic, per the DMN. Uber “remains committed” to its long-term plans, but doesn’t foresee all floors being used. At the time of announcement, Uber planned to bring at least 3,000 new jobs and more than $75 million in capital investment. Hiring froze because of the pandemic earlier this year, but has since resumed.

⓶ CREATIVE SPACE: The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture has launched an online rental database called Spacefinder Dallas to support artists, community groups, and cultural organizations looking for rental venues. The platform hopes to help tackle “the inaccessibility of creative spaces across the city needed to make and present art,” reports Patch.

⓷ SUN SOURCE: Nonprofit Solar United Neighbors, aka SUN, wants to help people and business harness solar energy. A new co-op for Dallas and DeSoto has vendor-neutral resources and a group rate for systems.


[Photos courtesy Pieces of Us by Us]

A DFW startup with a mission launched a Kickstarter for puzzles highlighting the work of Black artists. Although the puzzle company is already halfway to its goal, the project will only be funded if it reaches $4,200 by Oct. 5.

Monday, Sept. 28


⓵ CREATIVE CONNECTIONS:  A “renegade” design showroom—Pholio Co—is challenging the status quo in Dallas. The “small and feisty” showroom connects designers to innovative design brands in Texas and beyond. “In the U.S., showrooms tend to be pristine and so precious about everything,” said owner Jessica Craig Pinzon in PaperCity. “Designers would tell me it was intimidating.”

⓶ REDFIN RAMP-UP: The Seattle-based company is set to expand its space in Frisco early next year. The office, which currently has 150 people and openings for 20 more, is a center of the fast-growing company’s mortgage business, engineering, and support, according to the DBJ.

⓷ COWORKING CROSS: Dallas-based WorkSuites is launching WorkTanks, a new concept with a focus on hybrid work models (designed for flexibility between office and remote) and part-time use of private offices. The first location, a ground-level space, will be near Mockingbird Station.


Revol Greens gets $68 million in funding and looks to expand in Texas

[Photo: Revol Greens]

⟫  FRESH FACILITY: The “world’s largest lettuce greenhouse” could be coming to Texas. Greenhouse lettuce producer Revol plans to build a new facility “somewhere in the Austin-Dallas-Fort Worth megaregion,” according to Twin Cities Business. The Minnesota-based company just landed $68 million in funding, which will go toward the project’s first 20-acre phase. The facility could span up to 80 acres at full build out, according to the publication. The ultimate goal? Revol wants its lettuce to reach to a third of the U.S. population within 24 hours of harvest.

⟫ SENIOR STARTUP: Briocare, a smart voice tech platform that helps seniors age in place, has received a $100,000 investment from Render Capital. The Frisco-based startup was one of eight winners in Render’s inaugural competition. You can watch the finalists’ pitch videos here. Briocare also is in MassChallenge’s current Texas cohort.

⟫  COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Richardson-based Mavenir has acquired ip.access, a U.K.-based small cell provider, to add 2G/3G support for open RAN, according to Fierce Wireless. It will operate as a unit within Mavenir’s Emerging Business group. Mavenir’s Aniruddho Basu told the publication “it’s safe to say that support for legacy G’s is needed in most geographies and brownfield/incumbent service providers.”


Mary Kay is helping North Texas students kickstart businesses from dog treats to bath bombs. The Dallas-based beauty company, founded by original glass ceiling-breaker Mary Kay Ash more than 56 years ago, sponsored 25 girls from underserved areas around Dallas to participate in the Boss Club Foundation’s 2020 Summer Entrepreneurship Program.

Friday, Sept. 25


Here are the most popular stories on Dallas Innovates:

  McKinney Innovation Fund Draws New Jobs, 11 Tech HQs in Eight Months

  What Banking Can Teach Education: The Ideas Could Revolutionize It

  Nastia Liukin: Becoming an Entrepreneur is Like Training for the Olympics

  Believe Dallas: AT&T Gifts $500K to Agencies

  ‘Brands with Heart’: 7-Eleven is Looking for CPG Cos. to Stock its Shelves

  DI People: Jacobs, BNSF, Kimberly-Clark, Transwestern, and More Moves

   Ariat is Bringing a Giant Distribution Center and Diverse Jobs to FW

  ‘Smart Computing’ Startup Joins Prestigious 5G Open Innovation Lab

  STA’s Recovery Center Gets $1.3M in its First ‘Backyard Support’

  Fort Worth Biotech Eyevance Exits to Japanese Firm for $225M


Coca-Cola was invented in 1886, and a new type of marketing was also born: the coupon. Now, technology from a Dallas startup is being used to take the more-than-century-old coupon into the future. Trending today is our story on how The Coupon Bureau and Dallas’ Hedera Hashgraph are changing the game in a massive industry.


Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

⟫  GONE TO TEXAS: There’s been a ‘tremendous increase’ in corporate relocations and expansions to Texas since the pandemic hit, reports the Dallas Business Journal.

⟫  RETAILER RALLY: Neiman Marcus has officially exited bankruptcy, and J.C Penney isn’t ‘hopelessly insolvent,’ an adviser says, per the Dallas Morning News.

⟫  RANKED: Dallas Love Field is the best large airport in North America, and DFW International Airport is sixth-best in the “Mega” group in J.D. Powers’ latest rankings.


[Image: Screenshot via SharedAirDFW, Sept. 25, 2020, 3:34 p.m.]

SharedAirDFW—a high-tech collaboration of UT Dallas, Paul Quinn College, Downwinders at Risk, Plano, Dallas County, and Dallas College—has launched its real-time air quality monitoring network, per D Magazine. It’s the first of its kind in Texas, and one of the largest in the country. “We see SharedAirDFW’s debut as the public health equivalent of turning on electric streetlights for the first time at the turn of the 20th Century,” said Downwinders Director Jim Schermbeck. “We’re building a utility—the full impact of which won’t be realized for years.” 


People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

TangoTab, which aims to shine a light on hunger in communities, has now fed more than four million people since founding in Dallas eight years ago. TangoTab’s founder has a mission to combat hunger—he provides a meal to a local food charity every time a hungry restaurant patron is paired with an empty table. In the app, consumers can check in at more than 100,000 restaurants.

⟫ The Dallas County Elections Department is getting a $15 million grant from nonpartisan nonprofit Center for Tech and Civic Life to help with staffing and resources for the election, per CultureMap. The nonprofit aims to connect elections officials with tech to better communicate with voters and increase civic engagement. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the grant aims to ensure we have a safe and secure election this November.

⟫ Homeless service nonprofit Austin Street Center announced a new $15M capital campaign called “Help Them Home.” Chaired by Comerica’s Executive VP/Chief Human Resources Officer Megan Burkhart, the “plans call for breaking ground this year,” per My Sweet Charity. It’s expected that “760 individuals will be housed annually, further resulting in more than $30 million in taxpayer savings,” Burkhart said. “This is a win-win for everyone.”


Thursday, Sept. 24


⓵ SWIMMING WITH SHARKS: TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie (a Dallas native) and Texas jewelry maven Kendra Scott are the latest entrepreneurs to join Mark Cuban and company as guest judges on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

⓶ COLD STORAGE IS HOT: A big refrigerated warehouse is in the works for Southern Dallas, per the Dallas Morning News. The sector, declared as essential infrastructure, is on the fastest growing in the distribution market. 

⓷ DATA TOOL: Here’s how Parkland leveraged machine learning and geospatial analytics to reduce COVID-19 exposure in Dallas. It plans to make the tool available to people and organizations in the community that can use it to make decisions in the reopening.


Facebook's design sensibilities are on display through the high-tech center. [Photos: ©2018 by Chad Davis Photography/Fort Worth Data Center]

Facebook’s design sensibilities are on display throughout the high-tech center. [Photos: ©2018 by Chad Davis Photography/Fort Worth Data Center]

Facebook is expanding once again in Fort Worth’s AllianceTexas corridor, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The first buildings in the social media giant’s massive $1 billion data center development opened in 2017. Take a photo tour of the 150-acre high tech campus in our “Innovative Spaces” gallery.


Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban invested in Cloud Paper.

[Image via Cloud Paper]

⟫  This is how he rolls: Mark Cuban has invested in an eco-friendly toilet paper startup. Seattle-based Cloud Paper makes tree-free TP from bamboo to help end deforestation from traditional paper products. Cuban joined celebrity investors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher, and Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition. A $3 million seed round was led by VC firm Greycroft. The Dallas billionaire’s investment was not disclosed.

⟫  Precision Business Solutions, a North Texas data analytics company founded in 2001, has new backing from an Alabama PE firm, reports the Dallas Business Journal. Terms weren’t disclosed.

⟫  Dallas-based RS2 Ventures has filed documents with the SEC for another $7 million for its MD Series A. That fund launched in May 2019 and raised more than $11 million per the filing. 

Wednesday, Sept. 23


⓵ FINTECH EXPANSION: California-based SoFi is investing in a site in Frisco and could grow to more than 100 people, reports the DBJ.

⓶ INFRA INNOVATION: Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere says transportation and infrastructure work are vital to reviving the economy, per the DMN.

⓷ UPSKILLING: Paul Quinn College will join the Guild Education network, which partners with Fortune 500 companies to provide education benefits to their workforces. PQC is the first HBCU to join, making its courses and degree programs available to Guild partner companies such as Walmart, Chipotle, Lowe’s, and Discover Financial Services.


Thanks to NPR’s new use of geo-targeting technology for its Consider This podcast, listeners in Dallas and nine other regions can hear localized news after national stories.

Tuesday, Sept. 22


⓵ “Two-horse race”: Workforce favors Austin, Dallas if TikTok moves its US headquarters to Texas, eco devo experts say, according to the DBJ.

⓶ Want to know how the economy is doing? Rent-A-Center does well when consumers struggle, writes the same publication.

⓷ The entrepreneur who built Chewy.com (and sold it for $3B) thinks he’s got a plan to make GameStop competitive with Amazon, per the DMN.


high-speed rail

The bullet train would take 90 minutes to travel from Dallas to Houston. [Rendering Courtesy Texas Central Partners]

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration has completed the last step in its environmental review process of Texas Central Railroad’s $20 billion railway system. Now, Texas Central has the green light with construction set to begin as soon as possible.

Many new entrepreneurs launch businesses alongside corporate careers, and the ‘side hustle’ represents the future of business, says Boss Media Women. In partnership with mobile payment platform Square, the group is supporting that with a new virtual program to connect Black women business owners, entrepreneurs, and, of course, side hustlers. Kicking off in October, a four-week program of panels and classes will cap with a pitch competition.

At the Fourth Annual iC3 Life Science Summit at UT Arlington on Oct. 10, 2017 recipient Lyda Hill will present the award. To register for the summit, visit www.bionorthtx.org. [Illustration: bestbrk/istockphoto]

[Illustration: bestbrk/istockphoto]

Bio North Texas
will go virtual with its annual iC3 Life Sciences Summit this November. It’s more important than ever to share ideas, best practices, and foster decisions “informed by good science” as COVID-19 spotlights the industry, the organizers say. Networking is still a cornerstone of the 2020 event: Attendees can participate virtually in conversations around the state of life sciences in Texas and the growth of biotech through a new conference platform. 


Attention, innovators: The deadline has been extended to Friday, Sept. 25 for our second annual Innovation Awards. We again teamed up with our colleagues at D CEO Magazine on the program, which honors businesses and leaders driving innovation in North Texas. Categories are broken down into individual and company awards—nominate here.


You’ve been alerted: Many workers may be doing a poor job of guarding the company secrets as they work from home, reports WFAA.

Monday, Sept. 21



Doom, a first-person shooter developed by id Software, was a groundbreaking game when it was released in 1993. Photo by Michael Samples.

has a new $7.5 billion video game deal, and it includes Dallas-based developers. The company dropped “a gaming bombshell” today when it announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the Dallas Morning News reports. A proposed cash deal includes the owners of “Doom,” “Quake,” and the QuakeCon event, according to the publication. In a tweet today, Dallas video game legend John Carmack, who is co-creator of Doom and Quake, said, “Great! I think Microsoft has been a good parent company for gaming IPs, and they don’t have a grudge against me, so maybe I will be able to re-engage with some of my old titles.”


[Rendering: GFF]

Dallas’ Pegasus Park has its first major tenant, and it’s a “big win.” Massachusetts-based BioLabs will open next year, according to the DMN. Lyda Hill Philanthropies, in partnership with J. Small Investments, announced the 23-acre redevelopment it calls “a game-changer for science and tech in Dallas” in July.


[Image: EarthX]

EarthXR—the interactive arm of EarthxFilm—launched the first virtual nature reserve today. The technology of “Wild at Home,” a partnership with Jane Goodall-endorsed Wild Immersion, lets people experience the wilds of Africa, the Amazon, and Asia from home. 

Friday, Sept. 18

Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates  

1  COVID Killer: DFW Startup Brings Medical Grade UVC Tech to More

 9/11 Heroes: Old Parkland Monument Honors United Airlines Flight 93

 Naya Relaunch: Dayakar Pushkoor Unveils Dallas Venture Partners

4  McKinney Innovation Fund Draws New Jobs, 11 Tech HQs in Eight Months

5  AT&T UX Team Creates Tool for Techs Who (Literally) Build the Internet

6  #IfThenSheCan: All-Female 3D-Printed Statues on Display at NorthPark

7   Dallas College Restructure Focuses on Collaborative Partnerships

 Health Wildcatters Adds Nine New Startups to Its Portfolio

 rewardStyle Adds Video Shopping to Billion-Dollar LIKEtoKNOW.it App

10  DI People: Sabre, OYO, Catapult Health, StackPath, and 16 More Moves


Trending today is a story on McKinney, a city forging a future in tech. In the last eight months, its incentive-based innovation fund has drawn 11 new tech headquarters and expansions. You’ll also find out why it’s time to entrust students and workers with their information in a Voices piece on “What Banking Can Teach Education.”

Need to Know

Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

    • Terrance Maiden hopes developers and investors across the country will view the RedBird Mall redevelopment as a model, writes Bisnow. The mixed-use project in Southern Dallas, now about 40 percent complete, will have office, healthcare, retail, entertainment, green space, and affordable housing. But, says co-developer Maiden, the vision includes fighting misconceptions about the community: “Our strategy is to be very persistent with sharing this story of what we are doing.”
    • A California aerospace leader plans to relocate its headquarters into the former FAA building in Fort Worth. Wesco recently merged with Pattonair and will do business as Incora. The combined company, which includes supply chain and distribution operations could create 300 jobs, per The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
    • “Texas strode into 2020—a new year and a new decade—brimming with optimism,” write Michael Cox and Richard Alm in D CEO. And “a middling economy seems almost un-Texan.” How can our economy flourish post-COVID? It all comes down to preserving the Texas Model, say the SMU experts.


26 Texans, including 14 from the Dallas region, made the list of Forbes’ annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans, per The Dallas Morning News.

Forces for Good 

People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

  • AT&T today announced the donation of $500,000 to local agencies that help Black and underserved communities in the region. The contribution is part of the global company’s on-going “Believe Dallas” initiative, AT&T said. The Real Estate Council ($100,000), For Oak Cliff ($50,000), and Dallas Violence Interrupter Partners ($50,000) were presented checks at a press conference. The balance will be distributed to six other agencies.
  • Reliant will power YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Equity Centers to help solve challenges of inequity, intolerance, and exclusion, as well as fund continued COVID-19 crisis-care programs via a $100,000 grant. The Racial Equity and Innovation Centers will launch in 2021 in nine Dallas Y locations.
  • A $25 million gift for TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine will provide “transformational funds” to support students, faculty, and programming, per the Fort Worth Business Press.


North Dallas Giving Day has topped itself. Again. This year, 106,000 people gave a record-breaking $58.8 million and 685,000 volunteer hours to more than 3,200 nonprofits, organizers said. The 12th annual giving event powered by Communities Foundation of Texas saw gifts from all 50 states and 26 countries.   [Image: Joseph Haubert]

Opportunities for Innovators

Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Items with deadlines coming up include:

  • Dallas Innovates’ and D CEO’s Innovation Awards (Today!)
  • 7-Eleven’s Brands with Heart (Oct. 1)
  • North Central Texas’ Torch Awards for Ethics Competition (Oct. 2)
  • EarthX’s Planet911 Youth Film Challenge (Oct. 15)
  • Atlanta Venture Conference (Oct. 20)
  • NTT DATA’s Open Innovation Contest (Deadline TBD)

Go here for details

Thursday, Sept. 17

BIOTECH EXIT: Fort Worth startup Eyevance Pharmaceuticals, which develops and commercializes ophthalmic products, has been purchased by Santen, a Japanese leader in ophthalmology, in a $225M exit.

DEBT RAISE: Plano-based Aligned, a leading data center infrastructure firm focused on adaptable and future-proof technology, has closed on a new $1 billion credit facility that “marks the first U.S. data center sustainability-linked financing.” It’s one of the largest private debt raises in data center history, the company says. According to Aligned, infrastructure can change the world, and it’s smart business, too. The mission-oriented company announced its increased commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability earlier this year by matching 100 percent of the IT loads across its data center portfolio with certified renewable energy.

DIGITAL DEMAND: Work-from-home demands are spurring growth for Dallas area data centers as company digital transformation plans compress from years to months amid COVID-19.

People to Know Today—and Why

rewardStyle has named Catherine “Kit” Ulrich general manager of LIKEtoKNOW.it. [Photo: Business Wire]

Catherine “Kit” Ulrich was appointed the new general manager of LIKEtoKNOW.it (LTK), rewardStyle’s fast-growing shopping app. Ulrich is joining the team at a time of exponential growth—in the first half of 2020, consumers purchased more than $500 million in products through LTK. She is known as the youngest-ever CPO of a publicly-traded company.

Abid Neemuchwala wipro Texas Venture firm

Abid Neemuchwala

Abid Neemuchwala, who led $8-billion global IT firm Wipro as CEO  and Managing Director, has joined just-launched VC firm Dallas Venture Partners. The “statesman of the IT services industry” and a thought leader in digital transformation steps in as a Venture Partner.

Nathan Hudson

Nathan Hudson may have the key to happiness. But if you think spending time with your kids and spouse is the key, the SMU psychology professor’s research might surprise you. Spoiler: You may actually be happier getting together with your friends, he said. But, he says, that may have more to do with activities connected to family (like chores, caretaking, and commuting). In the end, Hudson and his study co-authors point to an optimistic view of kin and kith. Still, he advises creating positive experiences beyond housework for the happiness quotient.


[Image: Dmitrii_Guzhanin/istockphoto]

◉  Rockwall-based BioClonetics, a biotech startup working on the first cure for HIV using monoclonal antibodies, is merging with a Plano company to accelerate and expand drug development and testing. Drug development company Enzolytics has executed a non-binding letter of intent to merge with the startup co-founded by brothers Charles Cotropia and Joseph Cotropia in 2009. Harry Zhabilov, CEO of Enzolytics, said combining the “two companies’ proprietary technologies and products is a once in a lifetime opportunity that should benefit both of our organizations letting us achieve more together than we could apart.”

◉ Dallas-based RevTech Ventures, a retail-focused VC fund, has two new investments: Canadian startup Groundlevel Insights, a movement science company that uses mobile location intel, and Washington, D.C.-based Recurate, which enables a used-product peer-to-peer collection on Shopify.

◉  State Farm, which has a major hub in Richardson, made its “first-ever insurance acquisition“: a $400 million purchase of Gainsco. The insurance giant is “getting into the business of offering bare-bones auto policies to high-risk drivers,” per Crain’s.

◉ Texas Instruments says it will return more cash to shareholders with a 13 percent dividend increase, contingent on a declaration by the board in October.

◉ Dallas-based Braniff Airways, the former international airline, has a new permanent endowment at UTD. The endowment will be used for the care and archiving of its extensive public relations archives that have been housed in the History of Aviation Collection at the Richardson campus since 1981.

Wednesday, Sept. 16


Bedford-based Urban Air is fueling its expansion with $700K in incentives for ‘3-pack’ franchise deals. The indoor entertainment park pioneer, which has grown from a single trampoline park to a worldwide chain in about a decade, opened more than 50 locations last year. Despite COVID-19, Urban Air’s rapid growth continues—with some flexibility and innovation along the way.


[Photo: Ken Stanek]

Robotics Education and Competition Foundation received $750K from the Texas Workforce Commission. The grant will be used to give thousands of Texas students access to robotics and STEM learning resources.


Image: SBI

Sales Benchmark Index notes that CEOs can outpace their competition by becoming ‘accelerators.’ The Dallas-based management consultancy revealed that 11 percent of surveyed CEOs consider themselves “accelerators,” who have been able to “remain pragmatic, agile, and vigilant throughout the process.” 


Illustration: wildpixel via iStock

Dallas-based Next Level Insurance Agency is partnering with ThinkHR to launch a COVID-19 crisis response center for businesses. The benefits agency announced a partnership with the people risk management solution to provide Dallas businesses with resources and communication support for pandemic-related concerns at no cost to clients.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Tuesday, Sept. 15


[Photo: Courtesy of TWU]

Texas Woman’s University has been acknowledged as the most ethnically diverse university in Texas, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 “Best Colleges” rankings. Out of 1,500 evaluated, TWU was ranked No. 5 for most ethnically diverse universities nationally. Overall, 57 percent of the student body at TWU are people of color.


Entrepreneurs celebrate a 2019 Impact Ventures' cohort, photographed in the time before COVID. [Photo: Impact Ventures]

Entrepreneurs celebrate a 2019 Impact Ventures’ cohort, photographed in the time before COVID. [Photo: Impact Ventures]

Dallas-based Impact Ventures, a startup accelerator aimed at more diverse and inclusive ecosystems, opened applications for its Fall 2020 program. It’s looking for tech/tech-enabled startups, consumer products, and existing growth-oriented small businesses impacted by COVID-19, founder Ben Vann says. Thus far, the accelerator has “supported 24 founders and 15 companies to go on to raise $485,000 and create 46 new jobs—despite the challenges presented by COVID-19,” he says. Meet a few of the startups in our recent series.


Photos: RevTech

RevTech Ventures is hiring a Director of Community to help “reinvent modern retail.” The new DoC will spearhead community building and be an integral part of the leadership team. RevTech, a Dallas-based early-stage venture capital fund, invests in next-gen entrepreneurs sparking a digital renaissance in a $5T retail industry.


The podcast is hosted by Young Leaders for Change Executive Director Alex Quian. [Photo: Courtesy Mentor Moments]

A new advice-cast is launching today called Mentor Moments. The podcast gives listeners a chance to gain insight from top local executives, like TopGolf CEO Dolf Berle, Cawley Partners CEO Bill Cawley, Vouch CEO Christiana Yebra, and more. It was started by Young Leaders for Change, a DFW-based 501(C)3 nonprofit dedicated to empowering young adults in personal development, professional development, and service-learning. Young Leaders for Change Executive Director Alex Quian is the host.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Monday, Sept. 14


From left, Dr. Sid O'Bryant and Dr. Leigh Johnson of UNTHSC

From left, Dr. Sid O’Bryant and Dr. Leigh Johnson

In the largest research award ever received by The University of North Texas Health Science Center, Dr. Sid O’Bryant and Dr. Leigh Johnson got a $45 million federal grant to expand the study of Alzheimer’s disease among Mexican Americans. HSC President Dr. Michael Williams, who calls HSC a recognized leader in the field, describes it as “transformative.” Dr. Bryant also is one of the inventors of the IP being commercialized out of UNTHSC by Cx Precision Medicine, notes TechFW.


Co-founder Samy Fodil

Dallas-based Taubyte, which says it has defined a new category it calls “NoOps” smart computing, is one of two finalists in the CW Technology & Innovation Awards 2020. The company, which is competing against UK-based Znystra, enables scaling software to the global infrastructure catalyzed by 5G and IoT technologies. Watch Taubyte co-founder Samy Fodil’s virtual pitch, and go here to place your vote. (Scroll to No. 5: Application of Edge Technology.) Voting ends at 11:59 on Tuesday, Sept. 15.


Social Venture Partners Dallas has chosen the members of the fifth class of the Dana Juett Residency. The aspiring philanthropists will delve into topics—charity versus justice, philanthropy and equity, collective impact innovations in philanthropy, and more—directed toward helping them become leaders.


TiE Dallas Women’s Pitch Competition winner Tina Mani. [Photo: TiE Dallas]

Female entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas and compete for $100,000 and a chance to represent Dallas on an international level in the 2020 Pitch Competition for TiE Women last week. Winner Tina Mani, CEO and co-founder of YFret, will get the chance to compete in the Global Pitch finals held in Dubai later this year.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Friday, Sept. 11

Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates  

1  Global Tech Company Shokworks Inc to Move HQ from Miami to Dallas

 Allen Tech Hub Among City’s 2 Million Square Feet of New Development

 Mark Cuban Foundation Offers Free AI Bootcamps Through Partnerships

4  COVID-19 Was the Start of Something New for Common Desk 

5  Women of Innovation Summit Helps Female Entrepreneurs Level Up

6  Innovation Summit Fosters Collaboration for Startups and Corporate Allies

7   How DFW Dispatchers Tapped Waze Data to Speed 9-1-1 Response Times

 Venture Dallas’ Event Sponsors Prepare for 34-Day Virtual Pitch Event

 2020 SOE: ‘This Year Has Been Tough, But Dallas Is Tougher

10  SKU DFW Names Cohort for its Consumer Product Accelerator


Trending today, you’ll find our story on Olympian Nastia Liukin, who retired from gymnastics at the ripe age of 22 and recently moved back to Dallas. What most people don’t know is that she’s also a tech entrepreneur who helped start a platform to empower future female athletes. 

Need to Know

Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

  • When a COVID-19 vaccine is ready, Irving-based McKesson will deliver itjust like it did with H1N1 more than a decade ago. “The company will be reimbursed $178 million from the government to build new distribution centers and beef up existing distribution systems,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
  • Texas is hoping to “be at the forefront” of fast, inexpensive COVID-19 tests, the same publication reports. The state is working to get $5, 15-minute rapid COVID-19 tests that can change how businesses, schools, and more can move forward in the pandemic.
  • The Dallas ISD has worked to help students without internet service connect via mobile hotspots, but it may have a more permanent solution soon. DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district will pilot private virtual networks at four Dallas high schools in October, if all goes as planned, according to KERA.
  • Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development will create an $800 million global investment fund called Woven Capital. A new holding company to expand operations, called Woven Planet Holdings Group, will begin operating in Jan. 2021. The fund will support the new group by investing in growth-stage companies that are developing innovative technologies in areas such as autonomous mobility, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data and analytics, connectivity, and smart cities. In addition, Woven Capital will source deals from Toyota AI Ventures and invest in other funds.


Supply chain innovator Slync.io is relocating its HQ to Dallas and California chemical distributor Coast Southwest eyes a North Texas expansion via a new campus near DFW Airport.

Forces for Good 

People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:


Josh Hamm, left, and Isaac Siguenza, far right, from Texadia, work with other volunteers from Texadia and the Texas Ramp Project to build a wheelchair ramp in South Dallas as part of Communities Foundation of Texas’ Freedom Day activities.

Today, Communities Foundation of Texas united volunteers in virtual, remote, and physically distanced projects to honor 9/11 victims, first responders, military, and veterans who serve the North Texas community. The 19th Annual Freedom Day, which centered on a theme of “equity and justice for all,” activated volunteers to help nonprofit partners to meet growing needs. Since 2002, more than 14,000 volunteers have completed 50,000-plus hours of service on 9/11 “to turn a day of tragedy into a day of doing good.” 

Per CFT for Business, nonprofit partners include: All Stars Project, At Ease Texas, Birthday Party Project, Catholic Charities, Cohen Military Family Clinic, Dallas Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation, DKMS, Farmers Assisting Returning Military (F.A.R.M.), HungerBusters, Lone Star Justice Alliance, Military Veteran Peer Network, Mosaic Family Services, North Texas Food Bank, Patriot PAWS Service Dogs, Project Unity, Senior Source, SMU, Special Olympics Texas, #StopOne, Texas Health Resources, Texas Ramp Project, Unbound Fort Worth, and United to Learn.

Sponsors of this year’s event include: Ray Hunt, The Shields Group, Bioworld Merchandising, The Fallen Family Fund at CFT, RHSB, SFMG Wealth Advisors, Texadia Systems, Swan Smith Family Fund at CFT, Platinum IDS and DHD Films.


As many remember lost loved ones and heroic acts by first responders and citizens on 9/11, Old Parkland in Dallas’ Uptown has erected a newly commissioned bronze statue in honor of the heroes on United Airlines Flight 93. The “Non Sibi” monument “will forever be a reminder” of the crew and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 that fought back against the terrorists who hijacked their plane. It’s installed at the campus’ new Freedom Place building, along with a statue of Harriet Tubman, who saved many lives of enslaved people via the Underground Railroad. Take a first look at the statues in our gallery.


Illustration: Diana Vasileva via iStock

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas, and Trusted World have teamed up to get masks, nitrile gloves, and hand sanitizer to nonprofits working in the community to address urgent basic needs that have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trusted World, a United Way Social Innovation Accelerator Fellow, is a global organization that connects supply with need. Nonprofits can request donated PPE through a simple online application and schedule to pick up the supplies at Trusted World’s location in Garland. The partners say priority will be given to nonprofits that are providing social services, which includes child care, financial and food assistance, physical and mental health, and long-term living care within the North Texas community, as well as leaders of Color.

The United Way of Tarrant County has created a “Rebuild Tarrant County Fund” to provide long-term COVID-19 recovery assistance to the community. The fund replaces the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, per NBCDFW. The move represents the organization’s shift from emergency response to ongoing recovery efforts.

Opportunities for Innovators

Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Items with deadlines coming up include:

  • Venture Dallas (Open now)
  • NTT DATA’s Open Innovation Contest (Deadline TBD)
  • Dallas Innovates’ and D CEO’s Innovation Awards (Sept. 18)
  • 7-Eleven’s Brands with Heart (Oct. 1)
  • North Central Texas’ Torch Awards for Ethics Competition (Oct. 2)
  • EarthX’s Planet911 Youth Film Challenge (Oct. 15)

Go here for details

Thursday, Sept. 10

Hubert Zajicek Health Wildcatters
Health Wildcatters has added nine new startups to its portfolio. The fall cohort brings the number of startups under Health Wildcatters’ umbrella to 77, according to CEO Hubert Zajicek. Meet them here.


Dr. Edward Mager, Assistant Professor-Aquatic Toxicology & Fish Physiology, photographed in his lab in the EESAT on the UNT campus in Denton, Texas on August 21, 2020. Photos by Michael Clements.

While road construction can be aggravating to people, it may put Texas’ state fish—the Guadalupe Bass—at risk. Structures like pylons and culverts change the flow of water in the aquatic ecosystem, according to University of North Texas biologists. Through funding from Texas Parks and Wildlife, the UNT scientists are studying the impact of construction on four fish species with what they describe as a “fish treadmill.”

Wednesday, Sept. 9

Three deals to watch


[Photo Courtesy J.C. Penney]

J.C. Penney will sell its retail business to Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners in a deal that values the company at $1.75 billion. The mall operators will pay around $300 million in cash and assume $500 million in debt, according to the New York Times. 

[Illustration via iStock]

Fort Worth-based ECI Software Solutions, a cloud technologies firm, has agreed to acquire Shoptech Industrial Software Corp. Shoptech, which will become part of ECI’s manufacturing division, helps job shops and made-to-order manufacturers manage the complexities of their operation.

Dallas-based trucking tech supplier Omnitracs will acquire SmartDrive Systems, one of the transportation industry’s largest onboard video firms. The combining of Omnitracs and San Diego-based SmartDrive is a major development in the wave of consolidation in the sector, notes industry vertical Transport Topics. Omnitracs, since its spinoff from wireless tech giant Qualcomm in 2013, has completed several other tech acquisitions, including Blue Dot, Roadnet, and XRS.


[Image: Michaels]

Irving-based arts and crafts retailer Michaels has unveiled two “test and learn” concept stores in McKinney and Plano. The retailer has re-imagined the store design and format: The stores include a newly launched “maker space” and updated checkout system that leverages advanced technology.

Tuesday, Sept. 8


[Image: Michael Samples]

SMU has a new Esports Business Management Certificate to teach the business management side of the growing esports industry. It’s an industry that’s “developed into a multi-faceted multi-billion-dollar global movement, requiring a new cadre of business people and strategies,” said Simon Mak, executive director of SMU Cox’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, on NTX e-News. “It’s only appropriate that we launch this program in Dallas, the birthplace of esports.” The fully online program draws from SMU’s Cox and Simmons Schools.

Coworking firm VentureX has filed plans for a 24,000-square-foot office in the historic Braniff Centre near Love Field. The new office is slated to open in 2021, according to a state filing. The region is “one of the country’s fastest-growing coworking markets, with more than 3 million square feet of space leased” to shared office firms, according to the Dallas Morning News. 


[Photo Illustration: Michael Samples]

• At No. 3, “the Dallas area kept its grip on a higher ranking for tech-job postings” among U.S. metros in August, writes Brian Womack in the Dallas Business Journal. North Texas rose from No. 4 in July, behind only New York and Washington, D.C., according to a CompTIA report.
The Dallas area also leads the U.S. in getting back to the office, with more than a third of workplaces “back in business” since the beginning of the pandemic, per a new report by Kastle Systems. “At 36 percent, it leads the list of cities and is more than three times as open as New York, the lowest city on the barometer,” Kastle’s Danielle Leopold said in the Dallas Morning News. That’s compared to an average workplace occupancy of around 23 percent in the 10 largest U.S. metros. 
• We work hard, too. The Lone Star State was just named one of the hardest-working states in the country, according to a new Wallet Hub study. Texas ranks No. 4. 

Thursday, Sept. 3


[Photos: Courtesy Dallas Startup Week]

Dallas Startup Week 2020, DFW’s biggest entrepreneur event this year, has just wrapped. But there’s a long weekend coming up, and you can head to DSW’s YouTube channel for sessions you might have missed or those you want to revisit. Pro tip: Subscribe to the channel to be notified when content becomes available. Organizers will continue to add sessions through next week.

Wednesday, Sept. 2

Here are moves to watch.

1. Former Masergy CEO Chris MacFarland has returned to his long-time post after stepping back in 2018, reports the Dallas Business Journal.

2. Dallas-based Alerian, an independent index provider that focuses on building innovative, index-based investment strategies, appointed Robert Hughes as the firm’s new Head of Sales.

3. Dallas-based marketing agency Tandem Theory has reunited several members of a leadership team that “previously built what was lauded as the fastest growing agency in the U.S.,” the company said in a statement. Tandem named Tom Millweard as agency president and Tom Cole as executive chairman. The leaders will join Dave Kirwan, co-chairman, and John South, newly appointed chief growth officer.

4. Sabre has named Scott Wilson as president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, effective Sept. 8. Wilson joins Sabre from Great Wolf Resorts where he was Chief Commercial Officer. 


[Image via Walmart]

Walmart has teamed up with Oak Street Health—a startup that went public last month—to open three healthcare clinics in Dallas-Fort Worth. The clinics will bring primary care and urgent care services to the retail giant’s Supercenters this year. They replace the former retail health spaces Walmart operated in Arlington, Benbrook, and Carrollton, reports Medcity News. 


The Dallas Office of Economic Development has launched an interactive location-planning tool to help businesses start, grow, and relocate in Dallas. ZoomProspector—designed to be easy to use—lets businesses view available commercial sites and buildings, as well as demographic, workforce, talent, and business data, according to OED Director Courtney Pogue. The city is “laser-focused on helping small businesses get through this challenging time and will continue to find ways to support them,” he said.

Tuesday, Sept. 1

Here are five DFW deals to watch. 

Parker Products

[Photo: Parker Products via company white paper]

1. Fort Worth-based Parker Products has added New York-based cookie manufacturer Creative Food Ingredients (CFI) to its portfolio. Parker Products, which provides specialty ingredients to the baking, dairy, beverage, confectionery, RTE and snack, and foodservice industries, was acquired by The Riverside Company in 2017 to speed growth and “set the stage for expansion opportunities” such as this one, per Fort Worth Business Press.

2. RealPage has acquired smart home systems-maker Stratis IoT, a startup with a focus on access and energy management tools that provides IoT services to the real estate industry, reports TechCrunch. RealPage CEO Steve Winn said the “smart building technology also provides a launching pad for expanded international operations, thanks to Stratis’ existing international presence.” The real estate market isn’t always the first to adopt modern tech, TechCrunch wrote, but that’s “quickly changing now.”

[Image: Prostock-Studio/istockphoto]

3. Dallas-based Cambium Learning Group will acquire language-learning company Rosetta Stone for $792 million. The deal is expected to close in Q4, according to Virginia Business. 

4. Dallas-based Builders FirstSource has united with rival BMC Stock Holdings in an all-stock merger that joins two of the largest suppliers of residential building materials. The deal is expected to produce value for shareholders with growth opportunities and the acceleration of technological innovation, according to Chad Crow, the current Builders FirstSource CEO. Crow plans to retire and will be succeeded by BMC CEO Dave Flitman after a transition period.

5. Trive Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm, announced the formation of NuBridge Commercial Lending LLC. The PE firm partnered with an “experienced management team” on a new Calif.-based real estate platform that will make bridge loans for commercial and multifamily properties in the U.S. 

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Monday, Aug. 31


Mark Cuban

D CEO revealed the winners of its Third Annual Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards last week, where Mark Cuban was honored with a special Community Hero Award. “I realized I had the opportunity and obligation to speak out and share my experience. So, I did,” Cuban said in D CEO. 

Other honorees included nonprofit organizations such as Get Shift Done, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and EarthX; companies and business leaders such as the Dallas MavericksCelenese Corp.Kimberly-Clark, and Craig Hall; and the collaboration of the year: Capital One, Major League Hacking, NAF Academies, Dallas ISD, Plano ISD, Uplift Education. Go online for more.


[Photo: istockphoto]

Consumers “don’t want brands to bore them,” according to findings from a study conducted by Dallas-based market research firm Dynata for creative automation platform Celtra. According to MarTech Today, “the results show the challenge of catering to consumer expectations: surprise us, but be consistent; about relevance, we’re not sure.”


[Photo: SkyDrive YouTube Screenshot]

• A Toyota-backed startup has tested a flying car with a human on board in Japan. Here’s a video of the SkyDrive manned flight that’s had more than a million views, so far. 
Amazon is one step closer to drone delivery in the U.S. with FAA approval. It’s the third drone delivery company to get the certification: UPS and Alphabet subsidiary Wing both got approvals in 2019, according to CNN.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Friday, Aug. 28

Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates  

1  Mark Cuban Foundation Offers Free AI Bootcamps Through Partnerships

 Allied BioScience’s Antiviral Surface Coating Is First to Be OK’d by EPA

 Dallas-based CerSci Acquired by ACADIA Pharmaceutical in $52.5M Deal

4  DI People: TI, Comerica, Omnitracs, Toyota, Hunt Energy Make Moves  

5  Awards Luncheon Honors Eight Diverse Local Female STEAM Leaders

6  Amid COVID, Here’s Why Revolving Kitchen’s Commercial Rentals Thrive

7  Allen Tech Hub Among City’s 2 Million Square Feet of New Development 

 Holly Reed Exits Texas Central, Joins Ryan

 Mike Rosa: Recent Success Should Carry Dallas-Fort Worth Forward

10  Balfour Beatty’s Eric Krueger on Construction Projects in a Pandemic


Trending today are all things Dallas Startup Week. With The DEC’s anchor event kicking off this Sunday—for the first time ever, virtually—readers are starting to prepare. If you’re unsure of where to begin, check out our roundup of this year’s top 10 highlights. This year is expected to be as big as ever—DSW even formed a new partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Week to get things done. You don’t want to miss out.

Need to Know

Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

  • For $2 million, Dallas has hired a firm to plan the transformation of Hensley Field, a former Navel Air Station, into a lakefront development. The city’s leaders see a future in the 738-acre former dumping ground west of Mountain Creek Lake as prime real estate, but it will need a clean up first, reports the Dallas Morning News. “The site is a hidden gem—a waterfront blank slate with immense potential,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement. 
  • UT Southwestern and Children’s Health will build their first joint project in Southern Dallas’ RedBird Mall. The 150,000-square-foot outpatient clinic will devote about half its space to pediatrics and help meet healthcare needs in the community, the same publication reports. It’s planned for completion in late 2021.


The state will require school districts to file reports on new COVID-19 cases among students each week; the TABC has relaxed rules, letting more bars reopen and operate as restaurants; and “the state’s unemployment system is still broken for many Texans.”

Forces for Good 

People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

  • The City of Dallas has a list of ways you can help those impacted by Hurricane Laura.
  • Tito’s is back in DFW with free bottles of hand sanitizer, this time in Fort Worth. The vodka brand is distributing 22,000 bottles in a contactless pickup on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (as long as supplies last). Details are available here
  • Also in Fort Worth, the University of North Texas Health Science Center has a new $1.9 million partnership with Tarrant County to perform COVID-19 contract tracing.
  • 7-Eleven teamed up with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation to help provide free to-go meals to Dallas students and families. 7-Eleven donated bottled water and $20,000 to the effort as part of its ongoing food insecurity relief. The foundation will distribute up to 250 lunches two days a week through September 4 at the Mercy Street Sports Complex in Dallas.


The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has awarded $4.5 million in park grants ranging from $141,266 to $750,000 to eight North Texas cities, including Celina, Cedar Hill, Comanche, Duncanville, Fort Worth, Haltom City, Mabank, and The Colony. NBCDFW has the details.

Opportunities for Innovators

[Image: via Venture Dallas]

Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Items with deadlines coming up include:

  • Venture Dallas (Open now)
  • [email protected], NVCA, and Venture Forward’s VC University LIVE (Today!)
  • UT Dallas Accelerators (August 30)
  • City of Dallas’ COVID-19 Data Challenge (August 31)
  • The Health Hacking Crisis Network’s Children’s COVID Story Book Challenge & Teen’s COVID Science Book Challenge (September 1)
  • Dallas Innovates’ and D CEO’s Innovation Awards (September 18)
  • North Central Texas’ Torch Awards for Ethics Competition (October 2)

Go here for details

Thursday, Aug. 27


[Image: Dmitrii_Guzhanin/istockphoto]

Plano-based NTT DATA Services has acquired Acorio, the “world’s largest pure-play ServiceNow consultancy,” according to a news release. The global IT giant said it will expand the company’s capacity for driving transformative business outcomes for its clients.



Astrapi’s technology was developed by Dr. Jerrold Prothero, the company’s CEO and founder. [ Photo: Courtesy of Astrapi ]

Dallas-based Astrapi Corporation was picked for an accelerator focused on Cyber for Space Applications. The Catalyst Accelerator is powered by the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate. The U.S. Space Force, with the directorate, is looking for “bold and disruptive approaches to security for space cyber-physical systems and operations.” Eight firms from around the U.S. will join the cohort. Astrapi’s technology was developed by CEO and Founder Dr. Jerrold Prothero, above.


tech market

[Photo: onedayimages/istockphoto]

For the first time, Dallas was the No. 1 commercial real estate investment market at the “halfway mark of the year,” according to a report by Real Capital Analytics. $9.3B in deals closed in the region, per the Dallas Business Journal. The Dallas metro area topped Manhattan, LA, Boston, and Chicago in the top five, and bested Houston (No. 7) and Austin (No. 25). 

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Wednesday, Aug. 26


Steve Hebert, Nimbix

Steve Hebert, Nimbix

Richardson-based tech firm Nimbix has raised $2 million of a $2.5 million offering, per a Form D filing. “We pioneered the field known as ‘cloud supercomputing,’ or high-performance computing in the cloud,” CEO Steve Hebert previously told Dallas Innovates. Hebert, who co-founded the company started in his garage in 2010, was among our 26 Innovators of the Future featured in 2019.

[Image: WhataWin/istockphoto]

Cybersecurity company Intrusion, also based in Richardson, has applied for a Nasdaq uplisting using the ticker symbol INTZ, per a news release. The company wants to move beyond the OTC market and has “indicated it wants to raise $20 million, including a secondary offering,” writes Brian Womack in the Dallas Business Journal. It plans to use the funds for growth initiatives, including the commercialization of the company’s plug-and-play AI-enabled threat-detection-and-neutralization solution called Intrusion Shield.

[Photo: Rawf8/istockphoto]

Dallas-based ComSovereign’s $14M “fastback acquisition” is part of its ‘Made in the USA’ plan in the wireless infrastructure world, per Fierce Wireless. The company will acquire the equity interests of Skyline Technology Partners. The deal includes intellectual property, which is especially important, Chairman and CEO Dan Hodges says. ComSovereign’s U.S. patent portfolio currently includes 65 granted and active patents, with 12 pending.


Photo-illustration: Michael Samples

Dallas made the list of the top 20 global cities of the future in a new report that looks at “non-capital cities capturing investors’ attention” worldwide. Dallas ranks No. 19 overall in the Tier 2 Cities of the 2020/2021 evaluation by the FDI Intelligence division of the Financial Times. The city ranks No. 8 for human capital and lifestyle categories. Other Texas cities, Houston (No. 3) and Austin (No. 11), also rank in the Top 20. San Francisco was No. 1, Culturemap reports.

Tuesday, Aug. 25

[Image: istockphoto]


After pushing back plans due to COVID-19, S5 Stratos is looking to raise $8-12M in a new round by the end of 2020. The provider of technology for the retail and consumer packaged goods industry hopes to get “more traction amid the pressures of the pandemic,” the DBJ reports, as it helps clients get a deep and nuanced view of their data. CEO Chetan Anand Gabri called COVID a “wake-up call” for most retailers to embrace S5’s digital transformation and advanced tech that could help them do their job more effectively.

Waymo has decided to expand its robot truck program to Dallas, which will be used as a hub for road-testing its fleet of 18-wheelers, reports Forbes. The Silicon Valley-based self-driving vehicle company plans to hire licensed local truckers to help with highway evaluations as safety drivers.


Researchers at UT Southwestern are working with Texas Health Resources on a North Texas COVID-19 prevalence study that could determine why some groups are impacted more than others by the virus, Fox 4 reports. Organizers are looking for 30,000 random households to reply to mailed invitations to participate (half in Tarrant County and the other half in Dallas County), and plans to include essential workers in restaurants and retail who have not yet gotten sick. Researchers also hope to see what kind of protection people have after recovering from COVID-19.

The Better Business Bureau wants to reward businesses that have adapted in the pandemic, according to WFAA. Applications have opened for the organization’s annual Torch Awards for Ethics Competition.

Monday, Aug. 24


The use of space doesn’t need to be static, says Mintwood Real Estate‘s Katy Slade in D CEO. The newest hotel in downtown Dallas is a “pioneering” adaptive reuse of a highrise: Woods Capital leased the 49th and 50th floors of the rebranded Santander Tower (formerly known as Thanksgiving Tower) to The Guild, an Austin-based AirBNB-like hotel brand that raised $25M in funding earlier this year. That reimagining of the building’s office space leverages the renovated Tower Club on Level 48 and puts the parking garage to work during off-peak hours. The Guild Downtown is its third in Dallas. D CEO has a behind-the-scenes look.


CPRIT Cancer

[Photo: Luchschen via iStock]

Nine awards totaling nearly $25 million were awarded to North Texas researchers by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, reports Will Maddox in the same publication. Multiple UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers and those recruited to the region from other universities landed CPRIT grants, in addition to Onconano, a Southlake startup that received nearly $10 million. Maddox has a breakdown.

The Dallas Business Journal has announced 15 of its honorees in the extra-large category, which includes companies with 1,000-plus employees from across the region in a range of industries. You’ll find companies such as DPR Construction, Accenture, Thomson Reuters, Balfour Beatty US, and more. 


Natural pet food pioneer Freshpet is set to break ground on a new facility it calls “Kitchen 3.0” in Ennis next week, Seeking Alpha said. The facility, which will be built in two phases, will take Freshpet’s “total capacity to about $1.3 billion” once it’s fully operational, according to the online financial site. The publicly traded company, which makes fridge-fresh food for pets, will invest over $264 million to build its new facility and will create 427 new jobs, it said earlier this year.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Friday, Aug. 21

Dallas Innovates Top 10 stories August 2020
Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates  

1  Amazon Expands Dallas Tech Hub by Adding 100K of Space and 600 Jobs

 Toyota Makes Four Executive Moves on its Automotive Operations Team

 Denton Gets a New Startup Incubator Exclusively for Female Entrepreneurs

4  DRC Names 44 to its Leadership Dallas Class of 2021  

5  On Trend: Oak Cliff’s Momentous School Launches Bitmoji Classrooms

6  Survey: Opendoor Reveals What Home Buyers Want Now

7  Dr. Joe May: How Dallas College Can Help Rebuild the Local Econom

 West End Square: Innovative Water Feature Will Change With the Weather


 158 Dallas-Fort Worth Companies Make This Year’s Inc. 5000


10  Trading App Robinhood Invests in Southlake Expansion, Plans Hires


Trending today, you’ll find our story on why global commercial real estate firm Mohr Partners is taking a “contrarian workplace strategy” in its own HQ. The Dallas-based company is planning for private offices in a post-COVID world. Plus, you’ll read about a Southlake biotech startup that just got a third CPRIT grant. OncoNano’s tumor-marker tech “lights up” cancer.

Need to Know

Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:

  • John Olajide, CEO of Axxess, and Fred Perpall, CEO of The Beck Group—chairs of two of Dallas’ most influential business groups, the Dallas Regional Chamber and the Dallas Citizens Council—are helping their organizations do everything possible to fight the “dual pandemics of coronavirus and racial injustice.” The Dallas Morning News has a story on how the two Black leaders are using their influence to save jobs and small businesses.
  • After George Floyd’s death, protests sparked a national discussion about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Local business leaders Chris Nielsen from Toyota Motor North America, Hattie Hill with T.D. Jakes Foundation, Cynt Marshall from the Dallas Mavericks, Wendy Lopez with AECOM, and Fred Perpall of the Dallas Citizens Council, discuss whether it will bring lasting change in the same publication.


Dallas has a new ‘roadmap’ for a more holistic economic development strategy. Eric A. Johnson, the city’s new economic development leader who started in March, has laid out a path and a three-year timeline in a document called the Community Transformation Action Roadmap, reports the Dallas Business Journal.

Forces for Good 

People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

  • On Sunday, the Texas Conference for Women and the Texas Restaurant Association launched a new initiative to award over $150,000 in grants to women-owned restaurants in the Lone Star state. The program, which will provide $2,500 each to more than 60 women-owned restaurants, has temporarily halted acceptance of applications with the response. 
  • A Southern Dallas revitalization nonprofit that aims to stimulate change has received a $15,000 grant from Hancock Whitney and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. Led by James McGee, Southern Dallas Progress helps residents and businesses work together to solve problems and improve life in the community.
  • The Trade Group, best known for its design and fabrication work for trade shows and commercial interiors, has tapped its expertise to help organizations modify workspaces to enhance safety during COVID-19. It recently donated the design, manufacturing, and installation of safety and awareness graphics, sanitizer kiosks, and PPE face shields to the North Texas Food Bank in Plano.


The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has awarded $4.5 million in park grants ranging from $141,266 to $750,000 to eight North Texas cities, including Celina, Cedar Hill, Comanche, Duncanville, Fort Worth, Haltom City, Mabank, and The Colony. NBCDFW has the details.

19 Opportunities for Innovators

[Image: via Venture Dallas]

Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Items with deadlines coming up include:

  • Venture Dallas (Open now)
  • Tech Titans 5G Grand Challenge (August 24)
  • [email protected], NVCA, and Venture Forward’s VC University LIVE (August 28)
  • UT Dallas Accelerators (August 30)
  • City of Dallas’ COVID-19 Data Challenge (August 31)
  • The Health Hacking Crisis Network’s Children’s COVID Story Book Challenge & Teen’s COVID Science Book Challenge (September 1)
  • Dallas Innovates’ and D CEO’s Innovation Awards (September 18)

Go here for details

Thursday, Aug. 20


[Image: Courtesy of UNT Health Science Center]

Fort Worth biotech Cx Precision Medicine has raised about $600,000 in equity funding, according to a new SEC filing. The University of North Texas Health Science Center internal startup is developing what would be the first-ever blood test to screen for Alzheimer’s disease or early cognitive loss, according to UNTHSC President Michael Williams, we reported earlier this year. HSC has exclusively licensed tech to the startup.


[Image via Trinity Park Conservancy]

[Image: istockphoto]

After a public search in July, the Trinity Park Conservancy has announced the selection of the architects charged to “bring new life” to the erstwhile Jesse R. Dawson State Jail on West Commerce in Dallas. Nationally-known firm WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism was named design architect, and Dallas-based Malone Maxwell Dennehy Architects will serve as the local architect. Working with the Conservancy, the project team will integrate the building and surrounding neighborhoods into Harold Simmons Park, a planned 200-plus acre park along the Trinity River. The group says the park between the levees, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, will connect downtown Dallas to West and South Dallas. 


[Image: ABIDAL/istockphoto]

Could Fort Worth host the U.S. Space Command headquarters?” asks the Fort Worth Business Press. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz thinks Texas has the right stuff: The chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space wants Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio to be considered for a new HQ that’s expected to be selected next year. In a letter to the Air Force on Tuesday, Cruz touted Fort Worth universities and “advanced industries, including the one-of-a-kind Lockheed Martin facility, where the world’s most advanced fighter jet, the F-35, is built and tested.”

Uber Health is expanding to launch a prescription delivery pilot program beginning in Dallas and Seattle, it announced today. The company will partner with on-demand digital prescription platform NimbleRx. Uber said it “plans to grow in the coming months” to get more medication deliveries “to those who need it,” writes Mobi Health News.

Wednesday, Aug. 19


[Image: SMU]

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded SMU $18 million—the largest given to the university for research—to continue its seismic-acoustic monitoring program. SMU seismologist Brian Stump and his team will study the “shudders that travel through and around the Earth” to better understand if they’re “caused by man-made events like a nuclear explosion test or natural events like earthquakes or volcanic eruptions,” according to Park Cities People.

Southlake-based OncoNano Medicine—a biotech spinout from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center—is getting a nearly $10 million grant from a Texas cancer research agency. The funds from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas will support the development of the startup’s imaging agent that’s in Phase 2 clinical trials, according to the Dallas Morning News. 


The 2020 Women Who STEAM Honorees: Stephanie G. Adams, PhD; Ellen Barker; Holly Crowder; Koshi Dhingra, EdD; Temple S. Howell-Stampley, MD, MBA, FACP; Mylene Mayers; Lily Cabatu Weiss; and Deepali Palta, PhD. [Photos courtesy Women Who Steam]

The Women Who STEAM Awards Luncheon will honor eight diverse local female STEAM leaders. The event benefits The Dallas Chapter of The Links, Incorporated’s STEAM Academy for middle and high school girls of color as well as its scholarship program.


Black Girl Magic Digital Summit [Image: Courtesy of Boss Women Media]

[Image: Courtesy of Boss Women Media]

More than 15,000 women of color gathered (virtually) for the Black Girl Magic Digital Summit last weekend, according to the organizers of the two-day summit hosted by Boss Women Media. It came during a time when we all needed it the most, says founder & CEO Marty McDonald. The event, which brought women together to “empower, uplift, and inspire each other,” culminated with a virtual pitch competition sponsored by Capital One. Elite Kids came in first, winning a $25,000 grand prize for the best pitch. ShearShare also left with $15,000 and Snag My Wedding left with $10,000. Watch the pitches online.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Tuesday, Aug. 18


Photo: undefined undefined via iStock

Irving-based McKesson was picked as a federal COVID-19 distributor for a potential vaccine per D CEO. The pharma giant will support Operation Warp Speed, a government program that aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine, by January 2021. McKesson, which has an ongoing partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, is the largest distributor of the flu vaccine in the U.S., writes Will Maddox.


Fetch funding

[Photo: Courtesy Fetch]

Dallas-founded Fetch has raised $18 million in Series B funding for expansion. The last-mile delivery company, which claims the “first and only off-site package solution for apartment communities,” will invest in its warehouse strategy and bolster technology. Launched in 2016, Texas-based Fetch operates in multiple metros. This year, so far, it’s doubled the number of communities served. “The increased number of deliveries that apartment communities have been forced to deal with in recent months is something that is here to stay,” says investor Scott Carman of Pando Ventures.

From left, Bret Kidd, CEO of ETC and Rob Langley, managing partner & co-founder of Align Capital Partners

Dallas-based private equity firm Align Capital Partners has secured undisclosed financing led by Capital Southwest, reports PE Hub. “The credit facility was used to fund a portion of Align’s acquisition of Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation,” according to the publication. 

Dallas-based Remotely Piloted Solutions has been acquired by service provider MAG Aerospace. RPS has grown from a team of 10 to more than 300 professionals since its founding in 2013 says founder Blake Stovall. Now the specialty aviation firm performs C5ISR (Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) missions both manned and unmanned around the globe. “Together, MAG and RPS offer capabilities no other organization can,” Stovall said.


Ready Rosie founder and FlintConf 2020 speaker Emily Roden at Stoke. [Image: Courtesy]

Denton is getting a new startup incubator exclusively for female entrepreneurs. Launched by TWU’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs and coworking center Stoke, the AccelerateHER incubator program reflects Denton’s culture with a focus on creative, education, and lifestyle early-stage startups. Applications are open.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Monday, Aug. 17



Alkami Technology nearly doubled its headquarters space in 2018 at Granite Park in Plano, shown here. [Photo courtesy Alkami Technology]

Plano fintech Alkami has raised another $50M, reports the Dallas Business Journal. The fast-growing provider of cloud-based banking solutions closed on a $55 million Series E round in June. 

Dallas-based services provider Preferred Technology Solutions has been acquired by Houston-based Meriplex, a solutions provider specializing in intelligent networks, cybersecurity, and managed services. Neil Medwed, the former CEO of PTS, which was founded in 1994, will join the Meriplex team as Director of Strategic Partnerships. Meriplex acquired another Dallas company, telecom provider Vergent, earlier this year. 


[Image: Tatiana Mezhenina/istockphoto]

Irving-based Tortilla-maker Mission Foods will lease a manufacturing plant in a suburb of Indianapolis that could make another 94,000 tons of chips, flat breads, and other baked products every year, according to CBSDFW. Mission expects the plant to begin ramping operations in early 2021.

Fort Worth-based Sanara MedTech is expanding to provide telehealth services for diagnosis and treatments to wound and skincare patients. Forming a subsidiary called United Wound and Skin Solutions, the company will develop electronic imagery and data sharing technology for virtual consultation and remote diagnosis to care providers of patients in long-term care and home health settings, according to a news release. Sanara became a minority shareholder in Palo Alto-based Direct Dermatology in July and acquired certain exclusive rights to the use of its virtual consult tech.


[Image via Edwin Tatum]

Dallas-based modular construction firm TatumTek plans to build a large assembly plant in North Texas, according to the Dallas Business Journal. The first phase of the manufacturing and distribution facility will add capacity to build 4,000 homes a year. The company, which makes modular units for residential and commercial projects, intends to expand at the new site and add more locations, the DBJ reports. “The long-term goal is 10,000 to 20,000 homes from the DFW plant per year,” CEO and founder Edwin Tatum said. 

Friday, Aug. 14

Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates  

1  Trading App Robinhood Invests in Southlake Expansion, Plans Hires

 McKinney Startup Expands Delivery for Healthcare Supplies Through Grant

 Align Capital Acquires Richardson Toll Tech Company to Speed Scale

4  Venture Dallas 2020 Goes Virtual. But it’s ‘not your typical conference’  

5  158 Dallas-Fort Worth Companies Make This Year’s Inc. 5000

6  Google Picks DFW-Based Companies for Inaugural Startup Accelerator

7  Future of Cannabis: ‘Texas Would be a Great Place to Get Started Very Soon,’ Kanna CEO Says

 Momentous School Launches Bitmoji Classrooms for Virtual Learning

 How to Weigh the Options for In-Person and Virtual Learning  

10  This Dallas-Based Female Entrepreneur Launched a Clothing Line in the Middle of a Pandemic


Trending today, you’ll find stories on three Dallas-area startups in the MassChallenge Texas summer cohort. In the final installments of the series, you’ll learn about patented technologies including a anesthesia solution that could save hospitals lost revenue and a bioresorbable stent that could help sick babies with heart defects. Plus, you’ll read about a duo with a mission to create a (decentralized) financial infrastructure for the future.

News You Need to Know

Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:


The Dallas City Council got an update this week “on the size of the dent the coronavirus-induced economic tailspin has put in sales tax revenues” and what that could mean for next year’s budget; Texas homeownership has hit the highest level on record; and new jobless claims are under $1M for the first time since March.

Forces for Good 

[Image: Deep Ellum 100/Instagram]

People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

  • The Dallas City Council has earmarked up to $500,000 to help ex-offenders get back on their feet. The funds, which come from a Texas Department of Criminal Justice Grant, will be used to address the root causes of crime, reports the Dallas Morning News. Council member Omar Narvaez called it a first step to “reimagine” public safety: “This is just a start,” he said.
  • Barclays US Consumer Bank announced a $250,000 donation—its largest ever—to the Wings Foundation, a volunteer-led nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to American Airlines flight attendants.  
  • In July, Dallas Animal Services joined 13 other shelters across the country for a pilot program that recognizes pets and people as family-units and works to keep them together. The idea for a Human Animal Support Services coalition came in the early stages of the pandemic, as animal welfare leaders considered long-term impacts of COVID-19 on shelters and communities. HASS will test new technologies and resources.
  • In Fort Worth, the Texas Coalition for Animal Protection was awarded a $40,000 grant from the Petco Foundation.
  • Hillwood Communities partnered with Highland Homes and national non-profit Building Homes for Heroes on a mortgage-free home for U.S. Army Specialist Jason Wheeler and his family. The customized home, built to allow Wheeler to live more independently, is in Little Elm’s Union Park, a master-planned “Live Smart” community.

  • The Deep Ellum 100, now designated a 501(c)3, has launched “round two” of fundraising for its grant to support the cultural district’s artists, musicians, service workers, and businesses. Donors can get a “Unity” tee (photo above).


Dallas Cowboy Ezekiel Elliot
has teamed up with golf tech innovator OnCore Golf on limited edition “Everyone Eats” golf balls. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the North Texas Food Bank. Elliot is now an investor in the New York-based company “with a big heart.” 

18 Opportunities for Innovators

Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Items with deadlines coming up include:

  • Venture Dallas (Open now)
  • IDSA Foundation’s IDea Incubator (August 16)
  • Tech Titans Awards (August 24)
  • UT Dallas Accelerators (August 30)
  • The Health Hacking Crisis Network’s Children’s COVID Story Book Challenge & Teen’s COVID Science Book Challenge (September 1)
  • Dallas Innovates’ and D CEO’s Innovation Awards (September 18)

Go here for details

Thursday, Aug. 13


[Image: S2A Modular]

S2A Modular, a maker of modern residential and commercial modular buildings, is making offers on land opportunities to build a state-of-the-art MegaFactory in Dallas and seven other markets. The company wants to drive a “true paradigm shift” in how structures are built with its MegaFactory model. It’s no longer necessary to site build a home, says the California company, which calls itself “the creator of the first electrically self-sustaining, custom and smart-connected luxury residences and commercial buildings.” 

California-based Steri-Tek, which offers E-beam and X-ray sterilization for the medtech, biotech and food/drug industries, is planning an expansion to North Texas, reports the Dallas Business Journal. The company bought 6 acres in Lewisville last fall and plans to build a 103,000-square-foot facility that will serve as a second office for the biotech firm.

A Home Depot distribution center has sold for an “eye popping price,” reports the Dallas Morning News. The 2.3 million-square-foot hub in southern Dallas County sold for nearly $247 million to a partnership that includes Korean investors.

Wednesday, Aug. 12


[Image: iStockphoto]

Don’t underestimate the power of chitchat, according to a new study co-authored by TCU‘s Patrick E. Downes. “As we broke down daily interaction, we realized our most meaningful interactions are not when we’re talking about actual work. It’s when we’re greeting administrative staff, or the friendly gabbing before a meeting,” said Jessica R. Methot of Rutgers University and University of Exeter in Fast Company. Methot, along with Downes and two other U.S. university researchers, co-wrote “Office Chit-Chat as a Social Ritual: The Uplifting Yet Distracting Effects of Daily Small Talk at Work.”



DART is searching for a new chief innovation officer. [Photo: Lance Murray]

In a panel on transit innovation this month, DART‘s Gary Thomas said the organization is “now looking to be able to pivot so that it is providing customers with the trips they want to take, rather than having riders go where the transit system wants to take them,” reports industry vertical Transportation Today. The pandemic has underlined how important transit is: “We’re about 50 percent down,” Thomas noted, “but the 50 percent that are riding are those who absolutely look to transit to get to where they are going.”

The agency has had experience with a prior outbreak: “Ebola wasn’t quite as contagious, but it was more deadly.” Thomas said. “And it hit just as we were going into a bus procurement state. We actually purchased all of our buses with UV Light Filtrations systems or Ionization filtration systems.”

The agency learned that “what cleaning meant to different people was very different, so we had to come up with a standard across our system and communicate that to our people,” he said in the webinar.


Click the image for a preview on YouTube.

Prolific innovator Topgolf is letting the birds fly. Extended reality gaming will meet golf this fall when a new partnership with Rovio Entertainment brings the popular Angry Birds game to select Topgolf venues. Golfers can hit a ball and “watch it interact with a dynamic virtual world,” according to YuChian Cheng, president at Topgolf Media, who called it “an amazing team effort.”

The experience uses the company’s proprietary Toptracer tech. Topgolf engineer Paul Medcalf is particularly proud of the efforts for this project, he says. “Working with Rovio’s Angry Birds property has been a joy. [Combining] that with TopTracer’s tracking technology makes this one of the more unique experiences to which I’ve had the opportunity to contribute, he tweeted.

Images: istockphoto, DART, Angry Birds YouTube

Tuesday, Aug. 11


George Ayres, appointed EVP of Partnerships for Vinli

Vinli has hired a new EVP of partnerships to “drive the future of its connected vehicle ecosystem.” George Ayres will join the transportation tech innovator with “rare experience and unique skillsets” in the automotive industry. He’s “the perfect candidate to expand the Vinli ecosystem,” Mark Haidar, founder and CEO of Vinli, said in an announcement.


A new warehouse project in Irving will provide space for small businesses by year end, according to the DMN. The building will support “smaller, quick ship, and last-mile users,” said David Vicars of PS Business Parks. The 83,000 square-foot industrial project north of DFW Airport will include eight 1,000 square-foot office suites with a 9,000 square-foot warehouse.

On the other end of the spectrum in the hot industrial market, Uline, a Wisconsin-based distributor of shipping, industrial and packaging materials, has just leased a “huge shipping hub” at DFW Airport, per the same publication. At 1.2 million square feet of warehouse space in Passport Park, it’s one of the biggest deals in North Texas so far this year. CBRE‘s Jerome Nichols said “the development of modern space that meets the changing needs of new economy users is proving out.”


For parents who need a break—or just want a change of venue for their kiddos—WorkSuites has introduced the Zoom Room. The virtual learning room is essentially a (free) private office just for kids over the age of seven. Call your nearest center for details.

The proposed Texas high-speed railroad between Dallas and Houston “has successfully convinced the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) that it has jurisdiction over the proposed Texas rail line,” per law firm Holland & Knight‘s transportation blog. While the federal jurisdiction “will greatly aid the rail line by generally preempting state and local regulation,” the order also means there are federal requirements that will have to be addressed.

Images: Vinli, AlessandroPhoto/istockphoto, Worksuites

Monday, Aug. 10


Vindex will invest $300 million in esports gaming arenas, and Dallas is a part of the plan. The esports investment holding company, which launched last year, acquired the Belong Gaming Arenas brand from U.K. retailer Game. A large rollout will include Dallas, according to Venturebeat. The company has new partnerships with team owners Dallas-based Envy Gaming and New York’s Andbox “to open multiple locations in their territories,” the publication reports. Click the image to watch the video.


Today, Bell unveiled a new 140,000-square-foot Manufacturing Technology Center in Fort Worth. Called the MTC, it’s an “innovative proving ground” where Bell can test and refine its technologies, it said in a post. In particular, the company will demonstrate its “manufacturing readiness and ability to successfully build and support Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft.” Bell’s facilities have been a hub for tech in aviation since it established a footprint in North Texas in 1951, the company notes.


Mayor Eric Johnson

• Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson was appointed to the National Commission on Covid 19 and Criminal Justice. He’s the only U.S. mayor named to the group led by former U.S. Attorney Generals Loretta Lynch and Alberto Gonzal.
• A 16-year-old Plano student is working on promising COVID-19 diagnosis software. According to the DMN, Moksh Nirvaan and his team members think their program could speed up the testing process for COVID-19 around the world.

To read more (and get our week’s Top 10), head here.

Friday, Aug. 7

Here are the Most Popular Stories on Dallas Innovates  

1  Venture Dallas 2020 Goes Virtual. But it’s ‘not your typical conference’  

 Kandi Brings ‘Most Affordable’ EVs in the U.S. to Dallas-Fort Worth

 Richardson Fintech Props Up Scores With Credit-Building Loan Solution 

4  Passion+Tech: Why Tyler Technologies’ CSO Transitioned to a Nonprofit

5  AT&T Commits $10M in Support of Black and Underserved Communities

6  Digital Real Estate Startup Charges ‘Nada’ to Sell Your Home Online

7  DFW ‘Clean-Crafted’ Wine Pioneer Launches New MIXABLE Brand

 Stay A-OK Helps Laid Off Workers Connect with Unemployment Agencies

 Downtown Dallas Tower Gets $450M Redo, New Name, and First Tenant  

10  Dallas Gene Therapy Startup Closes $95M Series B to Boost Studies

News You Need to Know

Our partners at the Dallas Regional Chamber are keeping track of the news and stories that affect the business community across the Dallas region. Here’s what we’re reading:


Hiring slowed in July, and it could be a long road to recovery, Texas universities are bracing for a financial hit, and Gov. Abbott set off a debate over who’s in control of schools reopening.

Forces for Good 

People and organizations of all kinds are stepping up to help and inspire local communities. Here are highlights from around the region:

  • The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, sponsored by The Dallas Foundation, is helping the helpers with $275,000 in grants to 11 nonprofits responding to COVID-19. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson identified six priority areas that focused the selection of organizations. $25,000 in grants will go to Bachman Lake Together, Crossroads Community Services and Sharing Life Community Outreach, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Educational First Steps, Family Gateway, For Oak Cliff, Interfaith Family Services, Mosaic Family Services, Paul Quinn College, and Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation.
  • A $50,000 gift from Dallas-based Mbroh Engineering will create the first endowed scholarship for the Diversity Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Dallas. President Anthony Mbroh is paying it forward: In college, he lost his mother to cancer, and it was through the support of many that he completed his college education and found success in engineering. He hopes other successful people may “provide the same helping hand that was afforded to them.” 
  • A North Texas teen pregnancy organization was awarded $1 million in federal grants to help improve Texas’ sex education standards and launch new programs. Ntarupt plans to help UPLIFT and Dallas CAN Academy implement “more all-inclusive sexual education and new virtual sex-ed programs for thousands of their students,” it said in an email.


[Image: The Concilio]

Latino nonprofit The Concilio has doubled down on efforts to help people in undercounted communities fill out the 2020 U.S. Census. The clock is ticking: The Census Bureau recently announced field data collection will end a month early on Sept. 30. Boosting response is important, says CEO Florencia Velesco Fortner: “State numbers are tied to funding and representation for many of the programs, schools, and services that benefit them.” Watch the group’s block-walk in Dallas’ Bachman Lake neighborhood where reporting is under 30 percent.

21 Opportunities for Innovators

Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. From entrepreneurs to corporates, creatives to inventors, educators to social innovators, here’s a roundup of goodies for you. Items with deadlines coming up include:

  • SKU DFW Accelerator (Today!)
  • NTCRA’s gR3een Awards (August 9)
  • Lone Star Film Festival (August 10)
  • Walmart’s Open Call (August 10)
  • Dallas Startup Week’s Women Marketplace, Startup Alley, and Volunteers (August 10), pictured above
  • Tech Titans Awards (August 24)
  • UT Dallas Accelerators (August 30)
  • The Health Hacking Crisis Network’s Children’s COVID Story Book Challenge & Teen’s COVID Science Book Challenge (September 1)

Go here for details

Thursday, Aug. 6


ParkHub CEO George Baker with his team in 2019.  [Image: Rebeca Posadas-Nava]

Dallas parking tech innovator ParkHub has teamed up with contactless payment firm Honk to create a “safety-first” parking solution for universities, stadiums, and state parks. It will first launch at University of Arizona—the alma mater of ParkHub’s CEO and founder, George Baker Sr.


NASA Mars Rover [Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech]

NASA Mars Rover [Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech]

A science team at Dallas-based Jacobs worked with NASA to build a calibration device for the Martian rover that launched July 30. The Mars Perseverance Rover will seek signs of past life on the red planet over seven months. On the rover, SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Ramen & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals), which is used to detect chemicals possibly linked to ancient life, is kept in tune by the Jacobs tech.


Tisha Holman

A Dallas marketing strategist launched a business-focused planner designed for “every aspect of online presence.” Tisha Holman, Founder and CEO of Mind Your Business LLC, is releasing her Digital Day Planner for business owners wanting to strategize their social media and monetize their brands.

Wednesday, Aug. 5


Take Command Health CEO Jack Hooper [Photo: Take Command Health]

Dallas-based health insurance innovator Take Command Health has announced details of a $2 million bridge funding round, the company wrote in an email. Last month we told you about Take Command’s expansion and funding led by Texas VC firm LiveOak Venture Partners. Take Command said that it’s adding ten new employees—in strategy, development, compliance, and sales—to its team.


The National Todd Interests Downtown Dallas

The National on Elm Street is set to open later this year with its first tenant—Downtown Dallas Inc.—already signed to a lease. [Rendering: Courtesy Todd Interests]

Tonight, The NATIONAL, formerly known as the First National Bank Tower will “don its banker’s pinstripes” as it lights up for the first time in a decade. The revamped 52-story tower, once the tallest west of the Mississippi, was the largest-ever adaptive, historical use development in Texas. The $450 million project, anchored by Texas flagship Thompson Hotel, houses luxury apartments (with the highest residential views in Dallas) and includes three signature restaurants, retail, and office. All are on track for a 2020 opening, thanks to new technologies that helped meet the deadline for completion.


Anthony Mbroh, President of Mbroh Engineering [Image: Courtesy UT Dallas]

Mbroh Engineering presented a $50,000 gift for UT Dallas’ Diversity Scholars Program. The engineering design, consulting, and professional services firm’s gift will create the first endowed scholarship for the Diversity Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Tuesday, Aug. 4


[Image: Kathy Tran]

The Dallas Chocolate Festival is going virtual this year. And thanks to its partner Alto, you can have chocolate delivered right to your door. DallasChocolate.org will showcase virtual classes, host chocolate exhibitors, and hand-deliver boxes of artisanal chocolate samples for two days in September. Get a visual taste of what to expect in our gallery.

Two of DFW’s largest software firms, RealPage and Tyler Technologies, have added staff during COVID-19. Tyler has increased its employee count from 5,449 in March to 5,449 in June, while RealPage has grown to 7,443 employees—an increase of about two percent, per the Dallas Business Journal.

A new distribution center near DFW Airport will bring 300 jobs. Allen-based PFSWeb Inc. has decided to expand its operations after the pandemic has caused in an increase in its e-commerce traffic, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Monday, Aug. 3



Charlie Vogt is heading “back to the future.” After some nine years focused on the next generation of video distribution and cable access network technologies, Vogt has “returned to his roots” in telecom as the new president and CEO of Dasan Zhone Solutions—known as DZS—according to industry vertical Light Reading. Vogt was most recently the CEO of cable-focused ATX Networks, where he’ll remain on the board. DZS was created in 2016 via a merger of Dasan and Zhone. Vogt’s new gig will integrate DZS’ businesses and build on its strengths. The company has a new HQ in Plano—2.5 miles from Vogt’s house, he says.


McKinney Fulfillment Center [Image: Dalfen Industrial]

Dallas-based Dalfen Industrial has a new partnership with Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division on a 46 property “last-mile” portfolio. The 6.3 million square foot portfolio spans huge MSAs, including Dallas, and is home to major tenants like Amazon, Frito Lay, Sherwin Williams, and more. Sean Dalfen, president and chief investment officer of the company, which is one the largest buyers of industrial real estate in the US, says these so-called “last mile” properties are more important than ever with the exponential growth of e-commerce. “Warehouses are a ‘beneficiary of the COVID crisis,'” Dalfen told Bloomberg news. “We’re seen as the safe haven.”

North Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton is teaming with Zillow to help boost new home sales, reports the Dallas Morning News. Zillow’s Offers program could help new buyers sell their existing homes. The country’s largest homebuilder reports new sales order up by 38 percent in the last quarter. “The relocation of people down to a more affordable tax-friendly environment continues,” Auld said in the DMN. “I think COVID maybe is even accelerating that.”

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