Everyone knows the Cowboys, but they don’t know that the silicon transistor was invented in Dallas
Dallas, TX, spreads across all or parts of five counties and became world famous thanks to the Dallas Cowboys (1960) and the Dallas TV show in the 1980s (remember who shot J. R.?). The economic driving force of north central Texas, Dallas grew thanks to banking, telecommunications, transportation, and every other big dollar enterprise you can name.
The ninth largest city in the U.S., but the fourth largest metropolitan area when you include Fort Worth and all the other cities between and around the two, it is home to the third most Fortune 500 company headquarters in the country.
Dallas also boasts a long history of technology startups, dating back to the merger of two companies to create Texas Instruments in 1951, right after they invented the silicon transistor in 1950. You don’t get more high tech than inventing the transistor, and that spirit lives on in Dallas today.
Here are ten startups based out of Dallas that you should know about.
1. Pieces Technologies
Healthcare is again, and always, in the news. Pieces Tech applies predictive analytics, advanced engineering, and experience in healthcare to improve treatment results in and out of the hospital. Their software interprets patient data in real time, and includes strong community outreach.
President and CEO Dr. Ruben Amarasingham, holder of both a medical degree and an MBA, leads the cloud-based technology company and conceived the software platform. Five investment groups, two medical and three technical funds, combined for a $21.6 million Series A in March of 2016.
2. Koupon Media
People love their smartphones, and Koupon Media helps retail stores reach those people through the largest and most used mobile coupon platform in retail. Millions of consumers receive offers from over 43,000 retail stores. Koupon Media offers omni-channel delivery, easy point-of-sale redemption, and feeds the marketers Big Date full of customer information. CEO Bill Ogle’s previous stint running Blue Calypso certainly helps Koupon’s continued growth, bringing some extra entrepreneurial experience to the table.
Four funding rounds raised $14.3 million, starting back in November of 2011. The latest Series C round was led by Trailblazer Capital, also of Dallas. Trailblazer joined existing investors DFJ Mercury and The Matthew Pritzker Company, investors in the three earlier rounds.
Who loves lawyers besides (maybe) their families? Not Brainspace and their product Brainspace Discovery 5. Billed as the “fastest and most powerful weapon for conducting digital investigations,” Brainspace Discovery harnesses machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to search unstructured data for legal e-discovery. Phrase detection now supports Chinese, Farsi, and Japanese, meaning law firms won’t need hundreds of lawyers to search documents and patents.
The management team, led by Dave Copps (founder and CEO), and Chris Rohde (founder and VP Business Development), have been working together since 1994 in the field of semantic search and machine learning. With $1.04 million in seed money and $9 million in Series C funding from Medina Capital, they may break out of the machine learning pack and lead the market.
Tired of plastic key cards you can’t find fast enough when you’re standing at your hotel room door? OpenKey replaces that keycard with your own smartphone. Travelers love apps, and hotels hate managing and trashing plastic keycards by the hundreds. Plus the hotel can offer many more enticements when guests put their app on their phones.
CEO TJ Person has years of experience in mobile apps, while VP of Operations Ryan Douglas spent years in the hospitality industry. Starting in 2014, OpenKey received $8 million in Series A funding in October of 2016. They now have multiple sales offices across the country.
Companies need HPC (High Performance Computing) to manage Big Data and business analytics, but the hardware and personnel investment blows huge holes in their budgets. So Nimbix offers HPC in the cloud with “The Cloud Built for Supercomputing.”
Founded in 2010 by Steve Hebert and Rob Sherrard, received $105K in August of 2012 followed by a $7.5 million Series B placement in October of 2015. Investors include Blackwell Energy Group, Tech Wildcatters, Silver Creek Ventures, and Aristos Ventures.
Connected cars fill showrooms today, but what about that car you bought several years ago? Retrofitting older cars (from 1996 on) was tough until Vinli created a small hardware module that plugs into a car’s on board diagnostic port and provides 4G LTE (data services over the mobile phone network) and 40+ apps. Need directions? Track and schedule preventative maintenance? Keep tabs on teen drivers? Done.
Funded initially by an IndieGoGo campaign, founders Mark Haidar and Scott Harper scored Series A funding of $6.5 million in June 2015 from some impressive investors: Samsung and Cox Automotive (Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader etc) among others. A second round of an undisclosed amount came in March of 2016 from Deep Space Ventures and ParkHub CEO George Baker.
Every technology tidbit now includes “cloud” as part of the secret sauce, making in-house data centers feel second rate. Enter Connectloud, a company that promises to create a private cloud, with all the features of third-party cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, in less than an hour.
Starting with a $3.6 million placement in March 2013, followed by another $250K in debt refinancing in January 2014, Connectloud may weather the cloud provider shakeout. Having the man who built Cisco’s cloud services business to a billion in year revenue, Zeeshan Nasah, as founder and CEO should help. So should having Scott McNealy, former Sun Microsystems COB and CEO, on the board.
8. Socrates Health Solutions
Americans don’t take good care of themselves, as evidenced by Forbes Magazine declaring in September 2015 that, “Half of Adults In The U.S. Have Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes.” Socrates Health Solutions hopes to ease the burden of essential blood glucose level testing with their pain-free meter that clips to the ear.
This is the third medical station for CEO Scott Smith, whose father had diabetes. Socrates received funding of $1.29 million in December of 2013 and another $450k in a seed round in July of 2015. Former Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson is on the board.
A mobile app to dispense restaurant promotions isn’t new, but TangoTab puts a twist on this. When CEO Andre Angel discovered one in four children in Dallas went hungry on a regular basis, he resolved to ensure that, “When you eat, they eat.” Now restaurants pledge to make a donation to stop hunger locally with each sale. Great for hungry diners, great for restaurants looking to fill seats, and great for the kids.
Everyone wants to be the “Uber of X” without the bad PR. PICKUP attacks the point to point delivery niche with several new tricks. First, “Good Guy Drivers,” who are trusted veterans and firefighters. Second, guaranteed pricing including insurance. Add in speed, handling anything that fits in a pickup (drivers use, yes, a pickup for PICKUP), and a promise to make it right round out the advantages.
CEO and Founder Brenda Stoner (yes, in Texas, women often drive pickups) started the company in 2014 with an undisclosed amount from Wetzer Capital. They currently serve Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston. In July 2015 they closed another seed round of $600k from Wetzer Capital and Ross Perot Jr’s Perot Jain, LP. Not huge money, but Perot Jr. looms large in Dallas.