Texas experienced brisk startup activity in 2019. Benefitting from a strong labor force, low tax burden, and a favorable regulatory environment, the union’s second-largest state garnered attention from diverse startup industries. Notable new businesses include ventures in medical technology, personal wellness and artificial intelligence, to name a few.
Texas entrepreneurs were particularly active in North Texas, where commercial advantages joined culture, weather, and lifestyle benefits to attract business investment.
Keep Your Eye on Texas Startup Potential
North Texas has emerged as a bonafide innovation hub, drawing interest from technology businesses and related industries. A recent Dallas Business Journal article highlighted several North Texas startups worth watching in the new year.
Research featured in the article focused on businesses receiving recent early stage funding as well as new commercial ventures built on 2020’s most innovative ideas. Among other sources, startup information was gathered from small business investors, active entrepreneurs, and experienced mentors. Their expert analysis points to several Texas startups positioned for positive outcomes in 2020.
- Edgetensor – Conceived as a way to integrate edge computing AI and facial recognition into autonomous vehicles, Edgetensor has shifted focus. The technology was initially centered on preventing distracted driving in autonomous cars that have a driver behind the wheel, but the venture has now grown to encompass video security and content management concerns. Edgetensors AI and neural inference engine software enables the technology to detect facial movements and make predictive outcomes.
- Kickbox – Kickbox uses real-time API software to verify email addresses. The technology enhances email security, allowing users to drop contact lists directly in to the Kickbox interface. With phishing attacks on the rise, the Dallas-based startup arrives in-demand, providing essential verification services for commercial communications. The company reports in excess of 10,000 business clients and was recently featured in the Montana Ledger as one of the top global players in email verification.
- ResumePuppy – Launched by a pair of UT-Dallas graduate students, ResumePuppy supports job applicants seeking better resume results. The startup software allows users to upload a job description, followed by the applicant’s resume. Using machine learning and language processing technology, the software then makes changes to the resume, creating a better match for the job described. The forward-looking job placement aid recently took top honors at the UT-Dallas Big Idea Competition. In addition to landing the competition’s $25,000 first prize, ResumePuppy was also well-received by users during on-campus testing. A beta version of the software is expected by the end of the year.
- Zirtue – Zirtue is a relationship-based lending platform and app. The startup technology allows users to input loan amounts and terms with friends, family members, and acquaintances, using the app to track payments over the life of the loan. Having landed a seed round of funding worth one-million dollars, the company expects to have at least 100,000 users on board by the end of the year. A projected 50-percent month-over-month growth rate is a goal of the fintech company.
- SurviVR – SurviVR is a virtual reality technology company assisting police, military, and security personnel. The immersive training experience enables professionals to train with lifelike graphics, in the most realistic scenarios possible. The company is based in Dallas, but also maintains a presence in Austin. SurviVR garnered attention in 2018, placing in the UT-Dallas Big Idea Competition, as well as receiving high marks in Austin’s DisrupTexas competition.
- Arcade – Arcade puts the fun in meeting sales goals and pacing other KPIs. The startup emerged in 2014, offering a new way to look at performance. The company turns it in to a game, allowing stakeholders to track progress and win prizes. The entertaining spin recently landed the company a $1.5 million seed round. With a customer base in Asia and Australia, the technology is already in use by international firms such as Samsung and Toyota.
- Pebble – CBD continues leading the way among wellness trends, spawning commercial interest and investment. Based in Gunter, Pebble provides full-spectrum CBD from organic plants. Although the material is currently sourced from Colorado, recent changes to Texas hemp cultivation could lead to a larger role for the state. Specializing in liquid, softgel, and topical CDB products, the company invests in research and development, advancing new products and keeping current with FDA regulations.
- GoodieBoxx – Launched in 2015, GoodieBoxx began with a slow, quiet rollout in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Its self-serve retail concept, including vending machines and mini convenience stores has expanded in the region, and has recently been accepted in to an accelerator program. In addition to its own retail presence, the company also provides software for other companies, offering logistics and inventory management assistance.
- Kanarys – Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central principles for progressive businesses; Kanarys was conceived to help companies do more in these areas. Launched in 2018 with the goal of enabling companies to track and increase diversity in the workplace, the technology helps employers keep pace with changing demographics and employment expectations. Utilizing anonymized and aggregated data to determine employee satisfaction in the workplace, Kanarys platform allows employers to track trends from collected data and survey results. A recent partnership forged with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and well-funded pre-seed round puts Kanarys in the catbird seat for 2020.
- Kanna – Capitalizing on two trending social phenomena, Kanna mates the US gig economy with legal cannabis businesses needing hourly workers. The company’s platform connects trusted workers with marijuana industry businesses, simplifying employment concerns and adding a layer of security for employers. The progressive concept has garnered attention as one of the winners of the Dallas SoGal Pitch Competition. Kanna has been accepted in to multiple Texas cohorts and the Capital Factory VIP accelerator program.
Dallas-Fort Worth Commerce Leads the Charge in Texas Business Hub
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is an economic force to be reckoned with. The region hosts tens of thousands of business, serving as headquarters for several of the country’s top brands. Among the standouts, several noted tech companies are attracting attention in Dallas and surrounding communities.
- Lifeblue – Digital marketing specialist, Lifeblue, builds websites and helps clients expand their social, cultural, and economic impacts. Based in Plano, the organization has previously partnered with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Visit Dallas, and Heifer International.
- ParkHub – Deep Ellum software innovator, ParkHub, helps venues optimize parking. The company improves the parking experience for events, universities, and parking operators – on a grand scale. Past ParkHub clients include Levi’s Stadium, Pepsi Center, and AT&T Stadium.
- Robokind – The field of educational robotics is represented in Texas by Dallas maker, Robokind. The company specializes in educational products, working with Autism Spectrum Disorder experts to develop learning mechanisms for students with autism. The company’s robots provide consistency and repetition for users, helping build confidence with social interactions.
- Stackpath – Located in Uptown, Dallas, Stackpath is focused on cybersecurity solutions and innovation. The startup provides services that help clients build websites and cloud-based apps with adequate speed and security. Stackpath customers include industries such as advertising, media, and gaming.
- TopGolf – North Dallas hosts TopGolf, an entertainment destination offering high-tech interactive experiences for golfers. The facility uses cutting edge ball-tracking technology to customize user experiences, providing options for various skill levels.
Texas businesses opportunities have advanced a strong startup culture in the state. These businesses represent a small sampling of the dynamic enterprises bringing entrepreneurial insight and investment to the Lone Star State.
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