The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is an ever-evolving, constantly growing landscape, making it an ideal environment for startups to take root. With a highly-ranked climate for business, an impressive workforce, and a central location that’s second to none, DFW was built for businesses to thrive; and that’s exactly why so many businesses, large and small, are making Dallas and Fort Worth their company home.
For the past two years, we’ve featured “the Hottest Startups in Dallas;” but for 2018, we’re featuring “the Hottest Startups in DFW,” because the startups in our metroplex are altogether too impressive to focus on Dallas alone. The list you'll see below is based on over-all popular votes and community testimonials, meaning people like you are the ones calling these startups the hottest in DFW. Each startup showcased is truly DFW-born and DFW-based, and we're proud to showcase all 20 of them.
So, without further ado, here are the 20 Hottest Startups in DFW for 2018!
20. Foot Cardigan – DALLAS
If you’ve lived in Dallas for the past few years, then you’ve probably heard the name “Foot Cardigan” at some point in time. Foot Cardigan gained fame when it appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2015, but they’ve been wowing people with their subscription-based sock service since 2012. Just a quick glance through their website will show you how much personality this Dallas-based startup has, and then when you take a look at their sock products, the game is truly changed. Their socks scream ‘personality,’ and they can either be bought on a monthly subscription basis or a-la-carte. Foot Cardigan sends their wildly fun and unique socks to 30,000 regular customers monthly all over the world. There's a good chance you might even start seeing them in stores soon.
“Amazing brand behind stuff we put on our feet. Takes some creative mojo to build a community around socks. They built this from a crazy idea, to what is likely one of the largest sock subscription co's in the United States (World?). Plus, they make a Dallas sock.”
19. Roomored – DALLAS
Roomored is a design platform that’s taking residential real estate visuals to the next level. They use a proprietary engine to automate the process of creating virtual models of real estate assets like apartments or homes, helping buyers have a more clear picture of the potential home they could be purchasing. Roomored’s vision is to streamline the buying and leasing process within residential real estate, and they spend their days helping home-builders sell more homes and home-buyers make better purchase decisions.
"Roomored is truly an innovative and disruptive technology in the home building and design space. Roomored recently completed a raise that was led by CTAN and closed by Venn Ventures. This company is on the move!”
18. PICKUP – DALLAS
When you live in a big city like Dallas, finding a truck to help you haul small ticket items can be a hassle. Dallas-based PICKUP (yes, their name really is in all caps) saves us all from having to rent an entire U-Haul (or from constantly pestering our only friend with a truck) to transport our belongings. They specialize in taking care of items that are more than 50 pounds when you need to take them less than 50 miles. All it takes to summon a PICKUP is a tap on their smartphone app, click on their website, an email, or a good-old-fashioned phone call. Founded in 2014, PICKUP has raised $2.5 million to date and now operates in seven Texas cities. Their CEO, Brenda Stoner, says that an expansion to other states is planned for 2018.
17. Lantern Pharma – DALLAS
Lantern Pharma is definitely a company that Dallas is proud to claim. Lantern Pharma is a biotech company aiming to re-invent the cancer drug development process (impressive, right?). They do this by tailoring promising drug programs to the right cancer patients through “biomarker discovery.” Lantern Pharma graduated from the 2014 Health Wildcatters class, and they spend their days using molecular profiling to identify the particular patients who would respond positively to certain oncology drugs—treatments that otherwise might have been shelved because they don’t work for enough people to be a commercial success. Long story short, they’re making huge strides to improve cancer patient care and change ultimate outcomes.
“Building precision cancer treatment using AI. Basically curing cancer.”
16. CruiseBe – DALLAS
There’s no denying it– people love cruises. That’s why CruiseBe.com exists– to help travelers plan their vacation and explore all components of their cruise on one website. CruiseBe is a simple cruise itinerary aggregator that proposes a day-by-day schedule of a cruise instantly. They generate extensive agendas for hundreds of cruises with detailed articles from real travelers and lists of attractions and activities for each port of call and ship. They’ve also developed interactive deck plans for more than 200 ships to help vacationers easily find any pool, bar, restaurant, movie theatre, and other onboard attractions.
15. Musicbed - FORT WORTH
Musicbed is a licensing company that licenses a highly-curated selection of songs to creatives for use in film, video, broadcast and other media channels. This Fort-Worth based team is all about making quality music accessible, and they live for empowering creatives to tell better stories. They were built off of a passion for representing independent artists (they cover over 650 Indie musicians and composers). They’ve built a one of a kind platform that’s based on discovery, where filmmakers and creative teams can find the perfect song for their project, ultimately supporting some of the world's best (but often overlooked) musicians.
14. MenuRunners - ADDISON
The name says it all. MenuRunners is an on-demand online ordering service, and they spend their days bringing great food to urban communities and mid-size markets across the nation. Their ordering platform can be found online or on their app, making it easy for customers to conveniently get food directly from some of their favorite restaurants within minutes. MenuRunners prides themselves on providing outstanding customer service, and they have a heartbeat for supporting the local communities that they serve.
“They started a little over 1 year ago with $10,000 investment from the founders and finished 2017 with over $5Million in profit, 25 locations, and 311 employees. If you looked up Entrepreneurship in the dictionary MenuRunners would be there.”
13. HyperLift – DALLAS
Whether you know much about the world of Medicare or not, the one thing you need to know to understand why HyperLift is so impressive is this: Medicare uses a Star Rating System to measure how well Medicare Advantage and Part D plans perform. Medicare scores how well plans perform in several categories, including quality of care and customer service. Ratings range from one to five stars, with five being the highest and one being the lowest. Now that we're all on the same page about medicare's rating system, meet HyperLift:
Hyperlift has a “Stars Insights Engine,” the industry’s most comprehensive suite of data, analytics and predictive modeling solutions for medicare plans seeking to improve their Star ratings. Using data science and machine learning, Hyperlift gives Stars management teams and analytics professionals unprecedented perspective to make critical decisions. They help everyone understand the entire Stars Lifecycle, all in one integrated SaaS platform.
“Between their leadership and vision, Hyperlift is as revolutionary as it gets in today’s healthcare world”
12. Track15 – DALLAS (OAK CLIFF)
Track15 provides a fresh look at how nonprofit organizations function. They offer core consulting services that help streamline operations while creating additional revenue streams and cutting costs. The reality of running nonprofits is that often, the people who want to do the most good end up sacrificing the most, often at the expense of their very own organization. Track15 exists to partner with nonprofits to achieve real success based on their core missions.
“These guys are improving the operations of non-profits across the country and helping to further their missions."
11. Blockparty – DALLAS
Blockparty creates immersive experiences that make unforgettable events for fans of all kinds. Blockparty works with Power 5 universities and other partners such as Live Nation and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to reimagine and redefine the tradition of tailgating. They create unique, turnkey pop-up hospitality experiences on underutilized land at venues around the country. Not only do they provide a fun and energetic atmosphere for fans, but they also provide their partners with unique sponsorship and experiential marketing opportunities. Their small but mighty full-time staff based in downtown Dallas spends its days creating mobile communities within imaginative and adaptive spaces out of items like shipping containers, all with the hospitality of a five-star hotel.
"Blockparty is paving the way for turnkey hospitality at live events. They utilize unique assets to create unforgettable events changing the way fans experience hospitality."
10. GruupMeet – DALLAS
GruupMeet makes communication with teams and groups easy. With GruupMeet, you can sync and share work calendars, PDFs, monitor group flight status updates, program notifications, and provide a personal touch with email and 2-way texting to 1,000s of people, across all of your programs. Based in Dallas, GruupMeet is supported by TechWildcatters and also by entrepreneurs who founded one of the world’s largest communications companies.
“GruupMeet is extremely user friendly and allows for organized event planning that you just can't find anywhere else. The amount of detailed information that GruupMeet helps gather into one place has proven to be a tremendous asset.”
9. ParkHub - DALLAS
ParkHub is bringing innovation to the word of parking operations. ParkHub helps venues boost revenue, cut costs, and wow guests with fast, reliable, and easy-to-use technology. ParkHub created its own software that processes payments and provides analytics, all to make parking easier for operators and drivers. They lease this parking software to the companies who need it and receive a percentage of the parking revenue each month. The ParkHub team is comprised of industry experts, problem solvers, and creative engineers, all dedicated to connecting people with the places they want to go. They service big-time venues like the Super Bowl, American Airlines Center, and Levi Stadium.
“ParkHub is using leading edge tech to streamline the parking operations world. They have the skill and industry knowledge to pull it off.”
8. Modern Message – DALLAS
Launching nationally in 2012, Dallas-based Modern Message works with apartment communities to drive resident loyalty through a rewards-based engagement platform called “Community Rewards.” Its team is comprised of multifamily experts who are dedicated to solving social and digital marketing challenges for companies of all sizes. They created their platform, Community Rewards, to help management teams get their residents more involved with their community programming; CR turns residents into advocates and empowers them to share apartments’ messages through their social networks, ultimately amplifying the apartment’s brand and sense of community across the board.
“Their resident engagement platform is one of a kind, and has helped companies within the multi-family & student housing industry across the board. They are continuing to better themselves as a company, along with really looking into the needs of their clients.”
7. Clean Finances – FORT WORTH
It’s no secret that bookkeeping is one of the least-fun things about operating a business. Clean Finances helps businesses and nonprofits reclaim their time and focus on leading business endeavors by taking care of their bookkeeping endeavors from start to finish. They use dedicated and professional Client Success Coordinators to help clients clean up their books and answer any questions the client might have along the way. They’ve created their own custom dashboard to help every client have a better snapshot of their numbers through a clean and easy-to-read interface that’s automatically updated each week. Their dashboard is mobile-friendly, so businesses have the ability to know their numbers down to the penny - anytime, anywhere.
"Commitment to excellence, a passion to serve, and a strategy to help all make Clean Finances one of the best startups in DFW."
6. Perry Weather Consulting – DALLAS
Perry Weather is a multifaceted company that works to bring its immense knowledge of weather to the fingertips of people who need to know its patterns on a deeper level. They serve a variety of clients– like entire cities, PGA sections, country clubs, zoos, and schools– with the variety of products that they've built. Perry Weather knows how to evaluate historical weather performance to proactively forecast revenues for businesses like the PGA using one of their products, CourseCast. They’ve also created a mass notification system to equip cities like Fort Worth with sirens that alert when impending weather really is on the horizon. And last but not least, their mobile/web app, Pocket Perry, is like having the most knowledgeable weatherman in your personal pocket, equipping every day people with the ability to know the truth about the weather.
“Perry Weather Consulting serves clients across the country with accurate, timely forecasts. These forecasts help school systems make decisions to keep students and faculty safe in inclement weather and enable companies to make sound business decisions that drives growth.”
5. Veryable – DALLAS
Veryable is an on-demand labor marketplace for manufacturing, logistics, and warehousing. The Veryable model provides businesses with labor pools of workers who have flexible work arrangements to enable higher productivity and fewer administrative burdens. Veryable’s goal is to unshackle businesses and allow them to scale while maintaining a lower and more constant cost structure. They’ve created a technology that has a real-time marketplace for labor that puts more people to work and relieves the burden on producers, improving overall productivity and enabling organic growth.
“Currently live in the Dallas and Houston areas, Veryable is already demonstrating the effectiveness of its model, creating work opportunities for hundreds of individuals and improving the workflow of dozens of businesses.”
4. Deadsoxy – DALLAS
DeadSoxy was born out of the founder’s personal frustration. He wanted quality socks with a cool minimal design that stayed in place on his legs. After trying literally every brand on the market, he decided once and for all that he didn’t like their socks, so he set out to create his own. And alas, DeadSoxy was born. The mission behind DeadSoxy is that socks don’t have to be a staple, boring wardrobe item, and the goal of the company is creating socks that people love to wear. They’ve built a sock that never slips or falls, is affordable, and never shrinks. They carry both men's and women's socks, and they carry several accessories like laces and pocket squares. They are a company that stands firmly behind their product, and their passion and quality makes DeadSoxy's socks easy to sell.
“They've developed a fashion forward classic product that also functions extremely well at a reasonable price. There is style and passion behind everything they do ... Very cool company.”
3. Balanced Media Technology – MCKINNEY
The mission of Balanced Media Technology is to change the way people play and learn about the inner workings of the human body. They put their mission to work by using the gaming culture to enlighten, motivate and educate. They want to add value to each minute you spend online gaming, streaming, and enjoying content, because they believe real empowerment and industry change comes when users and developers build communities around collaboration. Balanced Media Technology believes individuals can be world changers, and they spend their days working to make that belief a reality. They’ve created an innovative data science platform (called “HEWMEN”) that combines video games, distributed computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) to solve large scale real world problems through on-demand crowdsourced computing. HEWMAN has been used to help do research for cancer-fighting drugs. Ultimately, Balanced Media Technology is empowering everyday people to fight for causes by doing the things they’re already doing (like playing video games), and the results have already been revolutionary.
“This company is a group of extremely talented individuals from different industries coming together to use technology, gameplay and human interactions to help with cancer research."
2. Marciante and Company – DALLAS
Marciante and Co. is a creative startup dedicated to manufacturing and selling quality leather shoes and other leather products at reasonable prices.They do this by selecting top grade tanneries and small batch factories to produce designer-level quality at a fraction of the high-end fashion cost. With honest pricing, and integrity in their design, Marciante is an extension of their family legacy. All of their products (they mostly focus on shoes and bags) come from fair trade shops and factories in Leon, Mexico (the leather shoe capital of the western hemisphere). Every product is assembled with care and intentionality by people who love their jobs and families who have been working with leather for generations, meaning buyers can rest assured knowing they don't have to sacrifice any moral standards just to have a quality leather product. They’ve worked tirelessly to listen to their customers, to get ahead of trends, and to never compromise quality or comfort, and their products are truly a testament to their undeniable dedication.
“Marciante and Co. offers timeless, high quality leather goods that will last to a market who craves more than fast fashion. They are a bright star in Dallas and look forward to what's in store for them!”
1. Artist Uprising – DALLAS
Taking the title as the Number 1 Hottest Startup in DFW for the second year in a row is Artist Uprising, a Dallas-born company that exists to bridge the gap between emerging artists and certain "tipping-point" opportunities. Artist Uprising relentlessly seeks out undiscovered emerging talent from all facets of arts & entertainment around the world. Then, they introduce them to the general public in a way that is authentic to the history and the heart of the artist.
By combining trans-media storytelling with traditional print (they're proving that print is very much still alive), Artist Uprising is on a mission to become the most trusted source for curating the freshest emerging talent in every creative industry throughout the world. From this curated roster of ever-growing brilliant connections, they promise to partner with the right brands, so that credible & dependable opportunities arise for creators in a way more accessible than ever before.
Artist Uprising was publicly initiated in 2017 with the release of an annual curatorial featuring "Top 25 Most Influential Creatives of Dallas/Fort Worth.” The publication sold out only 5 days after its debut in 2017 and was distributed in 30 locations in Dallas including the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as being placed in every room of The Joule Hotel.
Artist Uprising has big things in store for 2018. They’ll be releasing their next curatorial publication this spring, and they are launching a new podcast series interviewing celebrities and emerging talent from all over the US. In its two years as a company, Artist Uprising is already growing the creative world in huge ways, and they really are just getting started.
“I believe their mission - to help DFW artists thrive in their skills and gifting - helps our community in a tremendous way. Art is the lifeblood of our city. I love how Artist Uprising features talented artists in our community and provides an avenue for them to live out a dream and use their gifts and talents to invest back in the community through art. We need more individuals who can make a living writing, designing, singing, painting, building incredible startups, and taking great risks in entrepreneurship. Artist Uprising is making that happen for so many local individuals."