For over 175 years, Dallas has enjoyed a reputation as a hub of world-class business innovation. It may only be the third largest city in Texas but it is the largest in terms of global business. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is home to some of America's largest companies including Exxon Mobil, AT&T and American Airlines. In total 21 Fortune 500 companies call the Dallas area home.
However, there are many more companies doing some really cool things in Dallas that you may not have heard of. We've picked out eight of the most interesting for this list.
As always we've selected companies from a variety of different industries, and picked out a special feature that really highlights the great work each business is doing.
Ilumi produces the world's smartest light bulb. The lights can be controlled via a tablet or smartphone using the company's well designed app. This means you can adjust the brightness and even color of your home's lighting without having to move from your seat.
Ilumi was created by Swapnil Bora and Corey Egan two classmates from the University of Texas in Dallas. They entered their idea for a light bulb controlled by a smartphone into the University's Business Idea Competition and won first place.
In 2013 they managed to secure more than $200,000 worth of funding using Kickstarter. And Shark Tank fans may recognize Ilumi from season 5, where Mark Cuban was impressed enough to invest $350,000 in exchange for a 15% stake in the business.
- Founded: 2010
- Founded By: Swapnil Bora and Corey Egan
- Industry: Technology
- Area Served: Worldwide
- Website: Ilumi.co
Special Feature: Innovation
The idea that sparked Ilumi was a great one, but so many companies fail to get off the ground in the competitive world of crowd-funded startups. Ilumi's success is a credit to everyone who has worked to turn the initial idea into a reality over the last 5 years.
The product Ilumi has created is wonderfully innovative, flexible and easy to use. The future for the company is as bright and colorful as the bulbs it has created.
Monkey King Noodle Co.
Monkey King Noodle Co. can be found in Dallas' Deep Ellum district. The hand-pulled noodles and soup dumplings they serve have quickly become one of the favorite eats in Dallas. Whatever the weather Monkey King's food is always in high demand.
The Monkey King Noodle Co. opened for business out of an old Taco stand in 2013 and was busy right away. In an interview with the Dallas Eater the four founders (Andrew Chen, Michelle Midyette, and Michael Wang) mentioned that they didn't tell anyone they were opening, so all the initial success was down to word of mouth alone. When you serve good food it speaks for itself.
- Founded: 2010
- Founded By: Andrew Chen, Michelle Midyette & Michael Wang
- Industry: Food
- Location: 3014 Main Street, Dallas, TX, United States
- Website: monkeykingnoodlecompany.com
Special Feature: Hand-Pulled Noodles
As the Monkey King Noodle Co. has become more popular it has become increasingly difficult for them to produce enough noodles by hand to meet demand. But they have stuck with tradition and still manage to get customers their food quickly.
If the Monkey King founders decide to open a second location and can't find another noodle master this may have to change, but for now it is business as usual.
As Andrew Chen puts it "we've always been of the belief that if we're going to make something, then it's going to be the best damn thing possible in that category.” Not every business has this attitude, so credit to the Monkey Kings!
Jimmys Food Store
Jimmy's Food Store is one of the most popular lunch spots in the Dallas Fort Worth Area. It is a traditional family run business that first opened as a grocery store in Dallas in 1966.
The running of Jimmy's has been passed down through many generations, but the quality is still as high as ever. As well as offering its own takeout lunch menu Jimmy's produce also features in restaurants all over Dallas.
- Founded: 1966
- Founded By: James & Marie DiCarlo
- Industry: 4901 Bryan Street at Fitzhugh
- Location: 3014 Main Street, Dallas, TX, United States
- Website: jimmysfoodstore.com
Brothers Mike and Paul brought Jimmy's back to its original roots in 1996 by deciding to focus solely on Italian food. They began to roll their own meatballs to sell in the store, and spoke to customers about the sorts of foods they wanted to see added to the menu.
It's the family and community feel that makes Jimmy's such a great place to shop and eat. Traditional family run businesses with a rich heritage can be just as rich as cool quirky new startups, so well done to everybody at Jimmy's.
Masergy offers global cloud services for the modern business world. The managed cloud networking, advanced managed security and cloud unified communications solutions they offer are completely customizable and empower enterprise companies to achieve profitable results today while optimizing for their future business goals.
Masergy has developed many patented technologies including software defined network control, real-time analytics and an adaptive behavioral security platform. In addition to their unique technology, Masergy’s unmatched service and support philosophy have elevated the customer experience, setting a new standard for what enterprises should expect from their technology service providers.
Masergy was founded in the year 2000 and now has more than 350 employees. Everyone that works at Masergy has great things to say about the company and the working environment it has created.
- Founded: 2000
- Chairman: Chris MacFarland
- Industry: Information Technology
- Area Served: Worldwide
- Website: masergy.com
Special Feature: Product Quality
Masergy is great for Dallas, as the company is one of the leaders in its field. In the last few years Masergy has won numerous awards, including ones for customer service, technology innovations and company culture.
It’s important for an area to have cutting edge businesses creating skilled job opportunities. This is what Masergy is doing for Dallas, so it definitely deserves its place on the cool list.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company
The Deep Ellum Brewing Co. was founded to show Dallas what it has been missing out on in the beer department. The company even has a Beerfesto in which it pledges:
- To never waste your time with gimmicks
- To let our beer do the talking
- To never live or work in a dry county
- To remember our roots
- To never serve a single glass of bad beer
This is craft beer as it should be.
- Founded: 2011
- Founded by: John Reardon
- Industry: Food & Beverages
- Headquarters: 2823 St Louis St Dallas, TX 75226
- Website: deepellumbrewing.com
Special Feature: Branding
Everything about the Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s brand is cool. The founders have managed to create something that feels totally unique and special in what is an extremely competitive market.
You only have to glance at the company's Facebook or Twitter pages to understand that this is a brand people care about and want to connect with.
One of the Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s most recent events was a Donut Dash 5k (with lots of beer added in of course). A cool event put on by an even cooler brand.
Texas811 works with utility companies and municipalities to prevent damage to underground infrastructure by assessing each digging job before it begins. Texas811’s 200+ employees take great pride in helping to keep people safe by notifying underground stakeholders of a planned dig so that those stakeholders can mark the location of underground lines before ground is broken.
Texas811 operates an 811 call center for the entire state of Texas, and last year answered over two and a half million underground line locate requests.
Texas811 is a non-profit entity and is driven by a board of directors, which is made up of representatives of the firms it serves.
- Founded: 1984
- Industry: Damage Prevention
- Area Served: Statewide
- Website: texas811.org
Special Feature: Working Environment
For 3 years in a row Texas 811 has been named one of the Dallas Morning News' top 100 places to work and it's easy to see why. Its employees are very pro-active in their jobs, and rave about other benefits including a free on-site gym and a free on-site clinic.
With great benefits like these, and the high levels of job satisfaction helping people brings, it's not surprising that Texas811's employees voted it the number 1 Midsized Company in the Dallas Fort-Worth area in 2012. In fact Texas811 is a regular winner of employer awards.
Genband is a leading name in the communications space and focuses on the new technologies like VoIP and Unified Communications. It sells its services to large businesses like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint rather than directly to consumers.
Genband was founded in 1999 under the name General Bandwidth in another great Texan city, Austin. In 2010 the company moved to Frisco which is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Genband now has operations in more than 50 countries and works with most of the largest network operators around the world.
- Founded: 1999
- Founded by: Brendon Mills, Paul Carew, Steve Raich and Ron Lutz
- Industry: Telecommunications
- Area served: Worldwide
- Website: genband.com
Special Feature: Pioneers of New Technology
Genband is close to achieving something special. They are using new technology to completely transform the customer service industry.
Imagine if you could call your bank directly and have the customer service agent on the other end see exactly what is on your screen? This could also work for troubleshooting errors on e-commerce websites, or for fixing any problem you are having with an online transaction.
This new communications platform being offered by Genband is called Kandy. It was launched last year and has already been adopted by SAP. It is exciting that this revolution is taking place in the Dallas area.
Modx is an open source content management system (CMS) that is completely free to use. The first version was only released in 2004 but Modx has already built a great reputation and a large user base.
- Founded: 2004
- Founded by: Ryan Thrash & Jason Coward
- Industry: Internet Technology (Content Management System)
- Headquarters: 25 Highland Pk Vlg Ste 100-413, Dallas, TX 75205-2789
- Website: modx.com
Special Feature: Creative Freedom
The most well-known and widely used free, open source CMS is Wordpress, but Modx is certainly a worthy rival and is actually a better platform for many people. It offers more control to those capable of handling it, meaning users can create websites that are better suited to their individual needs.
Platforms like Wordpress are very well structured but if you're looking for a CMS that allows you to be more creative Modx is for you. Modx is only limited by your own imagination. The finished product is a credit to the small team that created it.