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Innovate Fort Worth Podcast

Innovation is changing Fort Worth. Start-ups and a spirit of entrepreneurship are transforming the city known for Cowboys and Culture into a hub for innovative ideas and businesses. Innovate Fort Worth shares the stories of the city’s leading innovators, entrepreneurs and investors —and highlights the resources available to bring ideas to market. Powered by UNT Health Science Center.


Fort Worth is the City of Cowboys and Culture. But for the country's 13th-largest city to compete in today's economy, it must also become a City of Innovation. Marco Johnson spent years sparking innovation in faraway places like East Africa. Now he's at UNT Health Science Center connecting Fort Worth entrepreneurs with the right resources for their startups.


"People need people more than stuff," says Melissa Ice, founder of two local non-profits, The Net and The Worthy Co. She lives by these words as she serves the homeless and women and children who have been exploited. She empowers people by employing those who cannot find work to provide a stable income for themselves and their families. Relationships are the key to her work that makes a difference in our community.


In hard times, people turn to sweet treats for hope. And nobody knows that better than Melt, a local ice cream company that "delivers happiness." Founder Kari Crowe believes that treats can change a day,­­ and a day can change the world. Melt has three locations across DFW and specializes in custom, craft ice cream flavors.


We've all done it. You buy something at a big box store and you realize you can't get your new purchase home in your car. Gozova was created to solve this problem and serve customers who need to move anything, anywhere. Their services include a fleet of vehicles that can handle any move and the labor that can get your heavy or bulky items to their destination, simply and safely. Gozova is now scaling throughout Texas and is planning its next move to take the country by storm.


How do you translate a language that has never been written? Or help corporations make better decisions for the planet and their consumers? Could technology be used as a force for good to help improve people's lives? Sheryle Gilihan is the CEO of CauseLabs, a social enterprise that works with leading changemakers to grow positive impact.


Plants grow best under red and blue light. What if you could convert sunlight from all colors of the spectrum into red and blue to decrease harvest time, increase crop yields and improve plant quality? Tyler Sickels' company SolGro licensed technology from the University of Texas at Arlington to help farmers do exactly that through a special greenhouse material that uses nanoparticles to transform sunlight.


When COVID-19 struck, one local entrepreneur pivoted to creating solutions that fill gaps in our healthcare system. Among three companies created by Albert "Ab" Deweese are Hepius Equipment, which makes microwave-sized medical devices that sterilize N-95 masks, and a fractional Chief Medical Officer company to help small businesses reopen safely.


How did Jamey Ice, the long-haired, tattooed Millennial guitarist from Green River Ordinance, arrive at the center of Fort Worth’s entrepreneurship scene? By innovating everything from coffeehouses to how people buy, sell and rehabilitate homes — and now he’s helping other local entrepreneurs tell their original stories.


Patricia Zilliox could have chosen any city as U.S. headquarters for her French biotech startup Eyevensys, which recently raised $30 million to develop eye disease treatments. She chose Fort Worth. That’s because Alcon and the North Texas Eye Research Institute at HSC have turned Cowtown into a world-renowned hotbed of eye research innovation.


Miguel Harth-Bedoya loves music and hates waste. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conductor was so discouraged by how much compostable food waste goes into the landfill that he followed a garbage truck one day to see where it went. Soon he launched Cowboy Compost, an innovative business that helps residents, businesses and event venues reduce their environmental impact.


Who doesn’t know Mr. Mucus? The slimy green character representing a head cold is the face of Mucinex ads. But the man who brought the cold remedy medicine to market and created a $2.3 billion North Texas company is John Adams, who shares the inside story of how a former Kansas pharmaceutical salesman turned a cold remedy into a household name.


Meet Les Kreis, one of the few venture capitalists in Fort Worth. The managing partner and co-founder of Bios Partners hears hundreds of startup pitches from entrepreneurs every year. He spills the secrets on what makes a successful pitch – and the surefire way to leave empty handed.


Veena Somareddy was a PhD student when she met businessman Bruce Conti. A tragedy had left Conti’s son with a brain injury that required advanced treatment. Together, they turned an old Fort Worth furniture store into a state-of-the-art rehab center and founded Neuro Rehab VR, which uses virtual reality to transform the lives of people with brain and spinal injuries.


Cam Sadler was a teacher at Dunbar High School with big ideas. One summer break, he cashed in his retirement savings and started a company that helps job seekers get offers from tech businesses. Soon he was in Silicon Valley, the first Fort Worth entrepreneur accepted into Y Combinator, the startup funder of AirBnb and DropBox.