Running on Full: Entrepreneurs hail North Texas as incubator of technology, opportunity
Why run on empty when you can run on full? That’s what two entrepreneurs recently asked themselves. And thanks to the power of connected devices and a business-friendly environment in North Texas, these two visionaries delivered two very different but equally useful answers to market.
As entrepreneur Brenda Stoner was driving up the Dallas North Tollway one day, she was considering ways to move some product from one location to another. Then an idea hit her: “I was staring at inventory, right there in front of me – all those empty truck beds.” Then and there, PICKUP was born.
PICKUP is an instant delivery service featuring pick-up truck owners — “Good Guys,” as they’re known within the company. Through an app, toll-free number and website, users can tap into a network of well-screened, reliable Good Guys who can help to haul items from one place to another.
The PICKUP driver pool is mostly made up of public servants – off-duty police or firefighters, members of the military and veterans. Of those who apply, only 15 percent make it through PICKUP’s rigorous screening process. “Our drivers are natural entrepreneurs and service-minded people,” Stoner said. PICKUP also verifies that the trucks meets high quality and safety standards.
Since its founding in June 2015, PICKUP has grown quickly and now serves residential, retail and commercial clients in North Texas and Houston. But for everywhere PICKUP goes, Stoner credits North Texas with her business’s continued success. “It’s the velocity we have been able to gain with this business with this community of like-minded start-up people. You can accelerate a business like crazy here. Everyone seems to care.”
Booster Fuels also benefitted from a community that was open to the idea of innovation. Incubated at AllianceTexas two years ago, Booster Fuels provides full-service fuel delivery on the campuses of large companies – such as Frito-Lay, Galderma Laboratories, DynCorp International and Hillwood – as an employee benefit that the company doesn’t have to administer or monitor.
Through a smartphone app, users order a “boost,” pop the fuel door and go on with their day. Booster comes to the vehicle in a special truck, fuels the vehicle, and emails the user a receipt. The cost is competitive with prices at local gas stations with no delivery charges or subscription fees.
“Having that vision and forward-thinking to say, ‘Hey, do this in North Texas,’ is important,” said Frank Mycroft, co-founder of Booster Fuels. “What we saw with [Fort Worth] Mayor Betsy Price and the Fort Worth Fire Department, is that they are open to this type of innovation. They have a keen focus on safety while also trying to find ways to work with new ideas like this. That willingness to be open allowed us that seed to grow.”
Read more about the stories behind Booster Fuels and PICKUP in the latest issue of NTX Magazine.