Innovate, disrupt and transform – 365 days
Big D was innovating before it was cool. More than 60 years ago, Dallas became the birthplace of the integrated circuit, which would become the microchip. Today, we’re home to startup warriors, cyber defenders, biotech wizards and other innovators who think big and do good.
The first integrated circuit was built in Dallas in 1958
by Texas Instruments employee Jack Kilby, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize for his invention.
14 Dallas-area companies placed in Deloitte’s “2021 Technology Fast 500” ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, fintech, telecommunications, life sciences, media and energy tech companies in North America.
Incubator@SMU – SMU students, faculty and staff who want to launch companies use this business-focused workspace to collaborate with customers, mentors and other entrepreneurs from the Dallas area and beyond.
Incubator startups span a variety of industries, including arts, consumer products, consulting, education, technology and more.
Seun Suberu ’23 arrived on campus with big ambitions for the future of his CollegePlus app. Fast forward three years, and the startup co-founder has honed new business skills and earned more than $85,000 in funding through multiple SMU competitions designed to jump-start student-led innovation.
Winning Big iDeas pitches span a variety of industries, including education, e-commerce, health care and more.
SMU alumni Neha Husein ’19 used Big iDeas seed funding to launch her Just Drive app as a student. In December, she captured the top prize in the WEDallas inaugural pitch competition for a new venture – ZStash, an innovative platform promoting sustainability by helping wholesalers and boutique owners destash inventory.
Bold, curious and creative SMU alumni are driven to think big:
- Amber Venz Box ’08 and Baxter Box ’11, founders, rewardStyle and LTK
- Courtney Caldwell ’00, co-founder, ShearShare
- Stuart Edenfield ’07 and Curtis Edenfield ’09, co-founders, Thrive Aviation
- Brittany Merrill Underwood ’06, founder and executive chairman, Akola Jewelry
- Whitney Wolfe Herd ’11, founder and CEO, Bumble Inc. (Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick)
SMU alumni say:
Guidance from SMU mentors and startup funding from SMU programs – such as Engaged Learning, Big iDeas and the Meadows Exploration Award – helped me achieve my dream of opening my own business. I can support myself while pursuing professional work as an actor.
— Alysia Giakoumas ’21, Founder/CEO, The Playground Acting Program LLC
Deason Innovation Gym – SMU and Dallas indulge a shared can-do spirit in this student-centered makerspace – open to all SMU students to ideate, iterate, learn what doesn’t work and what does.
Free access to SMU supercomputing boosts research. As a regional leader in the applications of artificial intelligence (AI), SMU is collaborating with accelerated computing leader NVIDIA to support advanced AI enhancements for students and faculty to tackle complex problems.
With Dallas as their classroom, students have the flexibility to pursue multiple areas of study and get ready for the jobs of the future.
SMU students say:
SMU offers so much flexibility when it comes to majors and minors. No other school would let me major in both computer science and international studies, as I would just get stuck in one.
— Blake Gebhardt ’24