Worth Noting: Where Fort Worth and Bono meet

The Edge, left, with Bono of U2

The Fort Worth- and San Francisco-based private equity firm TPG finds itself involved in plenty of deals.

Most recently TPG has invested in LLamasoft, a provider of supply chain modeling and design software. TPG Growth, the middle market and growth equity investment platform of TPG, has announced plans to acquire Medical Solutions, a U.S. medical staffing company, for a reported $500 million.

TPG Growth has also stretched into the fitness market, taking a stake in Club Pilates, the biggest chain of Pilates studios in the United States.

Most of those deals get reported, but it’s rarely a big headline outside of the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg or the publication you’re reading right now. Big and splashy, TPG is not.

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However, last year TPG started a project called the Rise Fund that invests in private companies that also have a social mission. That fund attracted a little more star power in the form of Virgin leader and occasional headliner Richard Branson, Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene-Powell Jobs, and none other than Grammy-winning U2 front man and social cause champion Bono.

A few weeks ago, the Rise Fund made its first investment in

EverFi, a Washington, D.C.-based technology company that provides online courses that address topics including financial literacy, prevention of sexual assault and harassment, alcohol responsibility, social and emotional learning, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and career readiness

The Rise Fund led the $190 million financing round with a $120 million investment. TPG Growth invested $30 million and existing investors also participated in the financing. TPG join existing investors Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and Allen and Company as part of the growing EverFi investor network, so they hardly found a diamond in the rough.

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A RISING TIDE

The came, they saw and they listened to a robot recite Shakespeare.

The event was the launch of the Rising Tide Initiative at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History on April 28.

More than 100 community leaders from across North Texas gathered to tour the latest technology installations at the museum and hear from thought leaders who spoke on a range of topics including artificial intelligence, virtual reality applications in education and the burgeoning technology industry in Fort Worth.

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“It was an exciting night,” said Van A. Romans, president of the museum. “We announced our vision for the future of this museum six months ago, with the introduction of the Academy of Digital Learning. This evening our guests got to see firsthand what that really means.”

Doug Roberts, who recently joined the museum as chief technology officer, led a panel discussion featuring Julienne Greer from the University of Texas at Arlington and Rising Tide’s Kevin Grace. But the star of the show was NAO, a 2-foot-tall robot that does what local insurance man Don Woodard often does, recite Shakespeare.

But NAO is not just a spotlight hog. Greer, a professor in Theater Arts, is working with UTARI in the emerging field of social robotics and performance. Researchers have found that some children and elderly patients respond better to interactions with robots.

Rising Tide’s goal is to highlight local achievements in technology and create a technological ecosystem to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship in North Texas, with a focus on Fort Worth. The University of Texas at Arlington Robotics Institute will host the next RTI event.

The Rising Tide Initiative’s launch and panel discussion was sponsored by Higginbotham and Foundry Club.

http://risingtideinitiative.com/

MBA VIA WEB

Texas Wesleyan University is starting a new and completely online MBA that students can complete in as little as one year.

“This is another major development in our 2020 Vision strategic plan,” President Frederick G. Slabach said. “Texas Wesleyan is committed to developing new, competitive academic programming that will prepare students to be leaders and advance in professional careers. This is another way we’re fulfilling that promise.”

The “Smaller. Smarter. Faster. MBA” is built for working adults who want a convenient and fast way to jumpstart their career.

“Students can complete their MBA in as little as a year,” said Hector Quintanilla, dean of the School of Business. “We designed this program for working adults who need the flexibility to complete their MBA during times that best fit their schedule.”

A GMAT waiver has been added to the admissions requirements for students with a GPA of 3.0 or above on their bachelor’s degree (overall or in the last 60 credit hours); with three years of professional work experience with either a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of 2.5 or the last 60 credit hours GPA of 2.75; or with a completed graduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 and above.

“Online MBA students will have access to the library and other campus facilities, just like traditional students,” Quintanilla said. “We also know that graduates of this program, like our other degrees, will benefit from networking opportunities with our strong alumni base and business and community leaders that are a part of our community.”

The school says local corporations assisted in developing the program to ensure that the skills being taught are what businesses need. Online MBA concentrations include general business administration, supply chain management and health care administration.

www.txwes.edu/getmba

FWBP Staff