TECH Fort Worth honored three area companies during its IMPACT Awards luncheon May 13 and also announced a new donor program for “Friends of TECH Fort Worth.”
The IMPACT Awards luncheon is a celebration of clients and graduates of TECH Fort Worth programs, and portfolio companies of Cowtown Angels, a program of TECH Fort Worth that brings together angel investors and early-stage companies seeking capital. Three emerging technology companies were honored at the event: BearTek Gloves, a manufacturer of protective gloves that allow uses to easily operate electronic devices; The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Co., a resurrection of the fabled Ben Hogan golf club manufacturer; and Encore Vision, a company developing the world’s first treatment for presbyopia.
“We are inspired every day by the technologies we see and the entrepreneurs we meet,” said Darlene Boudreaux, executive director of TECH Fort Worth. “Many others we meet are just as inspired and want a way to be able to contribute to our programs and the emergence and growth of technology in north Texas. The ‘Friends of TECH Fort Worth’ giving program is for them.”
The new program consists of three suggested giving levels: Leader ($25-$499), Catalyst ($500-$999) and Changemaker ($1,000+). Each level includes benefits and an association with TECH Fort Worth.
A fourth TECH Fort Worth client, Ampcare, won the People’s Choice Award, voted on by the 250-plus in attendance that visited TECH Fort Worth client displays during the morning’s Comerica Bank Showcase. Ampcare’s module kit stimulates swallowing for people with dysphagia.
Al Guillem, president of ZS Pharma, TECH Fort Worth’s most financially successful graduate, spoke to attendees about the journey from “$0 to $1 billion.” ZS Pharma, which has a treatment to control levels of potassium in the body, went public June 18, 2014 and is valued today at $1.24 billion.
“We’re thankful to TECH Fort Worth for helping build our infrastructure and to University of North Texas Health Science Center for its technology resources,” he said. “And to Texas for $2 million from its Technology Fund when we were sucking wind. It also gave us additional credibility.”
Sponsors of TECH Fort Worth include the City of Fort Worth, the University of Texas at Arlington, the Fort Worth Business Press, Sabre, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Lockheed Martin, Silicon Valley Bank, Dell, TriNet, Whitley Penn and the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.
* BearTek Gloves manufactures innovative protective gloves that allow remote access and control of target devices. These feature-rich gloves allow users to conveniently and safely control their Bluetooth devices and GoPro products. Simple touches of the thumb to the appropriate finger will activate the desired function on the target device. The interchangeable modules plug into a connector inside the glove’s zipper pocket. Partner and COO Tarik Rodgers said sales are projected at “$1 million this year with an exit strategy in a few years when sales hit $40-$50 million.”
* The Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Company provides golfers with precision scoring clubs – irons 1 through 9 and wedges. The company has combined the shot-making genius of Hogan with the power of today’s game to provide irons and wedges with the distance you want, while also giving you the precision, accuracy and playability that Hogan demanded. “We don’t just have a brand here,” said Terry Koehler, President and CEO. “We have a man’s legacy to maintain.”
* Encore Vision is developing the world’s first treatment for presbyopia, which is the lost ability of the lens inside the eye to change shape in response to a visual stimulus allowing focus on nearby objects. Think reading glasses. There is no treatment for presbyopia. Encore Vision is working toward a (liquid) solution.