A number of Dallas-Fort Worth-based entrepreneurs and their companies have made Fast Company’s newly released 2021 World’s Most Innovative Companies. But two local companies topped the list, finding their way into the top 50: Get Shift Done and Avocados From Mexico.
For Fast Company’s 14th annual rendition of the innovative rankings, the business publication honored 463 companies—more than ever before, according to Deputy Editor David Lidsky—across 46 categories and regions.
That’s largely because “business as usual is over,” Fast Company says. As the pandemic hits its one-year mark, the publication takes a look at the global businesses that have survived, thrived, pivoted, and flourished during an unprecedented time in history. Each company is addressing a world changed by COVID-19; many have adapted to society’s shift and propelled upwards.
Only three from last year’s list returned, Shopify, Microsoft, and Snap. According to Fast Company, this shows the “volatility rollicking our world as well as the dynamism within the business community in the face of big challenges.”
But perhaps most noteworthy is the list’s two leaders, which both hold the number one spot as their timely products roll out across the country: Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
The Top 50 World’s Most Innovative Companies were determined by Fast Company editors and reporters who pored over the lists of the Top 10 companies by industry. You can check out the full roundup of businesses, and why they made it to the top, here.
Get Shift Done, at No. 28, is credited by Fast Company for its spot as “tackling both job loss and hunger by paying hospitality workers to fill food-bank shifts.” It also came in at No. 1 in the not-for-profit category.
You might remember Get Shift Done from the beginning of the pandemic. The initiative is the brainchild of business leaders Anurag Jain, chairman of Access Healthcare and managing partner of Perot Jain, and Patrick Brandt, president of Shiftsmart, who collaborated with the Communities Foundation of Texas to create a fund that put people in the North Texas hospitality industry back to work—at nonprofits.
The idea was that restaurants would schedule their staff at the nonprofits at the wage rate of $10 hour. Then, Get Shift Done would pay for the gig, essentially allowing those in the hospitality industry to help others, while helping themselves. Shiftsmart, a worker-centric online marketplace that helps companies facing staffing requirements, used its platform and operations team to handle the shifts.
Since, the project has grown to cities across the country.
Avocados From Mexico holds the No. 33 spot overall, and No. 1 in the branding category, for “catapulting humble produce into a covetable branded product.”
AFM has been making sure its coveted super fruit shines on shelves since its founding. Fast Company points out that the Irving-based business has no packaging or label aside from a sticker, but is still a household name.
That mainly comes from brand “touchpoints.” Right before COVID hit, AFM opened AvoEatery, the “world’s first polished-casual avocado restaurant” serving 29 avocado dishes in Dallas’ mixed-use Trinity Groves complex. After the success of its avocado-centric concession stands in Dallas’ American Airlines Center and Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, AFM decided to expand the concept into an entire restaurant.
Also last year, the company launched a digital partnership with Walmart to educate consumers and encourage sales. The #Homemadecinco social campaign, which featured a “guac generator” that paired avos to common pantry items, grew site engagement by 90 percent.
Other companies with North Texas headquarters or major ties on the Most Innovative Companies list include Capital One (No. 3 in corporate social responsibility), OneDine (No. 3 in dining), Apex Clearing (No. 6 in finance), and Signify Health (No. 8 in health).
Presented by Dallas Innovates.