February 1, 2023

Dallas-based Duro Hospitality has launched a new Mexican concept in the Design District. Called El Carlos Elegante, it’s the group’s sixth concept and third to open this year, alongside Italian-inspired coffee and cocktail spot Café Duro in Lower Greenville and Casa Duro, a set of three apartments above the AirBnb-listed cafe .

El Carlos Elegante is Duro’s first venture outside of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, offering large cuts of quality wood-fired Argentinian-style meat and fish, a wide selection of crudos, homemade tortillas and masa-based dishes. The bar presents an extensive mezcal program, including natural options with no additives. Menu highlights include: Beef Aguachile, Mayan Hummus, Pork al Pastor and more.

“We’re confusing things with the opening of El Carlos,” said Benji Homsey, co-founder of Duro Hospitality. “Not only are we bringing Duro Hospitality’s Latino cuisine to Dallas, we’ve also pushed the boundaries when designing the space. Each of our concepts has unique personalities and El Carlos represents a new character in our portfolio, whose story is told through the design of the space and represented on the menu.”

The group is known for its dedication to interior design, an effort spearheaded by two of its four co-founders, Ross and Corbin See of Sees Design. For El Carlos Elegante, inspiration came from a Mexican hacienda that has been passed down through several generations. The space feels like it was last renovated in the mid-century, and features mid-century modern pieces, unexpected color combinations, and an eclectic mix of textiles. Details, surfaces and materials, whereby the furniture is sourced almost exclusively from Mexico, also set authentic accents.

“Our vision for this project was similar to Sister’s in some ways,” says Corbin. “We wanted it to feel cross-generational and cozy. The space has a homely vibe, and we wanted the pieces to feel collected and added over time. The courts, for example, are not all coordinated. It’s an eclectic mix, so over time it feels replaced.”

The Sees also collaborated with Dallas-based design firm Nunzio Marc Desantis Architects on the project. “Nunzio and Marc DeSantis were instrumental in blending the architectural features with the cultural, historical and geographic elements we envisioned when conceptualizing the personality for El Carlos,” adds Ross.

The entrance to El Carlos Elegante reveals a courtyard with an oversized chimney and retractable roof. The restaurant area features custom wallpaper, El Carlos “family portraits” and ironwork in the main dining room, as well as a second fireplace. The private dining room hosts custom mural wallpaper by Pierre Frey and opens to the backyard, which also includes a retractable roof and custom fountain.

Earlier this year, Duro announced plans to soon open another restaurant – a European concept in the historic former Highland Park Soda and Pharmacy building at Travis Street and Knox Street.

Home Maintenance Marketplace Stellar raises $20 million

Dallas-based Stellar, which provides property managers and contractors with a technology-driven marketplace that enables them to solve maintenance problems, closed a $20 million Series B funding round. The round was led by Tampa-based Weatherford Capital, with also investing from San Francisco-based Brick & Mortar Ventures, Austin-based S3 Ventures, Charleston-based Alerion Ventures and Beverly Hills-based Navigate Ventures.

In total, the company has now raised $35 million. The new funding will be aimed at improving technology and expanding into new US markets. Stellar also plans to double its headcount by the end of 2023.

“This funding will allow us to meet increasing demand in our maintenance market, evolve to more agile technology, including a new mobile app, and expand our talent and market reach,” said Dustin Marx, Founder and CEO.

Stellar serves 10 of the top 11 single-family homeowners across more than 150,000 properties. To date, the company has created work for more than 8,000 contractors and solved more than 200,000 maintenance issues for residents and property managers.

Frisco’s XR Sports Group joins Mastercard’s startup program

Kedreon Cole
XR sports group

Frisco-based XR Sports Group was selected by Mastercard as one of five companies to participate in its Start Path program, a virtual initiative that enables early startups to scale quickly. Since 2014, more than 250 startups have participated in the program, and the companies have collectively raised more than $5 billion since the program began.

Mastercard designed the program to work with companies that have an enterprise use case. XR Sports Group was one of 1,500 applicants for Start Path. The company’s platform sits at the intersection of the creator economy and fintech, which is a particular area of ​​interest for Mastercard.

XR Sports has created website frameworks that allow pro sports teams and influencers using websites for personal branding and marketing to have sole ownership of their content and data. Cole likens it to a real estate fund. “If you buy an asset and you don’t own the mineral rights, you don’t own all of that asset,” he says. “The value will remain in the land and mineral claims.”

XR Sports Group creates revenue streams through digital commerce and creating personalized communities for clients like the Dallas Mavericks, Conference USA, Good Good Golf, Southwestern Athletic Conference and more.

CEO Kedreon Cole hopes the program will bring new technology to XR Sports’ Website Builder for Original Content Creators platform. XR Sports Group has also now solidified partnerships with Google, Accenture and Mastercard to accelerate adoption of their platform by sports and media companies.

“We’ve done a good job of building corporate relationships that help make our platform less risky to some extent,” said Cole. “Having Mastercard’s support for innovative solutions like microtransactions is an incredible win for XR. In 2023 we will look to showcase the solutions we are developing with Mastercard and grow our client relationships with a focus on corporate sports and media groups.”

Cognizant acquires DFW consulting firm AustinCSI

NASDAQ-listed Cognizant, an IT services and consulting firm, has acquired Dallas-based AustinCSI, a consulting firm specializing in enterprise cloud and data analytics consulting services for Fortune 500 clients. Clearsight Advisors’ Dallas office, led by Gretchen Frary Seay, advised AustinCSI on the acquisition.

“We are excited about the opportunity to join Cognizant and combine our strengths in delivering advanced and transformative technology to clients,” said Karen Moree, CEO and co-founder of AustinCSI. “Together we can bring more impact to our current clients with broader capabilities in emerging digital technologies and reach a broader market by leveraging Cognizant’s global reach.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.

New female-led private jet company establishes operations in Southlake

A group of North Texas women took over Stella Jets, which was founded in Detroit, Michigan, and moved its operations to Southlake. Stella Jets, an on-demand luxury travel company, works with nearly 3,000 aircraft operators worldwide.

Stella Jet owners include President Tia Minzoni, Vice President Jasmine Johnson and Deputy Vice President Taylor Minzoni. The group wants to make the private jet industry more cost-effective and establish a subscription-based model that can be described as the “AirBnb” of private jet charter.

The company’s key initiatives on its journey to success are partnerships with influencers who have premium audiences for private jet travel and partnerships with premium travel services, including celebrity chauffeur services.


Ben Pregnant

Ben Swager is Associate Editor for D Managing Directorthe trade name for D magazine. Ben manages the Dallas 500

Kelsey Vanderschoot

Kelsey Vanderschoot

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Kelsey J. Vanderschoot came to Dallas via Napa, Los Angeles and Madrid, Spain. As a former teacher, she joined…

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