January can be a slow month in the business world. But that wasn’t at all the case in Austin. The local tech startup scene had several major milestones to start 2018.
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Now, let’s look at all the activity from January.
Austin Startup Funding
- TrendKite, a media analytics startup, announced it closed $11 million in additional venture backing. The round came from New York City-based Harmony Partners. And it brings TrendKite’s total funding to $46 million since its founding in 2012. TrendKite’s software uses AI to analyze millions of news articles each day and generate a variety of analytics to help companies learn more about the effectiveness of their PR campaigns, the impact of earned media and compare competitors’ coverage.
- Snap Kitchen, a prepared foods business that goes by Fitness Food Holdings in business filings, raised $16.3 million in new funding, an SEC filing showed. The company declined to address questions about investors and what the new money may be used for.
- WP Engine, an Austin-based software and analytics startup for WordPress users, announced a $250 million investment from SilverLake, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based tech investment firm that is heavily invested in Dell Technologies. The funding round is easily the largest for an Austin tech startup in recent memory (HomeAway’s $250 million round led by Technology Crossover Ventures in 2008 looks like the only comparable round). Along with that news, WP Engine, founded in 2010 by its CTO Jason Cohen and led by CEO Heather Brunner, announced it has reached more than $100 million in annual recurring revenue.
- HNI Healthcare, a health tech company formerly known as Hospitalists Now, Inc., has raised a $32.6 million round of equity funding, an SEC filing showed. The round was led by New York-based Bison Capital and a previous investor, Austin’s Spindletop Capital.
- Yonomi, an IoT app developer co-headquartered in Austin and Boulder, closed a $5 million series A. The round was led by Gentex, an electronics company with a variety of products for automotive, aerospace and fire protection.
- Shelfbucks, an in-store merchandizing startup, raised a $9 million Series B round. The company didn’t name all the investors, saying only it came from “multiple retail industry veterans as well as existing investors.” It noted, however, that Bernie Brennan, former chair of The National Retail Federation, is an investor. It also highlights Tom Dammeyer, president of San Diego-based CACLLC private investment company, as an investor. Both will join Shelfbucks’ board.
- Diligent Robotics, an Austin startup working on robots to help hospital workers, announced it has raised a $2.1 million seed round. It was led by True Ventures in Silicon Valley, and True Venture’s Rohit Sharma is joining the company’s board. Other investors include Pathbreaker Ventures, Boom Capital and Next Coast Ventures.
- FINERY, a New York-based automated online wardrobe platform, announced it has closed a $5 million seed round led by NEA with participation from Austin-based Next Coast Ventures and RetailMeNot Founder and CEO Cotter Cunningham, among others. Austinites Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick were among the company’s founding angel investors.
- re:3D, an Austin startup that makes large-scale 3D printers, won WeWork’s Creator Awards. It came with a $1 million prize. re:3D, founded by Samantha Snabes, makes a large-scale 3D printing machine. It is also working on new components to let folks quickly and easily turn recyclable water bottles into pellets used in the 3D printing process.
- Petros PACE Finance, a startup that helps commercial property owners get financing for energy efficient building upgrades, has raised $10 million in new equity funding. The round was led by former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and his investment firm, A-ROD Corp. Petros describes itself as a financier of long-term capital for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and seismic upgrades to commercial, multifamily and industrial properties in the U.S.
- Rolled-Ribbon Battery Company, which makes specialized high-power, high-capacity Li-ion batteries, has raised $3.5 million in new equity funding, an SEC filing shows.
- Infinitum Electric, a stealthy company formerly known as Fanergies, has raised $517,000 in equity funding, a new SEC filing shows. The company’s website doesn’t provide any additional information, but its LinkedIn page says the company “rethinks conventional generator and motor technology to reduce waste, increase efficiency and provide maximum scalability and optionality.”
- Octavo Systems, a system-in-package startup, has raised $2.5 million in equity funding, a new SEC filing shows. The filing shows the funding came from a single investor and that $1.8 million of it will be used to pay executive officers and repay corporate overhead. The startup was founded in 2013 by four former Texas Instruments employees and fellows — Bill Heye, Gene Frantz, Masood Murtuza and Joe Brennan.
- Degree Analytics, a startup trying to help more college students graduate by analyzing real-time data, announced it has raised a $1 million from a group of angel investors. Investors included former Amazon CIO Rick Dalzell, who is also on the board of Twilio and Intuit; David B. Palumbo, a managing director at SoftMatch who was previously VP of learning services at CompassLearning; and Larry Benz, former chairman of the board at the University of Louisville.
- Wellnicity, maker of at-home health test kits and supplements, closed a $3.6 million seed round led by Austin’s Capstar Partners. The company’s at-home tests range from analysis of sleep and mood, food sensitivities, focus and memory and more.
Acquisitions, Mergers and IPOs
- Asure Software, an Austin-based HR software company, has acquired three companies. The first is Santa Ana, Calif.-based TelePayroll and TelePay Insurance, which was previously family-owned and operated since 1963. It also acquired Sheakley PaySystems, which is part of Ohio-based Sheakley Group Inc., which does workers comp, payroll and other workplace services. Finally, Asure snapped up Winston-Salem-based Savers Admin, a third party administrator. No financial details provided on those deals.
- Ihiji, a remote network management startup, has sold its intellectual property and key operating assets to Control4, a Salt Lake City-based smart home and business networking company. No immediate details on the price. Ihiji’s team has been folded into Control4, and its products are being integrated with Control4’s. The transaction happened on Dec. 22, and it publicly announced the deal Wednesday. Ihiji had raised about $2 million from investors including Capital Factory, Floodgate, Silverton Partners and Jopeko, according to Crunchbase.
- Austin-based Accruent has made another acquisition. The company announced it has purchased Kykloud, a U.K.-based mobile software developer, for an undisclosed price. Accruent, which makes facility and asset management software, has made several recent acquisitions. In November last year, it acquired Amsterdam-based BlueCielo. It has also recently acquired Lucernex, a workplace management software company, and Verisae, which makes cloud-based solutions to connect facilities and assets through the IoT networks.
- Dropbox, the file-sharing giant, has filed confidentially for an initial public offering. The San Francisco-based company has a 29,500-square-foot office in downtown Austin with 150 employees, Business Insider reported. And it’s expanding it’s office to about 50,000 square feet.
- Social media management startup Main Street Hub has agreed to be acquired by Arizona-based GoDaddy Inc. for $125 million cash, the companies announced. Plus, Main Street Hub could get another $50 million in earnings under certain conditions. The deal, already approved by GoDaddy’s board of directors, is slated to close in the second quarter this year. Main Street Hub will stay in Austin. Its co-CEOs and co-founders, Matt Stuart and Andrew Allison, will join GoDaddy in leadership positions. Main Street Hub has raised about $93 million in funding, which includes a $27 million debt refinancing deal with Silicon Valley Bank. Other investors have included Vista Equity Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Harrison Metal Capital.
- Silicon Labs‘ planned acquisition of Sigma Designs fell apart. But a clause in their initial agreement means that the Austin-based IoT chipmaker will be able to get Sigma’s Z-Wave assets, which were widely viewed as the most valuable part of the deal. Z-Wave technology lets smart home products, like the thermostats and smart lights, talk to each other and be accessed from one app. Silicon Labs had planned to pay $282 million for the entire Sigma business. Instead, it will likely get the Z-Wave business for $240 million.
- PeopleAdmin, an Austin talent management software company, could be merged with PowerSchool to create a deal with $2 billion to $3 billion, Reuters reported. The report is based on people familiar with the deal who say Vista Equity Partners, which acquired PeopleAdmin in 2014, is looking at options for both companies. That could be selling a stake in the companies, merging them or an IPO. But Vista wants to keep stake in both companies regardless.
Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds
- Peak Rock Capital, an Austin-based private equity firm, has closed its second fund with $1.3 billion. That’s more than the firm’s $900 million target. Peak Rock’s Peak Rock Capital Fund II focuses on investing in and rapidly growing middle-market companies, often by implementing big changes to operations and business strategy. It’s not as software oriented as, say, Vista Equity Partners. Peak Rock, rather, has invested in a variety of packaged food businesses, including honey producer Sweet Harvest Foods, dip and sauce maker Berner Food & Beverage and organic bread maker Gold Coast Bakeries.
- Virgo Capital, an Austin-based private equity firm that invests in software and tech services, has raised a $30.5 million pooled investment fund, a new SEC filing showed. The equity investments of $100,000-plus came from 10 unnamed investors. The firm, founded in 2005, had filed to raise up to $50 million. The fund is managed by the firm’s co-founders Hermanth Parasuram and Guhan Swaminathan. Its portfolio includes Accruent, Bound, Sayers, SirsiDynix and others.