It was tough to top October’s tidal wave of funding announcements. But Austin area startups and VC firms still had a big November.
Perhaps the biggest local news was Next Coast Ventures announcing its new $130M fund. Meanwhile, there were big investments made in a real estate tech company, a marketplace for lawn services and a startup using AI and drones to track store inventories and predict future needs.
Here’s a look at all the venture capital funding rounds, mergers and acquisitions, and VC firm activity from November 2019.
Chicago’s ‘A Shot Worth Taking’ Elevator Pitch Event had an Austin winner. Leah Nicholson, the entrepreneur behind draft beverage trailer called Draft Texas, won $10K from Hornitos Tequila during the event. Nicholson said she’d use the capital to help fund a second Draft Texas location and pursue franchise opportunities.
Local cybersecurity startup Infocyte reported raising $3M in new equity funding. The vulnerability detection and incident response startup, co-founded by Chris Gerritz and Ryan Morris in 2014, had previously raised about $8.6M, Crunchbase shows.
LawnStarter, an Austin startup that launched its on-demand mowing and outdoor services business in 2013, is already in 120 U.S. markets. And it’s poised to continue growing by adding new services, such as landscaping and pest control, with a new $10.5M growth investment. The new funding was led by Princeton, N.J.-based growth equity firm Edison Partners. Earlier investors, including Lerer Hippeau, also contributed. The new round brings LawnStarter’s total funding to $24M. Its early investors have included Bull Creek Capital, Techstars, Cotter Cunningham (founder of RetailMeNot) and Gary Vaynerchuk (author and chairman of VaynerX).
BrewBike, an Austin-based coffee startup with roots at Northwestern University, secured $2M from investors as it celebrates a major milestone—selling 100K cups of coffee. The round was led by CEAS Investments, a venture firm with a focus on early-stage consumer product companies. The round also included Mats Lederhausen, the former managing director of McDonald’s Ventures and the former chairman of Chipotle, and other angel investors.
Austin-based app and server monitoring software startup Zenoss reported raising $7.5M in new equity funding. The company was founded by Bill Karpovich and Erik Dahl, and it has raised $45.6M, according to Crunchbase. Much of that funding appears to have came in 2012, with a $25M infusion led by Grotech Ventures.
Real Estate Exchange, better known as REX, raised $40M in a Series C1 round with investors including Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of financial services heavyweight Citadel LLC. REX, founded in 2015, has now raised $115M. Other financial backers include Dick Schulze, founder of Best Buy; Gordon Segal, founder of Crate and Barrel; Jack Greenberg, former CEO of McDonald’s; and Amit Singhal, former senior vice president of search at Google.
Austin-based phone call analytics startup Tethr (AKA CollabIP Inc.) reported landing $4.2M in equity and debt from 15 investors.
Locally based fragrance startup Phlur reported raising $1.2M, which follows a $7M haul in June.
Pensa Systems, a startup founded in Austin in 2016, raised $10M in additional seed funding to further develop its systems and make inroads in the massive retail market. The new investment was led by prior investors Signia Venture Partners, a Bay Area firm, and locally based ATX Venture Partners. Also in on the round were early investors Commerce Ventures, Capital Factory and Revtech Ventures. New investors include David Ritter, a former partner at McKinsey & Company, and James McCann, CEO of McCann Investments & Advisory. Early backer ZX Ventures, which is Anheuser-Busch InBev’s VC fund, also joined the round with a few others.
Austin-based startup Cloudsnap, which helps businesses integrate their applications with automation software, raised $1.8M in new funding and hired a new CEO. The new investment came from Active Capital (San Antonio) and Mercury Fund (Houston). And Cloudsnap’s new CEO is Matt Bradley, former chief strategy officer at Rackspace, a San Antonio-based managed applications company. Cloudsnap’s founding CEO, Rick Barkley, will become CTO, focusing on building out new products. The startup has now raised a total of $4.1M.
Chrono.gg, an Austin video game sales and discovery platform, reported raising $5.5M in new equity funding. That follows a $1.1M round led by AIM Group in 2017. The startup was founded in 2016 in Huntsville, Ala., and now operates in Austin. It offers one game deal every 24 hours, and it helps spotlight indy game developers and publishers. The company is led by co-founder and CEO Justin Sacks.
Molecular Templates, an Austin biotech company that engineers immunotoxins to fight cancer, reported raising $15M in equity funding. The SEC filing follows news last week that the clinical-stage company, had priced its $50M public equity offering at $8 per share. The offering closed on Nov. 25. It plans to use the money for Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.
Shotgun Seltzer, an Austin-based spike seltzer company, landed a $1M investment from Austin’s Unorthodox Ventures, Silicon Hills News reported. The company was founded by Brad and Lori Foster, a husband and wife team.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Cybersecurity and privacy company CynergisTek has announced its acquisition of IT risk advisory services company Backbone Consultants for $7M in cash and stock. A release on the move states that an additional $4M could be on the table should Backbone achieve certain financial metrics. CynergisTek said that the acquisition expands its suite of services and falls in line with its move to grow via “targeted, accretive acquisitions.”
JASK, a security operations software that moved its HQ to Austin recently, was acquired by Sumo Logic, a VC-backed California security event management startup that’s valued at more than $1B. JASK, founded in 2015, has raised nearly $40M from investors like Battery Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, TenEleven Ventures and Kleiner Perkins. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Locally based predictive analytics software company Clockwork Solutions was acquired by Tysons, Va.-based LMI, a government consulting business formed in 1961. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Clockworth, founded in 1983, lists itself as a Teakwood Capital Company. The company doesn’t appear to have raised any venture capital, according to Crunchbase.
Local consulting and services company Adjacent Technologies merged with Tempe, Ariz.-based enterprise content management company enChoice Inc. As part of the deal, Adjacent will operate as enChoice. Its HQ will stay in Austin. Financial terms weren’t shared. Adjacent was founded in 2001, and it doesn’t appear to have raised equity funding, according to Crunchbase.
Austin in-store deal startup Tastebud was acquired by local gaming development studio Cerberus Interactive, the Statesman reported. Terms weren’t disclosed. Cerberus is known for “Atlas Empires,” which will launch next year.
Ubeo Business Services, an Austin- and San Antonio-based company dealing in printers, copiers and document management, acquired A&A Office Systems, a fellow document management company founded 58 years ago with operations in Connecticut and New England. It’s Ubeo’s first foray into the Northeast. Ubeo was founded in 2004 and services Texas, Louisiana and California. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. But a new release said current teams will be retained.
Serenova, an Austin workplace and contact center startup, acquired the tech and the team that built ProScheduler for Sweden-based Loxysoft. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. This is the second acquisition Serenova has made to boost its workforce software lineup — the first was TelStrat in 2017.
Atlanta fintech company NCR Corporation acquired Austin-based POS Solutions, which makes point-of-sale equipment and software. Terms of the deal weren’t announced. The company said it will maintain POS Solutions’ customer sites, as well as management team and staff in Austin.
VC Funds and News
Austin-based dating and networking app Bumble is partnering with local nonprofit Just Community to provide $750 loans for 100 women. Bumble will match up to $20K in grants through tomorrow. Learn more in this new ABJ story. You can donate here.
San Antonio VC firm Geekdom Fund raised about $2.3M for Austin startups One Model and Tenfold through sidecar fundraising rounds, the San Antonio Business Journal reported. Geekdom raised about $1.9M for One Model, which analyzes HR data. The firm brought in about $420K for Tenfold, which makes customer relationship and phone system data analysis software.
Next Coast Ventures announced it closed its new $130M fund, dubbed NVC II, following up on its initial $85M fund, which has helped it invest in about 30 companies. With the new fund, the firm now has more than $215M under management. While NVC II emerged publicly in November, Next Coast has already been making investments out of it. The first was leading a $12.5M Series C for Austin software review startup TrustRadius in July. In October, it led a $7.5M Series C for sales software and data startup Tenfold.