Austin Weekly Deal Highlights
May 16, 2021
Alright folks, starting June 6, the full newsletter will only be available to paid subscribers. For my freebies out there (all 14,000 of you), for sticking with me through the years I’ll still put out a pared-down weekly free version. If under any circumstance you can’t afford the subscription and really value the newsletter, then send me an email and I’ll get you on the paid list. This isn’t meant to make a living, only to justify to my wife and newborn the amount of time I put in each week. As a reminder, paid subscribers will not only receive the full newsletter each and every week, you will also receive quarterly venture reports breaking down the activity from the major regions in Texas. Believe me when I say that this is only possible because of the paid subscribers and for those who have purchased Company Spotlights (I’ll be reaching out to you this week for marketing materials and feature timing).
Now where were we. Austin naturally had a substantial week of major company announcements, but Dallas and Houston, I see you…. E-scooter company Bird is going public via a merger with a Dallas-based SPAC, Caris Life Sciences with a whopping $830M round, and Houston-based Solution getting picked up for $550M by AbbVie after developing a solution that addresses both eating badly and regrettable tattoos – talk about a double whammy!
Austin Financing Activity
Mythic Inc., an artificial intelligence chip manufacturer, closed a $70M Series C round led by BlackRock Inc.and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. with participation from Alumni Ventures Group and UDC Ventures. Mythic has raised over $165M to date with their $30M Series B led by Lockheed Martin Ventures.
AnthemIQ, a real estate-technology platform, raised a $10M Series A led by Dallas-based real estate investment firm Staubach Capital. AnthemIQ is an offshoot of commercial real estate firm Elevate Growth Partners.
Triumvira Immunologics, a clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing novel T-cell therapies for cancer treatment, raised $16.2M of venture funding from undisclosed investors. Previously, the company raised $55 million of Series A venture funding in a deal co-led by Leaps by Bayer and Northpond Ventures in August 2020.
Strap Technologies, an innovative company that has developed the world’s first total technology replacement of the white cane for the blind and visually impaired, raised $1.3M in venture funding led by Platform Capital.
VeMiDoc, a telemedicine platform intended to improve the health outcomes of bilingual communities, raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding from Southwest Angel Network
Austin M&A Activity
RxSaver, an Austin-based prescription drugs savings platform, was bought by GoodRx (NASDAQ: GDRX) from Vericast for around $50M, according to Bloomberg. GoodRx has a market capitalization of over $12B.
Nulo, an Austin-based pet food company, has a new majority owner: Apax Global Alpha Limited’s Apax X Fund, who bought out Nulo’s existing investors, including CAVU Venture Partners and Main Post Partners. Apax says it plans to invest about $12.5M into the company, which has raised $28.4M to date.
Other Regional Deal Activity
Switchback II Corporation, a Dallas-based SPAC, is set to take e-scooter company Bird public in a deal valuing the company at $2.3B. Switchback will provide up to $428M in funding to Bird as a part of the deal which will see the company trade on the Nasdaq under the name Bird Global.
Caris Life Sciences, an Irving-based company bringing a multi-pronged approach to help treat cancers, raised an $830M growth equity round led by Sixth Street at a post-money valuation of $7.83B. T. Rowe Price Associates, Silver Lake, and Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC also participated. Caris has now raised $1.3B in external financing since 2018.
Soliton (NASDAQ: SOLY), a Houston-based maker of aesthetic medical devices for tattoo and cellulite removal, is being bought by Allergan Aesthetics, a unit of AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) for $550M in cash, a 25% premium per share. AbbVie has an over $205B market capitalization.
AgileThought, an Irving-based provider of digital and consulting services, reached an agreement with SPAC LIVK which will allow AgileThought to be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “AGIL” with a market capitalization of $491M.
Zyyagh, a Rockwall-based real estate platform aiming to be the “Carfax for homes”, raised a $10M seed round with undisclosed investors. Zyyah includes two subsidiaries, Hello Covered, an insurance and home warranty company, and Certus Title, a home title and settlement services provider.
Harvest Returns, a Fort Worth-based agriculture investment firm focused on tech and innovative practices, reported raising $1.75M from 40 investors for its Harvest Invest-024 fund, according to an SEC filing.
Lone Wolf Technologies, a real estate technology company with offices in Dallas and Canada, announced two acquisitions: CRM platform LionDesk and real estate marketing automation company HomeSpotter. No financial terms of the deals were disclosed, but the deals marked the fourth and fifth acquisitions made by Lone Wolf since its launch, according to Crunchbase.
Hologram, a global cellular platform for IoT, hiredMike Georgoff this month as its first Chief Product Officer. Previously, Georgoff worked at Redbox, RetailMeNot, Main Street Hub, and H-E-B Digital. Hologram has raised approx. $11M to date.
The Postage, a Houston-based end of life planning company, has brought in Austin’s Lynn Atchison to serve on their board of directors. Atchison, former CFO of Spredfast and later Khoros, also is on the board of Bumble (NASDAQ: BMBL), Absolute Software (NASDAQ: ABST), Q2 Technologies (NYSE: QTWO),and Convey.
Kestra Holdings, an Austin-based wealth management platform, namedKyle Weckman as its head of cybersecurity and technology risk. Weckman was most recently director of security services for Chicago-based Options Clearing Corporation.
Austin ranked no. 7 for tech job growth between 2020 and 2021, according to a report by tech jobs site Dice.com.
Insure tech platform Ethos to invest part of $200M funding in its Austin HQ2
Austin-based and Amazon-owned Whole Foods plans layoffs as part of reorganization involving merchandising, operations, HR, and tech teams
Outdoor Voices' Ty Haney to join crypto craze with new business. Haney is the founder and an active board member of athleisure clothing company based in Austin, Outdoor Voices. She created her brand Outdoor Voices in 2014, gaining virality quickly, until stepping down as CEO in February 2020. She then returned as a board member just a few months later.
Inc.'s annual Best Workplaces list highlighted 11 Austin-based companies, more than any other city in Texas, as employee-driven. Out of 429 companies Inc. awarded across the U.S., here are the "2021 Best Workplaces" in Austin.
Austin’s hot housing market is driving up down payments
Austin's Legacy One Financial Advisors, tied to John Paul DeJoria,merging to create $9B wealth adviser
Q2, Austin FC team on $100K startup competition
Medical marijuana company, Goodblend Texas, starts work on $25M San Marcos facility
Additional research and newsletter support provided by William Scheffrahn.