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And who would have guessed it Austin, another mythical creature has cometh our way. This week, Firefly Aerospace raised $75M at a billion dollar valuation, with goals of becoming the "preeminent end-to-end space transportation company". Speaking of billion dollar companies, after numerous years of a record level of early stage investments, the pieces are in place for Austin to feature many more unicorns in the near term. And with 184 people moving to Austin every day, there will be quite the audience to witness the show…
Austin Financing Activity
Firefly Aerospace Inc., a small satellite and commercial space company, raised a $75M Series A funding led by DADA Holdings at a valuation north of $1 billion. It also says it plans to raise $300 million later this year, and that it completed a $100 million secondary (the seller was Noosphere Ventures).
CognitOps, a warehouse efficiency-focused AI company, raised an $11M Series A round led by FirstMark Capital with participation from Chicago Ventures, Schematic Ventures, Haystack, and CEAS Investments. This brings their total funding up to approx. $14M.
Harmonic Bionics, an upper extremity robotic rehab-focused company, closed a $7M Series A round led by KNet Investment Partners and Big Basin Capital, with participation from DSC Investment, Smilegate Investment, Bass Investment, H Robotics, and JCurve Investment.
Expressable, a speech therapy platform, raised $4.5M in seed funding co-led by Lerer Hippeau and NextView Ventures. Expressable plans to use the funding to expand its provider network and team up with commercial and Medicaid plans.
Mayawell, a prebiotic soda company, raised $2M in seed funding from Casa Armando Guillermo Prieto, a Oaxacan mezcal company. Mayawell, founded in 2019, will use the funding to expand distribution in Austin and across Texas.
EnergyX, a Puerto Rico-based lithium extraction company with strong Austin ties, raised $20M to enter the next phase of its lithium extraction tech development. Funding came from Obsidian Acquisition Partners, Helios Capital, and the University of Texas.
Austin M&A Activity
Dell Technologies(NYSE: DELL) is sellingBoomi, a cloud-based integration platform, to Fort Worth and San Francisco-based TPG and Francisco Partners.The deal, worth $4B including debt. Dell’s market capitalization is $77B.
NI(NASDAQ: NATI), an Austin-based automated testing equipment and software company, formerly known as “National Instruments,” acquired local company MonoDrive, which makes simulation software for autonomous vehicles. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. NI has a market cap of $5.3B.
Kahoot (Oslo: KAHOT) a game-based learning platform who’s North American HQ is in Austin, agreed to buy Clever, a San Francisco-based single sign-on portal for K-12 education, for up to $500M of cash and stock. Clever raised around $60M from Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Streamlined Ventures, Initialized Capital, GV, Uncork Capital and GSV Ventures.
RateGenius, an Austin-based auto loan refinancing company, announced that it is merging with Denver-based Autopay Direct Inc., another auto loan business. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but RateGenuis raised $2M in 2010, before an undisclosed private equity round from Tritium Partners in 2018.
Forcepoint, an Austin cybersecurity company, acquired Cyberinc, a California-based company with an intelligent remote browser isolation product. Terms of the deal were not announced, but this is Forcepoint’s first acquisition since it was acquired by Francisco Partners last year.
Other Regional Deal Activity
Kuur Therepeautics,a Houston-based developer of allogeneic therapy products, was acquired byAthenex (NAS: ATNX) for $185M, including $70M upfront. The company had previously raised at least $188M according to Pitchbook.
You Go Natural, a Dallas-based hair product company, raised $2M in equity funding from 11 investors in a new fund called “YGN Corp.” This is You Go Natural’s first publicized funding round, coming after a year with $2.2M in revenue.
The top Austin tech and startup executive hires and promotions (April 2021)
The City of Austinnamed longtime city IT manager, Christopher Stewart, as the city’s new chief information officer. Stewart previously served as the CIO of Austin Water.
Olea Edge Analytics, a computing company focused on water distribution and management, hired former Google Energy CTO Ben Wilson as its new COO. Olea raised $9M last year in Series B funding to reach more city water departments.
SolarWinds (NYSE: SWE), an IT management company, announced it has addedRohini Kasturi as executive VP and chief product officer, Tim Brown as chief information security officer, and Andrea Webb as senior VP and chief customer officer, in a recommitment to security. SolarWinds has a market cap of $5.3B, down from its Market cap of almost $24B in December after fallout from the massive data breach.
Elevate Brands, a New York-based company with a new Austin HQ focused on acquiring and operating third-party Amazon businesses, announced it has hiredAndrea Lambert as CFO, Arkady Gurevich as CTO, Kerry Ann Maclsaac as Director of Human Resources, and Anmol Ejaz as Director of Recruitment. Elevate Brands has raised nearly $68M to date.
The top venture capital funding rounds for Austin startups in April 2021
Multicoin Capital, an Austin-based cryptofund, announced it has raised $100M for a venture fund to invest in startups and tokens. This fund will be used to lead early-stage deals with investments as small as $500K. Coinciding with this announcement, three of the team members were promoted to Partners: Matt Shapiro, Mable Jiang, and John Robert Reed.
Green Dot (NYS: GDOT), a prepaid debit card pioneer betting on digital banking, moving HQ to Austin from California. The company has a market cap of $2.4B.
Autonomous trucking company Einrideto set up US headquarters in Austin after raising $110M
Austin named No. 1 market for foreign real estate investors by AFIRE
Zekelman Industries, $2.8B force in construction sector, buys nearly 240 acres north of Tesla factory
Texas Children's reveals first look at new $485 million Austin campus
Tesla files plans for an additional building at Giga Texas site. Meanwhile, the $1.1-billion Gigafactory is scheduled to be completed this month.
Austin rents rise above pre-pandemic levels
184 new people a day: 2020 Census marks 10 years of nonstop growth for Austin
From Wayfair to Arrive Logistics, 12K new jobs announced in Austin area so far this year
ClosedLoop.ai, an Austin-based healthcare data science platform, won the $1.6M prize in the Artificial Intelligence Health Outcomes Challenge held by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, beating out IBM, Merk, Accenture, and over 300 other companies. ClosedLoop raised a $11M Series A round last fall and counts Greycroft, .406 Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank among its investors.
Einride, a Swedish autonomous electric freight vehicle company, plans to establish its US headquarters in Austin later this year. This news comes fresh off a $110M Series B round for Einride, bringing their total funding up to $150M.
Efforts to house Austin's homeless continue after voters bring back public camping ban
Additional research and newsletter support provided by William Scheffrahn.