I tried reasonably hard to come up with an intro that had anything to do with Covid, and how I should go to Goodwill and buy back all my pandemic slacks (sweatpants) I gave away last month, but alas, here we are in Stage 5, and this intro sentence just happened. So now that we have that out of the way, what else happened in Austin this week?? Austin’s newest tech unicorn Abrigo landed a major investment, social service platform Social Solutions picked up by a new private equity behemoth, and is Austin getting an NFL team?? (probably not..)
Thanks to this weeks sponsor! Zydeco Development Corporation is a privately held Commercial Real Estate Development firm based in Austin. We have spent the last three decades building millions of square feet, focused on master planned business parks and communities. With roots deep in the local area, our firm has also dedicated significant time and resources to various non-profit organizations and projects. Current Projects
Austin Financing Activity
Abrigo, an Austin-based financial technology company formerly known as “Banker’s Toolbox,” announced The Carlyle Group made a “strategic growth investment” of an undisclosed amount in the company. The investment was large enough to give The Carlyle Group a co-majority status alongside Accel-KKR. This new investment increased the company’s valuation above $1B, elevating Abrigo to unicorn status.
Boostlingo, an Austin and San Francisco-based language interpretation company, received a growth equity investment of an undisclosed amount from Mainsail Partners. The company previously raised a $3.4M Series A round in 2018.
ReUp, an Austin-based education company focused on helping students reach their graduation goals through partnerships with universities, has landed an undisclosed investment from Chicago-based Avathon Capital. ReUp has raised over $14M to date.
Austin M&A Activity
Social Solutions Global, outcome management software for caseworkers in non-profit and public sector organizations, entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by CyberGrants, via its financial sponsor Apax Partners. The company was acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2014, and in 2018, raised $59M from the Ballmer Group.
Factom Inc., an Austin-based blockchain company, has been purchased by Inveniam Capital Partners Inc., a New York-based financial technology firm. Financial terms were not disclosed in the Aug. 2 announcement.
LawnStarter, an Austin-based on-demand lawn service provider, acquiredLawn Love Inc., a San Diego-based company in the same space, for an undisclosed amount. LawnStarter has raised $27M to date from backers including Binary Capital, Lerer Hippeau, Edison Partners, Bull Creek Capital, Gary Vaynerchuk, Cotter Cunningham, Rony Kahan, and Varsha Rao, while Lawn Love has raised $6.7M.
Other Regional Deal Activity
Improving, a Dallas-based digital service company, acquiredTahoe Partners, a Chicago-based professional services firm focused on cloud and Microsoft services. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Improving expects the deal to result in a collective annualized revenue of more than $185M.
Zabo, a Dallas-based cryptocurrency API company, has been acquired by Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges which has a $51B market capitalization, for an undisclosed amount. Zabo has raised $3.5M to date from investors such as Blockchain Ventures and Moonshots Capital.
Data Gumbo, a Houston-based interconnected industrial smart contract network secured and powered by blockchain, raised a $7.7M Series B led by Equinor Ventures, with participation from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and L37.
ReadiVet, a Dallas-based on-demand veterinary services company, raised a $2.5M Series A round led by Atlanta Seed Company with participation from Martin Ventures, Jemison Capital, and others. This brings ReadiVet’s total funding to $4M.
FunnelAI, a San Antonio-based real-time, purchase-ready customer acquisition platform, was acquired by SocialMiningAi for an undisclosed amount. The company last raised a $2M seed round led by Active Capital on 2019.
Vista Equity Partners, one of the country’s premier technology private equity firms, announced the appointment of David Breach, who will retain his COO title,as president. He replaces Brian Sheth, who reportedly had a falling out with founder and CEO Robert Smith before departing last year.
SparkCognition, an Austin-based AI-focused company, appointedStephen Gold as CMO. He was previously a Group SMO at IBM Watson (NYSE: IBM). SparkCognition also promoted Vijay Doradla from Chief Business Officer to president and added COO to Jeffrey Lass’ existing title of CFO. SparkCognition has raised nearly $164M to date.
The Zebra, an Austin-based insurance technology unicorn, announced it appointedMario Requesto Pantaleoni to VP of research and Marty Sansone to VP of insurance. Pantaleoni is co-founder and CEO of nail polish startup 7TRUE, while Sansone was previously assistant VP of distribution and service at USAA. This move by The Zebra follows a $150M funding round in April that valued the company above $1B.
Astrotech Corporation(NASDAQ: ASTC) , an Austin-based technology commercialization company with a market cap of $52.5M, addedJoe Levinthal as chief science officer of its subsidiary business AgLAB Inc. Levinthal was previously a consultant to AgLAB, an Austin-based company which optimizes distillation of cannabis concentrates.
The top Austin tech and startup executive hires and promotions (July 2021)
Meet the 2021 Central Texas winners of EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Huge shoutout to my friend John Berkowitz, CEO of OJO Labs and longtime Austin newsletter supporter
Firefly Aerospace, the Austin-based space engineering company, plans to send its first rocket into orbit next month in a test flight currently scheduled for September 2nd. It is worth noting that rocket launches are often delayed or rescheduled due to weather and other factors.
These 5 Austin Companies Raised July's Largest Rounds, Totaling $223M
Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL), the Austin technology giant, has postponed its initial plan to reopen its offices in September, according to an announcement by COO Jeff Clarke on Tuesday. Citing the recent surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant as Austin moves to Stage 5 COVID measures, the company rolled back the June 30th announcement they made of a September 7th reopening.
HBO, Netflix lease space in Austin ahead of Central Texas projects
Rivery, a pioneering DataOps platform, announced the opening of its new office in Austin. The company recently raised a $16M Series A.
Forbes' America's Richest Self-Made Women list includes Austin faces, plus the woman behind SpaceX
Buzz builds over Elon Musk tunnels in Austin
Cloudflare signs Austin's largest office lease of pandemic
Additional research and newsletter support provided by William Scheffrahn.