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Austin Weekly Deal Highlights - Feb 21, 2021

Who would of thought years of watching Survivor would have left me so unprepared for this past week in Texas, talk about a missed opportunity. My heart goes out to our great city and everyone who has struggled across the region during this catastrophic event. One thing is for sure, our state has failed us, and we demand more. Now watch me ungracefully pivot to more upbeat news across Texas. First off, how do I jump the line to get to an appointment? I’m not talking about vaccines, that’s so pre ice age, I’m talking about a trip to the final frontier, which made tremendous progress this week. Among the headlines, Houston-based Axiom Space raised a $130M Series B for what would be the first commercial space station. And holy cow, NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully landed on Mars on Thursday. Among critical infrastructure, Perseverance carries a tech demo designed to generate oxygen from Mars’ carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere, gear that could aid future human settlers on the Red Planet. After several days of no power and water, space living is starting to sound quite appealing.

Austin Financing Activity

  • Ironspring Ventures, a venture capital fund investing in digital industrial innovation, closed its first fund at a total of $60M. Here at LiveOak, we are happy to have them as a co-investor in Dallas-based Mercado, and excited to partner on building Texas-based companies well into the future.

  • Interplay Learning, an Austin-based training platform for trade workers, raised $18M in Series B funding. Owl Ventures and S3 Ventures led the round and were joined by Strada Education Network and The Venture Reality Fund, SJF Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Holt Ventures, Wild Basin Investments, and Shelter Capital Partners.

  • Breakwater Solutions, an information governance and risk mitigation firm, announced it received equity funding from real estate firm JLL.

  • Founderpath, a lending platform providing debt to SaaS based companies, received $10M of debt financing from angels including Pat Condon (co-founder of Rackspace), David Hauser (co-founder of Grasshopper) and Bill Boebel (co-founder of Webmail).

  • Ranch Hand Spirits, a provider of premium spirit-based seltzers, raised a $6M Series A from undisclosed investors. Congrats to my fellow McCombs classmates Quentin Cantu and Brian Murphy!

  • KindHealth, a digital health insurance platform, raised $4M of venture funding from undisclosed investors.

Austin M&A Activity

  • SailPoint (NYSE: SAIL) agreed to buy Intello, a New York-based SaaS application management startup that had raised around $4M from backers like Emerge, Resolute Ventures, Harrison Metal and BoxGroup.

Other Texas Deal Activity

  • Axiom Space, a Houston-based developer of what would be the world’s first commercial space station, raised $130M in Series B funding led by C5 Capital. Axiom represents what many believe is the future of space, whereby NASA becomes a customer everywhere in low-Earth orbit so that it can focus on the Moon, Mars and beyond

  • Sanara MedTech, a Fort Worth-based biotech company specializing in surgical and wound care technologies, closed its public offering on the Nasdaq of almost 1.3M shares, netting the company $31.6M in gross proceeds. It will trade under the ticker “SMTI.”

  • Iterion Therapeutics, a Houston-based biotech focused on desmoid tumors, raised $17M in Series B funding. Lumira Ventures led, and was joined by Santé Ventures, Venture Investors, GPG Ventures and Viva BioInnovator.

  • Arctos Sports Partners, a Dallas-based PE firm focused on pro sports clubs which has an affiliated SPAC focused on sports, media, and entertainment, secured $1.4B for its debut fund.

  • Accolite Digital, an Addison-based cloud and digital product engineering services company, received an undisclosed investment from New Mountain Capital.

  • Astro Aerospace, a Lewisville-based autonomous eVTOL vehicle manufacturer, acquired Canadian eVTOL firm Horizon Aircraft. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

  • Noninvasix, a Galveston-based developer of technologies to monitor fetal health, raised $2M of seed funding led by TMC Innovation.

Austin People

  • Vista Equity Partners named Thomas E. Hogan, former HP executive VP of sales and marketing and former CEO and chairman of Kony, as operating managing director of its $16B flagship fund. This news follows the November announcement that Brian Sheth, Vista’s president, exited the firm along with CEO and Chairman Robert Smith’s $140M settlement with the Department of Justice.

Austin News

  • Austin ranked #3 on the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities report for the third year in a row. The index ranks cities based on jobs, wages, salaries, and technology output.

  • Damages from the life-threatening Texas winder storm could near $50B

  • Biden declares Texas a major disaster after winter storms devastated the state

  • At least two lawsuits filed against Texas’ energy committee claim it was aware of shortcomings in the state’s energy supply from previous winter storms

  • Will the Texas winter disaster deter further tech migration?

  • Everlywell, Austin-based digital health unicorn, received FDA emergency use authorization to sell its at-home COVID test kits to the general public without requiring a prescription, symptoms, or medical authorization. The kits send digital results to consumers within 24-48 hours of a lab receiving the nasal swab sample.

  • What Silicon Valley’s ATX Embrace Means for Homegrown Tech Talent

  • Dallas vs. Austin: Competition for tech companies, talent heats up amid coastal exodus

Thank you! Mason Rathe, an early stage investor with LiveOak Venture Partners Additional research and newsletter support provided by William Scheffrahn.

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