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Austin Weekly Deal Highlights - May 9, 2021

Pro tip: if you’re going to talk about a paid subscription, include an obvious link for people to click (see below)! As a reminder, after doing this newsletter for 4 years pro bono (never missed a week), I’ve traded in my VC puffy vest for an operator hoodie, and life’s a bit busier these days. To keep this newsletter going, I humbly ask for you to subscribe on the paid link below, OR, select “Company Profile” after hitting the subscribe link, and I’ll do a feature spotlight on your company in an issue and give unlimited free annual subscribers to your employees. As you weigh that ROI, just so you know, there are 14k subscribers here comprising of tech execs, startup pros, and investors with a keen interest in Austin success...

Shout out to all the mothers out there! I wouldn’t be the man I am today without those women nearest and dearest to my heart!

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 IPO’s

  • Anebulo Pharmaceuticals, a therepeutics company focused on substance use disorders, raised $21M in its initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol of ANEB.

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.

  • Data Foundry, an Austin-based colocation provider, is being acquired by Switch (NYSE: SWCH) for $420M in an all cash transaction.

  • 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

  • At Home Group (NYSE: HOME), a Plano, Texas-based home décor provider whose market cap is around $2B, has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Hellman & Friedman for $2.8B.

  • 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.

  • ColubrisMX, a Houston-based Developer of microsurgical robotic devices, raised a $69M Series C from undisclosed investors

  • Molecule Software, a Houston-based provider of energy trading and risk management software, raised $12 million of Series A venture funding from Mercury Fund

  • Selery, a Carrollton-based ecommerce and logistics company, landed a $2M deal with Cypress Growth Capital.

  • Predictive Fitness, a Southlake-based athlete-focused app and device company, reported raising more than $1.5M in equity funding from nine investors.

  • 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.

  • KarbonPay, a cloud-based payroll calculations SaaS platform based in Dallas, has raised over $500K through a Wefundr campaign.

Austin People

  • 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.

Austin News

Thank you!

Mason Rathe

Additional research and newsletter support provided by William Scheffrahn.

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