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Houston Deal Highlights Q4 2021

What is up Houstonians! Unfortunately this is not a link to schedule a Covid vaccine, but it’s the next best thing - your Q4 venture highlights! As a reminder, this newsletter will be coming to you periodically to catch you up on the tech and startup ecosystem in the Houston area, from fundraising, mergers and acquisitions, to other major company announcements and news. What a year folks! We set a record with $785M in venture funding, thanks in part to massive rounds by Preventice Solutions ($137M Series B), High Radius ($125M Series B), and Axiom Space ($100M Series A per Pitchbook). And don’t get confused, this year is not a blip, Houston has shown increasingly more venture activity, growing at 19.6% CAGR, with the support of so many amazing organizations determined to see it succeed, including Houston Exponential, TMC, Rice, and The Ion.

In Q4, we saw a slight downturn from the average, with only $89M in funding, but this was across 23 companies, meaning a healthy amount of early stage funding, that should set the stage for future growth rounds. Additionally, we saw 19 acquisitions in the tech and healthcare sectors, including significant deals announced in Q4 - Cardtronics for $1.8B and Rignet for $222M. These exits typically mean that talent cycles back into the economy, joining the amazing growing companies we have, and creating the next cohort of influential startups.

Here at LiveOak Venture Partners, we are the most active early stage tech investor in Texas, and continue to be huge advocates for the Houston region, so drop me a note if you know of anything that may may be of interest. Personally, I spend a ton of time here - in fact, any day we are giving birth to our son at the Texas Medical Center here in town! I’ve mastered the socially distanced Memorial Park meetings as well, so let’s get something on the books and take a walk!

Venture Funding in Houston

Notable Q4 Financing Activity

  • The Woodlands-based AEGIS Hedging Solutions, a platform for commodity and rate hedging markets, raised $50M from undisclosed investors. To date, the company has raised $60M.

  • VoltaGrid, a Houston-based energy generation technology designed to create a positive common link between ESG and cost savings, raised $15M from undisclosed investors.

  • SiteAware, a Houston-based A.I. construction verification software company, raised $10M in Series A funding. Axon Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital led the round and were joined by lool Ventures, Oryzn Ventures, The Flying Object and Power Capital Venture.

  • Houston-based Nanotech Inc., a developer of eco-friendly products designed for the fireproofing and thermal insulation market, raised a $5M seed round led by Ecliptic Capital.

  • Topl, a Houston-based company building a blockchain ecosystem to prove a business’ ethical and sustainable business practices, raised a $3M seed round led by Mercury Fund with participation from investors including GOOSE Capital, Chingona Ventures, Beni Venture Capital, Blue Collective, RevTech Ventures and Social Impact Capital. The new round gives Topl a total of $4.4M in venture capital funding since its founding in 2017.

  • Brevitest Technologies, a Houston-based point-of-care medical device designed to assist in enzyme immunoassays for early stage detection of diseases, raised $2.2M of angel funding from undisclosed investors.

  • Bellaire-based sEATz, a mobile application that gives concertgoers access to every product available at the venue, raised a $1.6M seed round led by Valedor Partners. To date, the company has raised approx. $3M.

  • Houston-based SafePass closes $1.5M of funding from undisclosed investors while entering into a partnership with SAP National Security Services, the US national defense arm of SAP.

  • NOW Insurance, a Houston-based insurance platform for business owners and professionals, raised $1.3 million in additional seed funding led by The MFO Group.

  • Pix-Virtual, a Stafford-based 3D real estate virtual reality platform, raised an undisclosed amount from RealNex, according to Pitchbook.

  • Astrolight Media Group, a Houston-based interactive media networking platform, raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding.

Notable Q4 M&A

  • Houston-based Cardtronics, an automated consumer financial services company, agreed to be acquired by Apollo Global Management and Hudson Executive Capital through an estimated $2.3B LBO, up from the $1.38 billion reported on December 9.

  • RigNet (NAS: RNET), a Houston-based global technology company that provides customized communications services, applications and cybersecurity solutions, reached a definitive agreement to be acquired by Viasat (NASDAQ: VSAT) for $222M in all stock transaction.

  • Opvizor, a Houston-based performance analytics software company in the IT industry, was acquired by Houston-based data solutions integrity company, vChain for an undisclosed sum.

  • Quorum Software, a Houston-based portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, acquired Landdox, a Dallas-based provider of land management software, for an undisclosed amount.

  • Evolve Energy, a Houston-based energy optimization platform, was acquired by Octopus Energy for $5M.

  • Clovis Point Capital, a Houston-based growth equity firm, announced the completion of a significant growth investment in NinjaCat, Inc., the all-in-one platform for marketing teams to store, report, monitor and analyze data at scale.

  • Houston-based Symplr, a global healthcare governance and risk SaaS company, acquired healthcare solutions company, TractManager for an undisclosed sum.

  • Houston-based PAS Global, a cybersecurity software that serves the power, industrials, and energy industries, will be acquired by Swedish industrial software company, Hexagon AB for an undisclosed sum.

  • Houston-based sfApex, a salesforce data migration solutions platform, was acquired by data management company, Druva, for an undisclosed sum.

  • Houston-based NextSeed, a private investment platform was acquired by New York-based crowdfunding platform, Republic, for an undisclosed sum.

  • The Woodlands-based AEGIS Hedging Solutions, a platform for commodity and rate hedging markets, who recently raised $50M, acquired Nexidus Commodities, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based commodity trading advisor focused on metals hedging.

  • Houston-based Poetic, an IT and design services firm, was acquired by Houston-based property management company Asset Living via its financial sponsor Trilantic North America.

  • SubsurfaceIO, a Houston-based provider of oil and gas mapping and analytics solutions, was acquired by GeoLogic, a Canadian portfolio company of BV Investment Partners, for an undisclosed amount.

  • Digisonics, a Houston-based consolidated enterprise solution for Cardiology, OB/GYN/MFM and Radiology, was acquired by Intelerad Medical Systems, via its financial sponsors HG Capital (UK) and Ardan Equity Partners, for an undisclosed sum.

Q4 Public Debuts

  • Houston billionaire and owner of the Rockets Tilman Fertitta is launching Lancadia Holdings, his third blank-check company that is expecting a $500M IPO. The company plans to on investment opportunities in the tech, consumer, dining, hospitality, entertainment and gaming industries.

  • Katy-based Academy Sports and Outdoors, a sporting goods retailer backed by KKR, raised $203M in its IPO. The IPO valued the company at $1.1B.

  • Genesis Park Acquisition Corp, a Houston-based SPAC created to acquire aerospace or aviation companies, raised $150M in its IPO.

  • Kiromic, a Houston-based target discovery and gene-editing company, raised $15M in its IPO.

Recent Houston News

  • Venture Houston 2021 - Houston’s premier venture capital conference and pitch competition- taking place February 4th-5th

  • 2021 could be the year it all comes together for Houston tech

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the latest tech company to leave Silicon Valley, and is moving to Houston

  • Here are the top 5 Houston startup venture capital deals in 2020

  • These are Houston’s top social impact innovation stories of 2020

  • Top 10 Houston startup feature stories of the year

  • Here are Houston’s top 5 health innovation stories of the year

  • Check out what is happening in Houston through this virtual tour, highlighting the incredible transformation and investments shaping the nation’s fourth largest city.

  • The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator applications for cohort 3 on Sustainability are now open! Cohort 3 will start in mid March after SXSW and culminate in Demo Day in late June 2021. Apply here.

  • Knightsgate Ventures of Spring, Texas is raising $25M for its second fund.

  • The key to making Houston the next renewable energy capital is collaboration

  • Nonprofit behind East End Maker Hub plans $100M community investment effort, hires CFO

  • First commercial space station on the planet to be built in Houston

  • Year in Review: A look back at Houston’s banking, finance sectors in 2020

Thank You! Mason Rathe, an early stage investor with LiveOak Venture Partners Additional research and newsletter support provided by Dipesh Mehta

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