Follow the Money: $1M Grant for Luminant Battery Project, Playful Nets $5M, NTT Data Makes Acquisition

From BoodsKapper to Ulterra Drilling and CyrusOne to Thursby Software Systems, here are some of the deals made by investors and companies with ties to North Texas.


What companies are finding funding or having a big exit? From startup investments to grants to acquisitions, Dallas Innovates tracks what’s happening in North Texas money every Thursday. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop.

Have a deal we should know about? Tell us here.

Luminant gets $1M grant for battery energy storage system project

Dallas-based electric power producer Luminant announced that it was awarded a $1 million grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for its Upton 2 battery energy storage system project.

According to a release, the New Technology Implementation Grant program is a part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan. Luminant is a subsidiary of Vistra Energy. Luminant said the battery system will be on the site of its 180-megawatt Upton 2 Solar Power Plant, the largest operating solar facility in the state.

According to Luminant, the batteries will capture excess solar energy produced during the day and then release it in the late afternoon and early evening, when demand is highest.

The project should be operational in late 2018, the company said in the release.

Game development studio Playful raises $5M in VC funding

Playful Corp., the McKinney-based game development studio, raised $5 million in a venture capital funding round, according to a report in Crunchbase. 

The capital raise joins a $25 million private round from October 2015, according to Crunchbase, totaling $30 million in funding for the 6-year-old company.

The recent $5 million funding round closed Oct. 10 and is part of a larger Series A offering of up $30 million in equity Mark Stanley, president and chief business officer of Playful Corp., told Dallas Innovates. He said the new capital will be “used to further fuel Playful’s team, and for continued development of a number of original IP projects that are currently in production.”

Before founding Playful, Paul Bettner created the online gaming sensation, Words with Friends. Now, Playful is known for Super Lucky’s Tale, a playground platform game available on Xbox One X, Xbox One, and Windows 10.  The company will move into its new McKinney headquarters this week.

BoodsKapper announces seed funding round

Dallas-based BoodsKapper Inc., which creates AI-based software for public housing authorities, and virtual supply chain analysis for food manufacturers, announced a seed funding round, according to CrunchbaseOn its website, the company said it is working with a Top 10 public housing authority to develop a customer service platform for the public housing sector. BoodsKapper said that public housing authorities serve roughly 1.2 million households in public housing units, managed by some 3,300 authorities. It said its software will centralize the customer service function of those authorities into one platform.


NTT Data Services to acquire Canadian services firm

NTT Data Services, which is headquartered in Plano, announced it has agreed to acquire Sierra Systems Group Inc., allowing for expansion of NTT Data’s North American footprint with a major Canadian presence. No financial terms were released.

NTT Data Services works with its clients to to best utilize innovations in digital, cloud, and automation in a variet of industries via a portfolio of consulting, application, infrastructure, and business process services. It is a division of NTT Data Corp. — a top 10 global business and IT services provider with more than 118, 000 employees in more than 50 countries — and NTT Group, which partners with more than 80 percent of the Fortune Global 100.

Sierra Systems, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is an IT services and consulting firm that offers a wide range of IT consulting, systems integration, and application managed services across Canada.

Arlington security software maker to be bought by California firm

Arlington-based Thursby Software Systems Inc. is going to be acquired by Identiv Inc., a Fremont, California-based global provider of physical security and secure identification.

The two companies have entered into a definitive agreement on the deal which should close on Nov. 8, the companies said in a release.

Identiv said the acquisition should strengthen its identity offerings with complete solutions for secure and convenient logical access across smart cards and derived credentials on Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. Also, Identiv said it is a strategic step towards its vision of “converged, highly secure yet frictionless access to information and places through a single identity and a single infrastructure platform.”

According to the release, Thursby’s software solutions provide strong security for enterprise and personal mobility by supporting bring-your-own-device and two-factor authentication on mobile devices. 

Blackstone Energy buys majority interest in Ulterra Drilling

New York City-based Blackstone Energy Partners and Fort Worth-based Ulterra Drilling Technologies announced that Blackstone is acquiring a controlling, majority interest in the inventive maker of drill bits for the oil and gas industry.

Ulterra — which holds six patents — is the largest independent supplier of of polycrystalline diamond compact bits in the industry. It has more than doubled total revenue since 2016, and is one of the fastest-growing PDC drill bit makers.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Blackstone specializes in investing in the energy sector, focusing on power, natural resources, services and equipment, upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors.

Denbury acquires Penn Virginia Corp. to gain position in Eagle Ford Shale

Denbury Resources Inc., the Plano-based petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company, announced it will acquire Penn Virginia Corp.

The $1.7 billion deal will give Denbury a core position in the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas. Currently, Denbury operates mostly in the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain regions.

“This transaction marks a defining moment for Denbury, meeting multiple strategic objectives to create a balanced, resilient, and growing business with significant scale, while reinforcing our position as the highest oil-weighted producer in our peer group,” Denbury President and CEO Chris Kendall said in a release.

CyrusOne reaches agreement on data center site in The Netherlands

Dallas-based data center REIT CyrusOne Inc. announced it has entered into an agreement with Agriport A7 for the development of hyperscale data centers in Middenmeer, The Netherlands.

According to a release, CyrusOne will have the option to buy up to 33 hectares of land (roughly 81.5 acres), in parcels as demand dictates, for a 270-megawatt master-planned multi-data center campus. 

The land is on Agriport A7’s 1,000-hectare (2,471-acre) campus roughly 40 kilometers north of central Amsterdam. The site has access to the significant future power needed to support the data center campus and it already is home to two major hyperscale developments.


Follow the Money: Impact Shares Gets $1M from Rockefeller Foundation, Phynd Adds $4M in VC round

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.
View previous emails.

R E A D   N E X T