Follow the Money: OncoNano Closes $11.7M Round, Perot Jain Backs 2 Startups, BP Energy Raising $475M

From cancer-fighting compounds to startups transforming the retail experience, here's a look at recent funding involving companies and firms with North Texas ties.

funding - follow the money

ONCONANO CLOSES ON $11.7M SERIES A ROUND

Dallas-based OncoNano Medicine Inc. announced Thursday that it closed a $11.7 million Series A round, according to filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The round was arranged by Salem Partners, which participated as a principal investor.

The recent funding supplements a $6 million grant the OncoNano received from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The company is a spin-out from the UT Southwetern Medical Center with technology invented by Dr. Jinming Gao, professor of pharmacology and otolaryngology, and Dr. Baran D. Sumer, associate professor of otolaryngology.

Funding will be used to support OncoNano’s continued development of a new class of pH-activated compounds that digitalize and exploit the variablity of pH in disease indication such as cancer, according to the company. In addition to the funding, OncoNano also announced five industry leaders to its board of directors on Thursday. 

“The team is highly motivated to advance our unique pH-activated compound platform for the development of a broad range of highly targeted therapeutics and imaging agents with the objective of contributing to the improvement of patients’ lives,” Ravi Srinivasan, Ph.D., founder, president and CEO, said in a release.

PEROT JAIN BACKS TWO DFW TECH STARTUPS

Perot Jain, a Dallas-based venture capital firm co-founded by Ross Perot Jr. and Anurag Jain, has backed two DFW startups — NoiseAware and Spacee.

Financial details of the investments have not been released by Perot Jain or the two startups.

Dallas-based NoiseAware provides a platform that allows Airbnb and other short-term rental property owners the ability to remotely keep tabs on noise levels via a monitor that plugs into an electrical outlet while also screwing into the outlet’s faceplate. The startup recently partnered with The Guild, a new boutique hotel concept that rents out rooms in residential buildings.

Addison-based Spacee’s platform makes the physical world digitally interactive and is a leader in deviceless mixed reality through virtual touchscreen technology. The startup, founded in 2013, counts Walmart and Mercedes Benz as clients.

“Life is too short to work with the wrong people.”
Skip Howard

Spacee CEO Skip Howard told Dallas Innovates that this investment is a seed round and that the Perot Jain investment was “strategic money” for his company that will help it scale its product.

“We are very blessed to work with outstanding people, especially our investors,” Howard said. “After a year of working for Ross Perot Jr. and getting to know the caliber of people he hires, we are very happy with our decision to include Perot Jain in our round.”

Howard added: “Life is too short to work with the wrong people.”

BP ENERGY PARTNERS RAISING $475M FUND

Dallas-based private equity firm BP Energy Partners is raising a second fund with an emphasis on natural gas deals, according to a Form D filing.

BP Energy’s target for the fund is $475 million, the Dallas Business Journal reported. 

BP Energy Partners, which has ties to recently-retired Dallas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, previously invested in Blue Roads Solutions, a Dallas company that offers natural gas specifically to asphalt producers and highway contractors, the Business Journal reported. 

AYUVIS RESEARCH RAISING $1M IN DEBT ROUND

AyuVis Research, a Fort Worth-based biotech startup, is targeting a $1 million debt raise, according to a SEC filing.

AyuVis was founded in 2014 by pharmaceutical chemist Dr. Suchismita Acharya and is working on using “small molecule technology” to treat sepsis, according to a report in the DBJ

The startup has completed pre-clinical proof-of concept studies for its lead and two backup compounds, according to its website.

EB ARROW FORMS AFTER INVESTMENT FROM CHINA EVERBRIGHT

EB Arrow, a Dallas-based fund manager focusing on real estate investment, has been formed after an investment from EBA Investments Ltd, a subsidiary of China Everbright Ltd. aimed at advancing company growth and to take advantage of new market opportunities, the companies said in a release.

EB Arrow and its affiliates have invested in more than 15 projects and manage roughly $1.5 billion in assets and mostly serve institutional investors.

Formerly asset manager Arrow Retail, EB Arrow, will be led by the original executives and team members from Arrow Retail, the companies said. China Everbright is a publicly traded company that is listed on the Hong Kong exchange and is a member of the China Everbright Group.

MORE FUNDING NEWS

North Texas tablet maker Schok raised $2 million in funding, according to a SEC filing. Schok is based in Frisco and Rowlett, and was founded roughly two years ago as a subsidiary of Link America. The Dallas Business Journal reported that previously, the company had pitched Apple on cell phone accessories, but that Schok began offering its less-expensive tablets in Puerto Rico. 

Midwestern-based O2 Investment Partners invested in Fort Worth-based 1 Priority Environmental Services in a private equity deal, according to Fortune. 1 Priority provides a wide range of environmental services including asbestos abatement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

In a new filing with the SEC, Irving-based snack maker Hail Merry LLC said it has raised $787,239 in an equity financing round. In January, Hail Merry said it closed a $2.035 million debt round. The company manufactures and sells raw, vegan, and gluten-free snack products including tarts, macaroons, granola, nuts and seeds, and assortments, according to Bloomberg. Its products are sold through retail stores in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom; as well as online.

Coppell-based pepelwerk LLC reported that it raised $245,000 in an equity financing round.  The tech company was formed two months ago. 

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