Follow the Money: Pomp & Whimsy Raises $50K for Female-Focused Gin, iuzeit Gets $500K, Deep Ellum Brewing Sold

From an infused gin maker to tech companies and a beer brewery, here's a look at recent funding, mergers, and acquisitions involving companies and firms with North Texas ties.

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FEMALE-FOCUSED GIN MAKER RAISES $50K IN SEED ROUND

Pomp & Whimsy, a North Texas, women-run and women-focused maker and marketer of classically distilled gin infused with natural botanical liqueur, has raised $50,000 as part of seed round of funding.

“It’s the equivalent of going into a beauty store where you can only buy men’s colognes and gender-neutral colognes, and then one or two really sickly sweet hyper-feminine ones.”

Nicola Nice

The company was founded by Dr. Nicola Nice, a consumer insights and innovation specialist with expertise in spirits, personal care, fashion, and the female consumer. Nice, who lives in North Texas, is the founding partner in the THINK Conservatory, a strategic research agency.

Pomp & Whimsy’s infused gin is made from a select blend of 16 natural and whole ingredients and the distillery is based in Los Angeles.

Nice told Vogue in a recent article that Pomp & Whimsy is a response to the masculine world of cocktails that tends to ignore women’s tastes and sensiblities.

“It’s the equivalent of going into a beauty store where you can only buy men’s colognes and gender-neutral colognes, and then one or two really sickly sweet hyper-feminine ones,” Nice told Vogue. “Wouldn’t that be ridiculous.”

Its craft gin cordials are intended to correct what Nice described to Vogue as the treatment of women as “second class consumers when it comes to spirits.”

IUZEIT RAISES $500K IN SEED FUNDING

Dallas-based iuzeit recently raised $500,000 in a seed investment round, according to Crunchbase.

Iuzeit is a platform founded by Yogi Patel that offers one-stop shopping for information and reviews about consumer products. The platform aggregates, processes, organizes, and analyzes the information via proprietary algorithms. 

The goal is to make iuzeit the Rotten Tomatoes of consumer electronic reviews, taking reviews from experts, consumers, and friends in your social network and aggregating them in one place.

Last year, iuzeit was accepted into the Plug and Play Tech Center, a 12-week accelerator program that put it in contact with large corporations.

Patel said at the time that his pitch to the big box retailers would be that they are losing marketshare to e-commerce giant Amazon in part because their websites lack rich review content.

“We want to become the industry standard on this side and licensing that data to those big retailers,” Patel said.

GOLDCREST CAPITAL RAISING $125M IN VC FUND

Dallas-based Goldcrest Capital announced in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it is raising $125 million for a venture capital fund.

The Dallas Business Journal reported that the firm, founded by Daniel Friedland, may be investing in the electric scooter rental company Bird, on whose board Friedland sits, based on a previous filing.

BRANDFX BODY GETS DEBT INVESTMENT FROM PE FIRM

Ironwood Capital has made a subordinated debt investment in BrandFX Body Co., the Fort Worth-based manufacturer of composite fiberglass truck bodies.

The amount of the investment was not released. Ironwood utilizes subordinated debt — sometimes called mezzanine finance — in its strategy, preferring not to seek control of a company, but rather keeping operational control in existing management and shareholders.

Ironwood is an Avon, Connecticut-based private equity firm that provides noncontrol growth capital to middle market companies. In the past 17 years, it has invested more than $750 million in more than 130 companies.

“BrandFX currently serves 200-plus U.S. and Canadian customers, including many blue chip names,” Ironwood Capital President and Chief Investment Officer Carolyn Galiette said in a release. “Composite bodies exhibit a clearly superior value proposition to steel and aluminum competitors, especially for customers focused on total cost of ownership for their vehicles.”

FLEUR DE LIS ENERGY RAISING $47M IN FUND

Irving-based oil and gas company Fleur de Lis Energy said in a filing that it has raised $47 million for an investment fund.

The DBJ said that the 4-year-old company acquires properties for production including a $422.5 million deal from Devon Energy a few years ago in the Permian.

ARCADE RAISES $750K IN SEED INVESTMENT ROUND

Dallas-based Arcade has raised $750,000 in a seed investment round, bringing its total funding since 2015 to $1.2 million, according to Crunchbase.

Lead investor in the most recent round was Austin-based ATX Seed Ventures, a seed-stage venture firm.

Arcade is a mobile app that is SaaS solution for salespeople capturing social and competitive motivators to to increase sales conversion.

HC2 CAPITAL RAISES $5.7M TOWARD GOAL OF $9.6M

HC2 Capital, a Dallas-based real estate private equity firm, has raised $5.7 million, according to a filing. The money will be used for a student housing deal, but HC2 did not say which school the housing development is near, the DBJ reported. More than $9.6 million is expected to be raised, acoording to the filing.

SHEARSHARE WINS $10K IN RESHAPE THE WORLD CHALLENGE

Dallas-based ShearShare received $10,000 as one of the winning startups in the first Reshape the World Challenge conducted in collaboration by FreshBooks and Fidelity Labs, Fidelity Investments’ new business incubator.

The challenge focues on discovering and supporting innovative companies that help people work for themselves.

ShearShare was founded by Coutney and Tye Caldwell, and the app helps freelance hair stylists locate and rent space to work on a by-the-day basis all over the world.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

AUSTIN BEER CONGLOMERATE BUYS DEEP ELLUM BREWING

Dallas beer brewing stalwart Deep Ellum Brewing Co. has been sold to Austin-based Canarchy Craft Beer Collective.

Canarchy, a beer conglomerate, owns such brands as Oskar Blues Brewery and others, GuideLive reported. Deep Ellum Brewing opened in 2011 and quickly became a popular craft beer in the area with products such as Deep Ellum IPA and Dallas Blonde.

Deep Ellum Brewing founder John Reardon said that the deal closed June 8, and it “allows us to go forward with what we’ve been needing,” such as capital to complete its brewery expansion and extra production capacity, GuideLive said.

Reardon will continue to serve as president and CEO of Deep Ellum Brewing and the staff will be retained.

ANSIRA PARTNERS BUYS BRAND PROTECTION AGENCY

Dallas-based SaaS platform Brand Protection Agency has been acquired by Ansira Partners, a leading data-driven, technology-enabled marketing solutions provider, with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri and Dallas.

No details of the transaction were released. BPA’s platform provides manufacturers and brands with the ability to monitor, manage, and communicate with its online reseller channels.

Ansira said that BPA, a Tech Wildcatters company, will integrate fully with the Ansira Dallas office under Adam Vandermyde, executive vice president of operations. BPA’s management team will remain and will work with Ansira leadership to grow and integrate the business.

OTHER FUNDING

RREAF Holdings, a Dallas commercial real estate firm, has raised $5.3 million for a nearly 200-unit apartment development it acquired this month in Birmingham, Alabama, according to a Form D filing.

According to a filing with the federal government, Fort Worth commercial real estate investor Mitchell Asset Group, which has relationships in New York with banking giant UBS and brokerage Walker & Dunlop, has raised roughly $2.8 million. 

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