Follow the Money: Swych Sells Majority Stake; PICKUP Nets $5M; Sabre Agrees to $350M Deal for Farelogix

You’ll also find D.R. Horton, Finisar, Mr. Cooper, Mark Cuban, Pacific Union Financial, KAI Texas, Savhera PBC, HIG Holdings, Crestline Capital, Southlake Equity Group, and Texas Pride Impact Funds in this roundup of investment, merger, and acquisition activity by investors and companies with ties to North Texas.

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Across North Texas, companies are promoting and hiring people to take on leadership positions within their organizations. Dallas Innovates covers prominent personnel moves in Dallas-Fort Worth businesses and nonprofits—from the newest startups to well-established companies. Here are the moves tied to innovation and technology in the region. 

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Finablr takes majority stake in Plano-based Swych

“The presence of Finablr network companies in key international markets with millions of consumers has the potential to greatly accelerate Swych’s  mission.”
Deepak Jain

Swych announced this week that Abu Dhabi-based Finablr has taken a majority stake in the Plano-based digital gifting platform.

Finablr said that it will leverage its network’s leadership and global presence to expand Swych’s gifting network to a broader international audience.

The companies said that going forward, they will share their expertise and experience to create enhanced payments and gifting experiences for businesses and consumers across the globe that will be managed via Swych Blockchain Labs.

“The presence of Finablr network companies in key international markets with millions of consumers has the potential to greatly accelerate Swych’s  mission,”said Deepak Jain, Swych CEO and founder, in a release. “Finablr network brands’ entrepreneurial culture combined with its focus on innovation and strong team is highly synergistic with our own core values at Swych. This investment is a testament to the robustness of our business model and will be invaluable as we look to take digital gifting to global Audiences.”

In October, Swych announced that it raised $2 million to use to expand its presence in the industry and customer adoption, venture into blockchain, and on acquisitions.

Swych partnered in October with Travelex, a Finablr network company, and WeChat to launch Travelex Pay, a new service for travelers from mainland China visiting the United States. Travelex Pay enables  WeChat Pay’s 800 million users to utilize digital gift cards offered by Swych for spending at more than 200 U.S. retailers, according to a release.

PICKUP says it raised $5M in Series A funding

PICKUP CEO Brenda Stoner

PICKUP CEO Brenda Stoner. [Photos courtesy of Digital Dallas]

Dallas-based instant delivery company PICKUP said that it raised $5 million in a series A funding round. 

The funding came from three venture capital investors — Maryland-based TDF Ventures, and Noro-Moseley Partners and Engage Ventures, both of Atlanta.

PICKUP plans to use the new funding to accelerate market expansion, grow its platform, and add staffing in key areas, according to FinSMEs.

PICKUP CEO Brenda Stoner earlier this year talked about her company in a Q&A with Dallas Innovates.

HIG Holdings raises $4.3M in equity funding round

Fort Worth-based HIG Holdings announced that it had raised $4.3 million in an equity funding round, according to a new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Incorporated in 2009, HIG Holding operates in the financial industry, primarily in insurance. In the filing, HIG did not say for what the funding would be used.

Crestline provides new capital to Houston tech firm

Fort Worth-based Crestline Investors has provided additional capital to Houston-based Riversand, a provider of software-as-a-service Master Data Management and Product Information Management solutions.

Upen Varanasi

Riversand said the additional funds would be used to accelerate its product innovation and increase its market share via global sales and marketing expansion.

“We will use this additional capital infusion to continue to push the envelope of product innovation, strengthen our sales and marketing efforts and accelerate growth in new geographies,” Upen Varanasi, CEO and Founder of Riversand, said in a release.

Southlake Equity Group invests in Titan Spine

Southlake-based private investment firm Southlake Equity Group has invested an undisclosed amount in a Series B funding round for Titan Spine, a Wisconsin-based medical device manufacturer.

Established in 2006, Titan Spine aims to fulfill what it says is an unmet need in the interbody fusion space for cages that enhance fixation, preserve vertebral body integrity, and help promote fusion. The company specializes in the design, manufacture, and marketing of titanium interbody cage devices that, for the first time, participate in the fusion process.

Southlake Equity Group describes itself as a patient, long-term investor that is focused on creating dynamic industry leaders. 

3 Dallas groups get grants from Texas Pride Impact Funds

Three Dallas organizations are among 15 statewide to receive grants from the LGBT community foundation Texas Pride Impact Funds—the first grants issued in the fund’s five years of existence.

This first round of grants total $120,000. The Dallas organizations receiving grants a total of $28,000 in grants are:

  • Legacy Counseling Center, Dallas: $9,000 for a new TPIF Therapeutic Group project for HIV-positive people, most of whom are newly diagnosed.
  • Promise House, Dallas: $9,000 for the LGBTQ Transitional Living Program designed to change the lives of homeless youth by empowering them to become independent adults and gain resilience and self-acceptance.
  • Resource Center/Youth First, Dallas: $10,000 to decrease high-risk behaviors, decrease social isolation, and improve self-esteem among North Texas middle and high school LGBTQ youth.

OTHER FUNDING

Hurst-based public benefit corporation Savhera PBC said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it has raised $60,000 of a $200,000 equity offering for the company that was founded as a way to create jobs for women in India who are held captive in sex trafficking and violence. 

Savhera PBC was founded this year by TCU political science professor Vanessa Bouché and her husband, Noel. The name Savhera means “new beginning” in Hindi, and the company buys essential oils in bulk and then repackages them for resale in smaller units.

In India, the company is staffed by women who wish to work from the GB Road area, the main red-light district in Delhi. Since 2014, Bouché has taken student there to meet with women who are virtually captive in the brothels and gather their stories. In October, Bouché told the Fort Worth Business Press that the idea for the company came from a conversation she had with a woman in GB Road, who told her the women there need jobs of any kind to help them break out of their environment.

BillionaireMark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star, is among the investors that helped New York-based, ad-free video platform Portal raise $4.2 million, enabling its launch this week. On the platform, video creators are paid directly by viewers who like what they watch, Business Insider reported. 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Sabre agrees to acquire travel tech innovator Farelogix for $360M

Southlake-based travel technology company Sabre Corp. announced Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Miami-based Farelogix, a travel industry innovator with advanced offer management and NDC order delivery technology used by many of the world’s tops airlines, in a deal valued at roughly $360 million.

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Sean Menke

Sabre said that once the deal closes, the acquisition will allow it to speed up delivery of its end-to-end NDC-enabled retailing, distribution, and fulfillment solutions.

Farelogix offers a suite of SaaS solutions that enables carriers to dynamically create, control, optimize, and deliver personalized and differentiated offers across sales channels, according to a release. Sabre said that these airline-controlled retailing, merchandising, and distribution capabilities complement its existing retailing and merchandising solutions, and “future product roadmap.”

Sabre President and CEO Sean Menke said the deal boosts the company’s capabilities.

“Farelogix’s investments in offer management and NDC order delivery will help us accelerate our plans to deliver future-ready retailing, distribution and fulfillment solutions that unlock increased value for the industry,” Menke said in the release. “By integrating Farelogix’s capabilities into Sabre’s leading airline technology platform, we’ll be able to offer the innovative and comprehensive solutions that airlines require, backed by best-in-class technology and the deep expertise that our teams bring to market.”

Mr. Cooper acquires Farmers Branch-based competitor

Coppell-based Mr. Cooper, the former Nationstar Mortgage, announced that it is buying a Farmers Branch competitor: Pacific Union Financial, LLC.

The acquisition should close in early 2019, and Mr. Cooper said it expects the deal will boost its servicing business by $25 billion and its loan organizations by $10 billion, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News.

“This acquisition allows us to expand our servicing portfolio by welcoming more than 120,000 customers and increases our mortgage lending volume and capabilities,” said Jay Bray, Mr. Cooper chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Pacific Union Financial has roughly 850 employees.

D.R. Horton buys Indiana, Ohio homebuilders, 3,200 lots

Arlington-based homebuilder D.R. Horton continues to build its national footprint, announcing that it has bought Westport Homes, a homebuilder in Ohio and Indiana, as well as roughly 3,200 lots for about $190 million in cash.

Westport will operate as a separate division of D.R. Horton, the companies said. 

Seeking Alpha reported that the assets acquired in the deal include 3,200 lots, 400 homes in inventory, and 550 homes in sales order backlog. Most of those assets are in Westport’s Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio, operations.

II-VI Inc. to acquire Apple supplier Finisar Corp.

Finisar Corp., which has a major manufacturing facility in Sherman and a plant in Allen, and is a major supplier to Apple Inc., is being acquired by optical products maker II-VI Inc. in a deal valued at $3.2 billion.

CNBC said the acquisition will allow II-VI to expand in consumer electronics and fast-growing sectors such as autonomous vehicles.

Last December, we told you about Apple’s $390 million investment in Finisar which will lead to new life for a shuttered 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman and the creation of roughly 500 jobs there. The Dallas Business Journal reported that the company is roughly halfway toward that hiring goal.

Finisar makes lasers used in Apple’s iPhone cameras. The deal is expected to close in mid-2019, CNBC reported.

Dallas AEC firm makes second acquisition in two months

Dallas-based Architectural/ Engineering/Construction firm KAI Texas has acquired St. Louis-based Vok Construction—the second acquistion by KAI Texas in the past two months.

In late October, KAI announced that it had bought Atlanta-based Dorsey Engineering.

The acquisition of Volk adds construction expertise, talent, and Volk’s client list to KAI’s assets, the firm said. The 51-year-old Volk Construction is run by the company founder R. David Volk’s son, David Volk Jr.

Altacrest Capital buys Austin-based watch band maker

Dallas-based private equity firm Altacrest Capital has acquired Barton Watch Bands, a producer of interchangeable watch bands.

Altacrest Capital specializes in consumer products. Barton Watch Brands was founded in 2015 and is a rapidly growing organization that designs quick-release straps that can be swapped in and out without tools. They allow consumers to customize a wide range of traditional and smart watches. 

Although financial terms of the deal were not released, Altacrest Capital said it financed the deal in partnership with Route 2 Capital Partners, Barton founder Scott Herz, and a group of equity investors. R2CP provided debt and equity to support the deal, PE Hub reported.

READ NEXT

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