Follow the Money: Aerwave Lands $20M for Connectivity Platform, Align Capital Partners Raises $620M for Third Fund, and More

In this week’s North Texas deal flow, you’ll also find news about automated payment solutions startup UPAY raising new funds; Fort Worth’s Star Castle Ventures' $5.25M raise; Carlyle Group acquiring a majority stake in Dallas’ Aspen Power Partners; CenterOak Partners selling Wetzel’s Pretzels for $207M; and other deals.

What companies are finding funding or having a big exit? From startup investments to grants and acquisitions, Dallas Innovates tracks what’s happening in North Texas money. Sign up for our e-newsletter, and share your deal news here

Aerwave lands $20M for connectivity platform

⟫ Aerwave has landed its first round of institutional funding, a move that founder and CEO Alex Wey says is “all about scalability.”

The Dallas-based connectivity platform startup has raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by Moderne Ventures to rapidly expand its technology footprint across the country.

Focused “almost exclusively” on the multifamily space, Aerwave’s patented technology provides communities with internet access across a property without the need for individual routers in each unit.

Aerwave’s latest round of funding was joined by World Cinema, Equity Residential, RWT Horizons, Westover Companies, along with a number of investors that the company counts as clients, Wey said.

With the new funding, Wey said his company will focus on investing in its people and process as it looks to deploy its platform into nearly 90,000 multifamily units across 30 markets by the end of next year. To help with that, Wey said Aerwave will likely double its team over the course of the next year. He added that the company is eying an expansion into the hospitality space with the help of one of its new backers.


Automated payment solutions startup UPAY raises new funds

UPAY, a Dallas-based automated loan management system and payment processing solution, is looking to raise new equity funding, according to an SEC filing. However, the filing does not list how much the company is intending to raise. Based on previous filings, the company has raised nearly $160,000 since 2016. According to UPAY’s website, the company targets payroll administrators and credit providers.

True Velocity composite-cased 6.8mm ammunition [Photo: True Velocity]

Innovative ammunition maker TV Ammo going public via SPAC deal with $1.21B valuation

⟫ Hot off of a deal that will see its products on store shelves nationwide, Garland-based TV Ammo is set to hit the public markets. In an all-local deal, the maker of composite ammunition has inked a deal to merge with a subsidiary of Irving-based blank check company Breeze Holdings Acquisition Corp.—a move that will see the combined firm begin trading on the Nasdaq Capital Markets.

TV Ammo is the parent company of Garland composite ammunition maker True Velocity as well as LoneStar Future Weapons, which it acquired last November in a deal that it valued at around $84 million.

As part of the go-public deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, the combined entity will take on the True Velocity name and will continue to be led by Co-CEOs Kevin Boscamp and Chris Tedford, along with CFO Jeff Cutshall. The deal values the combined company at a post-transaction enterprise value of $1.21 billion, generating $76.8 million in cash and $50 million in debt.

With the money raised from the deal, True Velocity said it plans to expand into new markets and distribution channels, and fund general corporate and marketing expenses to fuel that growth. It also aims to ramp up production.

The company aims to ramp up production partly due to its “landmark partnership” with national outdoor retailers Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. The three- to five-year agreement will see True Velocity sell its ammunition across all of the retailers’ channels, with plans to introduce additional products in 2023. The partnership also sets up an ammunition subscription service for at-home delivery.

Align Capital’s Dave Perotti, Matt Lodice, and Rob Langley [Photo: Align Capital]

Align Capital Partners raises $620M for oversubscribed third fund

⟫ Dallas- and Cleveland, Ohio-based private equity firm Align Capital Partners announced closing its third fund at $620 million. The firm said it initially set out raising money for the oversubscribed fund in September with a target of $550 million. The new fund will continue Align’s “growth-focused approach” of investing in lower-middle market companies with up to $15 million of EBITDA.

In addition to raising new funds, Align said it has added 11 members to its team since closing on its $450 million ACP II fund in February 2020. With the new closing, the firm says it has raised around $1.4 billion since its founding in 2016 and has invested in 18 platform companies, in addition to more than 60 add-on acquisitions.


TPG invests in supply chain visibility firm valued at $2.7B

⟫ Fort Worth- and San Francisco-based investment giant TPG joined a handful of other investors on an $80 million funding round for supply chain visibility platform project44, valuing the Chicago-based company at $2.7 billion. The round was led by Generation Investment Management and A.P. Moller Holding and was joined by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Emergence Capital. Increasing its valuation by 12% from January, the new funding will help project44 measure and reduce emissions across its supply chain, per Reuters.

Lennox Capital Partners affiliate leads $110M funding round for Colorado quantum tech firm

LCP Quantum, an affiliate of Dallas-based investment firm Lennox Capital Partners, led a $110 million Series B funding round for Colorado quantum technology firm ColdQuanta. The funding round, which will help the company commercialize its portfolio of quantum computing software and hardware, was joined by the CIA’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, Breakthrough Victoria, BOKA Group Holdings I LP, Foundry Group, Global Frontier Investments, and Maverick Ventures.

Fifth Growth Fund raises $25M to invest in ‘cutting-edge’ consumer, media, and tech

⟫ Addison’s Fifth Growth Fund, the venture capital arm of Dallas-based Fifth Partners, reported raising $25 million in equity and pooled investment fund interests from two investors, per an SEC filing. Led by Joe Drysdale, the firm says it invests in and grows “cutting-edge consumer, media, and technology companies.”

Fort Worth VC Star Castle Ventures raises $5.25M for new fund

⟫ Stealthy venture capital firm Star Castle Ventures, which lists its headquarters in Fort Worth, reported raising $5.25 million in pooled investment fund interests from 22 investors for a fund titled Star Castle Ventures VC, LP – Umbra Series B. The firm has previously listed the names of companies it invest in on its SEC filings. Based on previous filings, the new money brings the fund’s total to more than $15.3 million. Star Castle has previously invested in Addison-based Firehawk Aerospace. The firm’s website is just a landing page stating that it is “investing in next-generation security and defense.”

BioAxess Investments raising new fund

Hugo Del Pozzo

BioAxess Investments, a stealthy Fort Worth biotech investor reported raising $255,000 in equity from four investors for a new fund titled “BioAxess Investments LLC Series F, a separate series of BioAxess Investments LLC, a Delaware series Ltd liability co.”

According to an SEC filing, Maestranza Capital—which is managed by Hugo Del Pozzo, a managing director at Bravo Equity Partners—is the manager of the fund.

The filing did not say how much the firm is looking to raise. It lists Francisco Ortega as a director of the fund.

Dallas’ Bluecora sells its TaxAct software for $720M

⟫ Dallas-based Bluecora, which provides data- and tech-driven solutions for wealth management, has sold its TaxAct software business to an affiliate of Cinven in a $720 million cash deal.  After the transaction’s expected end-of-year close, Bluecora will rebrand under the name Avantax—the current name of its wealth management and planning partners segments. ““We believe that Cinven will provide the business and its talented team the opportunity to continue to serve customers and grow revenue as a more scaled software-only business,” Bluecora president and CEO Chris Walters said in a statement.

Carlyle Group takes majority stake in Dallas’ Aspen Power Partners for $350M

⟫ After launching in February with $120 million in funding, Dallas renewable energy developer Aspen Power Partners announced that global investment firm Carlyle Group has taken a majority stake in the company for $350 million. Aspen said the funding will support its organic and acquisition-driven growth strategy of developing, constructing, and operating community, multifamily, and commercial solar and storage instillations. And it’s kicking that off with the closing of its acquisitions of New York’s Safari Energy and Pennsylvania’s PPL Corporation. Aspen said the moves put it “on track to achieve gigawatt scale by mid-decade.”

Celanese finalizes its acquisition of DuPont’s mobility and materials business

Celanese CEO Lori Ryerkerk

⟫ Irving-based chemical and specialty materials company Celanese Corporation has finalized its acquisition of the majority share of DuPont’s mobility and materials business.

When the company first announced the move in February, it said it was acquiring the business for $11 billion in cash.

In addition to gaining 5,000 employees, the move will bring DuPont’s polymers and resins for industries like electronics and consumer goods under Celanese’s brand.

The company previously said the move is expected to generate about $450 million in “synergies.”

OneSource Virtual selling off its professional services and application management practices

⟫ New Jersey-based IT services and consulting company Cognizant is planning to acquire the professional services and application management practices of Dallas-based OneSource Virtual, a Workday services and solutions firm. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, will add nearly 400 employees to Cognizant’s roster and expand Cognizant’s finance and HR advisory implementation services across North America and the U.K. Moving forward, OneSource CEO Trey Campbell said it will concentrate on its “business-process-as-a-service” division.

Image: Wetzel’s Pretzels

Dallas’ CenterOak Partners to sell Wetzel’s Pretzels for $207M

⟫ Dallas private equity firm CenterOak Partners is looking to sell portfolio company Wetzel’s Pretzels to Arizona’s MTY Franchising USA for $207 million in cash, the Dallas Business Journal reports. First acquired by CenterOak in 2016, Wetzel’s operates 350 locations across parts of the U.S. and Canada. According to the DBJ, 90% of the company’s locations are franchised.

Darling Ingredients plans to acquire Polish rendering firm for around $107M

⟫ Irving-based Darling Ingredients, a company turning food waste into sustainable products and renewable energy, announced plans to acquire Polish rendering company Miropasz Group for around €110 million (or about $107.4 million). Adding a “bolt-on” to its three existing plants in central and western Poland, Darling said the move will help it build out its global supply for low-carbon feedstock. Miropasz operates three poultry rendering plants in southeast Poland with around 225 employees processing approximately 250,000 metric tons annually. The deal is expected to close in Q3 of next year.

Soulgood founder and head chef Cynthia Nevels [Background illustration: teddyandmia via iStock]

Soulgood lands grant for ‘underrepresented founders’

⟫ Dallas-based vegan food concept Soulgood was one of 40 recipients of a $20,000 grant from Antares Capital’s REACH program, which is aimed at helping launch and grow early-stage businesses by underrepresented founders. To qualify for the grant program, which was created this year in partnership with Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, businesses needed a viable product or service with less than $5 million in annual revenue. With the money, along with professional development services from Hello Alice, the companies will be able to introduce products, expand their presence, and “promote a positive social impact.”

Integrity Marketing Group to acquire local insurance firm

⟫ In an all-local deal, Dallas-based life and health insurance distributor and provider of wealth management and retirement planning services Integrity Marketing Group has inked a deal to acquire Colleyville’s Mason Insurance. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. As part of the move, Mason Insurance President Dale Mason will become a managing partner at Integrity. Bryan Adams, Integrity’s co-founder and CEO, added that the move will give Mason Insurance “access to the most powerful network in the industry.”

David Seeley contributed to this report. 

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Read more in Kevin Cummings’ recent Follow the Money deal roundup:

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[Illustration: Svetlana Brovkova via iStock]


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