Follow the Money: AT&T Part of $10M Lumina Round, Retail Startup Raises $5.7M, Buffett Unit Buys Ebby Halliday

From tech giants to real estate and robot lawnmowers, here's a look at recent funding, mergers, and acquisitions involving companies and firms with North Texas ties.

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AT&T AMONG INVESTORS IN LUMINA’S $10M SERIES A ROUND

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[Photo by Lance Murray]

Dallas-based AT&T was an investor in a $10 million Series A funding round for Lumina Networks.

The round was led by Verizon Ventures and also included Rahi Systems.

San Jose, California-based Lumina, an open source networking company, said it will use the funding to support the development of new programs and geographic expansion in Europe and Japan.

“This investment by both Verizon and AT&T demonstrates the strategic importance of open source networking to the automation and digitizaiton of their networks,” Lumina founder and CEO Andrew Coward said in a statement. 

NEIGHBORHOOD GOODS RAISES $5.75M

Neighborhood Goods, a Dallas-based retail startup founded by Matt Alexander and Mark Masinter, has raised $5.75 million.

The seed round was led by Forerunner Ventures with participation from Maveron, CAA Ventures, Global Founders Capital, NextGen Venture Partners, and others.

Also participating were Michael Dubin of Dollar Shave Club, and Alan P. Shor of The Retail Connection, who will be joining the company’s board of directors.

Neighborhood Goods is a department store that features direct-to-consumer as well as globally-recognized brands, through a rotating, curated pop-up concept, experiential events, live podcasts, and open forum discussions, according to the company. It said the funding will help it develop an alternative to — and evolution of — the department store.  

Neighborhood Goods said that later this year, it plans to open its first location in Plano and that it is seeking brands for partnerships.

WOMEN IN THEIR PRIME RAISES $250K OF $1M OFFERING

Dallas-based Women in Their Prime LLC has raised $250,000 of a $1 million equity financing round, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The company’s PRiME website is aimed at entrepreneurial women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s and offers a lifestyle guide with articles written by “prime women” for “prime women.” The site features articles on fashion, travel, fitness, beauty, finances, relationships, and entertainment.

RAINIER RAISES CAPITAL FOR RETAIL CENTER DEALS

Dallas-based commercial real estate firm Rainier Cos. has raised money through its investment arm for retail center deals, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

Rainer raised more than $3.7 million for what the DBJ said appears to be a retail center near the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. And, another $5.8 million for a Corpus Christi center.

VORBI COMPLETES $2M ‘SAFE’ FUNDING ROUND

Plano-based tech company Vorbi Inc. has closed a $2 million investment round under a simple agreement for future equity — commonly called SAFE — according to a Form D filing.

Vorbi is a hyperscale converged cloud Infrastructure provider and said its platform delivers a true “one stop shop” cloud as a service experience.

ROBIN AUTOPILOT CLOSES ON $1M IN FUNDING

Dallas-based robotic lawnmowing franchisor Robin Autopilot has closed on a $1 million funding round, the DBJ reported.

Robin Autopilot grew out of the Dallas-based Dialexa Labs incubator and was featured on the hit-television show Shark Tank. More than 1 million of the company’s machines are in operation in Europe and it’s planning to expand its franchise to the U.S., the publication reported. The DBJ said that outdoor equipment maker MTD Products and a former Mattress Firm executive led the funding round. 

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

WARREN BUFFETT COMPANY BUYS EBBY HALLIDAY HOLDINGS

Here’s a deal that includes the names of two iconic people who innovated and led change in real estate and in investing — the late Ebby Halliday and Warren Buffett.

It was announced recently that the Minnesota-based HomeServices of America subsidiary of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathway is buying Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc. and its three holdings — Ebby Halliday, REALTORS, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, and William Trew Real Estate. Also acquired were affiliates Home Team Mortgage and Texas Premier Title.

The companies will retain their names. No terms of the deal were released.

Ebby Halliday began her business career in 1938 selling hats in Dallas, and launched her real estate company in 1945. She became the best-known real estate figure in North Texas, and died in 2015 at the age of 104.

CRAFTWORK COFFEE ACQUIRES HOUSTON COWORKING BRAND, ANNOUNCES EXPANSION

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[Photo Copyright KucherAV via iStock]

Fort Worth-based Craftwork Coffee Co. announced Thursday that it acquired Houston-based WorkFlourish and that Craftwork will expand into multifamily residential developments.

The move will merge the two Texas coworking brands and position Craftwork for statewide growth with the aim of making it the leading “space as a service” provider for the apartment industry. Craftwork said the moves come at the final stages of closing its Series A funding totalling $3 million.

The company said its innovative expansion plan centers around the infusion of its coffee and coworking environment into urban residential spaces, providing a new form of work-life experience for a growing segment of the U.S. workforce — freelancers, or the “gig economy.” 

FRUITABLES MAKER VETSCIENCE ACQUIRED BY MANNA PRO 

Dallas-based VetScience has been acquired by Chesterfield, Missouri-based animal nutrition manufacturer Manna Pro Products.

VetScience is known for its Fruitables brand of natural treats and supplements that target pet obesity. 

“Fruitables treats and supplements will be a strong addition to our portfolio of premium pet products,” Manna Pro President and CEO John Howe said in a statement.

Manna Pro itself was acquired last year by Morgan Stanley Private Equity.

MORE FUNDING

Plano-based Sparta Pet Palazzo raised $13,100 in a seed round, according to Crunchable. Sparta Pet Palazzo bills itself as one-stop shopping for pet care services such as dog and cat boarding, dog daycare, pet grooming, dog training, pet transportation, among other services. The company was founded in June 2016 by Joel and Juliana Marius.

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