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.
Medical device company Orthofix merges to create nearly $700M revenue business
⟫ Two publicly traded firms are combining. Lewisville’s Orthofix, a spine- and orthopedics-focused medical device company, has inked a definitive agreement with California-based spinal surgical solutions company SeaSpine for an all-stock merger.
While the combined company has yet to choose a name, it will have around 1,600 employees and would have seen revenues of about $693 million had the transaction taken place at the beginning of the year. Expected to close in the first quarter of next year, the move expands their products and commercial reach, in addition to saving the companies $40 million per year.
The combined company will be headquartered in Lewisville and its board will be made up of nine members—five chosen by Orthofix and the rest selected by SeaSpine. The board will be chaired by Jon Serbousek, president and CEO at Orthofix.
Mavenir raises $155M in push to become end-to-end supplier for network operators
⟫ Mavenir has raised $155 million as it looks to accelerate investment in innovation for mobile networks. The funding bolsters the company’s balance sheet, enabling it to continue developing products with disruptive potential.
The Richardson-based company recently expanded into the hardware side of the business in an effort to become an end-to-end supplier to network operators. Mavenir is an industry leader known for supplying software to communications service providers.
Adding to a $95 million loan Mavenir received earlier this year,—which Moody’s reported was meant for research and development efforts in the radio space, furthering its entrance into the hardware space—the company has raised $250 million since July.
As Mavenir pursues growth, it will likely need to add around 500 new hires to its professional services team to deal with customer requirements, TelecomTV reported, noting that the company said “some end-to-end deals” are in the pipeline. According to Fierce Wireless, Mavenir has around 6,000 employees—up from around half of that as of March 2020.
After backing out of an initial public offering last year due to “market volatility” and later having Koch Industries’ Koch Strategic Platforms take a minority stake in the company for $500 million, Mavenir is looking to hit $1 billion in revenue by 2023, according to LightReading, which says the company generated $636 million last year.
Dallas software startup Adyton raises $10M to bring DoD into 21st century
⟫ Dallas defense software startup Adyton is looking to “transform the Department of Defense into a twenty-first century, mobile-enabled organization.” And now it has the backing of early-stage venture capital firm Khosla Ventures, which led a $10 million Series A for the startup.
Adyton is looking to “make software for those who serve” via its Mustr app. Mustr helps the military manage distributed personnel from any desktop or mobile device. Its built-in communications tools, automated data collection, and flexible deployment model were designed for the military—but can also be put to use in organizations of all sizes, Adyton says.
Pinnacle Realty Advisors raises $5M for ‘brokerage-as-a-service’ platform
⟫ Calling the industry “ripe for innovation,” Dallas-based real estate brokerage Pinnacle Realty Advisors announced closing a $5 million seed round led by Launchpad Capital to help launch its brokerage-as-a-service platform.
Mucker Capital and Dream Ventures joined the round, which also included the acquisition of Bay Area-based building recommendation software for real estate agents startup Realthy.io, which services agents in more than 40 states. The company said the funding and acquisition will help to fuel the growth of its subscription based real estate firm that provides pricing and proprietary software to its agents.
As part of the deal, Launchpad founder Ryan Gilbert will join Pinnacle’s advisory board. Pinnacle says it is currently licensed in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, with plans to launch in Florida and North Carolina in the near future.
Mark Cuban-backed Sonara Health raises funding to fight opioid addiction
⟫ Securing a patent last month, the Dallas-based opioid recover startup Sonara Health landed a $3 million seed round to help it expand the use of its medication monitoring system, in the hopes of building more trust between patients and clinics and making treatment more readily accessible.
Sonara’s new seed funding round was led by First Trust Capital Partners and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. The round closed just before Sonara announced landing a nearly $270,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Building on previous backing—some of which came from Mark Cuban—the company says it has raised more than $5 million for its solution.
To help create easier access to methadone treatment, Sonara Health has developed a two-prong solution. To enable methadone to be taken at home, the startup’s monitoring system includes a tamper-evident medication bottle. A patient scans a QR code on the bottle that is voided once scanned and the bottle is destroyed once used. The patient then uploads the video of them scanning the label and taking the medication on Sonara’s telehealth app, allowing it to be reviewed asynchronously for proper medication handling.
With the new funding, Sonara said it plans to continue to build out its platform, in addition to partnering with more opioid treatment programs, with the mission of helping “more people on their path to recovery.”
CIA’s venture arm invests in Colossal Biosciences’ ‘de-extinction’ technology
⟫ Lots of intelligence went into founding Dallas-based Colossal Biosciences, which aims to bring back the woolly mammoth and the Tasmanian tiger with “de-extinction” technology. Now America’s top intelligence agency has taken notice—and gotten invested.
The Central Intelligence Agency has invested in Colossal through its nonprofit VC investment arm, In-Q-Tel, reports The Intercept. In a blog post titled “How Can We Use Biology to Solve Global Issues?” In-Q-Tel SVP of Technology Kevin O’Connell and Senior Partner Eugene Chiu said the investment is “less about the mammoths and more about the capability,” adding that “The next wave of progress in synbio will lead to advances in our ability to shape both form and function in organisms at the macroscopic level.”
Noting the many challenges involved in engineering animals and plants, O’Connell and Chiu write that if companies like Colossal are successful, it could “unlock such capabilities as programming the physical properties of wood to improve building materials, preventing the extinction of not-yet-extinct but endangered animal species, [and] sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.”
Other possibilities they cite include “further enhancing crop species to tolerate increasingly severe climatic changes and curing human diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, beta thalassemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and many kinds of cancer.”
Stealthy Dallas men’s health startup looks to raise $2M
⟫ MANGOCEUTICALS, a stealthy Dallas-based startup doing business as Mango Rx, amended an SEC filing from August to reflect raising an additional $1.1 million in equity and other options from a5 new investors, bringing the $2 million fundraising effort to more than $1.5 million.
According to LinkedIn, Mango Rx is a “new men’s health and wellness company dedicated to developing, marketing, and selling a variety of men’s wellness products and services via a telemedicine platform that connects consumers to licensed healthcare professionals.” Based on the regulatory filing, Mango RX is led by co-founders Jacob Cohen, who serves as CEO, and Jonathan Arango, who serves as president. Cohen also serves as the president and CEO of American International Holding Corp., while Arango most recently served as the co-founder and COO of MURPHY RX.
Mango RX reports that it was founded in 2021.
NFT e-book platform Book.io lands investment from BDMI
⟫ Following the close of its seed funding round late last month, McKinney startup Book.io, which is developing an NFT e-book platform on the blockchain, announced landing a new investment from BDMI, a subsidiary of international media company Bertelsmann, for an undisclosed amount. Book.io CEO Joshua Stone said the investment is “a partnership,” allowing the company to explore product expansions “well beyond e-books to include audiobooks and other types of digital media in the future.”
Book.io’s platform turns e-book purchases into digital ownership via NFTs. The company says that opens up a new secondary market for publishers and authors, while also enabling an author-to-reader direct engagement channel.
Since launching its first book sale in July, the company says its total volume of secondary market sales is more than $1 million. It added that it’s in discussions with various authors and publishers to schedule titles for release later this fall.
Exela Technologies to take European business unit public via SPAC deal
⟫ Irving-based business process automation firm Exela Technologies is looking to take its European business public via a merger with CF Acquisition Corp. VIII, a blank check company sponsored by New York financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald—a move that values XBP Europe at an initial enterprise value of $220 million. Following the SPAC merger, which is expected to be completed in the first half of next year, the combined company will be called XBP Europe Holdings, Inc. and plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker XBP.
Dallas blank check firm looks to raise $200M in IPO
⟫ In other SPAC news, Dallas-based blank check company Spring Valley Acquisition Corp. II announced pricing its $200 million initial public offering, selling shares at $10 per unit. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker SVIIU, with the offering closing on Oct. 17.
Primarily sponsored by an affiliate of Dallas-based energy investment firm Pearl Energy Investment Management, Spring Valley said it will seek to combine with a business in the sustainability industry, including in areas like renewable energy, resource optimization, environmental services, and grid infrastructure. Spring Valley is led by CEO Chris Sorrells and CFO Rob Kaplan.
The initial Spring Valley Acquisition Corp. combined with Oregon-based advanced nuclear small modular reactor firm NuScale Power, giving it a combined enterprise value of around $1.9 billion.
TPG Capital acquires claims-editing business from Change Healthcare for $2.2B
⟫ Fort Worth- and San Francisco-based private equity firm TPG Capital has closed on its $2.2 billion acquisition of ClaimsXten, the claims-editing business of Change Healthcare—a move that was agreed to this spring but was held up in antitrust litigation and contingent upon UnitedHealth’s $13 billion acquisition of Change.
According to Fierce Healthcare, TPG financed the deal with $1.2 billion in equity and $1 billion in debt. As part of the deal, Change leader Carolyn Wikitch will become the CEO of ClaimsXten and nearly 400 employees will continue working with the claims-editing company. In addition, TPG aims to nearly double ClaimsXten’s R&D budget to $30 million by 2026, Fierce Healthcare reports.
TPG impact arm leads $450M Series E for iron-air battery company Form Energy
⟫ Speaking of TPG, the firm’s climate impact-focused arm led a $450 million Series E funding round for Massachusetts-based Form Energy, a company developing iron-air batteries, TechCrunch reports. Focused on renewable electric grids, Form is looking to kick off commercial production in 2024. Its latest round was joined by GIC Capital, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, ArcelorMittal, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and Capricorn Investment Group, among others.
TPG acquires animal health technology firm Covertrus, alongside Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
⟫ Rounding out the TPG news, funds managed by TPG Capital, along with those affiliated with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, completed their acquisition of Maine-based animal health technology and services firm Covertrus, taking the Nasdaq-traded company private. As part of the deal, Covertrus president and CEO Benjamin Wolin will continue to lead the company, which will keep its current headquarters and name.
Luther King Capital Management raises nearly $2M for technology-focused fund
⟫ Fort Worth investment firm Luther King Capital Management amended an SEC filing to reflect raising an additional $1.97 million for a hedge fund titled LKCM Technology Partnership, L.P., bringing the total raised for the fund since 2011 to more than $22.1 million.
Founded in 1979 by J. Luther King, Jr., Luther King Capital Management says it has $22.1 billion. The firm has 98 employees spread across offices in Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. According to its website, LKCM Technology Partnership “is an all capitalization long-biased partnership, which invests in secularly advantaged technology companies where the business potential and technologies appear under appreciated by the investment community, coupled with hedges provided by short positions in structurally less advantaged names where investor sentiment appears too optimistic.”
American Airlines invests in hydrogen fuel distribution company Universal Hydrogen Co.
⟫ Looking to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, American Airlines is investing in new fuel distribution technology. The Fort Worth-based carrier announced making a “strategic equity investment” in Los Angeles’ Universal Hydrogen Co., a startup developing a hydrogen fuel distribution and logistics network for the aviation industry in the U.S. and Europe.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, American said the investment supports its goal of meeting the Paris Agreement targets by 2035 and ultimately hitting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The airline joined Airbus Ventures, GE Aviation, Toyota Ventures, and other “major hydrogen producers and aircraft lessors” in the funding for Universal Hydrogen.
Capital Plus Financial lands $125M bond guarantee
⟫ Local community development financial institution Capital Plus Financial—a wholly owned subsidiary of Crossroads Impact Corp., is set to receive a $125 million bond guarantee from the U.S. Treasury Department’s CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. That makes the institution the recipient of one of three guarantees issued in the 2022 fiscal year, Capital Plus said. It added that the bond—its first ever—will help it provide long-term, fixed-rate cost of debt capital to its clients.
“The bond allocation will permit CPF to expand its work to assist qualified homebuyers, many of whom are first time homeowners, with the opportunity to own affordable homes that will help build generational wealth,” Thiru Vignarajah, CEO of Capital Plus Financial, said in a statement.
MoneyGram International takes minority stake in payments app Jingle Pay
⟫ Dallas-based person-to-person payments company MoneyGram International announced a partnership that includes making a minority investment in United Arab Emirates-based Jingle Pay, a social payment app. As part of the deal, MoneyGram chairman and CEO Alex Holmes will join Jingle Pay’s board. Jingle Pay founder and CEO Amir Fardghassemi said the move will expand the company’s “network of global remittance destinations.”
ECI Software Solutions acquires U.K. e-commerce software company
⟫ Fort Worth-based ECI Software Solutions, a business management solutions firm, acquired U.K.-based B2B e-commerce software firm ES Tech Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ECI said that ES Tech will join its growing suite of business applications that can be integrated across its vertical-based solutions.
Aperture acquires fellow local forensic engineering firm CAC Forensics
⟫ In an all-local deal, Arlington-based Aperture, a forensic engineering services firm owned by Trinity Hunt Partners, acquired Southlake accident reconstruction and digital forensic engineering services company CAC Forensics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to Steve Irwin, Aperture’s Texas practice leader, the move will expand the company’s work product and services. Aperture is comprised of five partner companies, the Dallas Business Journal reports.
NTT DATA to add to its digital transformation services team with Aspirent acquisition
⟫ NTT DATA, a digital business and IT services provider with North American headquarters in Plano, has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Aspirent, an Atlanta-based data analytics and advisory firm. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, NTT DATA said the move will add more than 230 data advisors and technologists to its digital transformation services team, accelerating its strategy of becoming the “preferred digital innovation partner for enterprises globally.” NTT said Aspirent will benefit from its recent efforts launching one of six “innovation centers” in Plano.
Austin’s Integris scoops up local managed service provider Blue Jean Networks
⟫ Adding to its team of nearly 500 employees across offices in 10 states, Austin IT managed service provider Integris acquired Fort Worth’s Blue Jean Networks, a fellow managed service provider, for an undisclosed amount. At the same time, Integris announced acquiring Boston-based managed security services provider Security7 Networks. Integris CEO Rashaad Bajwa said the acquisition of Blue Jean Networks adds to its leadership in the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification space, a program of the U.S. Department of Defense.
RecNation expands to San Antonio area with new facility acquisition
⟫ RecNation, an owner, operator, and developer of RV and marine storage facilities founded by former CyrusOne CEO Gary Wojtaszek, announced its expansion into the San Antonio-area market with the acquisition of a new facility in Boerne, Texas. With 440,000 square feet of leasable space and more than 800 units, RecNation says it is one of the largest in its portfolio, which includes 39 storage locations across Texas, Florida, and Arizona. The company said the new facility is in an ideal location, given its proximity to a major metropolitan area and access to outdoor recreation areas.
Earlier this year, RecNation secured a syndicated revolving credit facility led by Truist Securities and Citizens Bank, allowing it to borrow up to $300 million. At the time, RecNation said it plans to expand to an additional 150 locations over the next two years—using the credit facility’s proceeds “to finance future acquisitions and support the company’s development initiatives, while broadening its service offerings.”
EXIT Real Estate Gallery merges with United Real Estate, bringing 400 agents to the Dallas firm
⟫ Dallas real estate firm United Real Estate has merged with Florida brokerage EXIT Real Estate Gallery—marking its fifth such move this year, the Dallas Business Journal reports. Now known as United Real Estate Gallery, the firm will add 400 agents to United’s network and expand its presence in Northeast Florida. According to the DBJ, United Real Estate Gallery will retain all of its leadership.
BBG to open Ohio office with acquisition of VSI Appraisal Group
⟫ Local commercial real estate firm BBG acquired Columbus, Ohio-based appraisal firm VSI Appraisal Group for an undisclosed amount. As part of the move, BBG said it will open a new office in Columbus, making it one of 15 new offices the Dallas-based firm has opened in the last three years. VSI president David Ross, Jr. will lead the new office as its managing director.
121 Media acquires local recommendation platform Check Out DFW
⟫ 121 Media, the Frisco-based owner and operator of suburban weekly newspaper publisher Star Local Media, acquired Check Out DFW and CheckOutDFW.com, a real estate and local recommendation platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 121 Media president and CEO Rick Rogers said the deal will add a “unique digital experience” to the company’s product offering. Both businesses will continue to operate separately from each other.
David Seeley contributed to this report.
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