Follow the Money: Meritize Raises $6.8M, Shop Simply Nets $400K, Headington Buys TenOverSix

From an education loan platform to social marketing and retail, here are some of the latest capital raises, mergers, and acquisitions with North Texas ties.

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STUDENT LENDING PLATFORM MERITIZE RAISES $6.8M SEED ROUND

Frisco-based student lending platform Meritize has raised $6.8 million in seed funding, the company announced. 

The round was led by Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures, and Cube Financial Holdings, with participation from ECMC, College Loan Corp., University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared, and Meritize management.

Meritize said the money will be used to accelerate growth, support sales and marketing, expand its team, and continue building its platform.

“The response from investors has exceeded our expectations as we move into significant growth mode with our proprietary lending platform,” said Meritize CEO Chris Keaveney in a release. 

Launched in January 2017, the company was co-founded by Keaveney and Phillip Stegner. It uses an individual’s academic data to enhance credit evaluation and to expand funding for career-based education.

 “Meritize addresses a fundamental gap in our education system at a time when skills-based education is becoming increasingly important, and effectively training and re-training our workforce is critical for maintaining the health of our economy and citizens,” said Jonathan Strike, partner at Colchis Capital, in the release. 

SHOP SIMPLY ANNOUNCES $400K EQUITY RAISE

Shop Simply Inc., a Dallas-based provider of a software-based enabler of next-generation e-commerce, announced a $400,000 equity raise in a Form D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This raise is part of a $5 million offering.

Shop Simply was co-founded by Steve Nadon, Dr. Alistair Black, and Eric Peus, and uses virtual robot technology that automates and enables the entire shopping and checkout process.

GOT2GO2 NETS $590K AS IT BUILDS SOCIAL MARKETING PLATFORM

Dallas-based startup got2go2 LLC announced it has raised $590,000 in an equity funding as part of a $750,000 offering, according to a filing with the SEC. 

The startup, founded in 2014, is under development with a planned launch in 2018 and is building a social marketing platform that connects people to people and businesses.

FORT CAPITAL INVESTS IN ROBOTICS COMPANY’S $750K RAISE

Fort Worth-based Fort Capital was one of two investors participating in a $750,000 seed round by Baltimore-based NextStep Robotics. NextStep is developing a treatment for foot drop to aid stroke survivors via personalized robotic therapy.

DALLAS PE FIRM PART OF $15M STEMCELL TECHNOLOGIES RAISE

Transition Capital Partners, a Dallas-based private equity firm, is one of two investors participating in a $15 million venture raise by STEMCELL Technologies Inc., a Canadian company that develops specialty cell culture media, cell isolations systems, and accessories in the life science research arena. 

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

HEADINGTON BUYS TENOVERSIX TO JOIN FORTY FIVE TEN IN PORTFOLIO 

Dallas billionaire Tim Headington has acquired TenOverSix and added it to his retail portfolio, which includes Forty Five Ten, a company he acquired in 2014. 

Headington Companies named Kristen Cole, who co-founded TenOverSix with her husband, Joe Cole, in 2008 in Los Angeles, as the president and chief creative officer for both Forty Five Ten and TenOverSix.

TenOverSix is an upscale retailer of apparel, home goods, and art located inside The Joule Hotel on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas. It recently added a store in Miami, Florida. Forty Five Ten is an upscale department store at 1615 Main St. in downtown Dallas. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

D Magazine reported that Forty Five Ten vice president and creative director Taylor Tomasi Hill was no longer affiliated with the retailer.

SKINNY IT ACQUIRES MISSOURI-BASED SERVICE, REPAIR PROVIDER

Frisco-based information technology service company Skinny IT announced that it had acquired Installation & Service Technologies, a single-source solution provider for on-site service and repairs based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Skinny IT said the deal would allow it to enhance its ability to deliver on-site deployments for clients across the nation. No financial details were released.

“We emphasize the importance of superior, on-site service, ensuring clients that quality will be consistent with each interaction, and IST’s mission fits well within these high standards,” Skinny IT CEO Sam Darwish said in a release. 

Skinny IT said that previously, it deployed its own on-site workers for high-volume orders, but that this acquisition improves its ability to “reach clients with tailored, on-site services, including surveys, project management, staging and kitting, installations, service contracts, and depot repair.”

MORE ACQUISITIONS

Ivie & Associates, a Flower Mound-based marketing services provider, has been acquired for a reported $92.5 million by Quad/Graphics Inc., a Wisconsin-based marketing solutions provider. Ivie & Associates was among the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies in the nation. It was founded in 1993 by CEO Warren Ivie. 

Frisco-based Blue Star Sports has acquired five companies — TEAMINN, Crazy Raise, Eclipse Timing, Skyhawks Sports, eCamps Sports Network — and announced the launch of Blue Star Sports Connect, its next generation league management software platform. Blue Star, the largest and fastest-growing global provider of sports technology, said the closing of the five acquisition transactions would increase its total acquisition tally to 25 since being formed in April 2016 with an initial investment from Rob Wechsler, Providence, Worldly, and the Jerry Jones family. No financial details of the acquisitions were released.

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