Follow the Money: Novo Labs Reaps $2M in Seed Funding; Jacobs Buys Intelligence Company for $815M

You’ll also find news about Transwestern Investment Group, WNG Capital, Blue Star Innovation Partners, Calise Partners, Imaginuity, THMED, and Arcis Golf in this roundup of investment, merger, and acquisition activity involving companies in North Texas.

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Novo Labs receives $2M in seed funding round

Novo Labs, the Dallas-based provider of conversational artificial intelligence services for large restaurant chains, said that it has received $2 million in seed funding, led by Austin-based Silverton Partners.

Founded in 2017 by Clinton Coleman and Jeff Loukas, Novo Labs last year launched its automated service for taking restaurant orders through high-volume voice channels. The new funding will be used to accelerate client deployments and integrate with additional voice channels, Novo Labs said in a release.

Novo said that, with the financing, Roger Chen of Silverton Partners will join the company’s board of directors.

TIG raises $200M for TSP Value and Income Fund II

Dallas-based Transwestern Investment Group announced that it has raised $200 million for TSP Value and Income Fund II, a real estate investment fund.

Transwestern said in a release that the fund will follow an initial strategy of reducing volatility in the value-add space by focusing on current income while providing value creation.

“We are extremely pleased with our fundraising results, particularly the return of all our Fund I investors, as well as the addition of prominent new institutional investors,” TIG Senior Managing Director Jennifer White said in a statement. “The resounding success of TSP Value and Income Fund I was a key factor in generating investor interest.”

WNG Capital closes Aircraft Opportunities Fund II with $438M

Dallas-based WNG Capital LLC, a global aviation investment manager and lessor of narrow body commercial aircraft, announced the final closing of WNG Aircraft Opportunities Fund II LP with $438 million of capital commitments.

The firm said that WNG II was oversubscribed with demand exceeding the fundraising target of $300 million.

WNG said it secured commitments from a “sophisticated group” of U.S. institutional investors, including public and corporate pension plans, endowments, foundations, and family offices, according to a report in PE Hub.

The firm said that WNG II is expected to acquire roughly 40 to 60 Boeing and Airbus narrow body aircraft with ages ranging from 15 to 20+ years and remaining lease terms of 12 to 48 months, according the report. 

Blue Star Innovation leads Payrix’s $22M funding round

Jerry Jones-affiliated Blue Star Innovation Partners led $22 million in new funding for Florida-based Payrix Payments Technology, a first-of-its-kind technology platform for flexible payment facilitation.

Blue Star Innovation Partners is a Dallas-based investment fund founded by the Dallas Cowboys owner, the Jones family, and entrepreneur Rob Wechsler, and Providence Strategic Growth, the growth equity affiliate of global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners.

“We’re excited to have Blue Star and Providence as our first outside investors. Beyond the investment, there is tremendous value in gaining access to teams who have accomplished so much and built global brands in highly competitive markets,” Boruch Greenberg, co-founder and CEO of Payrix, said in a statement.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Jacobs acquires intelligence company KeyW for $815M

Dallas-based global engineering firm Jacobs announced that it will acquire the intelligence company KeyW in a deal valued at $815 million.

The acquisition will bolster Jacobs’ government services and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance offerings, the company said in a release. The KeyW Holding Corp., based in Hanover, Maryland, specializes in ISR, cyber operations and training, and mission-critical IT and analytics.

KeyW will operate within Jacobs’ Aerospace, Technology, and Nuclear business. The price includes roughly $272 million of KeyW debt, according to a release.

“Jacobs’ global reach and proven track record executing large complex enterprise contracts provide a powerful platform to unleash KeyW’s complementary rapid technology development,” Jacobs Chair and CEO Steve Demetriou said in the release.

Calise Partners acquires Dallas digital shop Imaginuity

Calise Partners, a Dallas-based integrated agency announced that it has acquired the Dallas digital shop Imaginuity.

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The new Imaginuity is led by CEO Taylor Calise, left, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer Corbett Guest, center, and Chairman Charlie Calise. [Photo: Courtesy Imaginuity]

The deal will create one of the largest independent marketing services providers in the Southwest. The company will do business under the Imaginuity brand.

No financial terms of the transaction were disclosed.

As part of the deal, Calise Partners founder Charlie Calise’s son Taylor will become CEO of Imaginuity. Corbett Guest, Imaginuity’s former CEO, will take on a new role of chief innovation and strategy officer of the combined businesses.

“As a single operating unit, Imaginuity will help clients manage the customer journey at every stage of the buying process both offline and online, providing them with seamless, cross-channel programs that deliver measurable results,” Taylor Calise said in a release.

THMED says it’s acquired CV Staff Solutions

Farmers Branch-based THMED announced that it is has acquired CV Staff Solutions, a specialty inpatient locums and perfusion staffing company. 

THMED is a New Capital Partners portfolio company. No financial information on the deal was released.

According to a release, the acquisition accelerates THMED’s vision of providing more access to qualified medical professionals for current and new clients and expands CV Staff Solutions services on a national scale.

CV Staff Solutions specializes in optimizing the inpatient cardiovascular service line efficiency through long-term coverage arrangements.

Arcis Golf buys portfolio of clubs from Dominion Golf Group

Dallas-based Arcis Golf has acquired Austin-based Dominion Golf Group’s portfolio of clubs.

Arcis said the portfolio is one-of-the most attractive asset quality portfolios in the golf industry and is a significant enhancement to Arcis Golf’s collection of 65 properties across the U.S. No financial details of the deal were released.

The deal closed on April 22 and includes three clubs in the vibrant Austin market—historic Onion Creek Club, River Place Country Club, and Twin Creeks Country Club—as well as the acclaimed Lantana Golf Club in Dallas and The Dominion Country Club, a former professional tour venue in San Antonio.

Arcis Golf now owns 18 clubs in Texas and is the second-largest owner and operator of golf facilities in the United States.

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