Follow the Money: ParkHub Acquires Parking Software Startup, UpSmith Raises $3.3M, Maverick Bancshares Seeks $17M for new Fort Worth Bank, and More

In this week’s North Texas deal flow, you’ll also find news about Taysha Gene Therapies landing a $50M investment; music tech startup MAX’s Series B raise; Dallas Venture Capital’s latest investment; Tyler Technologies’ $68M acquisition of Rapid Financial Solutions; NaturalShrimp hitting the Nasdaq Capital Market; and more.

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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

ParkHub Founder and CEO George Baker Sr. (left) and ParkHub President Conner Mowles. [Photos: ParkHub]

ParkHub acquires San Francisco parking software firm Smarking

Parking software and payment solutions company ParkHub is looking to work more directly with real estate owners, parking operators, and municipalities with its latest acquisition.

The Dallas-based company has acquired fellow parking software firm Smarking for an undisclosed amount. It’s a move that ParkHub President Conner Mowles says will help the company expand its product offering while entering new markets.

As part of the deal, San Francisco-based Smarking’s co-founders Wen Sang and Maokai Lin will become part of ParkHub’s executive lineup and the rest of Smarking’s 222 employees will join the ParkHub team, per The Dallas Morning News.

Founded in 2010, ParkHub’s growth is fueled by a $100 million investment the company landed from LLR Partners at the beginning of the year.


Photo: Milos-Muller/iStock

RumbleOn lands $75M credit facility to finance used inventory

⟫ Used powersport vehicle e-commerce platform RumbleOn announced entering into a $75 million used powersport inventory financing credit facility with J.P. Morgan. Calling the move “paramount” to the Irving-based company’s future growth, RumbleOn CFO Narinder Sahai said the ability to finance used inventory will help it “fund our working capital needs, while executing on our mission to build the future of powersports,” especially given the “tightening credit markets.”

R.A. Session II, president, CEO, and founder of Taysha Gene Therapies [Background image: Olena Yepifanova via iStock]

R.A. Session II, president, CEO, and founder of Taysha Gene Therapies [Background image: Olena Yepifanova via iStock]

Taysha Gene Therapies gets $50M from Japanese pharmaceutical company

Taysha Gene Therapies has landed a $50 million investment to advance its streamlined pipeline of novel therapies aimed at rare diseases.

The Dallas-based biotech firm received the investment from Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma in a move it says will address the unmet medical needs of patients with Rett syndrome and giant axonal neuropathy.

As part of the deal, Astellas will take a 15% stake in Taysha, along with an exclusive option to obtain the license to Taysha’s therapy development program to target genetic diseases in the central nervous system. According to the Dallas Morning News, $30 million of Astellas’ investment went into stock purchases, while the rest puts the Tokyo-based company at the front of the line to potentially purchase Taysha.

Astellas will also get a board observer seat on Taysha’s board of directors, allowing Taysha to leverage the firm’s expertise.

Wyatt Smith, founder and CEO of UpSmith. [Photo ASU+GSV Summit]

UpSmith raises $3.3M pre-seed round to combat skilled worker shortage

Wyatt Smith—the former head of business development for Elevate, Uber’s aerial rideshare unit—says his newest venture is on a mission to combat America’s skilled worker shortage. And after successful pilots, UpSmith has unveiled new funding to help it scale.

The Dallas-based startup announced it closed on a $3.3 million pre-seed funding round earlier this year led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and Boston’s Asymmetric Capital Partners.

Launched earlier this year, UpSmith’s platform—aptly called—helps employers find, train, and retain skilled workers. Currently focused on the manufacturing, construction, and home services spaces, the company sources potential talent, screens and verifies candidates, then partners with businesses to offer paid eight-week “training accelerators” to candidates. It does all this to create what it says are the three important determinants of career routes: purpose, pay, and accessibility.

UpSmith’s pre-seed raise was joined by GSV Ventures and Accel, along with “strategic” angel investors, including former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, Thumbtack co-founder Sander Daniels, and “dozens of other leaders in the global technology, construction, and advanced manufacturing sectors.”

With the new funding, UpSmith plans to expand its platform. The company said in a blog post that it’s seeking to work with businesses in areas like advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, aerospace and defense, and construction. In a podcast interview on “The FORT with Chris Powers” released last month, Smith said his company intends to focus on “moving into adjacent markets” and “moving into new geographies.”

Photo: ipopba/iStock

Frisco music tech startup MAX lands Series B funding

MAX (Music Audience Exchange), a Frisco-based music technology company that powers artist-brand sponsorships, announced Wednesday that it’s received a new Series B funding round led by Interlock Partners, with continued support from Method Capital.

The amount of the funding was not disclosed. The company said the funding will be used for continued development of SET.Live and expansion of its sales and marketing teams to meet growing demand.

MAX said it is expanding its board of directors with the addition of Carl Sparks, managing partner at Interlock, and Elizabeth Brooks, managing partner at Better Angels Ventures and leader in the intersection of music and tech.

Zirtue CEO & co-founder Dennis Cail

Zirtue wins $100K top prize at America’s Got Access pitch competition

⟫ Taking the stage at the inaugural America’s Got Access pitch competition at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Dallas relationship-based lending app Zirtue took home the top prize. In addition to the recognition, the company received a $100,000 uncapped SAFE note and will join the portfolio of San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm Commerce Ventures. Focused on structuring and automating personal loans between friends and family, Zirtue has raised at least $6 million from backers including Northwestern MutualGoogle for Startups Black Founders FundRevolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and the Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute Capital Fund.

Recently formed data analytics company 4 Impact Data looks to raise $2M

⟫ Plano-based 4 Impact Data, a recently formed business data analytics software company, reported raising $250,000 from a single investor out of a $2 million offering, according to an SEC filing.

Launched earlier this year, 4 Impact Data’s dashboard—called the BizEKG system—provides financial insights and business recommendations. The company was founded by Marty Carney, Eric Eager, and Chris Hagans.

Photo: NaturalShrimp

Farm-raised shrimp tech firm NaturalShrimp set to hit Nasdaq Capital Market

⟫ A Dallas-based company looking to bring fresh farmed shrimp to restaurants and consumers across the U.S. is set to uplist onto the Nasdaq Capital Market.

Via a merger with a wholly owned subsidiary of New York-based black check company Yotta Acquisition Corporation, NaturalShrimp is expected to move from the OTC markets to the Nasdaq. The move is expected to help NaturalShrimp ramp up its go-to-market efforts.

As part of the deal, the combined company—which will take on the name NaturalShrimp—could have access to up to $105 million in net cash from the Yotta trust account, assuming there are no redemptions by Yotta stockholders. In addition, Yotta plans to issue common shares to NaturalShrimp security holders worth $175 million at their current valuation, with NaturalShrimp stockholders receiving additional shares worth a total of $100 million if the company hits certain revenue targets in 2024 and 2025.

Upon the deal’s closing, expected in the first quarter of next year, NaturalShrimp will have an enterprise value estimated at around $275 million. Following the close, the company’s board will be made up of seven members chosen by NaturalShrimp.

Crescent Real Estate raises $265M to invest in new properties

⟫ Fort Worth commercial real estate firm Crescent Real Estate raised $265 million for its third fund. According to The Dallas Morning News, the firm has committed less than 10% of the find, which it plans to use for buying, building, and operating new properties. Crescent has around $4.5 billion in assets under its management, along with $500 million in active developments, per the DMN.

Fort Worth’s Maverick Bancshares aims to raise $17M for new bank

Maverick Bancshares, the holding company behind newly formed, Fort Worth-based Maverick Bank, reported raising more than $14.8 million in equity from 44 investors out of a $17 million offering, per an SEC filing. Not much information is available on the company, which says it formed this year. However, a federal filing from April shows that Maverick entered into a deal to acquire Fort Davis Bancshares. According to LinkedIn, the company is led by CEO Brent Leslie.


Illustration: Baks via iStock

Dallas Venture Capital invests in Indian cybersecurity startup

⟫ Local VC firm Dallas Venture Capital joined a $9.2 million Series A funding round for India-based cybersecurity startup BluSapphire Cyber Systems, which was led by Barings Private Equity India. Xto10x, RPG Ventures, and Merisis Venture Partners joined the round.

Earlier this year, Dallas Venture Capital raised $80 million for its second flagship fund and raised $25 million for an India-focused fund.

Dallas Venture Capital focuses on B2B SaaS companies working in emerging tech spaces like AI, machine learning, and extended reality. The firm said it plans to invest in around 20 to 25 companies at the rate of about one per quarter as it deploys the two funds.

DVC typically writes checks between $2 million and $5 million, mostly in the post-product market for companies, with follow-on investments totaling up to $10 million. The firm seeks to accelerate businesses’ revenues from around $1 million to $10 million, according to Dallas Venture Capital Co-Founder and Director Abidali Neemuchwala.

Conversational engagement platform Acqueon receives majority growth investment from Long Ridge Equity Partners

Acqueon, an Irving-based conversational engagement platform, received a majority growth investment from Long Ridge Equity Partners. As part of the move, Acqueon backer Everstone Capital exits its majority stake in the company and will remain on as a minority investor. Founded in 2019, Acqueon said the deal will help it accelerate product innovation, grow its channel partners, and invest in its team. The company says it works with customers in industries ranging from banking and health care to retail and distribution.

Tyler Technologies to acquire Rapid Financial Solutions in $68M deal

Elizabeth Proudfit, president of Tyler Technologies’ NIC division. [Photo: NIC]

⟫ Plano-based Tyler Technologies, a government-focused digital solutions and payments firm, announced plans to acquire Utah’s Rapid Financial Solutions for around $68 million in cash and stock.

Following the close of the deal, which is expected in Q4 of this year, Rapid will become part of Tyler’s payments business unit.

According to Elizabeth Proudfit, president of Tyler’s NIC Division, the acquisition will allow the company to “offer our public sector clients a proven and trusted payments platform which makes disbursing these payments easy, quick, and secure.”

Integrity Marketing Group plans to acquire Elevation Sales Coaching

⟫ Dallas’ Integrity Marketing Group, a distributor of life and health insurance that also offers wealth management and retirement planning solutions, announced plans to acquire North Carolina-based Elevation Sales Coaching, which helps agents improve their sales process. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. As part of the move, Elevation President Jordan Smith will become a managing partner at Integrity. Smith said the move will expedite Elevation’s growth by diversifying its business and expanding its recruiting capabilities.

Southfork Ranch. [Photo: Centurion American Development Group]

Centurion American Development Group scoops up famed Southfork Ranch

⟫ For decades, Southfork Ranch in Parker has remained a tourist attraction—and now it has a new owner. Farmers Branch-based Centurion American Development Group has acquired the 241-acre Southfork Ranch, it announced in a news release. One of the largest residential developers in North Texas, Centurion now plans to give the site’s famous mansion some neighbors. Its development plans include “larger residential lots,” the company says, while preserving the landmark home where J.R., Sue Ellen, and Bobby once roamed. The size and number of the ranch’s new homes haven’t been decided yet, and “will be determined in conjunction with discussions with the city of Parker,” Centurion said.

Lance Murray and David Seeley contributed to this report. 

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[Photo by vitanovski via iStock]


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