Follow the Money: Renibus Therapeutics Nets $16.3M, Shiftsmart Raises $12.75M, Traxo Receives Equity Funding

In this roundup of funding, merger, and acquisition activity by North Texas companies, you’ll also find news from EX-IQ, BaiCells, Mark Cuban, MODE Transportation, Artifex Partners, AT&T, and Blue Star Heating and Air.


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 every Thursday. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop.

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Renibus Therapeutics reports raising $16.3M

Southlake-based biotech company Renibus Therapeutics Inc. has raised $16.3 million of a $35 million equity offering, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Founded in 2015, the privately-held Renibus, which is currently operating in stealth mode, is a developer of drugs intended for use in the treatment of acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease.

In September, Renibus reported it raised $3.37 million in equity funding, according to another SEC filing.

Renibus co-founder Alvaro Guillem, Ph.D., is a veteran of the pharma industry with more than 40 years of leadership in bringing new therapies to the market, as well as making manufacturing facilities ready for commercial production, according to TechFW.

Shiftsmart raises $12.75M in equity funding 

Dallas-based tech startup Shiftsmart Inc. reported in an SEC filing that it raised $12.75 million of a $14 million equity offering.

Founded in 2015 as a marketplace to connect part-time workers with open shifts across multiple platforms, Shiftsmart focuses across verticals to help workers discover new job opportunities, apply across services, and manage and optimize their income. 

Shiftsmart helps companies source workers and manage peak shifts, and offers a new channel for running promotions and incentives, according to the company. Shiftsmart’s core mission is to empower workers with the information they need to earn more and work smart.

EX-IQ raises $945K in debt and equity funding round

Dallas-based EX-IQ has raised $945,000 of a $1.12 million equity and debt offering, according to an SEC filing.

EX-IQ is a mobile and desktop application that uses artificial intelligence technology to transform any environment into a personalized, high-speed learning laboratory. The company was founded in 2017 by Darren Ward.

In July, EX-IQ reported that it had raised an unreleased amount from the Amazon Alexa Fund.

Traxo gets $10M equity investment from Airlines Reporting Corp.

Dallas travel tech startup Traxo has received an equity investment of $10 million from Virginia-based Airlines Reporting Corp. in a deal that comes about a month following their partnership to enable direct booking data from ARC member airlines to go to providers through Traxo.

As part of the investment, ARC chief operating officer and EVP Lauri Reishus will join Traxo’s board of directors. 

Traxo specializes in aggregating data and tracking passenger loyalty and behaviors. It lists German airline Lufthansa and other travel companies among its clients. ARC is an industry leader in air travel distribution and intelligence, settling roughly $95 billion in ticket transactions between airlines and travel agencies last year, according to a statement.

“Traxo’s mission is to empower the travel ecosystem with timely access to accurate data so the entire travel experience flows smoothly for travelers and suppliers, corporate travel teams and travel service providers, around the clock and around the world,” Andres Fabris, Traxo’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “To have ARC join Traxo as both a commercial partner and now an investor further validates this mission, given ARC’s unparalleled insights into the unique needs of the corporate travel industry. We are thrilled to welcome them aboard.”

In July, Traxo reported that it had raised the final $1.85 million of a $5.2 million Series B offering. 

BaiCells Technologies reaps $85M in Series C funding

Plano-based small cell tech company BaiCells Technologies has received $85 million in Series C funding from two Chinese investors, bringing the startup’s total funding to $99.6 million, Crunchbase reports.

Earlier this year, a reported $14.6 million investment from Qualcomm Ventures LLC was used to further the development of 5G technologies. Investors in the Series C round are China Internet Investment Fund and Greenland Group, which are both based in China.

Baicells Technologies, a provider of disruptive global LTE/5G solutions, moved its headquarters to Plano in 2018 because the U.S. proved to be one of the fastest-growing markets and most of its technology partners are in the United States.

Cuban invests $250K in dog clothing business on Shark Tank

Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire investor invested $250,000 in Minnesota-based Dog Threads, a dog clothing company with matching styles for people during an episode of the popular Shark Tank television show.

Dog Threads founders Gina and Scott Davis made the deal with Cuban in exchange for 25 percent of the business.

During the show, it was disclosed that the couple bootstrapped the business off of their own money and by reinvesting their profits back into it. The Davises had the other sharks interested once they explained that the business was just a hobby for the couple until Gina Davis focused on the business full time and in a year secured new accounts with retail giants such as, Nordstrom, and Von Maur, according to a report in Market Watch.


MODE Transportation to acquire SunteckTTS via merger

Dallas-based transportation and logistics company MODE Transportation is acquiring SunteckTTS, a transportation solutions company, under a merger agreement. According to a statement, the combined businesses will operate under the MODE brand, facilitate more than 1.5 million customer shipments yearly, and generate $2 billion-plus in revenue.

Jim Damman, MODE president and CEO, is expected to continue as CEO of the merged company, while SunteckTTS CEO Ken Forster will serve as president and COO. Executives from both companies plan to continue with MODE.

“In today’s increasingly competitive logistics market, the importance of scale, service diversity, and technology cannot be overstated. The combination of MODE and SunteckTTS provides new and existing agents, shippers, and carrier partners a significantly enhanced platform positioned for the future,” Forster said in a statement.

The new iteration of MODE will service a number of transportation sectors including truckload, less-than-truckload, rail intermodal, drayage, air, ocean, and parcel freight and will use its increased scale and resources to invest in technology and innovation, according to a statement.

Oregon firm acquires Dallas’ Artifex Partners

Dallas-based Artifex Partners has been acquired by Eastbank Solutions, an Oregon managed service provider. No terms of the deal were released.

Founded in 2000, Artifex is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central reseller. Among its numerous Microsoft competencies is a Gold Certified in Enterprise Resouce Planning competency, Channele2e reports.

The acquisition gives Eastbank a Microsoft enterprise resource planning (ERP) software expertise. Eastbank typically offers Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint solutions for cloud and on-premises environments.

Sony buys AT&T’s stake in Game Show Network

Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired Dallas-based AT&T’s minority stake in Game Show Network LLC, the companies announced.

Sony Pictures Entertainment now owns 100 percent of the multimedia entertainment company offering original and classic game programming to millions of subscribers through the U.S.-based cable network. 

In connection with the deal, AT&T received roughly $500 million, including proceeds for its equity stake valued at $380 million and dividends of about $130 million, according to a statement.

DFW heating and air business acquired by Florida company

North Texas-based Blue Star Heating and Air has been acquired by Air Pros Residential and Commercial Air Conditioning Services.

All Blue Star staff will be retained, and the firm’s 10 trucks will all be rebranded under the Air Pros name. Eric Villarreal, who owned Blue Star, will remain as regional manager to run the Dallas-based operations. 

Air Pros was founded in South Florida in 2017 and has quickly expanded to many metro areas within Florida and now Dallas.

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