Follow the Money: Shiftsmart Raises $16.3M, Alto Scores $6M, BG Staffing Makes $21.6M Acquisition

In this weekly roundup of funding, merger and acquisition activity in North Texas, you’ll also find news from Worlds, Tricolor, Puration, Atos, Kriya Capital, Kofile, and more.


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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Shiftsmart raises $16.3M in equity funding

Shiftsmart Inc., a Dallas-based marketplace for part-time work, has reported in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it raised more than $16.3 million in equity funding of a $16.5 million offering.

Founded in 2015, Shiftsmart connects part-time workers with open shifts in a number of industries. In November, we reported that Shiftsmart said in an SEC filing that it raised $12.75 million.

Shiftsmart focuses on verticals that help workers find new job opportunities, apply across services, and manage and optimize their income. The startup helps companies source workers and manage peak shifts, and provides a channel for running promotions and incentives.

The app matches workers with jobs based on their credentials, availability, and preferences. They can accept or decline the job with a swipe, Shiftsmart said.

Worlds raises $10M in series A funding for AI-based models

Out of stealth, Worlds announced that it has raised $10 million in series A funding that it will use to power a vision of building AI-models that gives businesses a new way to view their physical world.

A spinout of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, is a year-old software company on a mission to “deliver human perception at an impossible scale,” co-founder and CEO Dave Copps said. “We provide companies that have a critical need to perceive their physical environments with software that amplifies and augments their ability to do it at scale.”

The funding round was led by Align Capital of Austin, and included investors Chevron Technology Ventures, Piva, and Hypergiant Industries. Capital Factory and GPG Ventures have been partners with Worlds as well, the startup said.

Targeting Fortune 500 and government clients, is strategically aligned with Texas-based Hypergiant Industries as a portfolio company. Hypergiant’s roster of vertical divisions include space science and exploration, satellite communications, aviation, healthcare, transportation, and more.

Tricolor receives $10M in preferred equity funding

Tricolor, a Dallas-based community development financial institution, announced that it has received $30 million in preferred equity funding from an unnamed global institutional investor.

Along with its affiliate Ganas Auto Group, Tricolor said it has disbursed nearly $1 billion in affordable auto loans and served nearly 50,000 customers across its 36 retail dealerships in 12 Texas and California markets. Tricolor said that the new funding will allow it to expand its auto loan service to Hispanic customers in new markets.

“The deck is stacked against financially underserved customers in America when it comes to purchasing and financing a used vehicle,” Tricolor CEO Daniel Chu said in a statement. “We have proven that the right infrastructure and culture make it possible to build a profitable business providing these customers with affordable access to high quality vehicles. This investment will allow us to deliberately expand our business in pursuit of a mission to impact and improve even more lives.”  

In November, Tricolor became the only lender among auto asset-backed securities issuers to receive CDFI certification from the U.S. Treasury Department. Earlier last year, it launched Tricolor Insurance, an affiliate using proprietary technology to offer affordable premium insurance policies to car owners.

Rideshare startup Alto raises $6M in second funding round

Dallas-based rideshare Alto announced that it has raised a second funding round of $6 million, raising its funding so far to $20.5 million.

The money will be used to expand in Dallas and enter two new markets, Alto said. Existing investor Road Ventures was a key investor in the round. Alto, an app-based rideshare service, launched in North Texas in 2018 and was founded by CEO Will Coleman.

“With this new infusion of capital, Alto will be able to innovate and disrupt the rideshare industry in unprecedented ways, creating a new model of transportation that better meets the needs of both riders and drivers,”  Coleman told Dallas Innovates.

This new round of funding follows Alto’s initial fund that raised $14.5M and closed in January 2019. That was led by Road Ventures and Frog Ventures. 

Alto started with 20 cars and 10 drivers, and has since expanded to more than 60 vehicles and 100 drivers. Alto covers more than 900 square miles of the Dallas-Fort Worth region and has more than 10,000 active members.

CBD-infused sports drink maker Puration gets $5M term sheet

Puration Inc. (PURA), the Dallas-based producer of EVERx CBD Infused Sports Drink, announced it has received a $5 million investment term sheet aimed at funding the prospective acquisition of cannabis infused beverage, edible, and topical operations.

PURA recently announced its plans to pursue opportunities in the anticipated consolidation market opportunity by acquiring smaller cannabis infusion companies. A term sheet is a non-binding document that spells out the terms by which an investor will make a financial investment in a business. Once executed, it is used as a guide in the preparation of a final investment agreement.

The company said the proposed investment terms outline an up-to $5 million debt facility under which funds would be drawn as needed to fund acquisitions.

“As we pursue a strategy to expand our production of CBD infused beverages to include CBD infused edibles and topicals, the CBD survey provides essential feedback,” PURA CEO Brian Shibley said in a statement. “This iteration is particularly timely as PURA moves closer to securing a $5 million investment to fund an aggressive acquisition campaign to accelerate our expansion into addition CBD infused consumer products.”


BG Staffing acquires EdgeRock Technology Partners

BG Staffing Inc., a Plano-based national provider of workforce solutions, has acquired Boston-based EdgeRock Technology Partners for $21.6 million cash in a deal that BG said deepens and expands its IT solutions offerings.

No financial details of the deal were released. Lead agent BMO Harris Bank provided financing via BG Starffing’s existing credit facility. 

In fiscal 2019, EdgeRock reported unaudited revenues of roughly $41 million. It is the 11th acquisition made by BG Staffing since 2009 to enhance and expand its offerings by resources and capabilities. 

The EdgeRock name will remain and the firm will operate as a separate brand within the BGSF family of companies.

Atos completes acquisition of Maven Wave

Global digital transformation company Atos, which has its North American headquarters in Irving, has completed its acquisition of Chicago-based Maven Wave, a cloud and technology consulting firm that specializes in delivering digital transformation solutions for large enterprises.

Atos said the acquisition reinforces its global leadership in cloud-solutions for applications, data analytics, and machine learning in hybrid and multi-cloud platforms.

The addition of Maven Wave’s expertise into the Atos portfolio further accelerates the transformation and growth in North America, the company said, and enforces its commitment to extend and enrich its digital portfolio across the globe.

Kriya Capital buys Meditate Accounts Receivables Management

Dallas-based private equity firm Kriya Capital LLC has acquired Mesa, Arizona-headquartered Medstat Accounts Receivables Management.

Kriya Capital has holdings in the healthcare, telecommunication, technology, and business process outsourcing sectors.

Financial terms were not released about the deal, which was financed by internal accruals of cash and standing credit facilities at Kriya Capital.

Medstat delivers a spectrum of revenue cycle services for medical professionals throughout Arizona, the Southwest, and in New Jersey. It supports a diverse community of local practitioners, including physicians, surgeons, and specialists.

Audax Private Equity acquires Dallas-based Kofile Inc.

Dallas-based Kofile Inc., the largest provider of information management and access systems solutions for U.S. government agencies, has been acquired by Audax Private Equity.

Founded in 2009, Kofile provides restoration, preservation, and digitization services for critical government records, along with cloud-native software solutions for digital records management and citizen engagement.

“In Audax, we believe we have found the perfect investment partner to propel our future growth,” Kofile CEO Michael Crosno said in a statement. “Their interest in the public sector market, coupled with their experience and customer focus, has us very excited about the opportunities this partnership can bring to Kofile’s customer-centered commitment.”

No terms of the transaction were released.

Blue Box acquires Filtration Services Group 

Dallas-based Blue Box, a fast-growing company that’s a leader in building optimization and carbon reduction through its “Innovating Air” platform, has acquired Filtration Services Group of Oklahoma City.

FSG is a leading filtration process firm that provides high-quality filtration services like air filter products, site testing, and onsite maintenance programs.

Filtration Services Group has decades of experience working in several industries: automotive, petrochemical, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, paint and coatings, home framework, auto aftermarket, and more.

Blue Box said that with the acquisition, it will be combining its expertise in building optimization to include high quality air filtration. This should help deliver new innovations and solutions to reduce a buildings carbon footprint and filter waste stream. 

Highlander Partners to sell Polish packaging manufacturer

Dallas middle market private investment firm Highlander Partners LP has agreed to sell Akomex Group, one of the leading makers of packaging in Centeral Europe,.

Akomex is being bought by Sebastian Sliwa, the co-founder of Akomex and a current minority shareholder, jointly with the management and support from AMC Capital IV S.c.Sp., a fund advised by Mezzanine Management.

Highlander said the deal is subject to approval from the Polish antimonopoly agency (UOKiK).

Akomex specializes in high-quality solid cardboard, leaflets, labels, trays and laminated sheets for the pharmaceutical, food, electronics, technology, personal care, and home appliance sectors. 

BBG acquires Tampa-based real estate appraisal company

Dallas-based real estate services firm BBG has acquired a Florida real estate appraisal company.

Tampa-based Herr Valuation is the second acquisition for BBG in the past five months.

Founded in 2002, HVA has been involved in appraisals of various commercial property types in West Central Florida and across the state, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported. BBG has 36 offices nationwide.

DataBank sells LightBound fiber/telecom assets

Dallas-based DataBank, a provider of enterprise-class data center, connectivity, and managed services, has closed the sale of its LightBound fiber/telecom assets to business-only fiber network provider Everstream.

The sale comes on the heels of DataBank’s acquisition of LightBound in October. No details of the transaction were released.

DataBank said the sale of the LightBound fiber/telecom assets to Everstream will allow it to focus on its core data center and managed services offerings while, at the same time, enabling Everstream to enter the Indianapolis market.

CloudMellow acquires Media Mix digital marketing, advertising agency

Dallas-based digital marketing and technology services company CloudMellow has acquired and merged with a Florida digital marketing and advertising agency formerly called Media Mix.

CloudMellow has three offices and roughly 60 employees, according to a release.

CloudMellow employs specialists in the areas of search engine optimization, social media, content, e-commerce, website development and design, data, audience targeting, lead generation, and more. 

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