Austin-based venture capital firm LiveOak Venture Partners, which has a track record of investing in Dallas-Fort Worth companies and other early-stage startups across the state, today announced the successful close of Fund II, a $105 million oversubscribed fund.
LiveOak co-founders and partners Krishna Srinivasan and Venu Shamapant told Dallas Innovates that Dallas-Fort Worth is a critical region in Texas for investing.
“Dallas is a big priority for us,” Srinivasan said.
“Dallas is a very, very important piece for our strategy,” Shamapant added. “Dallas is evolving in a very nice fashion.”
Srinivasan said the region has moved beyond the image of just telecom. It has seen a big surge in business services, particularly because of the number of Fortune 500 companies based or operating in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Also, he said that the region has experienced a surge in healthcare IT.
Since its founding in 2013, LiveOak has maintained a steady, growing presence in the Texas market, investing nearly $100 million in startups across the state.
Srinivasan and Shamapant met fellow co-founder Ben Scott at Austin Ventures in 2000. Prior to the creation of LiveOak, the trio invested over $150 million in Texas startups.
LiveOak said that moving forward, it is focused on building “world-class category winners.” Fund II is backed by a growing institutional LP base, already having led investments in six companies, including Austin startups Eventador, Osano and Rollick, and Richardson-based artificial intelligence startup AmplifAI.
LiveOak helped lead AmplifAI’s $3.9M Series round
LiveOak was one of three investors that led AmplifAI’s $3.9 million Series A round announced in March. AmplifAI is one of three current LiveOak investments in the Dallas area, joined by Richardson-based Mavenir and Farmers Branch-based Razberi.
The partners at LiveOak said they have a strong history of successful investments in the Dallas area: Richardson-based Spatial, which exited to Alacatel in 2005 for $250 million; Mavenir Systems, acquired in 2015 by Mitel Corp. for $560 million; and Richardson-based Navini Networks, acquired by Cisco in 2007 for $330 million.
Together, that alone is more than $1 billion in enterprise value. Over the past 20 years, the partners collectively have created more than $2 billion in enterprise value across a variety of investments.
“Dallas is a very, very important piece for our strategy.”
LiveOak said that because of Dallas’ “vibrant opportunity set,” at least one of its investment professionals is in North Texas every week.
Shamapant told Dallas Innovates that the partners themselves spend significant time here. “Next week,” he said, “we have a board meeting, and two of us are coming in a day in advance to talk with companies that might be investment opportunities.”
LiveOak partners play active roles on various boards
LiveOak said that a major factor in value creation is the active board role partners play in the investments, assisting with team building, strategy formulation, and facilitating syndication with other venture firms.
In LiveOak’s six-year history, the firm has led or co-led 24 investments in companies past their seed stages. Collectively, those companies have raised over $400 million since LiveOak’s investment.
Portfolio companies of note include recent exits such as Digital Pharmacist of Austin (acquired by K1 Investment Management for over $100 million), Austin-based Opcity (acquired by News Corp for $210 million), as well as active ongoing segment leaders such as Houston-based CS Disco (recently raised $83 million), Austin-based OJO Labs (recently raised $45 million) and Austin-based TrustRadius and Infocyte, and Mavenir.
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