Scores of startups and established businesses in technology and other sectors are developing products, expanding, and hiring in North Texas. All those activities require money, and funding rounds—seed, venture capital, angel, and even corporate—are helping fuel entrepreneurial ventures in Dallas-Fort Worth. Here are some notable funding reports from 2018.
Caris Life Sciences
Caris Life Sciences, an Irving-based innovator in molecular science, raised $150 million in growth capital. The backing came from TPG Sixth Street Partners in the form of senior secured debt and convertible notes. Caris says the funding would be used, in part, to continue developing Next Generation Profiling to analyze whole genome, whole transcriptome, and the complete cancer proteome, with mature clinical outcomes used to deliver more precise treatment recommendations.
Dallas-based Hedera Hashgraph has advanced distributed ledger technology via a limitless number of use cases and better reliability. Launched by co-founders Mance Harmon and Leemon Baird in August 2017, Hedera has raised $124 million in funding, and has moved fast to show why some experts consider it better than blockchain. Those that consider Hedera Hashgraph superior to blockchain say it’s faster, more secure, and doesn’t require proof of work.
Plano-based digital banking solutions company Alkami Technology completed a Series D funding round early in 2018 totaling $70 million. The round was led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic, which joined Alkami’s existing investors, including S3 Ventures, Argonaut Private Equity, and other strategic investors in the fintech space. Alkami is expanding across the company, including in sales, development, implementation, support, human resources, legal, and finance.
Grapevine-based defi Solutions, a provider of lending industry software, raised $55 million in Series C funding with an investment of primary and secondary capital from Bain Capital Ventures. defi Solutions said it would use the capital to accelerate development of existing and emerging products, expand facilities and resources, and increase the number of employees by almost 50 percent. Employees will be added in the areas of technology services, client support, and sales and marketing.
Gradalis Inc., a Dallas-based pharma company, has raised $43.9 million as it develops treatments for advanced ovarian cancer with a Phase III trial, advanced breast cancer with Phase II and III trials, and Ewing’s Sarcoma, advanced non-small cell lung cancer, gynecological cancers, and advanced melanoma in Phase 1 trials.
OrderMyGear, a Dallas developer of an online ordering platform targeting group orders of sporting goods and apparel, raised $35 million in a funding round from Susquehanna Growth Equity. OrderMyGear, which recently named Dave Dutch as CEO, said it would use the funding to accelerate product development, expand its hiring, and strengthen channels to market. The platform is used for merchandising, ordering, and fulfillment of team gear and group apparel by dealers, decorators, and other organizations that sell to large groups.
Richardson-based payments technology startup ModoPayments completed a Series A funding round of more than $13 million. According to finSMEs, the round brought the total funding raised to more than $16 million. The round included Deutsche Bank and other strategic land angel investors. ModoPayments was founded by Bruce Parker, and it plans to use the money to grow its team and expand its offerings. In September, ModoPayments announced that Deutsche Bank had taken an equity interest in the company.
Some might ask what the unique-looking tower off Interstate-35E just outside Waxahachie is. It belongs to Viziv Technologies, which is the culmination of more than four decades of research in the field of Electromagnetic Surface Waves, CEO Brig. Gen. Michael Miller recently told Dallas Innovates. The research focuses mainly on methods to propagate the electromagnetic phenomenon known as the Zenneck surface wave, which unlike traditional radio waves, is guided along the earth’s surface. Viziv’s primary engineering focus is development of a means to synthesize this surface wave in “real world” conditions for use in various applications such as communications or energy.
In January, Viziv announced that it had raised an additional $1.372 million in two funding rounds.
In April, Dallas-based ROKA sports raised $17.75 million of a $21.32 million offering. The company designs high-performance swimwear and biking suits for competitive athletes, including Olympians.
Dallas-based Bestow closed $15 million in funding ahead of the national launch of its life insurance platform. The Series A raise was led by New York City-based Valar Ventures, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Core Innovation Capital, 8VC, and Morpheus Ventures. It brought Bestow’s to-date capital raise to $18 million. Bestow launched its full-stack platform in Texas in 2017, giving Texans the ability to quickly learn their options, apply for, and buy insurance coverage.
Dallas-based ride-hailing service Alto launched in November after raising $13 million from two rounds of funding, primarily from Road Ventures. Alto runs something of a middle ground between familiar rideshare apps and more traditional black car services with its own fleet of cars. Its business model revolves around both a monthly membership and single-ride fees. CEO Will Coleman says he’s “creating a new culture and a new standard in the ride-hailing space.”
In January, Alto announced that it had raised a total of $14.5 million in the two rounds of funding with several partners including Road Ventures and Frog Ventures.
Meritize, a Frisco-based educational lender, raised $13.2 million in a Series A funding round led by Colchis Capital, with participation from Chicago Ventures. Other investors included CLC, Cube Financial Holdings, ZZ Ventures, Socratic Ventures, ECMC Group, University Ventures, PC Squared, and Meritize management. Last February, Meritize said that it had raised $6.8 million in seed funding. Meritize uses academic, military, and work achievements to enhance credit evaluations.
Door, the Dallas-based tech-enabled residential real estate brokerage firm, sold nearly $8.7 million of a $10 million equity offering in March. Door said it enables homebuyers and sellers to benefit from agent specialization and a lower fees. The firm’s services are available for a fixed fee of $5,000 that is paid at closing.
Phynd Technologies, a Dallas-based health care information SaaS solution provider, reported raising $4 million in 2018 as part of a venture funding round, bringing its total to $11.4 million over fund rounds beginning in 2013.
In January, it completed an $8 million Series B funding round that will enable further collaboration and enhance its core platform.
Gig Wage, a Dallas-based payments tool that helps businesses recruit and retain world-class contractor talent, closed $1 million of a $2 million seed round. Gig Wage says the funding from Revolution’s $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund shows that a growing on-demand workforce expects an on-demand paycheck. “The gig economy is the biggest macro shift in the workforce in over 100 years,” Gig Wage CEO and founder Craig J. Lewis says. The company plans to roll out a new API in 2019.
Dallas-based Preciate, a new recognition app designed to help working professionals boost their relational wealth, raised $869,400 in a seed funding round in April. Preciate was founded in 2017 by Ed Stevens and Dave Morrison, a senior finance executive. “Preciate is an app that allows you to build a story of your most valuable accomplishments, told by those who know you best,” Stevens, who is CEO of the company, says.
Collbox, an online collections tool that helps companies use cloud-based accounting software that was created by Cameron Desautels and Matthew Darner, was the spring 2018 UT Dallas Seed Fund recipient of $25,000. The UT Dallas Seed Fund is part of the graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurship Seed Fund Support classes, ENTP-6V99 and ENTP-4V00, in the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Startups from students, alumni, faculty, and staff are eligible to submit their business concepts to the fund.
Funding is off to a roaring start in 2019 with 19 deals reported. To find out more about these transactions, as well as 18 exits and more than 154 other deals happening in North Texas, visit the funding section of the Dallas-Fort Worth Innovation Guide.
A version of this story was first published in Dallas Innovates 2019—The Magazine. Additional reporting by Quincy Preston and Payton Potter. Sources included: Pitchbook, CB Insights, Crunchbase, and Dallas Innovates research.
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Dallas Innovates 2019—The Magazine explores the region as a rising tech hub that will shape the future of innovation. The theme of our second annual print publication, “A Breakout Moment,” explores why now is the time for the region to grab its place in the tech universe.
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