Reporter’s Note: Welcome to our monthly rundown of venture deals in the Lone Star State. Live from my home base of Austin in the great State of Texas where the tea is sweet, the BBQ comes smoked and the venture deals are growing.
Texas is the fourth largest state in terms of venture deals and the fifth largest when it comes to venture dollars raised. Since I’m lucky enough to live here, we wanted to dedicate a monthly column to covering cool startup happenings in Texas previously unreported on (by us at least).
The Balcony View
May was a pretty busy month for Texas startups. Combined, startups around the state raised (a known) $255.6 million during the month of May alone. For the first five months of the year, total venture funding in Texas topped $1.13 billion.
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That’s not too shabby considering that we reported in January how startups across the state had raised a total of $2.3 billion in 2018. Houston, in particular, had a good month thanks in large part to a $120 million Series B raise by Houston-based biopharmaceutical company AlloVir (formerly known as ViraCyte) covered by our own reporter Jason Rowley.
Of course, Crunchbase data is subject to reporting delays, specifically impacting our seed and early-stage counts. If you’re an investor in Texas, join the Crunchbase Venture Program to help us get the most accurate and up-to-date data on Texas’s VC market.
Here is a list of news we reported on over the past month or so.
- Santé Ventures, an Austin-based healthcare and life science-focused venture firm, recently raised $250 million in its third fund.
- Dooap, an accounts payable software startup, announced that it was moving its headquarters from New York City to Austin.
- We did an in-depth look at “Tech’s Major Migration to Austin, TX” that examined the many company relocations and opening of second (or third) offices here.
- Austin-based digital health startup EverlyWell raised $50 million. EverlyWell’s digital platform connects consumers with existing, independent, certified labs for at-home collection tests that are ordered and reviewed by board-certified physicians.
- Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners announced the close of its second fund, topping it out at $105 million.
- San Antonio-based SaaS-focused Scaleworks acquired SearchSpring, an e-commerce search and navigation company
And, here’s some other news we didn’t have time to cover but is worth noting (note, this is not an exhaustive list—that would just be too much for one column!):
- Houston-based Liongard, “an automated system discovery and documentation software company focused on IT Managed Service Providers”, raised a $4.5 million Series A. TDF Ventures led the round, which also included participation from Richard Yoo, the founder of Rackspace Managed Hosting, and others.
- Golden Section Technologies announced the creation of GSTVC, a new Houston-based venture fund with a focus on seed stage B2B SaaS companies. GSTVC said its goal is to invest “alongside talented entrepreneurs with a deep understanding of the end customer’s problems, a sellable product, and demonstrated customer traction.” “The $20 million fund plans to make its first investment by the end of the third quarter of this year,” according to InnovationMap.
- In April, StartOut + Startup Weekend HackOut — presented by Twilio, AWS, and Redoc.ly — sponsored what organizers described as “the only LGBTQIA+ themed startup weekend event in the world.” Thirteen attendees hailing from every continent “traveled to Austin to learn what it takes to start a new business, perfect their pitch and present it to a panel of esteemed judges,” according to organizers. Solace, which has developed an app to make a transition roadmap for trans individuals, won the competition.
- MediaTech Ventures, an Austin-based firm working in media/technology venture capital, incubation, and education, recently announced plans to acquire Musicians Desk Reference, an online music education and career development platform launched in 2013 by musician/music entrepreneur Brian Penick. Penick told me the organization’s goal is to “help artists become technologists, and technologists become artists.” This seems appropriate considering Austin bills itself as the “Live Music Capital of The World.”
- Solugen, an emerging specialty chemicals manufacturer seeking to decarbonize the chemicals industry, announced the closing of a $32 million Series B round led by Silicon Valley’s Founders Fund and including participation from Y Combinator. Founded in 2016, the Houston company is run by two 20-somethings Gaurab Chakrabarti and Sean Hunt. The company’s revenue grew by 10 times in the last year thanks to several multi-million dollar oil and gas contracts for its bio-based peroxide solutions “which clean everything from scraped knees to wastewater from hydraulic fracturing without safety issues or environmental impact,” according to officials. CEO Chakrabarti developed the company’s proprietary technology as a med student studying cancer cell treatment. The funding comes on the heels of a $13.5 million funding round in October.
- Seventy-four early-stage startups made it into the MassChallenge Texas in the Austin cohort. This marked the Austin program’s second cohort. This year, the startups came from five countries and 14 U.S. states. They represented five industries—42 percent high tech, 26 general, 19 percent healthcare and life sciences, 8 percent social impact and 5 percent energy/cleantech. Fifty-six percent were also female founded, according to organizers.
- Dallas area biotech startup OncoNano Medicine in late April raised $22 million for its tumor-fighting therapies, according to the Dallas Business Journal.