Austin Weekly Deal Highlights
by Mason Rathe
Several people have indicated that they stopped receiving my emails (and not because they unsubscribed, I checked...), and so I'm trying out a different marketing platform this week. If you found yourself in that mix, welcome back! Also, I recently started newsletters for Houston and Dallas, be sure to subscribe in the links above, or be oblivious to all the other great activity across Texas, your call.

Austin Financing Activity
  • Austin-based Alegion, a data labeling platform for enterprise data science teams, raised $12M in Series A-2 funding round led by RHS Investments, which invested $3.6M in its Series A in 2017.
  • Joust Labs, an Austin-based financial services platform for freelancers, raised $2.6M in seed funding led by PTB Ventures with participation from Accion Venture Lab, Financial Venture Studio, and Techstars
  • Coherent Logix, a local low-power processor manufacturer, raised $4M in equity funding from a single investor.
  • AgencyKPI, an Austin-based integrated business intelligence platform developed, raised $3M in seed funding from insurance networks, carriers, independent agencies, and C-level insurance industry executives.
  • Helper Bees, an Austin-based company that connects seniors directly to cost-effective local helpers, reported raising an additional $1M in equity financing. Earlier this month, it reported raising $500K of new equity funding.
Austin M&A Activity
  • Austin-based Spiceworks, an IT management software developer, is being acquired by NY-based Ziff Davis B2B, a global marketing company. Financial details are undisclosed. According to a blog post by founder and CEO Jay Hallberg, associated layoffs are expected. Spiceworks has raised $111M from investors including Goldman Sachs, Adam Street Partners, Shasta Ventures, and Austin Ventures since its founding in 2006.
  • Best Practice Media, an Austin-based social media marketing and ad agency, is acquiring Austin-based Social Distillery. Social Distillery was founded in 2011 by CEO Kristen Sussman, and she will remain on the team as a researcher and advisory board member. Best Practice Media was founded in 2015 by CEO Claire Winslow.
  • VMWare (NYSE: VMW) is engaging in ongoing discussions to acquire Pivotal Software (NYSE: PVTL). VMWare has said it plans to acquire the stock at $15 per share in cash which would put the deal around $4B. Round Rock-based Dell is the majority owner for both companies.
  • Gunfire Games, a developer of multiplayer online role-playing games, was acquired by THQ Nordic (STO: THQN B) for an undisclosed amount.

Other Relevant/Regional Deal Activity
  • Scaleworks, a San Antonio-based firm that offers a non-traditional form of capital and debt for SaaS companies, has acquired e-commerce search shop Nextopia for an undisclosed amount in its second acquisition out of its recently closed second fund.
  •, a Frisco-based software solutions provider for the entire dairy supply chain, has been acquired by private equity firm Banneker Partners. Deal terms were undisclosed.
  • Plano-based Systum, a wholesale inventory management software developer, raised $10.7M Series B led by Octopus Ventures. Systum has raised $18.2M to date.
  • Cemvita Factory, a CO2 utilization platform intended to produce nutrients and pharmaceuticals, raised funding of an undisclosed amount from Oxy Low Carbon Ventures.

Austin People
  • Jack Blaha was recently named CEO of Khoros LLC, a social media marketing platform. Khoros LLC was created after the acquisition by Vista Equity and merger between Spredfast and Lithium Technologies in 2018 Blaha has previous CEO experience with Dallas-based Lone Wolf Technologies and Austin-based PeopleAdmin.
  • E-commerce platform Volusion promoted Bardia Dejban to the CEO position. Prior to his new role, Dejban was the Chief Operating Officer of Volusion. Founder and former CEO Kevin Sproles will stay active as the chairman of the board. Before joining Volusion in February 2016, Dejban was founder and CEO of Lolay Inc., a LA-based app developer. Started in 1999, Volusion has seen its workforce fluctuate in the last four years. It employed about 500 people in early 2015, when it was flush with a $55M series A funding round. That had dropped to 258 in summer 2017 but climbed slightly to 268 in summer 2018. 
  • 360training, a provider of online training courses, announced Ryan Linders as its new chief marketing officer. Linders has 20 years of marketing experience at companies including Whole Foods Market, JCPenney and more.
  • Hypergiant Industries, an AI solutions company, welcomed Kristina Libby as EVP of Future Science and Research. Libby is most recently joining from her boutique agency SoCu with prior experience as Microsoft, New York University, and University of Florida.
  • Frog Scooters, a local scooter start-up, announced Bradley C. Almond is joining as CEO. Almond most recently served as CFO of Vertex Business Services in Dallas. He has prior experience with KPMG, Nortel Networks, Entrust, Zix Corporation, and Cambium Learning Group.

Austin News
  • 103 Austin ventures are included on the Inc. 5000 list for fastest-growing private companies in the country. Check them out here.
  • Inc. magazine also named Austin the second hottest startup city in America
  • Notorious ex-Uber CEO riding into Austin with revolutionary new culinary startup
  • Sputnik ATX Selects Six Startups to Participate in its Summer 2019 Program 
  • The newest hospitality concept from Airbnb started construction this week off Rainey Street. Natiivo Austin is a residential building with 249 hotel-licensed homes. Individuals can purchase one- and two-bedroom fully furnished units with the expectation that they will be rented through the Airbnb platform.
  • Bounce, a luggage storage app, is expanding to Austin as its fourth city. The platform allows for travelers to book hourly and daily luggage storage to give visitors the option to easily sightsee without the burden of luggage.
  • These 15 companies occupy the most office space in Austin 
  • MV Transportation to run Austin's bus system via $1.4B deal 
  • Google expanded its map features to display the location for Lime e-scooters in 100 cities. Austin was one of the first cities to pilot this feature back in December 2018.

Thank you!
Mason Rathe
If a missed a deal, major announcement, etc., shoot me an email and happy to include in the next one.

LiveOak Venture Partners is an early stage venture capital firm investing in Texas-based companies. Think you company might be a fit, shoot me an email at