VC Report: Q4 2020 M&A and investments in Indiana technology companies
Investments in Indiana tech companies shows foundation for continued growth
The year started out with strong optimism based on the results of 2019, which saw some of the largest ever total numbers for venture capital investment in the state. Things quickly changed with the early onset of the pandemic that is still gripping the nations and the global economy today. While some tech companies were stifled or even forced to close their doors by the crippled economy, many others flourished. Certainly if any sector of the economy can thrive when the workforce is often required to work from home it’s the tech sector.
While the pandemic has had an impact on the Indiana tech ecosystem, it’s safe to say that the foundation for a strong rebound is in place. Venture capital, private equity and growth funds were created to be deployed. I have personally talked to firms who are now modifying their theses to invest at an earlier stage. This is potentially good news for Indiana technology companies looking to get funded. Out of state funds like BIP Capital of Atlanta and Base10 of the Bay Area made multiple investments in Indiana tech companies in 2020. As these investors continue to see value in Indiana’s thriving tech ecosystem, some are now opening offices in the state. In 2020, M25 from Chicago and Lightship Capital of Cincinnati both set up shop in the Circle City. Heartland Ventures opened an office in 2019.
Corporate venture capital firms also continue to grow and invest in the state. These funds are typically created to invest in early stage and growth stage technology companies that fit the corporations’ overall business model. Allegion Ventures is a $50 million fund from Allegion with nine companies in its portfolio. HG Ventures is the investment arm of The Heritage Group. To date, the group has made investments in 13 companies and it’s responsible for one of the two Techstars accelerator programs in Indianapolis. Five of HG Ventures’ investments are Indiana companies including companies that have relocated to Indiana upon the completion of The Heritage Group’s Techstars accelerator.
Indiana has also witnessed the continued emergence and maturation of venture studios and accelerators. High Alpha Studios launched ten companies in 2020. NEXT Studios was launched and created a portfolio of seven early-stage companies. Techstars is perhaps the best known accelerator in the country and has two active accelerator programs in Indianapolis: The Heritage Group Accelerator powered by Techstars and Techstars Sports Accelerator Powered by Indy. gener8tor has now hosted multiple cohorts of it’s gBETA accelerator for early-stage companies all over the state. They have also partnered with Elevate Ventures to create Elevate Origins. Invanti in South Bend is a hybrid in that it brings together entrepreneurs to connect them to ideas for companies.
In 2020, 71 Indiana tech companies publicly announced investments from venture capital funds, PE funds or growth funds. Additionally, four companies or tech organizations announced that they received grant money. 32 Indiana tech companies were involved in mergers and acquisitions. Financial details are not commonly shared for M&A activity.
Overall, more than $174 million was raised by Indiana tech companies. While that number is a drastic dropoff from 2019’s total of $358 million, it’s still higher than 2018’s total of $147 million.
VC Report: Q4 and end of year 2020 investments in Indiana technology companies
Twenty six Indiana-based tech companies publicly announced that they raised money during the fourth quarter for a total of $98 million. Five companies were involved in mergers and acquisitions in Q4.
Below is a list of publicly announced investments and acquisitions involving Indiana technology companies that occurred in the fourth quarter of 2020. You can also read 2020 VC reports from Q1, Q2 and Q3.
At the beginning of the quarter it was announced that Spot Freight, a third-party logistics company based in Indianapolis, would spin-off it’s in-house developed logistics software as a separate entity called Red Technologies. The software platform is now available to other logistics companies.
In October of 2019, Bob Stutz left his role as CEO Marketing Cloud and chief analytics officer with Salesforce here in Indianapolis to take the role of president of customer experience with SAP. A year later it was Bob Stutz who announced that SEP, a German company with offices all over the world, would acquire Emarsys, a leading omnichannel customer engagement platform provider based in Austria with it’s North American headquarters located in Indianapolis. Financial details of the transaction were not announced.
Malomo, a shipment tracking and customer marketing platform for e-commerce brands, raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by Base10 Partners of the Bay Area, Harlem Capital of New York and Irish Angels of Chicago. Other investors included Hyde Park Venture Partners of Chicago and High Alpha Capital along with a syndicate of strategic angel investors. The Indianapolis company plans on using this round of funding to expand its product and hire talent across its engineering, sales, and marketing teams.
Mandolin, a High Alpha Studio company designed to help artists, venues, and fans connect through live music, was launched in June. Just four months later the Indianapolis company secured a $5 million seed round to accelerate growth with participation from High Alpha Capital, Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce) and leading SaaS angel investors with a personal passion for seeing live music return to the stage.
SummaForte is an early stage health and wellness startup based in Bloomington, Ind. The IU Angel Network announced that it made a $35,000 investment in the company that will be used to help with it’s initial product launch.
NASA awarded $2.8 million to Purdue’s Indiana Space Grant Consortium to support student and faculty learning projects. The consortium helps launch interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines for students in elementary school all the way up to graduate students.
Ateios, developers of flexible, paper-thin customizable batteries, announced a $1.25 million seed round led by Good Growth Capital of Charleston, South Carolina. Ateios participated in The Heritage Group Accelerator powered by Techstars in 2019 and later relocated to Newberry, Ind. Additional investors included Keshif Ventures (San Diego), Techstars Ventures (Boulder, Colorado), Elevate Ventures, HG Ventures, ImpactAssets (Bethesda, Maryland), VisionTech Angels, and other angel investors.
Diagnotes, an Indianapolis-based company focused on healthcare communication and collaboration, announced a new round of funding with participation from Elevate Ventures, IU Ventures and Purdue Ventures. Financial details of the round were not available.
Esports Entertainment Group, a New Jersey based esports firm, announced an agreement to acquire Helix eSports, also of New Jersey and owners of five esports centers, including two of the largest centers in the US, and ggCircuit of Indianapolis. ggCircuit is a B2B software company that provides cloud-based management for LAN centers, a tournament platform, and integrated wallet/point-of-sale solutions for enterprise customers. The total deal was valued at $43 million.
Indianapolis-based Pondurance, a leader in Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services, announced a new strategic investment from affiliates of Newlight Partners LP, a private investment firm based in New York. Proceeds from the investment will support Pondurance’s growth in the rapidly expanding MDR market, drive its R&D and innovation capabilities, and bolster its leadership team. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed.
Vibenomics, a location-based Audio Out-of-Home™ (AOOH) advertising and experience company in Fishers, announced $6.5 million in Series A2 funding to support the launch of additional national networks in convenience stores and grocery retailers fueled by the rising momentum in programmatic technology. BIP Capital, who led Vibenomics’ Series A funding earlier this year, is a follow-on investor for this round that included Elevate Ventures. The raise includes a combination of $4.5 million in equity funding and $2 million in venture debt.
Terminus, an Indianapolis/Atlanta/Bay Area account-based B2B marketing platform company, made it’s second major acquisition in 2020. The company acquired Atlanta-based Ramble, a leading account-based chat solution in April. In November, it followed up with the acquisition of GrowFlare, a psychographic account profiling solution company based in San Diego. GrowFlare’s CEO, Matt Belkin, a 25-year veteran of the technology industry, joins the Terminus team as EVP, Data, Strategy, and Partnerships.
New York-based Wunderkind, a leading performance marketing channel that delivers one-to-one messages at scale is acquiring SmarterHQ of Indianapolis. SmarterHQ’s software is an advanced segmentation and orchestration engine for enterprise e-commerce. Both companies count some of the largest retailers in the U.S. as their clients, including Sam’s Club, DSW, Bloomingdale’s and HelloFresh. SmarterHQ had previously raised over $42M from investors including Battery Ventures and Simon Property Group.
enVista, a global software solutions and consulting services firm that specializes in enterprise commerce for manufacturers, distributors and omni-channel retailers, announced a $12 million investment from First Merchants Bank of Muncie. The Indianapolis firm plans to use the funding to foster and fuel global growth.
Civic Champs, a volunteer management and engagement platform in Bloomington, Ind., secured a $130,000 investment from the IU Angel Network. Civic Champs is a Techstars accelerator graduate and gold award-winning participant of MassChallenge.
While many of us would like to forget some of the events of 2020, it was nothing less than historic for High Alpha Studios in Indianapolis. In addition to opening its new headquarters in the Bottleworks District on Mass Ave., the venture studio launched ten companies during the calendar year including Canopy, Docket, Relay, Casted, High Alpha Innovation, Mandolin, Bolster, Shaker, Filo and Trava. The firm counts 22 companies in its venture studio portfolio alone, four of which have been acquired. Anthony Schoettle’s article in the IBJ dives deeper into the “torrid pace” at which High Alpha is launching new technology companies.
Carmel’s Realync, a leading multifamily real estate virtual leasing and engagement platform, announced a $22 million growth equity capital raise led by Susquehanna Growth Equity of Philadelphia. The company’s virtual services have grown rapidly amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Realync anticipates the demand of its platform to continue after the pandemic, given the broader popularity of convenient virtual services among consumers.
TRIMEDX, a technology-enabled, clinical asset management company in Indianapolis, acquired Centurion Service Group, a full-service surplus medical equipment management company based in Chicago. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Elevate Ventures awarded $20,000 pre-seed investments and $80,000 seed investments to eleven Indiana-based technology companies as part of the unique firm’s Nexus Pitch Competition. Those awarded $80,000 investments included LensQuote (Bluffton), Catipult.ai (Indianapolis), Blueprint Stats (Bloomington), Stagetime Inc. (Bloomington) and Indy Gaming League (Indianapolis). Those companies receiving $20,000 investments included GittaSitta (Granger), FloWaste (South Bend), NearWave (South Bend), Reezy (Carmel), Deep Word (Bloomington) and ShuffleMe (Bloomington).
GoGig Jobs Inc., an anonymous professional networking platform, received an undisclosed investment from the new Purdue Startup Fund. The platform will help Purdue University’s 500,000-plus alumni take advantage of career advancement opportunities through an agreement with the Purdue Alumni Association.
MetaCX, an outcomes-based B2B customer lifecycle software company in Indianapolis, recently raised an additional $7.5 million from Greenspring Associates of Baltimore, Maryland and and BIP Capital of Atlanta. It marks the third investment from BIP Capital into an Indiana-based technology company. It also marks a total of nearly $25 million raised by MetaCX since it’s creation just over two years ago.
Boardable completed it’s Series A raise at the end of the year. The $8 million investment was led by Base10 Partners of the Bay Area with participation from High Alpha. Base10 Partners led two rounds in Indiana, both of which included participation from High Alpha. Boardable’s cloud-based platform is designed specifically for non-profit organizations and centralizes activities for meetings, documents, discussions, polls, and contacts; automates scheduling, calendaring, and reminders; and integrates with Gmail and Outlook, as well as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive for efficiency and ease of use.
While the year seemed destined to end with a whimper, Scale Computing added an exclamation point with a $30 million funding round led by Elevate Ventures and with participation from existing investors. Scale will use the new funding to continue to build the company, expanding sales, delivery, and R&D.
Each quarter we report public investments and M&A activity involving Indiana technology companies. Interested in sharing your funding deals? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you represent one of these Indiana tech companies and notice they are not listed on the TechPoint Tech Directory, please take the time to add them today. Your free listing also allows you to list job openings on our Job Board.