VC Report: Q1 2020 M&A and investments in Indiana technology companies
The first quarter of 2020 got off to a modest, but promising start on the heels of one of the best years for tech investments in the state of Indiana. However, as the COVID-19 threat and then pandemic became a global concern, investments trickled. We will all watch to see how this impacts the investment community in Indiana. There were 11 publicly announced capital investments and one grant in the quarter for a total of just over $14.8 million along with 10 companies involved in M&A activity. While the number of companies involved in these transactions is similar to that of the first quarter of 2019, the dollar amount is lower as 2019’s first quarter saw 12 publicly announced capital investments for over $87 million.
Below is a list of publicly shared investments and acquisitions involving Indiana technology companies that occurred in the first quarter of 2020.
The year started out with a major acquisition of an Indiana company. Defenders is a residential electronic physical security systems integrator launched in 1998 by Dave and Jessica Lindsey from their home in Indianapolis. The team eventually grew to over 2,000 people. In January, Defenders was acquired for $381 million by their biggest partner in the industry, ADT, Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida.
Docket is one of two companies to emerge from High Alpha Venture Studio during this quarter that announced raises. Docket’s SaaS platform is designed to allow participants to get the most out of meetings in the workplace–whether they are in-person or remote. In early January, the team announced the completion of their $1.5 million seed raise led by Allos Ventures. The raise also included High Alpha Capital, Elevate Ventures, and Simon Equity Partners. Docket is a 2020 Mira Awards nominee for Startup of the Year.
South Bend’s SIMBA Chain also closed a $1.5 million seed round in January. The 2019 Mira Award winning team for New Tech Product of the Year provides a do-it-yourself platform for companies wishing to implement blockchain applications or can function as a strategic build partner. The raise included Notre Dame’s Pit Road Fund, Elevate Ventures and First Source Capital.
PlaneEnglish of West Lafayette received a $1 million grant from the US Air Force in January. The company’s Aviation Radio Simulator app emulates the highly choreographed speech patterns and phraseology used by aviators and air traffic controllers to provide realistic training for pilots.
Quarion Technology raised $700,000 from Elevate Ventures and other investors in January. The Evansville-based company’s software is used to track inventory, industrial vehicles, assets and personnel in real-time to increase productivity and safety in the workplace.
Indianapolis-based Passageways announced a $5 million growth capital raise in late January led by Five Elms Capital of Kansas City and Saratoga Investment Corp. of New York City. Passageways is a SaaS provider of collaboration solutions for boards and employees and is currently nominated in three categories for the 2020 Mira Awards.
ActiveCampaign is a Chicago-based marketing tech company that raised $100 million in Series B funding in January. While we did not count this in our totals for the quarter, it’s certainly worth noting in the report as the company has taken up serious roots in Indianapolis with plans to continue growing here. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced plans to spend $10 million to open an Indianapolis office and hire 200 people by the end of 2022. The raise was led by Susquehanna Growth Equity of Philadelphia with additional funding coming from Silversmith Capital Partners of Boston. ActiveCampaign is a 2020 Mira Awards nominated company in the Scale-up of the Year category.
VinSense and Karyosoft each received $50,000 investments from the Purdue Ag-celerator. Both of these startup technology companies deal with plant science. VinSense helps wine grape growers while Karyosoft, a 2020 Mira nominee in two categories, is a genomics data analytics company.
Casted, a platform for B2B podcasting, announced their $2.4 million raise led by High Alpha Capital along with participation from Elevate Ventures. Tappan Hill Ventures of Ann Arbor also contributed to the raise. Casted is one of the latest companies to emerge from High Alpha Venture Studio and is a 2020 Mira nominee for Startup of the year.
Sensory Technologies, an audio-video integrator based in Indianapolis, announced their merger with Diversified, a global technology services provider based in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Two long-standing Indianapolis-based tech companies announced a merger in February. Word Systems, Inc., a provider of recording & digital data management systems and iRecord, LLC, a provider of interview recording equipment, announced the news in February. The merger is a result of both companies being acquired by The September Group, LLC, a private equity firm based in Indianapolis.
Renaissance Electronic Services, a technology company that creates software and solutions for dental practices, announced their acquisition by Atlanta-based Vyne, a developer of technologies for the healthcare industry. It marks the third major acquisition of an Indiana-based technology company by an Atlanta-based technology company in the past six months as SalesLoft acquired Costello in October and Terminus acquired Sigstr in December.
Kronos announced their merger with Ultimate Software of Weston, Florida in February. While Kronos is based in Lowell, Massachusetts, the company has a major office located in downtown Indianapolis and is nominated for two 2020 Mira Awards. Both teams are leaders in human capital management and employee experience solutions and will now be one of the largest companies in this industry. Financial details of the merger were not announced and a new name for the combined companies is expected in the coming months.
Envisage Technologies, a SaaS provider of public safety training and compliance management systems based in Bloomington, announced their growth equity investment from Norwest Venture Partners in late February. Based in Palo Alto, California, Norwest is one of the largest venture capital firms in the world with noted portfolio investments that include Casper and Uber. Financial details of the investment were not made public.
Brightlamp of West Lafayette received $130,000 from Purdue Foundry’s Investment Fund as part of the company’s overall raise efforts to date. Brightlamp is the creator of the Reflex app used by medical professionals to directly measure cognitive functionality with no additional hardware required. The app is already being used to quickly detect concussions via a smartphone. Purdue Foundry can continue to contribute to Brightlamp as the company raises additional funds.
Indianapolis-based 250ok announced their acquisition by Validity of Boston in February. A leading email analytics company, 250ok was launched in 2011 by ExactTarget alum, Greg Kraios. Validity provides solutions for CRM data management, email address verification and inbox deliverability. The companies did not share financial details of the acquisition.
Enriched Couples of New Albany received two investments totaling $40,000 from Elevate Ventures–one via the Elevate Nexus program focused on early stage companies affiliated with university partners, and the other from Elevate’s Community Ideation Fund. Enriched Couples is a financial wellness platform designed to help millennial and Gen Z couples communicate and develop financial teamwork skills.
Although headquartered in the Bay Area, Genesys’s largest office is based in Indianapolis–the remnant of Interactive Intelligence. In March, the customer experience and call center technology company announced the acquisition of nGUVU of Montreal for an undisclosed amount. The company has been a longtime partner of Genesys over the years and offers an employee engagement platform for contact centers.
Headquartered in Evansville, MetroNet Holdings, LLC is a provider of fiber optic telecommunication services. In March the company announced the acquisition of Jaguar Communications, a fiber-optic broadband provider located in Rochester, Minnesota. It marks the second acquisition of a fiber optic company by MetroNet in just over a year. Financial details were not disclosed.
Woven announced their $2.5 million seed round in March, led by High Alpha Capital with Elevate Ventures also participating. The 2020 Mira Award nominated company has created a data-driven platform to hire engineering team members on site and remotely. Woven is located in the Union 525 building in downtown Indianapolis.
Emmis Communications of Indianapolis recently paid approximately $75 million to acquire the sound masking business of Lencore Acoustics Corp of Woodbury, New York. Sound masking is used to dynamically improve comfort and collaboration in the work space by gently raising the ambient background sound uniformly with a clean, consistently random, broadband, non-intrusive sound.
Lev, a marketing-focused Salesforce consultancy that recently moved its headquarters to Indianapolis, announced its merger with Cognizant in March. A Fortune 500 company based in Teaneck, New Jersey, Cognizant (Nasdaq-100: CTSH) is one of the world’s leading professional services companies with offices in London and Chennai, India. Lev is a 2020 Mira Awards nominee in three different categories.
If you want to see how 2020 compared to recent years you can read wrap-ups from 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016.
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.