When Raleigh software startup Pendo raised $11 million in a single round this fall, we questioned the Council for Entrepreneurial Development about the frequency of so large a round in North Carolina.
December 29, 2015
North Carolina’s Top 10 Tech Equity Deals of 2015
These 10 deals make up the the largest tech venture capital raises in North Carolina in 2015.
While the organization confirmed it is indeed rare, especially for so young a startup, leaders there also pointed us to other large tech fundings statewide in 2015. You can see the full top 10 below, calculated through December 9, 2015, along with some context behind each deal.
These deals, as well as increasingly larger deal flow in general, have helped elevate the state to fifth in venture capital raised in the third quarter of 2015. It also marked the best quarter of funding for the state since 2000.
This accounting systems software company helps a variety of companies around the U.S. manage accounts payables and automate payments. It was founded by serial entrepreneurs David Miller, now a board member, and Michael Praeger, CEO. Named one of Charlotte’s fastest growing companies for five years in a row, the company hit 5,000 customers this year and more than 350 employees. It also attracted private equity investor Bain Capital Ventures, and is building a new headquarters to prep for the more than 600 new jobs it plans to create by 2018.
Founded: April 2000 in Charlotte
2015 raise: $225M
Investors: Bain Capital Ventures, Foundry Group (Brad Feld is a board member), NYCA Partners, KeyBank, Square 1 Bank (Durham-based) and TPG Special Situations Partners. The Piedmont Angel Network was an early investor and cashed out $1.7 million this fall.
The FinTech startup based on technology created for its once parent company Live Oak Bank had its biggest year yet in 2015, starting the year with a nod from Forbes as a most promising company of 2015 and then lining up funders like Salesforce Ventures and Insight Venture Partners. The team of 145 (it’s added as many as 30 since) moved into new digs in Wilmington in July. Four months later, nCino won Best Software Company in the state at the annual NC Tech Awards. Its bank operating system is quickly becoming a technology of choice for financial institutions around the U.S. Here’s our original profile on the company.
Founded: December 2011 in Wilmington (though the technology was created much earlier)
2015 raise: $29M
Investors: Salesforce Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Wellington Management Company, former Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO John Mock and Promontory Financial Group Founder and CEO Gene Ludwig.
This early pioneer of digital textile printing has become a global leader in the practice, crowdsourcing fabric designs from artists and designers around the world, printing them using custom-made printers in Durham and selling the fabrics to everyone from Etsy creators to the world’s top fashion houses. Founders Gart Davis and Stephen Fraser, former Lulu.com execs, took their first institutional capital in 2015, from the Boston private equity fund North Bridge Growth Equity and with participation from a local Durham investor. The company has beefed up its management team since that time in preparation for an expansion in a European headquarters in Germany and more product development. It employs more than 150 people and plans to add another 50 more in coming months.
Founded: 2008 in Mebane (now based in Durham)
2015 raise: $25M
Investors: North Bridge Growth Equity, Bull City Venture Partners (Durham), angel investors
Digital and channel marketing for the local businesses of major national chains are the focus of this fast growing Morrisville company, which racked up venture capital in 2015 to fuel its expansion. Founded by former Motricity and GoldPocket Wireless vice president Brendan Morrissey, the company counts most of the major automakers as well as GE Appliances, Frigidaire, Serta and ADT as customers. The 200-person firm closed its latest round of funding in December, led by River Cities Capital Funds, and will hire up to 100 people over the next year. It was named one of Deloitte’s Fast 500 this year, with 668 percent revenue growth over the last three years.
2015 raise: $24M
Investors: RRE Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners, Greycroft Partners, River Cities Capital Funds (Durham office)
Earning the largest funding round of any IT service management company, this Cary-based company has doubled the customer base for its IT service desk cloud solutions in 2014 and expects to do the same in 2015. Founder Doron Gordon is a serial entrepreneur who moved the company to the Triangle from Israel in 2014 and, according to this Triangle Business Journal story, will employ 60 people in new offices in Cary next year. The company has raised a total of $24 million factoring the round that closed in May 2015.
Founded: April 2007 in Israel
2015 raise: $16M
Investors: Carmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Vintage Investment Partners, Marker LLC
With more than 30,000 channel partners around the world and customers like Red Hat, the Raleigh company is using its $14 million series B cash infusion to make acquisitions and grow its influence in the fast-moving channel marketing world. Zift helps its customers and their channel partners better tailor marketing efforts to their existing and potential customers. It employs more than 100 people in Raleigh but planned to hire after the September funder. In total, the company has raised nearly $21 million. Here’s our profile story on the company post-2015 funding.
Founded: 2006 in Raleigh
2015 raise: $14.3M
Investors: Arrowroot Capital, SSM Partners, Southern Capitol Venture Partners (Durham)
Now with more than $18 million in venture capital, including an April 2015 series B from the corporate venture fund of Kaiser Permanente, the single platform for healthcare providers to sync and collect data from hundreds of wearable devices has continued its fast growth in Durham. Founders Ryan Beckland and Drew Schiller moved the company to Durham in 2011 and renamed it Validic from Motivation Science. Validic has become a Top 10 Innovating Disruptor in Healthcare according to Forbes and just this week, a Global Digital Health 100 award winner by The Journal of mHealth.
Founded: 2010 in Kansas
2015 raise: $12.4M
Investors: Kaiser Permanente Ventures, SJF Ventures (Durham), Greycroft Partners, Wilmington Investor Network, Mark Cuban and angel investors.
Pendo co-founder Todd Olson and team spent nearly a year building out software that makes it easy for developers and project managers to measure user engagement with the apps and products they build, helping to inform future development. Since launch, Pendo has experienced 30 percent monthly user growth and, when the series A round was announced in October, was tracking more than a billion engagements per month through clients like FICO, SciQuest, Coupa and Invoca. Pendo will open a new office in Raleigh’s warehouse district next year, making room for a staff of up to 70.
Founded: January 2014 in Raleigh
2015 raise: $11M
Investors: Battery Ventures, Salesforce, Contour Venture Partners, Core Capital Partners, Idea Fund Partners
18 months after the Raleigh company made national headlines for creating the first standardized measure of cloud compute, storage and network resources (Workload Allocation Cube), one that’s even traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, founders John Cowan and Delano Seymour have brought in new funding from existing investors to build a business around cloud analytics and decision making. They’ve raised nearly $21 million in venture funding during the company’s history, and two rounds of debt financing as they built up the new business focus in 2014 and early 2015.
Founded: 2008 in Raleigh
2015 raise: $10.9M
Investors: Grotech Ventures, Intersouth Partners
Clinical research can happen paperlessly with tools provided by this Winston Salem software company. The Inc. 5000 company has raised $24.3 million, with 2015 funding helping it merge with Boston-based CentrosHealth in March and enter a partnership with Novartis to perform fully electronic clinical trials. Founders are Tommy Littlejohn, a longtime clinical trials investigator and Doug Pierce, a former executive in the medical forms publishing industry.
Founded: 2006 in Winston Salem
2015 raise: $9.9M
Investors: MPM Capital, FCA Venture Partners, F2 Ventures