After an unseasonably cold start to the new year, sunny skies and warmer days have returned. The pace of startup launches and new financing deals is as brisk as ever. Here is the latest innovation news from Xconomy Texas.
—Austin, TX-based Volusion raised $55 million to further develop its e-commerce software. The Series A round of venture funds was raised from Main Street Capital Corporation, a Houston-based investment firm. Previously, Volusion had raised about $35 million in debt. Volusion was formed in 1999 and has 40,000 customers—including Disney, Motorola, the Chicago Tribune, and 3M—who made more than $2.8 billion in sales last year.
—Favor, which is also based in Austin, is focused on the opposite end of the retail food chain: getting products delivered to your home. The startup makes an app from which users can place orders. Favor moved to the Texas capital two years ago after being launched in California, and it pays “runners” to deliver food or groceries from any store or restaurant inside its service zone at the whim of the app’s user.
—Two former Facebook executives have pledged both money and time to boost Austin travel website Localeur. Their experience, along with an investment of about $500,000, will help the startup hire its first full-time engineers.
–The founders of SeatSmart say their company has a better way to get tickets for your favorite sporting or arts events. The San Antonio, TX, startup has a website that founders say offers customers tickets free of the markups sometimes found when dealing with third-party re-sellers.
—Also in San Antonio, Xenex, a robotics company that says its ultraviolet disinfection technology can kill viruses, bacteria, mold, fungus, and bacterial spores that can cause infections in hospital settings, has raised $25 million to expand its U.S. sales force and fund product development.
—Houston’s Decisio Healthcare, which makes software that can help healthcare providers in patient diagnoses, has received clearance from the FDA as a class II medical device. The nod is notable since most health IT companies do not seek such regulatory scrutiny.
—BioHouston held its annual “Women in Science Excellence” luncheon recently, honoring women executives in energy, life sciences, and space. The event was also part of a new initiative aimed at encouraging more girls to take an interest in STEM fields.
—Escalate Capital Partners, an Austin-based mezzanine investor, closed on a $235 million fund, its third and largest. The firm invests in later-stage tech companies and has made more than 60 investments since it was founded in 2005.
—Dallas-based AveXis is on the hunt for a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, and recently raised $10 million in venture cash to fund trials of its therapy candidate, ChariSMA.