Texas Roundup: Azaya, StemBioSys, Next Coast, Querium, Favor, MacroFab
Let’s get caught up with the latest innovation news from Xconomy Texas.
—First, we have “Five Questions For …” Gabriella Draney Zielke, co-founder and CEO of the Tech Wildcatters accelerator in Dallas. In this installment, we talk about her “accidental” journey to entrepreneurship, lessons learned about managing people, and her interest in astrophysics and space.
—San Antonio biotech Azaya Therapeutics has been bought by Cytori Therapeutics in San Diego. Azaya shareholders are receiving $2 million in Cytori (NASDAQ: [[ticker:CYTX]]) stock, although $500,000 of it is being held in escrow for 15 months. The deal also includes a $2 million cash payment to pay off costs associated with the construction of Azaya’s new manufacturing facility in San Antonio, where Cytori plans to continue manufacturing one of the drugs in the deal.
—Also in San Antonio, StemBioSys has a deal with VWR (NASDAQ: VWR) to have its stem cell products distributed in the U.S. and Canada. VWR is a distributor of lab products to the life sciences industry. The announcement was the latest in a string made by the San Antonio biotech, which makes an extracellular matrix used to replicate stem cells. StemBioSys is also raising $3 million to launch new products this year and pursue additional distribution deals globally.
—Next Coast Ventures is the latest addition to Austin’s venture capital community. The firm, founded by entrepreneurs Mike Smerklo and Tom Ball, will invest in Series A and B rounds for startups in e-retail, edtech, and business services, among other sectors. Next Coast intends to finish raising $50 million for its fund by the end of the first quarter of this year. Smerklo says his experience as an entrepreneur, as well as that of his co-founder Ball, will enable them to better work with young tech startups.
—MacroFab, a Houston-based company that helps startups prototype and manufacture PCB boards, has raised $3 million in a second round of seed funding, according to the Houston Business Journal. Investors included Dentsu Ventures in Japan and Enhanced Jobs for Texas, a venture fund managed by Enhanced Capital in New York. MacroFab raised $2 million in June 2015 from investors such as Techstars and high net worth individuals.
—Austin edtech startup Querium has raised an additional $3.18 million out of a planned $3.86 million round of financing, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last June, the startup got an early-stage bridge round from the University of Michigan’s Social Venture Fund, among other investors. Querium uses artificial intelligence to provide students with step-by-step coaching in math, science, and engineering courses. The Social Venture Fund is a student-led fund at Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
—Favor, the Austin startup with a mobile app that offers to deliver anything, closed all of its operations outside of Texas, including in cities such as Boston and Denver. CEO Jag Bath said the move to shrink its coverage area to just Texas is an attempt to make the company profitable. Favor had been operating in 27 cities in the U.S. and Canada (Toronto). Founded in 2013, Favor raised a $13 million Series A round in March 2015, which it used to help expand operations to more cities.