TX Tech: Funds for True Wealth & Phunware, Rackspace Layoffs, & More

Happy Friday! Before we get started on the weekend, let’s catch up with the latest innovation news in Texas.

—A group of companies that use blockchain technology are forming an organization to advocate for issues related to the technology. Called the Austin Blockchain Collective, the group wants to “advance blockchain-based education to the local community and grow the ecosystem,” according to a news release Thursday. The group said it will also engage policymakers, and is trying to make Austin a hub for blockchain innovation. The technology is often used to store encrypted data, such as digital currency or public records, in a way so that it can be traced and publicly verified. The group is led by an executive committee, which includes executives from Lighthouse Partners, Multicoin Capital, Laurence Ventures, and Austin-based financial services blockchain company Wanchain.  The group says more than 50 blockchain companies are currently based in Austin.

Founder Equity, a Chicago-based venture firm, has expanded into Dallas, according to Dallas Innovates. The firm uses a fee-free model to make investments and is currently working on raising investments to close on a $30 million fund and has already committed to invest in seven startups, the publication reported Thursday.

True Wealth Ventures announced on Tuesday that it has closed its first fund, according to a press release. The venture firm will use the $19.1 million raised to invest in women-led consumer and consumer health technology companies. The firm’s initial investments include UnaliWear, a smart watch for the senior population to guard against falls and other risks, and BrainCheck, a startup that has a cognitive testing platform to manage brain health. True Wealth says more than 80 percent of its limited partners are women.

—Cloud computing company Rackspace is laying off about 100 people, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The San Antonio-based company employs about 6,700 currently—the highest the employee headcount has been at the company, according to the statement. Rackspace, which was acquired by private equity in August 2016 for $4.3 billion, laid off about 270 U.S. workers almost exactly one year ago. Downtown San … Next Page »

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