TX Tech: ForeFlight to Boeing, Osano Debut, Saranas’ FDA Nod & More

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Firebrand Ventures, a Kansas City, MO-based investment firm, has opened an Austin office with a Silicon Valley veteran at the helm. Ryan Merket, who was most recently at Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and has worked at Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Reddit, and CBS Interactive, joins the firm as partner. Firebrand, which was founded two years ago by John Fein, a former managing director at Techstars, has a $17.7 million fund that focuses on early-stage startups. The firm makes investments in the $200,000-range.

Firebrand is targeting startups in “Middle America,” from Texas to the Upper Midwest, and Colorado to Kentucky. What the Texas venture scene is missing is the early-stage VC firms that will mentor a young company and invest between $200,000 and $500,000, Merket says. “You can’t go to a VC and say, ‘Help me structure my business model.’ They’ll say, ‘Come back when you have a real company.’ That’s what makes Firebrand different,” he says.

QuotaPath, a maker of sales software based in Austin and Philadelphia, has raised $3.5 million, according to a press release. ATX Seed Ventures led the round, bringing QuotaPath’s total funding amount to $5 million. The startup, which was founded last year, will use the funding for technology development and new hires.

—The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas has a new partnership with Austin’s Capital Factory, which opened a Dallas location last year, according to a press release. Select startups will receive access to mentorship, networking, and programming at Capital Factory. “We are thrilled to offer this exciting opportunity to UT-Dallas student-founders as an important new extension of the innovation and entrepreneurship programs and facilities that the institute operates,” Steve Guengerich, the institute’s executive director, said in a prepared statement.

Xconomy National Correspondent David Holley contributed to this report.

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