TX Tech: Made In, Jog.ai, Vital Farms, BBL & Advice from Mark Cuban

Let’s catch up with the latest innovation news in Texas.

Newchip, an Austin online market of crowdfunded deals, has accepted 45 startups into its remote accelerator program, according to a press release. The startups, sorted by Newchip into seed, pre-seed, and MVP/beta stages, will go through the company’s 10-week program. Unlike many accelerators, Newchip doesn’t require that the companies give up equity to participate. In June, Newchip said it raised $2 million in seed funding from investors including SputnikATX, Youbi Capital, Polymath, and Yeoman.

Made In, an e-commerce company selling cookware directly to consumers, has raised $5 million in a seed round, according to a press release. The funding was led by Brian Spaly, the founder of Bonobos and founder and CEO of Trunk Club, and Ezra Galston of Starting Line Ventures. Others, including chef Grant Achatz and restaurateur Nick Kokonas, the Alinea Group co-founders; chef Tom Douglas; Barry Sternlicht, founder of Starwood Capital; and the Labora Group, an early investor in Bandier and Citizenry, also invested. The Austin company says it has raised a total of $8.3 million.

—Fresh from raising a $30 million Series B investment round in January, ScaleFactor has announced that it is opening a second office in Denver, according to a press release. The Austin startup, which makes software that automates accounting and provides financial insights to small- and medium-sized businesses, had previously raised $10 million in July 2018.

—Pennsylvania-based Evolve IP has bought Jog.ai, a three-year-old Austin speech analytics and natural language technology startup, according to a press release. Terms were not disclosed. Evolve IP said the acquisition opens new markets as well as boosts the company’s marketing to the healthcare, finance, and legal industries. The Pennsylvania company said its technology is suited for contact centers, sales departments, and other businesses that have compliance requirements or transcription needs.

Vital Farms, an Austin egg company, has raised $15 million in funding, according to the Austin Business Journal. The company sells eggs from pasture-raised hens nationwide (including at Whole Foods Market stores) and was founded in 2010.

BBL Ventures, a new Houston-based investment and consulting firm that aims to support energy innovation, is taking applications from robotics startups for a reverse pitch event with Exxon Mobil. The deadline to enter the contest is May 13; the winning startup could win $60,000. The startups will compete to solve two technical challenges: creating a method to stop exposure to flow or residual material and to reduce exposure to electrical charges.

—And we leave you with Mark Cuban’s three rules for business success.


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