The TechNexus Venture Collaborative ecosystem has seen incredible growth over the past year. Portfolio companies are flourishing and corporate-venture innovation is thriving. Here’s a look back at the past 12 months.
🥶 News from the cold months…(January-March)
- CEO and General partner, Fred Hoch dove into building venture ecosystems for growth
- We welcomed to the portfolio, Let’s Do This a marketplace to discover and book endurance and outdoor mass participation sporting events. They are on a mission to help more people discover epic experiences than any other community on the planet.
- ShotTracker raised $11M for their sports data platform, led by Evertz Technologies and Verizon Ventures.
- Clubhouse, the audio-only app rose in popularity with the masses, after it built its name with tech investors, makes way for influencers by starting to cultivate its own local celebrities.
- MIXhalo partnered with the Sacramento Kings, making them the first NBA team to use the company’s technology to power games and live events.
- TechNexus Manager Cristin Pacifico gave insight into outdoor recreation and the impacts COVID-19 has had on the industry.
- Conversational AI’ enterprise tech player, Symbl brought in $4.7M, with investments from TechNexus, Amazon, Jump Capital, and others.
- TechNexus CEO Terry Howerton shared a message that every BigCo leader needs to hear—if you stop growing, you start dying.
- We welcomed Giide to the portfolio! Giide turns note-worthy knowledge into the most engaging, consumable audio ever created.
- Locked On Podcast Network, an emerging media venture focused on pro and college sports was acquired by TV Station Group, Tegna.
- Ocient, the Chicago-based company which makes software to handle and analyze massive amounts of data, raised another $40 million.
- 3AM Innovation was named to GovTech Top 100, an annual list compiled of companies focused on making a difference in and selling to state and local government agencies across the United States.
🍃 Spring blooms…(April-June)
- Managing Partner, Andy Annacone, explained that to succeed in today’s digital economy, corporations need a new strategic orientation.
- Venture Manager, Alison Hennessy wrote about the forced evolution of the virtual events industry.
- Founders: Sarah Smith of The Dyrt, Lisa Simpson of Easol, and Surbhi Rathore of Symbl took a minute to answer some questions about their companies, fostering creative culture, and what they were focused on for 2021.
- Native Voice joined the portfolio! The company believes every audio device will become a “smart” two-way communication point and are building a neutral platform to connect consumers directly to their favorite brands via voice.
- Austin-based Rollick, which connects manufacturers, dealers, finance, and insurance providers with in-market consumers, raised $8.5 million in funding. Sandbox Insurtech Ventures joins TechNexus as the lead strategic investors.
- Krisp raised a $9M extension to its $5M Series A round in the summer of 2020.
- UK-based SaaS startup pioneering experiential commerce, Easol, raises $4.5M in growth funding led by Notion Capital, Slow Ventures, Y Combinator, and others.
- We broke down how Venture Collaboration is a smarter innovation model and a force multiplier poised to become the future of corporate R&D.
- TechNexus Manager Cristin Pacifico sat down with Matt Castellini of Manifold Ventures for an episode of the Chicago Capital Podcast. They discussed the Chicago investing ecosystem, her experience at TechNexus as well as the exciting verticals she sees in the outdoor & recreation industry.
- Tonal added $250 million of new funding in a Series E round. The company was valued at $1.6 billion.
- In additional fitness industry transformation news—Pro and College sports teams integrated Perch, an innovative workout device that enables ”smart” weight racks.
- Dysonics, a deep-tech audio venture that builds hardware and software workflows for 3D audio applications, was acquired by Google.
- AI Reverie joined CB Insights AI 100 global list: The Artificial Intelligence Startups Redefining Industries for the second year!
- Boxcast acquired Stream Monkey – helping the Ohio-based company keep up with the growing demand for more high-quality livestreaming.
- Phil Leslie, Managing Director at TechNexus, broke down the future of audio in hybrid work environments.
- Venture Director Kaitlyn Doyle analyzed how entrepreneurs and their startups are a powerful source of insight for corporate innovators.
- Miles joined the portfolio! The company is a frequent flyer program for ground transportation. They are a high-growth company well-versed in helping brands create owned loyalty programs.
- From West coast to MidWest coast – we had two portfolio companies make the list for BuiltIn’s 2021 Watch List…Miles (Bay Area) and Ocient (Chicago).
- Rapchat announced a new $2.3 million funding round to support artists working to launch careers in music. Rapchat’s investors include Sony Music Entertainment, Adjacent, M25, TechNexus Venture Collaborative, 500 startups, and more.
- Losant received 2021 IoT Application Development Platform of the Year Award.
😎 TechNexus announced…
🔥 News from the hot months…(July-September)
- TechNexus introduced TeamWorking a collaborative, flexible, and hybrid space – empowering entrepreneurs to build innovative ventures and accelerating growth for corporations through active collaboration.
- We highlighted Kerning Cultures, the female-led podcast network that is giving young Arabs a voice. The network currently has several original shows, that range in genre from daily news, to fiction, to narrative documentaries on love, history, science, and more.
- Scan Band the first augmented reality (AR) music app from Artiphon launched. It transforms your surroundings into an ensemble of virtual instruments. Exclusive to Snapchat.
- Portside, an aviation startup that is building a platform for managing the backend of a corporate flight department, flight charters, and other operations, raises $17 million in a new funding round.
- Malcolm Gladwell’s New Word Order: Audiobook First. The author’s company, Pushkin Industries, used sound effects and original music to create highly produced “original” audiobooks.
- The Beam Health team raised additional capital and joined the portfolio. We’re thrilled to be a part of their journey at the forefront of transforming the healthcare industry.
- TechNexus, as part of the Smart Cities Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Lab initiative, successfully executed Phase II of a Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) wildfire sensor program in the summer. The program was mentioned in the Biden-Harris Administration Statement from the Briefing Room about wildfire prevention and preparedness.
- Catch Co., an e-commerce company that hooks aspiring anglers with community and content was featured in AdWeek. | Plus, Chicago’s very own WGN’s Around Town went fishing with CEO Ross Gordon.
- Double Elvis Productions, was featured in Rolling Stone. The company is on a mission to introduce new music artists through fiction podcasting and storytelling.
- Electronic Engineering Journal explored Aspinity’s analogML core and the emergence of analog as an important component of machine learning at the edge.
- TechNexus Founder and CEO, Terry Howerton stopped by The Scott Becker Private Equity Podcast. In the episode, he talks with Scott about the future of corporate venture collaboration, how TechNexus empowers entrepreneurs, & more.
- Crunchbase highlighted ShotTracker and Tonal – breaking down how investment in sports technologies involving data, analytics, fitness, and biotechnology to help athletes play and perform better are on the rise.
- Chicago-based, Hologram, a startup that’s created a SIM card that allows companies to connect their devices to the internet quickly, raised a $65 million Series B round.
- The Dyrt is the top camping app and is positioned at the confluence of two trends: An increased interest in outdoor recreation and travel along with an explosion in consumer subscription software.
- Green travel rewards app Miles raised $12.5 million.
- Native Voice closed a $14 million seed funding round.
- Naomi Shah, Founder & CEO of Meet Cute was featured in Rockwater and discussed raising $6M During COVID, Leaving VC, and Rom-com Podcasts.
- Jason Calacanis interviewed Allen Chen, Founder & CEO of FitBod, the two talked about how to grow a consumer SaaS app to 225k paying customers.
🍁 Holidays and more highlights…(October-December)
- Entrepreneur Magazine named 15 inspiring young entrepreneurs in their 20s building Million Dollar businesses. Meet Cute’s founder and CEO Naomi Shah made the list!
- Apple highlighted MIXhalo in their September keynote. Recognizing that with the power of 5G, “You can . . take the sound at any live event to a whole new level with MIXhalo!”
- HAAS Alert, a SaaS company that provides real-time automotive collision prevention for public safety and roadway fleets, raised $5 million in seed funding from investors that included TechNexus, R^2, Blu Ventures, TechStars, and others.
- The Chicago Sun-Times highlighted Catch Co. the leading fishing brand, content, and commerce platform, and how the company completed its first acquisition of Recur Outdoors, a startup with a diverse mix of fishing offerings.
- DIVE Studios launched the Mindset audio platform with new funding from Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures.
- AmpUp, a leader in electric vehicle (EV) charging, raised additional capital from Goodyear Ventures, Foothill Ventures, Powerhouse, and TechNexus.
- Rollick announced an industry, strategic partnership with Lightspeed, the largest CRM and DMS provider in the recreation industry.
- Stellantis announced the launch of a new integrated Miles rewards program and app, Stellantis Miles, that enables customers of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, or Alfa Romeo vehicles to earn miles for all their travel, not limited to driving.
- Autonomous marine companies Sea Machines and Hefring Marine shared their insight, expertise, and experience in this featured article about the future for robot boats.
- Symbl.ai, a provider of conversational intelligence APIs and tools, raised $17M. The company helps developers ingest conversation data from text, voice, email, chat, video, and social and provides understanding and context around the language.
- Plus, they launched Symbl.ai for Startups — a program for pre-seed to seed-stage companies building the next generation of conversation-centric AI products and services.
- Visual commerce company Threekit raised $35M to thrive in the metaverse. TechNexus joined other investors, including Leaders Fund, ServiceNow, Salesforce, Shasta Ventures, and others.
- Morning Brew featured Edgybees – as wildfires grow more common and severe, they say their technology can help.
- Perch was (and is still) hiring! Perch uses computer vision and machine learning to make strength training data-driven, connected, and safe. See their open roles.
- Easol raised $25M for its experiences and event marketing, booking, and payments platform. Tiger Global led the round and joined previous investors, including TechNexus, Notion Capital, Foundation Capital, Y Combinator, and FMZ Ventures.
- Mixhalo, the developer of low-latency audio over-wifi transmission for live events, raised a $24M Series B led by Fortress Investment. The new funds will go toward team expansion to address the increasing interest from the market and to further innovate on the audio technology and product.
- AdWeek honors for Meet Cute and Pushkin Industries. Naomi Shah, founder and CEO of Meet Cute, is recognized as Podcast Executive of the Year. While Pushkin wins across multiple categories, including Network of the Year, Editor of the Year, Podcast of the Year, and more.
With 2021 in the books, TechNexus is looking forward to the new year. Here’s to the successes of our corporate partners, ventures, and community. Onwards and upwards!
TechNexus Venture Collaborative, helping leading corporations and ambitious entrepreneurs work together to create new business models, new revenue streams, new products, and markets. Learn more at technexus.com.
Stay in touch with us by subscribing to the TechNexus newsletter, click here.