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Pace of exits picks up for venture development organizations in Q1

May 17, 2018
By: Mark Skinner

Venture development organizations (VDO), nonprofit organizations across the country investing in innovation startups to help grow their regional economies as well as earn a respectable return, saw at least 20 exits in the first quarter of 2018, based on data entered on Pitchbook.com. Here are some examples from the quarter:

A spinout of the Carnegie Mellon University Endowment, Pittsburgh-based Wombat Security Technologies has been acquired for the sum of $225 million to become an operating subsidiary of Proofpoint. Among the nine exiting investors, who injected a combined total of $11 million into the firm since 2011, are Idea Foundry, Innovation Works and Riverfront Ventures. Idea Foundry also was an exiting investor during the quarter resulting from the acquisition of Zulama by EMC Publishing.

MobilPhire and ClearEdge3D were both acquired during the quarter by MobileSense and Topcon, respectively.  Among the exiting investors in both deals was the Center for Innovative Technology Gap Funds managed by the longstanding VDO, CIT in Herndon, Virginia.

Teampassword, a cloud-based password management service, was acquired by Jungle Disk for an undisclosed sum on March 6. The sole exiting investor was one of Maryland’s most active venture development organizations, TEDCO.

The Cincinnati-based, mobile travel planning platform service, Roadtrippers, has agreed to be acquired by TH2 for an undisclosed sum. Sellers include Cincytech, The Brandery accelerator and Drive Capital. The first two organizations have received funding from Ohio’s Third Frontier program, while the Midwest VC firm Drive Capital has Ohio State University, the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System and the Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Association among its limited partners. During the quarter, CincyTech and the Brandery also exited their investments in Soundstr with its acquisition as an operating subsidiary of VNUE.

Pandoodle, a video and image monetization platform startup, was acquired by Sharing Economy International on Feb. 8 for an undisclosed sum. Among the six exiting investors was SCRA Ventures, the investment arm of the South Carolina Research Authority. SCRA also exited its investment in VidiStar during the quarter with the company’s acquisition by Hitachi Medical Systems America on Jan. 9.

Jama Software acquired Notion Data, a SAAS analytics platform startup based in Portland, Oregon. Exiting its investment with the deal was the Portland Seed Fund, which includes among its limited partners the City of Portland, the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Oregon Community Foundation, and the Oregon State Treasury.

The Michigan-based enterprise cloud and collocation hosting service, Online Tech, became an operating subsidiary of Schurz Communications on Feb. 5. Exiting with the acquisition was Ann Arbor SPARK, a venture development organization serving the Ann Arbor region since 2005.

The developer of portable light-emitting diodes, Mr. Beams, was acquired by Ring for an undisclosed sum on Jan. 8. Venture development organization JumpStart, and the Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio, housed at the Lorain County Community College, were the two exiting investors from the deal.

First Alert acquired Atlanta-based Luma on Jan. 5 for $10 million, providing an exit opportunity for 32 investors. Among the large group was the Advanced Technology Development Center, the Georgia Tech incubator founded in 1980 with more than 170 graduating firms over the decades.

venture dev orgs