Colorado Springs firms continue to land venture capital

Gazette |

--Colorado Springs startups continued to land venture capital investments during the second quarter with FoodMaven and Jibu raising $4.5 million for expansion, the fifth time in the past six quarters local firms secured investments, according to a quarterly report.

FoodMaven secured $4 million in April from two existing investors, in a convertible note for "ongoing support," CEO Patrick Bultema said Monday in an email statement. The company landed $10 million in January from the Walton and Pritzker families to make additional acquisitions and develop technology. The online surplus food marketplace operator has now raised more than $22 million in 16 months.

Jibu, which franchises distributors of affordable bottled water in six African nations, raised $500,000 -- split between equity investments and foundation grants as part of a $5 million fundraising round to help the company expand into 12 new countries. The social enterprise -- a for-profit company with a charitable mission -- has raised $10 million in its seven-year history, including $7 million last year.

The two FoodMaven deals, the Jibu investment and an disclosed amount of venture funding in software developer Innate.ly totaled more than $14.5 million in the first half of the year, according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights. That total is a fraction of $180.6 million raised in the first half of 2018, which included the largest local venture capital investment in the city's history -- $172 million -- in Cherwell Software from private equity giant KKR.

The local venture funding came as such investments rose by double-digit percentages statewide and nationwide, and puts Colorado and U.S. totals for the first half of the year ahead of last year's pace, the report said. Venture funding for all of 2018 was the highest since 2001 for the state and 2000 for the nation.

Colorado venture investments totaled $404 million during the second quarter, up 21% from the same quarter last year and the most since the third quarter of 2018, with investments in three Boulder startups making up nearly 40% of the quarter's total. The statewide total for the first half of the year edged up 1.8%, or $13 million, from a year earlier to $727 million.

Nationwide venture funding totaled $28.8 billion in the second quarter, up 16.6% from a year earlier and the third highest quarterly total since 2000. The second-quarter total included 64 deals totaling more than $100 million, including $1.15 billion in San Francisco autonomous vehicle startup Cruise Automation. The total for the first half of the year jumped 15.1% from the same period last year to nearly $55 billion, a record for the period and putting the industry in position to set an annual record.

"The last six months saw the largest total VC investment we've recorded for the first half of a calendar year," said Tom Ciccolella, U.S. venture capital leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers. "We've also seen a lot of exit activity in the marketplace, which will provide investors with the capital needed to reinvest in newer startups."

Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234 Facebook www.facebook.com/wayne.heilman

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