Author: LauraLorek@gmail.com (Page 3 of 10)

LauraLorek@gmail.com

Claire England Leads GPG Ventures’ Austin Office Focused on Healthcare

As an investment partner, Claire England will lead a new office in Austin for Dallas-based GPG Ventures, a venture capital firm.

GPG has invested in more than 100 startups nationwide. Its investments range from the seed stage to Series B. Most of its investments are in healthcare, including medical devices, therapeutics, digital health, healthcare diagnostics, consumer health, and other technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

CPG Ventures is also known as Green Park & Golf Ventures. Carl Soderstrom and Clay Heighten, M.D. founded the firm after selling two healthcare companies to Texas Health Resources.

“We’re thrilled for Claire to open our Austin office and add her executive leadership and investing talent to the GPG Ventures team. Not only has she been an integral part of Austin’s startup ecosystem, but she is also a seasoned investor who brings unique expertise and a broad network to our deeply experienced team,” Soderstrom, founding partner, said in a news release.

“With its relatively new medical school and dynamic startup community, we believe that Austin is a natural evolution for GPG, and we’re excited about the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with the business community there through Claire,” Soderstrom said.

GPG Ventures also has an office in Houston.

Its investments include Supergoop!, LTK, MicroTransponder, Radformation, Brainspace, Hypergiant, Alto, Gregor Diagnostics, Take Command Health, Genomenon, and Carpe. Other significant investments and partnerships include Health Wildcatters, TheraNova, and 29 Acres.

“Texas is one of the best places in the world to build and invest in startups, and GPG Ventures is an integral part of that ecosystem. Supporting innovation that improves our lives and planet matters deeply to me, so joining GPG Ventures, focusing largely on healthcare, is an opportunity to expand that impact in Austin. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to be a part of this exceptional team,” England said in a news release.

Most recently, England served as a partner in Portfolia’s FemTech Fund I. Before that, England led the Austin-based Central Texas Angel Network from 2014 to 2019.

Austin’s DealFlowNow: $60 Million Investment Group Seeks to Empower Underrepresented Founders

A new investment group, DealFlowNow, has launched in Austin to invest $60 million into early-stage companies.

Kelsey August, a super angel investor and entrepreneur, is the founding managing director of DealFlowNow. She sat down with Silicon Hills News last Friday to talk about the focus of DealFlowNow.

“I’ve been doing angel investing for a decade full-time, and it was really hard to find the right thesis for me locally on deal flow,” August said. “So, I thought I’d create a platform where it’d be really easy for entrepreneurs for free to put their profile up. So instead of me hunting and pecking, we could drive traffic, and we do it inbound instead of me going in my car to all the meetings across town.”

August currently has forty active portfolio companies. She is also an entrepreneur who founded Lone Star Direct, a marketing firm, when she was 24.

DealFlowNow is a collection of super angels and family offices seeking to invest funding in innovative, disruptive startups. It is sector-agnostic but is particularly interested in evaluating companies that qualify for the Qualified Small Business Stock exemption.

As a women-led organization, DealFlowNow aims to level the playing field in fundraising by using some of its funds to invest in underrepresented founders. In 2022, U.S. startups with all women-founded teams received just 1.9 percent of all VC funds. The situation is even worse for female entrepreneurs of color. Black and Latina women founders received merely .1 percent.

August said some of her best investments have come from underrepresented founders.

“I made all my money from investing and on underrepresented folks,” August said. So I want to give back and reinvest and you know, double down and triple down.”

Crowdfunding is also giving a significant boost to underrepresented founders, August said. Because the Securities and Exchange Commission has changed the definition of an accredited investor. The SEC made the changes in August of 2020. The new definition “allows investors to qualify as accredited based on defined measures of professional knowledge, experience or certifications in addition to the existing tests for income and net worth.”

“You just need to be an expert in that field,” August said. “You don’t need to be a millionaire or make $200,000 a year. So, I think that it’s widening, and opportunities are getting better for everyone.”

August said Austin is an attractive hub for technology, innovation, and startups because of the “weird” vibe.

“Of course, we have strong universities here, strong government, but I really believe our mantra, Keep Austin Weird, is the third leg,” August said.

August said Austin is an encouraging and optimistic city with excellent entrepreneurial resources.

For more, listen to the podcast posted below or on any podcast platform.

https://ideastoinvoices.libsyn.com/kelsey-august-superangel-and-managing-director-of-dealflownow

Invoice Home’s Austin Relocation: Simplifying Global Success

In 2011, Petr Marek co-founded Invoice Home, formerly known as Wikilane, with Jiri Hradil.

Invoice Home provides invoice-generating software for small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs worldwide.

They’ve grown the company to more than 8 million accounts worldwide, and last January, Invoice Home relocated its headquarters to WeWork on Congress in Austin.

The company was attracted by Austin’s tech scene, quality of life, music scene, and access to talent, Marek said.

The company is bootstrapped and caters to small businesses, with most of its customers outside the U.S. Marek sold a Fintech company, which he created in 1992 in the Czech Republic, focusing on mortgage brokers and insurance.

In this episode of Ideas to Invoices, Marek discusses his entrepreneurial journey, hurdles the company has overcome, opportunities, management style, and more that have contributed to the company’s success. 

Invoice Home has become a prominent player in the invoicing software market. Small businesses help stabilize a company’s economy and politics, Marek said.

“I believe it’s healthy to support small businesses because it makes a healthier society,” Marek said.  

Invoice Home can handle different payment formats and helps small businesses operate internationally easily, Marek said.

“We pay invoices through wires in Europe, here checks, credit cards or something like that, so it’s quite a different environment from country to country that is relatively complicated,” Marek said.

In the competitive landscape, Invoice Home is in, the key to its success is simplicity, Marek said.  Invoice Home’s strategy has fewer features because the company believes primarily the focus is on issuing an invoice and getting paid, Marek said. Invoice Home focuses on creating a system that is safe, fast, and super easy to use, he said.

Invoice Home has many small business success stories, including a guy in Kenya sending invoices for cows and a scuba diving instructor sending invoices for lessons, house contracts invoices for roof replacements, plumbing, electrical work, and more. Invoice Home’s U.S. market is $1.5 million and $6.5 million internationally annually. It has customers in more than 190 countries.

It has seen an increase in business in Trinidad and Tobago driven by the Nomad economy in which people can work from anywhere.

Marek said that Invoice Home also evaluates technologies such as AI, Blockchain, and more, but it takes a wait-and-see attitude before implementing new technology. It’s also focused on data security and privacy of its customers, he said.

Listen to the entire podcast below or wherever you get your podcasts.

Petr Marek, Co-Founder of Invoice Home

In 2011, Petr Marek co-founded Invoice Home, formerly known as Wikilane, with Jiri Hradil. Invoice Home provides invoice generating software designed for the invoicing needs of small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs worldwide. They’ve grown the company to more than 8 million accounts worldwide and last January, Invoice Home relocated its headquarters to WeWork on Congress in Austin.

Seven Key Takeaways from Dr. Bob Metcalfe’s Talk on Connectivity and Innovation

“The most important new fact about the human condition is that we are now suddenly connected. And it’s only going to get worse. Connectivity is a thing, is THE thing,” Dr. Bob Metcalfe.

Serial Austin Entrepreneur Chris Taylor and Ethernet Inventor Dr. Bob Metcalfe discussed connectivity and more Tuesday evening at the Red Fridge Society, a cozy craftsman cottage that once served as Squareroot’s headquarters.

The talk was part of Silicon Hills News’ BigIdeasATX event series sponsored by Unnanu and Swyft and hosted by the Red Fridge Society,

Recently, Metcalfe received the 2022 ACM A.M. Turing Award, recognizing his contributions to Ethernet’s invention, standardization, and commercialization. The award is often called the “Nobel Prize of Computing.”

Metcalfe, an Emeritus Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and a research affiliate in computational engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, invented Ethernet in 1973 while working as a computer scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center. He drew on ideas from ARPAnet, notably packet switching, and an idea from the University of Hawaii: Aloha Network, a method for sharing a communication channel.

Today, Ethernet is the main conduit of wired network communications worldwide, with data rates ranging from 10 Mbps to 400 Gbps, and emerging technologies with 800 Gbps and 1.6 Tbps.

Here are a few takeaways from the talk. The entire discussion is posted in the video below.

1. Gather a bunch of intelligent people in one place and give them autonomy and brilliant things happen. That’s the history of Xerox’s PARC campus and the beginning of Ethernet. “The spiritual leader of Xerox park was a guy named Bob Taylor who coincidentally is an alumnus of the University of Texas in Austin, and he had run computer science research at ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense for some years and then he went to Xerox,” Metcalfe said. Taylor recruited an exceptionally gifted group of engineers. Metcalfe said they had a rivalry with Bell Labs, which had about 2,500 people compared to Xerox PARC’s 25.

2. Have a problem worth solving. Xerox PARC envisioned a PC on every desk; all PCs needed to be connected to the laser printer. Metcalfe, the networking guy, got the job along with Dave Boggs. “He and I became the Boggsy twins, and we built the first Ethernet to connect these PCs.”  

3. “Never Slam a Door Behind You.” In 1979, Metcalfe left Xerox to found 3Com in Silicon Valley. He gave seven month’s resignation notice. “Xerox became my customer, and if I had slammed the door and ****** all over them, they wouldn’t have been my customer.”

4. 3Com was bootstrapped and later got VC funding. “For the first year and a half or two, I was a CEO, and we were funded from consulting revenue; we got a $750,000 order from Exxon Corporation to build an Ethernet interface. Then 3Com raised $1.1 million for a third of the company in 1980, and the company for “11 nanoseconds became worth $55 billion in 1999.”

5. Invent a law to sell more products. Metcalfe’s Law stemmed from a carousel slide Metcalfe created to sell more 3Com products. The law helped to explain to 3Com’s customers that “the reason that their networks were not useful is that they were not big enough, and the remedy to that problem was to buy more of our products, which they did, and we went public shortly thereafter in March of 1984.”  George Gilder named it Metcalfe’s Law.

6. Find a Time Machine.  Metcalfe spent eight years at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, which allowed its researchers to go a decade into the future. “I went into the future, and it was good, and then we came back into the present and started recreating the Internet we had built inside Xerox.” Today, laboratories at universities are the prime candidates for time machines, Metcalfe said.

7. Connectivity can create problems. According to Metcalfe, an onslaught of connectivity creates pathologies, and it’s not over yet. “We have so much connectivity so quickly we don’t know what to do with it.”  The Megabit Internet is now out there, but now we’re moving to the Gigabit Internet, so even though we were overwhelmed with the connectivity provided by the Megabit Internet, we are now going to be even worse overcome by the abundance of bandwidth from the Gigabit. The preponderance of bandwidth creates pathologies.”

To end on a positive note, Metcalfe advised all entrepreneurs to exercise, get plenty of sleep, and take care of themselves. In college, Metcalfe was captain of his tennis team and played tennis three hours a day. More recently, Metcalfe completed the Boston Marathon with all his family members. Metcalfe said that exercise is one of the most important things a person can do for their mental and physical faculties.

Entrepreneur Chris Taylor interviewing Ethernet Inventor & ACM Turing Award Winner Dr. Bob Metcalfe

“The most important new fact about the human condition is that we are now suddenly connected. And it’s only going to get worse. Connectivity is a thing, is THE thing,” Dr. Bob Metcalfe. A fireside chat with Serial Entrepreneur Chris Taylor and Ethernet Inventor Dr. Bob Metcalfe at the Red Fridge Society, a cozy craftsman cottage that once served as Square Root’s headquarters.


Hypergiant Acquired by Dallas-based Private Equity Firm Trive Capital

When Hypergiant Industries launched in 2018, within two weeks, the company had an acquisition offer, said Ben Lamm, founder.

But Hypergiant turned it down and turned down several other suitors in the last five years, he said.

But this year, Hypergiant got an acquisition offer, which it couldn’t refuse because the partnership has so much synergy, Lamm said.

On Tuesday, Hypergiant announced its acquisition by Trive Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm. Trive Capital has another portfolio company Forward Slope, which perfectly fits with Hypergiant Industries, Lamm said. The acquisition made a lot of sense, he said. Both companies are focused on creating AI-enabled technology solutions for the defense industry.

“It’s crazy exciting,” Lamm said.

The acquisition comes on the heels of Hypergiant landing a $62 million contract with the Department of Defense around Hypergiant’s command center and its software platform that builds actionable AI-driven insights and user interfaces for warfighters.

In May of 2021, Lamm hired Mike Betzer, a serial enterprise software entrepreneur in Austin, to become the Chief Executive Officer of Hypergiant. Lamm left the venture to found Colossal, bringing the Woolly mammoth, thylacine, and dodo back from extinction through genetic engineering.

After Betzer’s second meeting with Trive Capital, Betzer called Lamm and said, “These guys get it. They are massively focused on supporting America, protecting critical infrastructure, space, and defense, and they own a couple of companies already in critical infrastructure and defense,” Lamm said.

Trive was so passionate about the mission of Hypergiant, its team, and the technology, Lamm said.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hypergiant has not disclosed how much capital it has raised. Its investors include Align Capital, GPG, Perot Jain, Beringer Capital, and Capital Factory.

Lamm is a serial entrepreneur who has founded several successful tech companies. He currently serves as CEO of Colossal. Previously, he was the founder and CEO of Conversable, acquired by LivePerson, and the co-founder and CEO of Chaotic Moon Studies, acquired by Accenture, and Team Chaos, acquired by Zynga.

“I think of myself as an entrepreneur first and a CEO second,” Lamm said. “I love being in the seat and running the company like I’m doing right now for Colossal, but fundamentally, whether it was Chaotic Moon back in the day or Chaos or Conversable or Hypergiant or Worlds with Dave Copps,  I love co-founding and founding businesses. But an entrepreneur’s job is to build the right team and design the right product or solutions that serve a bigger goal and mission.”

“We did that with Hypergiant, and so when I decided I wanted to go work on extinct species and get into genetic engineering, I needed to find the right person to lead, Mike,” Lamm said.

As part of the acquisition by Trive, Betzer will continue to run Hypergiant, which has close to 200 employees. Most of Hypergiant’s employees are in Texas, primarily in Austin and Dallas, but it’s also got employees in Colorado and California.

“And we’re hiring at seven people a week, and we have 60 open positions right now,” Lamm said. “So, Hypergiant is just being fueled by growth, and having a major multi-billion-dollar private equity firm behind the company will allow it to deliver on its long-term vision.”

Hypergiant has created AI-enabled, cloud-based command and control technologies and deployed solutions for the past five years. Chief among its accomplishments is its geospatial data visualization and actions platform, Command Center.

“Hypergiant’s unique geospatial data visualization capability has positioned the company at the leading edge of C5ISR technologies that address mission-critical defense priorities. In an increasingly complex battlespace, Hypergiant is capable of rapidly delivering actionable insights to the warfighter,” David Stinnett, partner at Trive Capital, said in a news release.

In addition, Hypergiant has created other award-winning AI-enabled projects such as the Hypergiant Eos Bioreactor, Hypergiant Project Orion, the Hypergiant Disaster Mapping System, the Hypergiant Chameleon prototype constellation, and Project Argus.

Hypergiant is building the Common Battle Management Interface for Cloud-Based Command and Control (CBC2), one of the largest AWS customers for the Department of Defense.

“Hypergiant is building new AI-powered solutions to solve some very complex industry challenges, Clint Crosier, director of Aerospace and Satellite Solutions at Amazon Web Services (AWS), said in a news release. “Flexible, scalable, and secure cloud-based tools are a must for satisfying government customer requirements well into the future, and we are committed to supporting Hypergiant’s efforts.”

Hypergiant’s customers include the United States Air Force, US Space Force, Boeing, Homeland Security, Booz Allen Hamilton, NASA, the United States Army, and the National Reconnaissance Office.

“Space, defense, and American critical infrastructure face similar challenges and need AI-enabled common operating pictures for quick and informed decision-making. Our approach is to take government-funded projects, where we are building highly performant and secure, battle-ready solutions, and bring that technology to the private sector with mission-specific customization,” Hypergiant CEO Betzer said in a news release.

“I’m excited about this next chapter for Hypergiant and the team and the technology, and it’s great to have such an incredible leader in Mike and then an incredible financing partner in Trive that makes me excited to see where they take this,” Lamm said. “I hope they empower Hypergiant technology to help protect more Americans through critical infrastructure space and defense.”

Google for Startups Awards Grants to Texas-based Startups, Fueling Innovation and Growth

Google for Startups has awarded Austin-based Omaiven, which does workflow automation for clinic operations, $150,000 in cash and additional support services.

It also awarded $150,000 to DataScope, a San Antonio-based startup that leverages mobile technology to revolutionize data collection and deliver real-time insights to any industry.

“Google for Startups Latino Founders signifies a validation of our efforts and mission,” Nicolas Serrano, co-founder, DataScope, said in a news release. “We will utilize this support to enhance our safety and quality assurance solutions.”

The grants are part of Google for Startups Black Founders Fund and the second Latino Founders Fund.

Altogether six startups in Texas received grants totaling $900,000.

“In 2020, we launched our first Google for Startups Black Founders Fund to help Black tech entrepreneurs overcome the disproportionate hurdles they face when raising capital,” Lisa Gevelber, VP of Google for Startups, said in a news release.  “Over the past three years, we’ve significantly expanded the scope of our work, expanding our Black Founders Fund to Europe, Africa, and Brazil, and to Latino founders in the US.”

Google for Startups has now provided $45 million in cash awards to 547 promising entrepreneurs through its Black and Latino Founders Funds.

In addition to the cash awards, entrepreneurs will receive up to $100,000 in Google Cloud credits, and they will also receive mentorship from Googlers, along with other resources such as sales training, investor proper, mental health coaching, and community offerings at no cost.

The support from Google will accelerate Omaiven’s growth and deepen collaborations with clinic and hospital partners to develop new AI-powered workflows that unlock time for healthcare teams, according to Jerold McDonald, CEO of Omaiven Health, said in a news release.

Corrily Wins Global Pitch Competition at SaaStock Austin, Showcasing Price Optimization Software

Corrily, a price optimization software startup used by subscription-based companies, won the global pitch competition at Saastock Austin on Friday.

The San Francisco-based company beat five semi-finalists to claim the top prize, including Oneup, Userflow, Uspacey, Laxis, and Forged.

Saasgtock, based in London, held its inaugural SaaStock Austin conference last week with more than 800 software as a service companies attending at the Marriott downtown. The event, including many nighttime parties and happy hours comprising Nightstock, was a huge success, said Alex Theuma, SaaStock Founder and CEO.

SaaStock Austin already plans to return to Austin in 2024, Theuma said.

SaaStock featured live podcasts with Alex Theuma and guests, exhibits, and two stages with speakers providing content tailored to Saas companies.

Jason Cohen, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Austin-based WP Engine, spoke about creating a realistic mission statement with employee input. Then, he advised startup founders to write everything down in brainstorming or “write-storming” sessions.

“It’s fun to plow through and figure out stuff,” Cohen said. “It’s forensic.”

Co-creating a mission statement with employees is essential, he said.

“If they were part of making it, they defend it themselves,” he said. “It’s so much better when not handed down from up on high.”

Cohen uses brainstorming and write storming methods with Individual product teams to the entire company’s strategy and choices. WP Engine has about 50 product developers and 1,200 employees overall.

Chris Walker, Founder and CEO of Refine Labs, based in Austin, gave tips to Saas founders on ways to grow and drive more revenue. One way is to add a direct link on the company’s website for a meeting or demo.

“97 out of 100 SaaS companies do not provide a direct link,” Walker said. Companies can double their sales pipeline by fixing this process, he said.

Companies dramatically overspend on organic and paid search, Walker said. Content creation and distribution are driving demand today, he said.

Companies also need to focus more on creating short-form videos like YouTube shorts or TikTok videos posted to LinkedIn, Walker said. He’s also bullish on Reddit paid ads targeted based on threads the company’s customers follow.

From a creative standpoint, meme content is working best, he said. However, he noted Quora’s paid and organic content is also performing well.

Social media, podcasts, word of mouth, and community are driving sales for companies today, Walker said.

SaaStock Austin

A recap of SaaStock Austin featuring exhibitors, attendees and speakers.

Austin Celebrates Innovation and Entrepreneurship: 2023 A-LIST Awards Unveil Tech Champions

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Opportunity Austin and SXSW, hosted a spectacular event last week at the Long Center for the Performing Arts to announce the winners of the highly anticipated 2023 A-LIST Awards.

Dedicated to recognizing and honoring local tech and innovation companies of all sizes, the A-LIST Awards showcases visionary founders and their groundbreaking ventures. The event shed light on the immense talent and ingenuity emerging from the Austin ecosystem, catapulting these companies onto the global stage.

During the award ceremony, Roland Pena, Senior Vice President of Global Technology and Innovation at the Austin Chamber and Opportunity Austin, said, “The A-LIST Awards serve as a testament to the exceptional entrepreneurs and investors propelling Austin’s ecosystem to unprecedented heights. These visionary founders and startups are revolutionizing industries through innovative technologies, solidifying Austin as a beacon of innovation.”

Among the night’s notable winners were:

  1. Bootstrapped Category (Self-funded businesses):
  2. Angel & Seed Category ($10,000 to $6 million in investment):
  3. Series A&B Category ($6 million to $40 million):
  4. Series C+ Category (greater than $40 million):
  5. Venture Capital Firm of the Year:

The winners received various benefits, including networking opportunities with A-LIST mentors and multiple prizes. Winners were granted coveted 2024 SXSW Platinum Badges, Austin Technology Council memberships, three months of co-working space at the renowned Capital Factory, Oracle Cloud credits, and a Central Texas Angel Network application fee waiver.

A special moment of recognition was reserved for Hugh Forrest of SXSW and Joshua Baer of Capital Factory, who were applauded for their instrumental partnership with the Austin Chamber and Opportunity Austin. Their unwavering support for the local startup and scaleup ecosystem was pivotal in nurturing innovation and fostering an environment conducive to entrepreneurial success.

The pinnacle of the evening was a fascinating keynote discussion featuring industry luminaries Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm in San Francisco, and Van Truskett, executive director of the Texas Innovation Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Their profound insights on sustaining innovative companies resonated with the audience as they emphasized Austin’s status as one of the world’s premier launchpads for startups.

All of the finalists are available here.

Unleashing SaaS Power: SaaStock Austin Takes Over the Tech Capital with Global SaaS Giants

Eleven years ago, Alex Theuma was selling software, but he had entrepreneurial aspirations and was fascinated with software companies like Slack and Evernote.

Theuma started a Software as a Service (SaaS) blog called SaaScribe. Next, he launched a podcast, The SaaS Revolution Show, in 2015 and created the first SaaStock in Dublin, Ireland, in 2016.

Today, Theuma is the founder and CEO of SaaStock, an events and media company focused on supporting business-to-business SaaS founders to gain traction, grow, and scale their businesses.

From May 31st through June 2nd, SaaStock Austin will kick off the augural North American conference in downtown Austin. In addition, SaaStock hosts local meetups across the globe, an exclusive founders-only membership program, educational content, and more.

Theuma recently discussed running SaaStock and expanding to Austin for the inaugural Austin SaaStock conference on the Ideas to Invoices podcast. (The conference is 95 percent sold out; some tickets with a 20 percent Silicon Hills News discount are still available here.)

From 2016 to 2018, SaaStock grew 100% yearly, Theuma said.

“I was very much seduced by 100% growth and trying to attain that year over year because I’ve done it for three years in a row,” Theuma said. “And so I set the goal next year at 100% growth as well. I was also then seduced about going international and doing that fast, and I thought about SaaStock being the most global SaaS conference on the planet, having a SaaStock conference on every continent… and growing them all to the size of our Dublin event.”

But he didn’t have the systems and processes to scale the company that fast, and the expansion sucked a lot of cash out of the business. At the end of the year, the company wasn’t profitable. Then the Pandemic struck in 2020, and it was all about survival, Theuma said.

“We lost two-thirds of our revenue, and we reduced our team from 24 to 9 people, and it was very difficult,” he said.

There were tough times, but the business survived through 2020, and in 2022 SaaStock Dublin launched again, with 5,000 people attending from more than 70 countries.

“We had our best year ever,” Theuma said.

He built his team back to 21 people and made the business profitable.

“Part of our growth plan moving forward is bringing Dublin to Austin and scaling up the event, making Austin our home in the US. The US is the biggest market for SaaS, and Austin seems to be the hottest city for tech and SaaS companies,” Theuma said. “So we feel that we’ve made a great choice to not only be in the US but to be in Austin and make that our home for the long haul. Dublin in Ireland has been our first home since 2016, and we want the same longevity in Austin. There’s a lot of synergies between Dublin and Austin.”

SaaStock chose Austin because the city is quirky, and buzzing with startups.

“It’s a fun city with a great vibe,” Theuma said. “It’s inclusive.”

“I want the conference itself to be fun,” he said. “I don’t want it to be a boring business conference, but I want people to have fun in the evening as well. Some of the best moments are not when you’re listening to the talks, or you’re speaking or selling your product at the conference, but it happens in the bars at 10:00 at night: you make your new best friend that might become a long term customer or future employee.”

The Austin SaaStock conference is attracting attendees from all over the world.

“Austin is going to be very relevant wherever you are from, whether you are from the US, Austin itself, or flying over from Europe,” Theuma said.

SaaStock is for B2B SaaS founders and their teams and investors, Theuma said.

“It’s a three-day event, but attendees can also get what they need from it,” Theuma said. “On May 31st, we run something called SaaS.City. It’s a one-day accelerator for your SaaS company led by industry experts.”

SaaStock Austin speakers include Nathan Latka, Founder, and CEO of Founderpath; Chris Walker, CEO of Refine Labs; Meghan Keaney Anderson, vice president of marketing at Jasper; Noah Kagan, Co-Founder and Chief Sumo at AppSumo; Godard Abel, Co-Founder and CEO of G2, Jason Cohen, Founder, and Chief Information Officer of WPEngine and others.

For more on Saastock and Alex Theuma’s entrepreneurial journey, listen to the podcast posted below or on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Alex Theuma, Founder and CEO of Saastock

Alex Theuma is the Founder & CEO of SaaStock, an events and media company focused on supporting B2B SaaS founders to gain traction, grow and scale their businesses. In 2015, Alex began SaaScribe, a blog focused on all things SaaS, which quickly developed into a podcast, The SaaS Revolution Show, and eventually launched SaaStock, the world’s only SaaS festival.

Setpoint Bolsters Asset-Backed Lending Platform with Acquisition of Resolute Diligence Solutions

Austin-based Setpoint has acquired Resolute Diligence Solutions, which provides asset-level reviews for real estate loans.

Setpoint, founded in 2021, is a fintech and proptech startup that raised a $43 million Series A round in December 2022. Setpoint’s capital and technology platform enables real-estate, auto, consumer, and other asset-backed borrowers to offer credit options to consumers

Ben Rubenstein, Setpoint’s President and Co-Founder, said that its acquisition of Resolute strengthens Setpoint’s technology platform for asset-backed lending. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

“They were a competitor to us,” Rubenstein said. “They are the largest in both what’s called SFR single family rental, so those are companies who are buying lots of real estate and renting them out or RTL residential transition loans, also known as fix and flip companies who are buying real estate, fixing it up, and then quickly selling it after it’s been fixed.”

“They have lots and lots of customers, but they only have one specific product, and we have a phenomenal product that has a lot of pieces but not as many long-term customers as they do, so coming together, it’s going to be great for their customers to have more products and it’s going to be great for us to have this huge customer base,” Rubenstein said.

In addition to asset verification, Setpoint’s software and platform also manage portfolios with real-time monitoring forecasting and optimization, collateral management to track data, documents, lender requirements, operational workflows, and valuations management to automate and streamline BPO, appraisal, and AVM fulfillment.

“It’s tough to track the whole portfolio of what’s changing, and so they use our software to track the entire process and their entire borrowing base because it’s constantly changing and to make sure that they’re in compliance with their facilities and that they’re being kind of optimal with their capital,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein said that Resolute Diligence is a third-party due diligence company that builds trust in lending transactions. Resolute Diligence Solutions evaluates and verifies each deed, title, or lease is verified and reported accurately against financial statements.

“Resolute is highly complementary to the Setpoint platform and, when combined, is far and away the best-in-class solution for capital markets borrowers and lenders. A clear example of 1 + 1 = 4,” Setpoint Co-Founder and CIO Michael Lam said in a news release.

Brent Taggart and Richard Lundbeck founded Resolute Diligence Solutions in Park City, Utah, in 2019. It offers transportation financing, home rental, and loan services and is known for its customer service, which will continue to be the mainstay of the combined Stepoint and Resolute offerings.

From buying a home to using a credit card, billions move daily between warehouse lenders and companies that originate loans. These transactions are powered by email, Excel, paper documents, and software developed in the 1980s. Unfortunately, errors and friction drive up the cost of lending or borrowing. As a result, consumers and businesses need equal access to trust and credit. Setpoint and Resolute restore it, Rubenstein said.

Setpoint’s customers include Homeward, Orchard, Ribbon, and Single-Family Rental companies like Amherst.

“All these companies are borrowing capital to do asset back lending and have complex facilities, and we help automate that entire process,” Rubenstein said.

In December, when it closed its xxx round of funding, Rubenstein said the company plans to branch outside of real estate into auto loans and credit cards, and it has since done that.

“They’re very similar,” Rubenstein said. “At a high level, you have a large bank whose lending capital is based on assets where those assets are homes or autos, or you know credit card receivables whether they need to know that those assets are real and have someone verify them.”

“I think one issue with credit is all about trust, and if we are making trust easier by being the third-party diligence agent, that means the credit can be cheaper and be more accessible to more people,” Rubenstein said.

Setpoint has 30 employees between offices in Austin and New York and plans to keep all of Resolute’s 20 employees and its office in Utah. Both companies also have employees who work remotely.

“This is going to lead to much more hiring,” Rubenstein said.

“I think this is a shining light,” Rubenstein said. “We have been growing steadily throughout this current recession.”

Editor’s note: This story incorrectly reported Ben Rubenstein’s title. He is the company’s president. Stuart Wall is CEO.

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