In a big win for San Antonio’s technology industry, a Swedish company is buying Pathwire, an email delivery platform spun off from Rackspace, for $1.9 billion.
Sinch AB, based in Stockholm, Sweden, announced last week that is acquiring Pathwire and its Mailgun, Mailjet and Email on Acid products, used by more than 100,000 developers and marketers.
is paying $925 million in cash and 51 million in new shares in Sinch. The
acquisition bosts Sinch’s customer base to more than 180,000 and its revenue to
$2.3 billion a year with 4,000 employees.
provides an email platform for transaction and marketing email. Its customers
include Lyft, Microsoft, DHL and Kajabi.
Pathwire are a natural fit: both companies have built their businesses around
product excellence, a commitment to positive results for our customers, and a
focus on clear, measurable outcomes. I’m proud of what the Pathwire team has
accomplished, and I’m tremendously excited about this next step on our journey
and the many opportunities we can unlock together,” Will Conway, Pathwire CEO,
said in a news release.
In February of
2017, San Antonio-based Rackspace spun out Mailgun, which raised $50 million. It
later became Pathwire with offices in San Antonio, Austin and San Francisco.
Originally, in 2012, Rackspace acquired Mailgun, a 2011 Y Combinator accelerator graduate.
It is the
biggest deal for a San Antonio-based technology company since Apollo Global
Management acquired Rackspace in 2016 for $4.3 billion and took the company
By LAURA LOREK, Publisher of Silicon Hills News and Host of the Ideas to Invoices Podcast
In three seasons of the Ideas to Invoices podcast, Silicon Hills News has interviewed more than 70 highly successful Austin and San Antonio entrepreneurs and many of them recommended books that have helped them with their entrepreneurial journeys.
This is the second list, culled from the individual Ideas to Invoices podcasts, to help aspiring entrepreneurs grow their ventures and succeed.
The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution by Frank White recommended by Ben Lamm, CEO and Founder of Hypergiant. This book will change your perspective, Lamm said. It’s not a traditional business book, but it has changed the way he looks at startup investing and now he’s more focused as an angel investor in investing in startups and entrepreneurs who will have a big impact on the world.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout, recommended by Morris Miller, CEO, and Co-Founder of Xenex Disinfection Services. Miller keeps multiple copies of the book on his shelf. “These are the lessons I reflect on all the time regardless of the business,” Miller said. He has used the ideas in the book to position marketing at a wide variety of businesses including Rackspace, Golfballs.com, and Xenex.
. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie recommended by Lloyd Armbrust, CEO, and Co-Founder of OwnLocal. He hated the title of the book, and he didn’t read it for a long time, but once he did, he thought it was so good at giving advice on how to relate to people.
Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway recommended by Sean Foley, CEO, and Founder of Nine Banded Whiskey. Ventures Deals is pretty straight forward in how it describes the financing side of early-stage companies, Foley said. On the inspiration side, he recommends The Old Man and the Sea. It resonates because at that end of the day, being a business person shouldn’t be that complicated if you have the appropriate knowledge base and experience you can succeed.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne recommended by Carey Smith, Founder of Big Ass Fans and Unorthodox Ventures. A lot of people start businesses and they get into a red ocean and there’s a lot of competition and people feel comfortable there, Smith said. But if you want to really make a difference, you should be looking for blue ocean opportunities where there is very little competition, Smith said.
As COVID-19 cases rise sharply in Texas, Governor Greg
Abbott said closing down Texas again will be the last option.
Wearing a mask is one of the strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 without having to go back to stay at home policies, Gov. Abbott said in an afternoon press conference televised online by KVUE news.
But he did not make face masks mandatory in Texas even as cities like Austin and San Antonio have adopted ordinances requiring businesses to make their staff, customers and vendors wear face masks.
At the end of May, Texas had about 1,500 new cases of
COVID-19 a day, and in June that has increased to 3,500 cases per day for the
past several days, Abbott said. The positivity rate for people testing positive
for COVID-19 was 4.5 percent in late May and that has risen to almost 9 percent
today, Abbott said.
Hospitalizations averaged 1,600 a day in the latter part of May, and the last four or five days, hospitalizations have reached 3,500 a day, he said.
Covid-19 is spreading at a high rate in Texas, and Texans
need to reduce the spread, Abbott said.
All Texans should stay home if they can, he said. If you go out in public, stay a safe distance away from others, and wear a face mask. Abbott said.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is shutting down
bars that are not complying with Operation Safe Open guidelines, Abbott said.
Last weekend, TABC suspended the permits of 17 bars and restaurants that were
not in compliance. The requirements include indoor customer capacity limits of
50 percent for bars and 75 percent for restaurants, along with social
distancing of at least six feet between groups of customers.
The establishments shut down in Austin include Soho Lounge, UnBARlievable (West 6th), Buford’s
Backyard Beer Garden and Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse and Burnhouse
in San Antonio.
“Wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open,” Abbott said.
“Not taking action to curb the spread will result in COVID spreading even
More information is available at Open.Texas.gov, Abbott
said. He did not mandate that everyone had to wear a face mask.
“Our goal is to keep Texans out of hospitals and reduce the
number of Texans who test positive,” he said. “COVID hasn’t gone away, but
neither has our ability to slow the spread.”
Central Texas is a hotspot for the COVID-19 virus right now. On April 27th, when Governor Greg Abbott announced plans to reopen the Texas economy, Texas had 25,297 cases of people testing positive for COVID-19 and 663 deaths. On Monday, Texas has 114,881 cases of people testing positive for
Coronavirus and 2,192 deaths. An estimated, 69,190 people have recovered from
the disease in Texas.
Austin and Travis County have 6,399 people who have tested
positive for COVID-19, up 1,053 cases from Friday, resulting in 112 lives lost,
according to Adler. There are 181 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the
Austin area, with 86 in the ICU and 32 on ventilators.
San Antonio and Bexar County have 7,156 people testing
positive for COVID-19 resulting in 97 deaths and 2,807 people have recovered. Of
those cases, 601 have been hospitalized with 240 in the ICU and 100 on
Masks soon will be mandatory for employees and customers of
businesses in Austin and San Antonio.
On Wednesday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued an executive order requiring all businesses providing goods or services directly to the public to develop and implement a health and safety policy within five days.
At a minimum, the policy must require employees to wear face
If the businesses don’t comply, they may be fined $1,000 for
In addition, everyone 10 years or older must wear a cloth face covering their nose and mouth when in public. And it is recommended that everyone two years or older wear a mask. Face masks may include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or a handkerchief.
Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating that cities could not require citizens to wear face masks. But Texas allows cities to regulate businesses and that’s where Bexar County Judge Wolff found a workaround.
Also, on Wednesday, Mayor Steve Adler in Austin followed suit. He also issued an executive order requiring all businesses to develop and implement a health and safety policy and to require employees and customers to wear face masks.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued a similar order to the one issued by Bexar County Judge Wolff.
The moves by Central Texas leaders follow a sharp rise in
COVId-19 infections following Gov. Abbott’s move to reopen the Texas economy.
San Antonio and Bexar County now have 5,142 cases of people
infected with COVID-19 with 2,348 of those people already recovered. It has
recorded 90 deaths from COVID-19.
San Antonio has 241 patients hospitalized, 91 in the ICU, 43
are on ventilators, according to Mayor Nirenberg.
Austin and Travis County now have 4,991 cases of people
testing positive for COVID-19 with 3,817 people recovered and 108 deaths. There
are 173 people in hospitals with 63 in the ICU and 26 on ventilators.
“The progress we made in flattening Austin’s curve is
evaporating,” according to Mayor Steve Adler.
In his nightly Facebook live broadcast, Mayor Adler talked
about the latest executive order requiring businesses, employees and customers
to wear face masks. He cited research on the benefits of face masks in
preventing the spread of COVID-19 led by a Texas A&M researcher. Another
study by the University of Cambridge shows “Widespread facemask use could
shrink the “R” number and prevent a second COVID-19 wave.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Adler extended the shelter in place
order for Austin until August 15th. It was set to expire on June 15th.
Texas overall has seen a huge increase in COVID-19 cases
since the reopening of the Texas economy.
On April 27th, when Gov. Abbott announced plans to reopen the Texas economy. Texas had 25,297 cases of people testing positive for COVID-19 and 663 deaths. On Wednesday, Texas has 96,335 cases of people testing positive for COVID-19 and 2,062 deaths. Texas estimates 62,368 people have recovered.
The U.S. has nearly 2.2 million cases of people with COVID-19 resulting in 117,717 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University which has been tracking the disease. Worldwide there have been 8.3 million cases resulting in 448,958 deaths.
San Antonio-based Dura Software announced Friday that it has raised $10 million in funding.
The company reported it was the largest round raised in San
Antonio this year.
In addition, Dura Software bought 6Connex, based in Pleasanton,
Calif. The company makes virtual event software.
Dura Software, founded in 2018, acquires and operates business to business software companies. Previously, in August, Dura Software bought Nordic IT, a software company specializing in enterprise software, based in Denmark. Before that, Dura bought Moki Mobility, a software company based in Utah. Moki makes software that allows companies to convert mobile devices into retail kiosks and securely manage them remotely. Dura Software currently has 15 employees in San Antonio and is hiring, according to a spokesman.
“In just 18 months,
Dura has gone from $0 in revenue to among the largest software companies in
south Texas,” according to a news release.
Ozone Capital Management, based in Redwood City, Calif., led
the round along with private investors from San Antonio and throughout North
“The Dura team possesses unique operational capabilities and
an extremely successful track record, and we are thrilled that our investment
will help Dura grow its footprint in San Antonio for many years to come,” Matt
Morris, Managing Partner of OZCM, said in a news release.
As part of the deal, Morris will join Dura Software’s board.
The company also added the following board members: Paul Salisbury, CEO of Dura
Software, John McGuire, entrepreneur and investor, Bianca Rhodes, CEO of Knight
Aerospace, and Michael Girdley, executive chairman of Dura Software.
Dura Software plans to use the funding to acquire new
companies, according to a news release.
“We are excited that
our vision is resonating well with founders of the companies we acquire, their
employees and the investment community,” Salisbury said. “The early success of
our SaaS operating model and the excitement we have seen during this round of
financing validates that were are on the right track.”
SpaceATX is focused on Texas’ booming space industry and geared to those interested in its development.
The Space Industry is valued at $350
billion currently and Bank of America Merrill Lynch project that to reach $2.7
trillion by 2040, according to a CNBC news report.
Join Silicon Hills News for this
half-day-long event focused on space exploration and the researchers and
companies that are paving the way for colonization in space.
The event takes place, Nov. 6th from
9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at the Blanton Auditorium at the Blanton Art Museum at 200
Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Austin.
an opening keynote presentation on Space Junk by Moriba K. Jah, director of the
Advanced Sciences and Technology Research in Astronautics (ASTRIA) program and
associate professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics in the
Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
address features Marc Boudria, vice president of AI, and Greg Carley, vice
president of Product Innovation at Hypergiant on The Future of Everything in
Aerospace, a privately held company, founded in 2014, will give a presentation
on Making Space for Everyone. The company, based in Cedar Park, is developing
small and medium-sized launch vehicles for commercial launches to orbit. It
plans to launch its first rocket soon and it has launch facilities in Cape
Canaveral, Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The University of Texas at San Antonio Professor Arturo Montoya will present on designing and operating resilient deep space habitats that can adapt, absorb and rapidly recover from expected and unexpected disruption. Christopher S. Combs, Dee Howard Endowed Assistant Professor of Aerodynamics at UTSA, will overview the significance of hypersonic flight, from impacts on missions to the Moon and Mars to potential breakthroughs in air travel.
Texas has a long history with the
space race. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic
Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon in which the Johnson Space Center, established in
1961 in Clear Lake, near Houston, played a critical role. JSC generates more
than $7.9 billion in economic activity annually, according to a report from the
Texas Comptroller’s Office.
JSC is also an astronaut training
center, mission control for the International Space Station and is actively
involved in programs to further NASA’s Artemis Mission to return to the moon
within five years.
But aside from JSC, Texas’ space industry has proliferated. In Austin, Firefly Aerospace is building commercial rockets to launch to the moon and Mars. And Hypergiant is focused on building an Internet-like communications network for outer space among other projects. Other startups like Slingshot Aerospace are harvesting data from space, analyzing it and providing insights to the industry. And researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas State University, Rice University, University of Houston, and Baylor University are all working with NASA and on space-related projects as well as private research groups like the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, which has long times to space exploration and NASA.
In addition to all that, new space
industry players like SpaceX has a rocket building facility in Boca Chica,
Texas to create Starship, a spacecraft designed to carry crew and cargo to
Earth orbit, the Moon and Mars. And Blue Origin has a suborbital launch and
engine test site in West Texas near Van Horn.
CyberFortess, an insuretech startup, announced Wednesday that it has received $3 million in seed-stage funding.
The San Antonio-based startup, founded in 2018, plans to use the funding to hire additional employees, develop its product and launch into the Texas market early next year.
Greycroft and LiveOak Venture Partners led the round. Existing
investor Monte Tulum Capital, who invested in CyberFortress’s pre-seed round,
CyberFortress is creating an online risk assessment tool that can quickly and easily issue an insurance policy aimed at e-commerce small businesses, to insure against the risk of downtown resulting from cyber-attacks, internal errors or third-party failure.
“The main cyber
threat facing e-commerce companies is downtime. A DDoS attack, service provider
outage, or internal error that takes down their website can be devastating to
an e-commerce company,” Huw Edwards, CEO of CyberFortress, said in a news
release. “If a small e-commerce company can’t collect revenue, they may not be
able to make their next payroll. Our policy is laser-focused on solving this
already begun helping e-commerce companies manage their cyber risk, having
launched its Downtime Risk Assessment in June. This tool uses proprietary data
collection technology and machine learning methods to assess an e-commerce
company’s risk of suffering downtime, using just their business email address,
and is free and accessible on CyberFortress’s website.
“The elegance of
CyberFortress’s product is incredibly unique. Their underwriting is efficient
and the rapid, automated payment of claims will make for a delightful customer
experience. These characteristics are unusual in the commercial insurance
universe and we believe they will set CyberFortress on a path to scale,” Will
Szcerbiak, who is leading the investment for Greycroft, said in a news release.
Joining CyberFortress’s board of advisors is Katie Wade, a former Connecticut Insurance Commissioner.
Venu Shamapant, founding partner of LiveOak, will join the company’s
board of directors.
“At LiveOak, we tend
to be entrepreneur-first investors. What caught our attention about
CyberFortress is the experience of their team with small- and medium-sized
businesses and e-commerce businesses. They have a deep understanding of the
true pain points in that market segment. That coupled with a very innovative
solution got us excited about the opportunity to back this team in their
efforts to revolutionize the cyber insurance industry,” Shamapant said in a
Sheri Scott, principal and consulting actuary at Milliman, has been working with CyberFortess on its product.
product we are helping CyberFortress develop is a revolutionary approach to
identify and insure risk to e-commerce revenue streams,” Scott said in a news release.
Did you know communications is one
of the top skills gaps in Austin, according to LinkedIn? And Social Media is
also in the top 10.
ContentATX, a third annual conference put on by Silicon Hills News, can help close the gap on those skills for creatives, startups, entrepreneurs and other businesses. The fun, day-long conference will teach new ways to communicate and provide an opportunity to network with some of the best in the business in Austin.
Lyn Graft, author of Start with Story and founder of Storytelling for Entrepreneurs, will kick off the event in the morning with an hour-long talk providing tips people can use to create better stories. He has interviewed more than 500 of the top entrepreneurs in the world including Starbucks, Whole Foods, LinkedIn, Paul Mitchell, Dropbox, Zappos, and The Knot. He’s also an entrepreneur who has started eight ventures and organizations. His ventures have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Inc. Magazine. He’s raised more than $10 million and generated millions in revenue for his companies in the last two decades. And through all his ventures, he has discovered “Your story is your power.”
“Story runs through the very fabric
of everything we do as entrepreneurs, whether we realize it or not,” Graft
writes. “It is used in every facet of your business-from getting press, to
fundraising, to closing sales, to recruiting people to work for you for free,
to getting a partner to help you launch a start-up or convincing your spouse to
let you take out all the savings to chase your dream.”
Graft is also hosting a “Create Your Story” workshop on Sept. 30th to Oct. 1st at the Hickory House in Barton Springs. That workshop, which has limited tickets, is designed specifically for founders that want help creating and telling their story.
In addition to Lyn Graft, the event features Rusty Kocian, a designer at argodesign, presenting on Designing for Love.
And Thom Singer, a professional speaker
and host of the podcast: Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, will provide insights on
adventures in podcasting. He has been podcasting for more than 5 years and has
created more than 500 episodes.
Michelle Breyer and Jim Spencer will
talk about creating new media startups and media innovation in Austin. Both have
had successful exits from media companies they created. Breyer co-founded Texture
Media which recently sold to Essence Magazine. Spencer founded Newsy, which E.W.
Scripps Company acquired for $35 million in 2014.
Other speakers include Joshua Lee,
founder of StandOutAuthority, Jane Ko, creator of a Taste of Koko, Brittany
Daniels, YouTube Expert, Noelle Buhidar, host of RetailMeNot’s The Real Deal,
Geoffrey Brown, social media expert with Go Daddy and Daniel Sandoval, a consultant with
Austin-based Greenleaf Book Publishing, an independent publisher and
distributor dedicated to empowering authors
Google Fiber and Google
Webpass have never been offered together in the same market until now.
And what that means for Austin residents and businesses is wider availability of Google’s super-fast Internet service. Google’s broadband Internet is 100 times faster than most broadband services.
Google announced last week that it is providing Webpass, super-fast wireless Internet service in Austin. It already has Google Fiber, a high-speed Internet service, available in some part of Austin and in San Antonio.
Google Fiber acquired
Webpass in 2016, which provides wireless Internet service with speeds up to 1
gig in densely populated areas. Webpass was founded in San Francisco in 2003 by
Charles Barr. Webpass is available in a handful of U.S. cities primarily on the
West Coast including San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley
and Seattle. It is also available in Denver, Chicago, and Miami.
This is Google Fiber’s
first deployment of Webpass in Texas.
The Webpass service
works using “a combination of rooftop radios and fiber optic cables,” and is
able to beam internet through the sky as fast as fiber, according to its
“A receiver on the top of your building picks
up the internet signal from a building with a direct fiber connection and
brings it right into your home through your building’s existing wiring,”
according to Webpass. “This technology is not only cost-efficient but also more
reliable and makes installation quick and easy. All of this allows us to bring
better internet to more people at a fairer price.”
The Webpass service costs $70 per month,
according to Google’s website. “You can
find out if service is available in your building and sign up on the Google
“We’re starting downtown and are adding new buildings to
our network as quickly as possible,” according to a Google blog post. “To help
us bring Google Fiber Webpass gig service to your apartment or condo building,
check out webpass.net/austin .”
Google announced in 2013 plans to begin offering Google Fiber in Austin and in December of 2014, the company began offering service to parts of Austin. And in 2015, Google announced plans to bring Google Fiber to San Antonio.
Youth Code Jam, a nonprofit program to teach middle and high school students coding skills, started in San Antonio and has branched out to Austin.
Debi Pfitzenmaier started Youth Code Jam
in 2012 at a San Antonio library with 30 people attending. The event has grown every year since
then and has reached over
20,000 students and their parents across Texas.
In February, Youth Code Jam held its first
event in Austin at the Austin Central Library. With over 350
participants, it was the most diverse Jam held in Texas with more girls (59
percent) than boys and 89 percent students of color participating.
Now it’s returning with a low-sensory Youth Code Jam on Saturday, August 24th from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. The event is for middle and high school students who are gifted or twice-exceptional along with students with Asperger’s, ADHD, sensory processing challenges and other neuro diversities. It is for everyone from beginners to advanced coders. The event takes place at the Austin Central Library at 710 W. Cesar Chavez. The event is free, but registration to attend is required. To sign up and for more information please go to youthcodejam.org/austin.
“We’ll have electronics, coding, and
cybersecurity,” Pfitzenmaier said in an email statement. “Kids don’t have to
know how to code to attend. But if they do, we’ll have the volunteer manpower
to expand skills. Volunteers at the event are actual programmers and engineers
from Google, Microsoft, IBM, Box, Silicon Labs, and others.”
The event is sponsored by the Austin Public
Library, Google Fiber, H-E-B and
Oracle. Youth Code Jam also received a $10,000 donation from H-E-B upon the
opening of its Eastside Tech Hub to support the non-profit organization’s work
in San Antonio and Austin.