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Here are the Tampa and St. Pete companies that got the most funding in 3Q 2018

Margie Manning



Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

An $8 million funding round for digital health company Peerfit propelled it to the top of the list of companies in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area to receive venture capital backing in the third quarter of 2018.

Peerfit and seven other companies in the Tampa-St. Pete metro are highlighted as top deals for the three months that ended Sept. 30 in the new PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Venture capital and other early-stage funding generally helps entrepreneurs and their startups grow their innovative ideas into operating businesses, hire employees and scale their products and services. Both the Venture Monitor and the MoneyTree report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers and CB Insights track venture capital investments on a quarterly basis.

In its most recent funding round, Peerfit, a Tampa company that provides a digital platform for employers to offer health and fitness benefits to their workers, got financial backing from Wyc Grousbeck, owner of the Boston Celtics, and his investment group, Causeway Media Partners. Veteran Peerfit investors Ark Applications and PAR Inc. led the round, with participation by other existing investors Lee Arnold, executive chairman of Colliers International Florida, and Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Wyc Grousbeck (left), owner of the Boston Celtics, led a group that invested in Peerfit, headed by CEO Ed Buckley

Peerfit is listed as an Orlando company in the Venture Monitor report. The company previously had a post office box in Orlando, said CEO Ed Buckley, adding “We are and have been a Tampa company.”

Other local top deals cited in the Venture Monitor report for 3Q 2018 include:

5×5 Technologies, a St. Petersburg robotics and drone company, raised $4.38 million

Pinnacle Automotive, a service company in Tampa, raised $1.83 million

KineticFuse, a Tampa cybersecurity company started by the founders of Nitro Solutions, raised $700,000.

Intrinio, a St. Petersburg financial data provider, raised $680,000

Proof Network, a financial technology and cryptocurrency firm in Tampa, raised $370,000

Telepathy Labs, an artificial intelligence company in Tampa, raised $340,000

Mother Kombucha, a St. Petersburg beverages firm, raised $100,000

All but one of those deals involved angel investors, whose identities were not disclosed. Angel investors typically are high-net worth individuals or investment groups.

Intrinio’s seed round came from Atlanta Seed Company, a private investment firm. Intrinio was selected by Engage Ventures, an Atlanta-based venture fund, for its go-to-market program earlier this year.

Nationally, 3Q 2018 approached record funding levels, although deal volume dropped, said Tom Ciccolella, PwC’s U.S. venture capital leader. There was a record level of mega rounds, with funding of $100 million or more for individual companies, producing 16 new “unicorns” in the United States and 13 in Asia, the MoneyTree report said. A unicorn is a tech startup with a $1 billion market value.

“The ongoing trend of concentration of capital into fewer, larger investments appear to be the new status quo for the venture industry – not a passing phase as was once believed,” said Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of NVCA.

The PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor reported 51 deals and a total of $177.58 million investment in Florida in 3Q 2018, while the MoneyTree report said there were 29 deals and a total of $197 million in venture investment in the quarter.

The reports measure funding differently — MoneyTree counts actual dollars awarded during the quarter, while the Venture Monitor tags a broader array of deals, including angel funding.

Four Tampa companies got a total of $71.7 million in venture capital in 3Q 2018, according to the MoneyTree report:

A-LIGN, a security and compliance solutions provider, $54.5 million from FTV Capital

Avalon Healthcare Solutions, a  healthcare technology company, $16.5 million from Francisco Partners; and HCSC Ventures

Benebay, which provides self-funded insurance for small businesses, $380,000 from SeedFunders

MoneyTree also lists Pinnacle Automotive. Camden Partners provided $340,000 for Pinnacle, according to the MoneyTree report, a smaller amount than was reported by Venture Monitor.

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