Serra and Agrible Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

Nutrien, one of the world's largest agriculture companies is buying Champaign startup and Serra Capital II company Agrible for $63 million. 

Agrible originated in the Research Park at the University of Illinois and has plans to stay there in the future. Director Laura Frerichs said the purchase shows the strength of the local investing community, "This is a local success story for a tech ecosystem that included early-stage incubator assistance and investors from the local community."

Frerichs compared the purchase to when Sony bought biotech firm iCyt in 2010, which provided a nice payday for its CEO, Tim Hoerr, and one of its investors, Dennis Beard. This allowed Hoerr, Beard and others to form Serra Ventures, one of the lead investors in Agrible.

Serra is proud to have been the lead investor in Agrible's Seed round in 2014. 

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-07-16/agriculture-giant-nutrien-buying-champaign-startup-agrible-63-million.html

Serra II Company Agrible to be Acquired by Nutrien Ltd

Serra Ventures is very pleased to announce that Nutrien Ltd has reached an agreement to acquire Agrible Inc., a Serra Capital II portfolio company. You can find Nutrien’s full press release on the deal here.

Serra was Agrible’s first institutional investor, leading the Seed round in April 2014. Agriblesupplies actionable predictive analytics tools to growers all across the United States and provides global ag data and support in several countries.Nutrien is the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers increase food production in a sustainable manner.

Farmlead Makes Forbes "25 Most Innovative AgTech Startups" List

Farmlead, a Serra Capital III portfolio company, was recently named to Forbes "25 Most Innovative AgTech Startups in 2018" List. With a variety of problems surfacing daily in the ag sector, it is essential for new companies being created to help solve these issues. Forbes has taken to the fields and searched far and wide to come up with the top 25 most innovative startups in the ag-tech space.

FarmLead is a digital marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to list, negotiate and finalize grain deals. Available online and as a mobile app,  FarmLead increases market reach, provides 24-7 access and reduces brokerage fees. The FarmLead Marketplace facilitates greater efficiency in grain marketing.  Farmers find more buyers and identify the best possible deal, while grain buyers easily identify the grain for sale in their desired location.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2018/06/27/the-25-most-innovative-agtech-startups-in-2018/#479880622302

Serra Ventures Publishes New White Paper on Entrepreneurial Paradoxes

Serra Ventures has recently published a new white paper on the topic of paradoxes that exist in entrepreneurship. The paper is Part One of Two, a brief survey of 10 paradoxes. It’s an exploration of how paradox makes this particular “road less traveled” difficult to navigate but exhilarating, challenging and fulfilling at the same time. The nature of paradox demands the best from us. Our best creative thinking. Our best effort. And paradox dispels the notion of “one right answer” and “the best way to do things.”

PayStand expands into Canada

Paystand, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, announced on June 13 that the company has officially expanded into Canada in order to offer new domestic payments infrastructure. Paystand's expansion into Canada represents a significant next step in the company’s acceleration, further expanding its global payments infrastructure.

Paystand is a next generation payment & eCommerce checkout system that enables any organization to receive money in their website, social network, or web application without transaction costs

Source: https://coingeek.com/paystand-expands-canada-offer-new-domestic-payments-infrastructure/

Built In Announces Series B To Scale Its Community-Centric Recruiting Platform

Built In, a Serra Capital III portfolio company, has just announced its $3.6M Series B round. MATH Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Serra Ventures.

Built In exists to connect people to companies based on the things they care about most - culture, mission, values, people and impact. Built In works with companies to create, distribute content highlighting their culture, and for teams to engage and convert passive job seekers. The company now has a presence in Los Angeles, Colorado, New York, Austin, Boston, and, as of just a couple weeks ago, Seattle.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/chicago-based-built-in-announces-series-b-to-scale-its-community-centric-recruiting-platform/

Adarza to commercialize diagnostic assays in 2019

Adarza, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, is set to start selling its diagnostic assays next year. Adarza BioSystems, Inc. is a label-free platform technology that enables the simultaneous detection of hundreds of analytes in a single drop of fluid.

Adarza said its first products will be assays for detecting inflammation, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It expects the first customers to be university researchers and drug-development companies.

Source: http://www.stltoday.com/business/columns/david-nicklaus/adarza-to-commercialize-diagnostic-assays-in/article_cbdabfc8-98cc-5284-977f-fbc19b455fcc.html

HomeBay Acquires 50% Interest in OTC National; Expands Services

HomeBay, a Serra Capital III portfolio company, announced on May 29 that it had purchased a 50 percent interest in OTC National, LLC ("OnTitle"), a national settlement services company with escrow and title insurance licenses in 31 states. HomeBay helps sellers to navigate the real estate process via automated & live help.

After this announcement was made, HomeBay announced that it had expanded to now include title and settlement services. The company currently has escrow services in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Texas. 

CEO Ken Postashner enthused "Our investment in OnTitle gives our consumers a streamlined process and optimum experience. We're now the one-stop-technology-shop for brokerage, title and escrow. Home Bay is quickly working its way into the full value chain to capture all affiliated services associated with a real estate transaction."

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/home-bay-acquires-50-interest-in-otc-national-llc-300654887.html

Label Insight Collaborates with the American Heart Association

Label Insight, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, has collaborated with the American Heart Association in order to uncover heart healthy products. This partnership will provide new data-driven Heart Check Standard Certification Industry View to help brands, retailers, government agencies and researchers better understand which products are heart healthy. 

Label Insight is a cloud-based product data engine committed to helping brands and retailers unlock the value of their product data.

Source: https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2018/06/05/Label-Insight-and-AHA-collaborate-to-uncover-heart-healthy-products

LISNR Makes CNBC's Top 50 Disruptor List For the 3rd Year in a Row

Lisnr, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was just named to CNBC's Top 50 Disruptor List on May 22. It is the third year in a row the Cincinnati-based company that send data over audio has made this list. In the sixth annual Disruptor 50 list, CNBC features private companies — from biotech and machine learning to transportation and retail and even exploring outer space — whose innovations are changing the world

In other news, Lisnr was mentioned in an article that posed the possibility of radio data transmission as an alternative to Wi-Fi, which Lisnr has been a driving force behind.

CureMatch Partners with SOTERIA

CureMatch, a Serra Capital III portfolio company, announced that they have partnered with SOTERIA Precision Medicine Advisory to support oncologists with personalized cancer treatment options. CureMatch is a digital health company focused on personalized medicine and combination therapy in oncology.

“SOTERIA is proud to work with CureMatch, the leader in predictive analytics for targeted combination cancer treatment,” stated Julia Civardi, Chief Executive Officer of SOTERIA. “This partnership empowers oncologists with specific treatment recommendations from a molecular basis, so patients receive truly personalized precision medicine.”

Spatial Uses AI to Create First “Social” Location Dataset

Spatial, a Serra Capital III portfolio company, has announced their entry into the retail real estate industry, creating data with individual's social media posts - for use in location and site selection. Spatial combines machine-assisted analysis and human-driven data like social media content to provide a cultural map of cities. 

Spatial.ai’s full retail and restaurant product launch will be at the ICSC “RECon” in Las Vegas on May 20.

New Serra Offices Breaking Ground this week

Work on the luxury, five-story 520 Neil development on the north side of downtown Champaign is beginning this week, with Serra Ventures being the anchor tenant, using more than 4,000 square feet of the top-floor office space. The new development will also be home to retail space, luxury apartments as well as terrace space for functions. 

"We are deeply appreciative of the relationship we've had with the University of Illinois Research Park. And though we now have locations in Chicago and San Diego, we remain intimately involved in the Champaign-Urbana technology ecosystem and will continue investing in start-ups originating from this world-class university," said Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra. "This new location will quite literally enable a new level of effectiveness and service to our portfolio companies and investors."

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-04-24/five-story-luxury-development-north-neil-breaking-ground-week.html

The FarmLead Revolution

FarmLead, a Serra Capital III portfolio company, was first started to help farmers make more money on the crops they grew. In agriculture, market realities challenge farmers on a daily basis. FarmLead is a digital marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to list, negotiate and finalize grain deals, and is helping farmers be one step ahead in self-marketing their own commodities.

To date, more than 80 million bushels of grains and oilseeds have been negotiated through FarmLead’s portal, with more than 5,700 users and more than 100 crop categories to choose from.

Source: https://www.country-guide.ca/2018/03/21/farmlead-portal-aims-to-ease-the-task-of-grain-buying-and-selling/52899/

Label Insight Launches Product Imaging Service

Label Insight, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, is excited to announce that is has launched the first product imaging service linking data and images in a single solution. The biggest challenges for brands and retailers have been maintaining consistent, uniform, high-quality product images and satisfying the demand for transparency - specifically designed to meet the increasing consumer demand for better information and transparency.

Label has created Capture, a single solution designed to solve these challenges and create better integration.

Source: https://blog.labelinsight.com/label-insight-launches-capture?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=61242026&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_c58hddttVlXCJgtXkKWlNPocH1b1E6tMOHFvtcNMrCpH28r2LejZlkVeZnNaHU_qCZ0rb3FMI8AKlTWZ7iF7nsNanQg&_hsmi=61242026

Chicago Tech Funding Surpassed $124M Including Hazel Technologies

Chicago tech funding has been on the rise, with $124M invested in Chicago-based companies in March 2018 alone. Among those companies invested in, is Hazel Technologies - a Serra Capital III portfolio company. Hazel Technologies is developing new solutions to reduce waste in order to improve the efficiency of the fresh produce supply chain.

Source: https://www.americaninno.com/chicago/funding-chicago/chicago-tech-funding-surpassed-124m-in-march/

Label Insight Inks Deal with Topco

Label Insight, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, has just signed a major deal with Topco, a provider of innovative business solutions for its food industry member-owners and customers.  Label Insight began by building a platform to help brands and retailers better understand their own product data in order to pass that information along to consumers, giving them the power to make informed purchasing decisions. Label will deliver Topco with high order attribute data, high-quality product images and SmartLabel™ pages.

"We are excited to be working with Topco to deliver the industry's only image and data solution for its transparency programs," said Paul Schaut, CEO of Label Insight. "As the largest food retailer in the U.S., Topco is leading the way in providing their member-owners the tools to better understand the products their customers use and consume, and then communicate those insights and attributes to their customers."

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/label-insight-inks-deal-with-topco-for-high-order-attribute-data-high-quality-product-images-and-smartlabel-pages-300620709.html

Midwest Venture Capital is on the Rise; Serra Ventures Mentioned in ChicagoInno

In recent years, the Midwest region has seen continuous growth in Venture Capital formation. While VC seems to be dropping off in some of the more popular areas, Midwest VC is thriving. Numerous VC funds are continuing to be launched, many of which are micro-vc funds, like Serra Ventures. 

Source: https://www.americaninno.com/chicago/from-the-community/three-reasons-why-midwest-vc-activity-is-on-the-rise-2/

Clarify Medical Announces Issuance of Patent for Smartphone-Connected Phototherapy System

Clarify Medical, a Serra Capital III portfolio company, made an exciting announcement recently that they have been issued an official patent for their phototherapy system to be connected via smartphone. The Clarify Medical® Home Light Therapy System is a software-controlled home phototherapy system for the treatment of psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema, and other skin conditions. The patent covers technology which enables patients to treat at home with controlled dosing protocols prescribed by physicians.

Source: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180314005955/en/Clarify-Medical-Announces-Issuance-Patent-Smartphone-Connected-Phototherapy