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By: Jay Cridlin – Tampa Bay Times
A business that’s spent more than 15 years growing in and around Tampa’s music scene has raked in $37 million in its latest round of fundraising.
Symphonic Distribution, a music distribution and streaming-focused tech firm based in downtown Tampa, closed its Series B round in late 2021, with Philadelphia’s NewSpring Capital leading the way. Tampa’s Ballast Point Ventures, which led the company’s $4 million Series A fundraising in 2017, also participated.
“We just felt like there’s so much capital out there that now would be a good time to explore some opportunities,” Symphonic CEO Jorge Brea said. “Thankfully that worked out.”
In a statement, NewSpring partner Brian Kim said Symphonic’s technology “offers independent artists the tools needed to supercharge their careers and expand their reach.
“We’ve been impressed for a long time with what Jorge and the team are building at Symphonic,” Kim said, “everything from their patented technology to their incessant focus on putting the independent artist first.”
Brea founded Symphonic in Wesley Chapel in 2006, working with independent artists both local and national to get their music onto streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, as well as distributing it through more traditional, physical means. The company sponsored local concerts in Tampa Bay and showcases at South By Southwest, among other ventures, and expanded to an office of nearly 30 in downtown Tampa. Today, the company has dozens of employees in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, South America, Europe and Africa.
Even as parts of the music industry shut down during the pandemic, there was still “a lot of excitement and interest in this space,” Brea said, with publishing companies shelling out huge sums for music rights, and firms making hefty investments in Symphonic competitors like DistroKid and United Masters.
“There’s a good runway for the music industry to keep going,” he said.
With the $37 million investment, Brea plans to hire, doubling his technology staff to 20 or even 30, and adding A&R representatives to work the music side of the business. Symphonic might explore acquisitions of complementary companies in Europe to expand its footprint in the music-tech space.
The company is also keeping an eye on the nascent NFT world and what blockchain technologies could mean for the world of music distribution.
“For us, we’re not looking to build a marketplace, but rather work with key artists, maybe ones that have a certain level of traction, to partner up with various exchanges and just help coordinate drops and market them,” Brea said. “We’re wanting to keep an open mind and be able to work with many artists, but be selective in the process, as well as work with many exchanges, just because there’s so many of them now.”
Before the pandemic, Symphonic had looked at expanding its downtown Tampa footprint. Those plans have scaled back as the company has adopted more of a hybrid work model. But with this latest infusion of out-of-state capital, they have all sorts of options.
“I’ve loved Tampa ever since I moved here in ‘92,” Brea said, “and just to be a part of this city and be able to help put more business eyes on it as well is a very, very awesome thing.”
By: Lauren Coffey
Tampa Bay Business Journal
Tampa-based investment firm Ballast Point Ventures has closed its latest fund with $190 million in commitments.
The firm’s initial goal for its fourth fund was $165 million, which it closed in January 2021. But interest from investors, both old and new alike, continued to climb.
Institutional investors, family offices and about 50 entrepreneurs participated in the fourth fund, with roughly 100 total investors.
An oversubscribed fund is not particularly unique for Ballast Point, which oversubscribed nearly $25 million in its third fund in 2015. Partner Drew Graham said anything below $200 million is “key” to sticking to the company’s strategy. That strategy means investing in three to four companies per year, with investments that run between $5 million to $15 million.
It’s a strategy that helps Ballast Point stand out, according to partner Paul Johan.
“The companies that aren’t ready for a $15 million to $20 million round can be in a position for a $5 million check, and we don’t have to pressure them to take more capital,” Johan said. “A lot in the region we don’t see competing in that size, the $5 million to $8 million [rounds]. It’s where we’ve been the last five years, and it’s positioned us well.”
Ballast Point was founded in 2001 and has partnered with over 50 companies across its four funds. It invests in companies across the Southeast. The firm primarily focuses on technology and health care, which have seen upticks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have companies that were largely impacted [by Covid-19], mainly on the health care side,” said Matt Rice, a partner at Ballast Point who leads the health care practice. “The good thing about having a diversified portfolio, a big chunk is software and technology — which benefitted during the pandemic. … Like a lot of entrepreneurs, we also had to adapt in order to get to a successful outcome.”
Rice added remote patient care is a trend Ballast Point is following. Partner Robert Faber, who focuses on technology, said he has some trends to focus on with the new fund.
“We’re big believers in data to make decisions; we spend a lot of time in cybersecurity,” Faber said. “Any business-to-business tool which simplifies and takes the frustration out of the process.”
Ballast Point has already begun deploying capital from its fourth fund, investing in four Florida companies over the last year:
- March: Led an $8 million Series A in Bradenton-based Pacemate
- May: Participated in a recapitalization for Lutz-based Suncoast Skin Solutions
- September: Led a $5 million Series B in Santa Rosa Beach-based Key Data
- December: Invested in a $37 million Series B for Tampa-based Symphonic Distribution
“All four being in Florida is huge for us,” Partner Sean Barkman said. “And hopefully, we’ll end up with a majority of companies in Florida in this next fund.”
Leading Music Technology Platform and Distributor Symphonic Raises $37M, Led by NewSpring and Ballast Point Ventures
January 4, 2022 – Starting the new year off on a high note, leading independent music distributor and technology platform Symphonic Distribution announces that it has received a $37M Series B investment. Led by NewSpring and Ballast Point Ventures, the new investment comes on the heels of funding announcements by other industry participants, further solidifying investor interest in music technology and distribution.
The financial milestone follows a string of exciting announcements for Symphonic, including partnerships with TIDAL and Joyner Lucas’s music start-up, Tully, as well as expansions into Africa and Mexico. Headquartered in Florida and with international presence in Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Spain and more, Symphonic remains a 100% independent distribution and music technology company that continues to work with some of today’s most unique and innovative artists.
Given its Tampa location, Ballast Point Ventures has worked closely with the team at Symphonic since its Series A investment in 2017.
“Watching Jorge and Taylor scale a homegrown Tampa technology company in the fast-growing music industry has been very impressive. We are excited to continue as their partner for this next leg of growth, and we are further excited to welcome NewSpring to the investor group as Symphonic prepares for its future growth.” – Robert Faber, Partner, Ballast Point Ventures
NewSpring Growth, NewSpring’s dedicated growth and expansion strategy, partners with industry-transforming, fast-growing companies with talented, innovative management teams to support their growth, and Symphonic represents exactly the type of company the strategy targets for investment.
“As the global trend toward streaming continues to guide the future of the music industry, Symphonic’s distribution platform offers independent artists the tools needed to supercharge their careers and expand their reach. We’ve been impressed for a long time with what Jorge and the team are building at Symphonic, everything from their patented technology to their incessant focus on putting the independent artist first. We look forward to working closely with Jorge and Ballast Point Ventures to broaden its offering and help Symphonic reach even higher levels of growth.” – Brian Kim, Partner, NewSpring
Founded in 2006 by music producer Jorge Brea, Symphonic provides global digital music and video distribution through a comprehensive and best-in-class technology platform, marketing planning and strategy, including playlist support, and a comprehensive suite of services for artists, record labels, managers, and distributors. Symphonic has worked with clients such as Surf Mesa, Stick Figure, CloZee, Laura Marano, Rachel Bradshaw, El Alfa, Juan Luis Guerra, Pi’erre Bourne, DJ Nu-Mark, Doechii, Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker, and La Ross Maria among many others across a wide variety of genres worldwide.
“On behalf of all of the team members of Symphonic, I can’t put into words how excited we are about the next chapter. The partnership with NewSpring, along with our existing investor, Ballast Point Ventures, will help position Symphonic as a strong market leader in independent music technology, services and distribution. This investment will enable us to invest more in our clients, our technology platform, strategic initiatives, intellectual property and other acquisitions.” – Jorge Brea, CEO, Symphonic
NewSpring partners with the innovators, makers, and operators of high-performing companies in dynamic industries to catalyze new growth and seize compelling opportunities. The Firm manages approximately $2.5 billion across five distinct strategies covering the spectrum from growth equity and control buyouts to mezzanine debt. Having invested in over 175 companies, NewSpring brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and resources to take growing companies to the next level and beyond. Partnering with management teams to help develop their businesses into market leaders, NewSpring identifies opportunities and builds relationships using its network of industry leaders and influencers across a wide array of operational areas and industries. To learn more, visit www.newspringcapital.com.
About Ballast Point Ventures
Ballast Point Ventures (“BPV”), headquartered in Tampa, Florida, is a later-stage venture capital and growth equity fund founded in 2002 to provide expansion capital for rapidly growing, privately owned companies, with a particular emphasis on companies located in Florida, the Southeast and Texas. The BPV partners have more than 80 years of combined experience investing in and building high-growth companies in several industries, including software, technology-enabled business services, and healthcare. Ballast Point Ventures has over $500 million under management across four Funds and seeks to make initial equity investments ranging in size from $5 million to $15 million. For additional information, visit www.ballastpointventures.com.
Source: Cision PRWeb
Prepaid Technologies, a Birmingham, Ala.-based provider of prepaid digital payment solutions, today announced raising $96 million in new growth financing. Edison Partners, the growth equity firm, led the transaction, and StepStone Group (which recently acquired venture capital platform Greenspring Associates) co-led. Stifel Venture Bank, a Division of Stifel Bank, and Top Tier Capital Partners also participated. The company will use the proceeds to accelerate its market expansion and continue to advance its category-leading technology payments platform and customer-focused prepaid solutions.
Analysts estimate $120 trillion in business payments are still check-based, and service providers are fragmented across multiple vendors for verticals such as payroll, rewards, purchasing and disbursement. These four opportunities alone represent $80 billion addressable markets, growing at more than 10% annually and accelerating with the proliferation of smartphones, e-commerce, and digitized payments since the pandemic’s onset. Prepaid Technologies enables its customers to access and customize B2B and B2C payments across these segments with a unified innovative fintech partner with a focus on the consumer and end user experience.
“Prepaid Technologies is making it easy for businesses to transform their outdated disbursement, payroll, and purchasing processes with real-time digital payments across niche categories where competitors don’t have the same level of depth or expertise,” said Jennifer Lee, Partner, Edison Partners, who co-led the investment.
“This is a unique product offering, where a company can access and customize different payment solutions in a one-stop shop. We’re impressed with Stephen Faust and the management team’s ability to remain capital-efficient while growing organically and profitably. We look forward to working with them as they execute on their vision,” added Lee. “Modern payroll and expense management for remote workforces continues to see strong traction through the last 18 months. B2B payments are also trending higher as companies opt for disbursement solutions that make it easier and safer to deliver corporate funds. These tailwinds bode particularly well for the company’s growth and provide a moat for adjunct product opportunities.”
Prepaid Technologies has seen over 15,000% straight-line growth in its load value. Revenue has increased 9x over five years since the company raised its only round of outside capital, $5 million in 2016 through Ballast Point Ventures. The company has delivered a clear product-market fit with 1,700 customers and 450 active partners including banks, payroll processors, payment providers, such as FIS, emergent fintechs including digital banking platforms, enterprise technology companies, marketing, health and wellness payments processors, and merchant services providers.
Recent launches include the MyDashCard app and dashPerks, a cardholder cashback rewards program. Prepaid Technologies also enjoys strong retention metrics with notable blue-chip customers like Lowes, Taco Bell, Nissan, and Sony. The company is also seeing tremendous growth in its disbursements product which businesses use to pay their vendors electronically.
“We purpose-built our platform to create a turnkey way for companies to configure payments solutions across their enterprise however they operate. Clients access payments through our dashboard technology or integrate solutions into their workflows through our robust API suite. We’re laser-focused on productization and customization that will help to transition more companies to card-based and digital solutions. With this investment, and with Edison Partners’ expertise and experience, we can focus on investing in our current solutions, accelerating our industry footprint and expanding our suite of offerings to ensure our customers and partners achieve their goals,” said Stephen Faust, CEO, Prepaid Technologies.
“Loyalty payments and refund programs present an enormous niche opportunity. There is both a programmatic vertical opportunity and underserved community opportunity. Prepaid Technologies has an incredible load volume and data set, and the management team has deep banking and payments expertise, which we’re confident will bode well for the company’s continued growth and deliver value to customers and partners around the globe,” said Chris Sugden, Managing Partner, Edison Partners. Sugden will join the board of directors.
Recognized by LendIt Fintech as Fintech Equity Investor of the Year, Edison Partners has financed and guided more than 50 private fintech market leaders. The firm’s current active portfolio includes Bipsync, ComplySci, Fund That Flip, GAN Integrity, Giant Oak, GoHenry, Houwzer, MoneyLion, Nuula, Yieldstreet, and Zelis.
The investment in Prepaid Technologies is Edison Partners’ first investment in Alabama and is the firm’s third growth financing in an underserved market this year following investments in Boulder, Colorado-based The Pros Closet and Houston, Texas-based MacroFab.
About Prepaid Technologies
Prepaid Technologies is the fintech solution and payments program manager for more than 1,700 customers, providing innovative digital payment solutions including payroll, expense, gift, reward and incentive card products to employers, financial institutions, and government agencies. Learn more at http://www.in-prepaid.com.
About Edison Partners
For 35 years, Edison Partners has been helping CEOs and their executive teams grow and scale successful companies. The firm’s investment team brings extensive investing and operating experience to each investment. Through a unique combination of growth capital and the Edison Edge platform, consisting of operating centers of excellence, the Edison Director Network, and executive education programs, Edison employs a truly integrated approach to accelerating growth and creating value for businesses. A team of experts in enterprise solutions, financial technology, and healthcare IT sectors, Edison targets high-growth companies located outside Silicon Valley with $10 to $30 million in revenue; investments also include buyouts, recapitalizations, spinouts and secondary stock purchases.
Edison’s active portfolio has created aggregated market value exceeding $10 billion. Edison Partners is based in Princeton, NJ and manages more than $2 billion in assets.
Link to article
Ballast Point Ventures announced a $5 million Series B investment in Key Data Dashboard (“Key Data”), which provides benchmark and comparative market performance data for the vacation and short-term rental industries. Key Data’s platform integrates directly with property management systems to collect real-time reservation and booking data from 400,000 properties around the globe.
“As a former property manager, I understood firsthand the difficulty of obtaining accurate and real-time pricing data across a varied property portfolio,” said Key Data Chief Executive Officer, Jason Sprenkle. “We were determined to solve this problem for property managers with comprehensive and accurate real-time data.”
Sprenkle continued, “We are excited to bring an institutional investor into our company and are eager to get to work with Ballast Point Ventures. We look forward to this next leg of the journey and to continue to deliver a comprehensive solution to our many customers.”
According to a press release, “[Key Data’s] benchmarking and business intelligence dashboards aggregate proprietary, directly sourced data, providing historical, real-time, and forward-looking market data for customers seeking to understand hospitality trends for any given global market. Key Data will use the investment to accelerate development of its technology and product platform, add to its sales and marketing efforts, and for general corporate purposes.”
“As BPV has gotten to know Jason over the last several years, we’ve been very impressed with the growth and success that Key Data has been able to achieve with minimal outside investment,” said Ballast Point Ventures partner Robert Faber who will join Key Data’s board of directors. “Given our focus on partnering with rapidly growing private companies with great management teams in the Southeast and Florida, in particular, Key Data is a great fit for us.”
“We are excited to partner with Jason, Scott McLeod, Dan Haligas, and the entire Key Data team to drive continued growth and solidify the platform’s position as the leading provider of accurate, real-time vacation rental data,” Faber added. “Given some of the dynamics brought on by the pandemic, we believe that the work-from-anywhere trend is likely to make short-term rental data an even more important part of the picture for travel and hospitality markets.”
Key Data has raised $7.4 million to date and recently won the 2021 Technology Innovation Award sponsored by Expedia Group at the 3rd Annual Data and Revenue Management (DARM) Conference.
PaceMate™, the leading digital healthcare company in compliant cardiac data management, is pleased to announce a recent $8 million Series A investment led by Ballast Point Ventures. PaceMate™’s fully automated, bidirectional EHR-integrated platform—PaceMate™LIVE—is a comprehensive, cloud-native cardiac data management solution, delivering round-the-clock remote monitoring service, customized alerts and automated billing codes. PaceMate™ will use this investment from Ballast Point to expand market reach for PaceMate™LIVE and enable more cardiac device clinics to care for their patients efficiently with better outcomes.
“Ballast Point’s funding propels PaceMate™’s presence in the cardiac data space, making it possible to extend our reach in the cardiac monitoring market and offer our platform to additional hospital systems and device clinics”
Ballast Point Ventures, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, is a later-stage venture capital and growth equity fund founded in 2002 to provide expansion capital for rapidly growing, privately owned companies in the healthcare, software and technology-enabled business services industries. PaceMate™ is the first investment out of Ballast Point Ventures IV. “PaceMate™’s proprietary technology platform and monitoring services allow clients to improve the quality of care while leveraging existing technology infrastructure and seamlessly fitting into clinic workflows,” said Matt Rice, Partner at Ballast Point Ventures. “We’re excited to partner with Tripp Higgins and his team as they continue to expand the reach of this unique and innovative solution.”
“Ballast Point’s funding propels PaceMate™’s presence in the cardiac data space, making it possible to extend our reach in the cardiac monitoring market and offer our platform to additional hospital systems and device clinics,” said Tripp Higgins, CEO of PaceMate™. “We give our customers unique digital healthcare opportunities and connect them with the most essential clinical information from their patients’ EHRs in real time. With this investment, implementation of our platform can happen faster, and more cardiology clients can take advantage of our unmatched data capabilities.”
PaceMate™ was founded in 2015 by cardiac rhythm management industry professionals who experienced firsthand the overwhelming amount of device data inundating clinicians on a daily basis. In answer to this ever-increasing health data problem, the PaceMate™ team developed innovative technology to streamline the device clinic, improve workflow, reduce medical errors and take better care of patients. Today, PaceMate™LIVE is a best-in-class, cloud-native software+service solution for real-time cardiac device management—supporting clinics 24.7.365. Device-generated data automatically uploads to our vendor-neutral platform for immediate review—reporting clinically actionable alerts with complete, bi-directional EHR integration. Meet us at the intersection of human intelligence, innovative data management and compassionate healthcare—where we never miss a beat.™
Thank you Tampa Bay Times – Times Publishing Co for naming PowerChord as a winner of the Tampa Bay Top Workplaces in 2021, as well as awarding us with the top work/life flexibility title! Creating a collaborative, supportive, and safe environment for our employees to learn and grow is our top priority and we couldn’t be more proud of our growth this past year!
BPV is proud to report that four of our portfolio companies have been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America: a comparative online car insurance platform and three B2B SaaS businesses.
Congratulations to Austin’s The Zebra (1st year), Dallas’ Spotio (2nd year in a row), Louisville’s SkuVault (4th year in a row) and Orlando’s PowerDMS (10th year in a row). We’re thrilled to be partnered with these great entrepreneurs!
By: Haley Cawthon
Source: Louisville Business First
Andy Eastes, co-founder and CEO of SkuVault, poses for a portrait at the company’s East Louisville office.
Some people in the startup world call it the hustle. Others call it the grind.
No matter what you call it, Andy Eastes has been doing it since middle school.
Like many kids his age, Eastes started mowing lawns to make a few extra bucks. But what he really loved was selling odds and ends on e-Bay.
“I’d look at estate sales, yard sales, police auctions, my friends’ parents’ garages, attics and basements — whatever random things I could find,” he said.
Eastes was usually working a part-time job, too. At 14, he got his first job as a busboy for Mazzoni’s Oyster Café (where Queen of Sheba is now) on Taylorsville Road — being so young that he had to get his parents to sign a paper for him.
That unwavering work ethic stuck with Eastes, which ultimately led him to bootstrap his own business venture while still in college. Years later, that business, SkuVault, has become one of Louisville’s fastest-growing companies with nearly $6 million in revenue in 2018.
Eastes went to the University of Louisville’s Speed School for industrial engineering, a major he thought he’d be interested in because it combined business and engineering.
“I was not as math and science-y as I thought I was — it was a different level of math I guess — but I did it,” he said.
Well, he almost did it. Halfway through his senior year, Eastes dropped out. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
During his time at the Speed School, Eastes said he interned at a copper bar fabrication plant in rural Kentucky.
“That was my first understanding of these large companies that were paying millions of dollars for software systems that didn’t work for them,” he said. “They were using some big Oracle-based system and their salespeople put orders in it, but they had built a patchwork of other systems in Microsoft Access to run their day-to-day operations.”
As a solution to the that issue, Eastes built his first inventory system at age 21.
“As it turns out, they were late on all of their orders because they didn’t track their inventory, so they didn’t know what to buy and didn’t have the metal they needed when it came time to build the orders,” Eastes said. “Pretty simple problem, really, just track what you have and you can order more.”
In 2010, Eastes’s junior year of college, one of his friends asked him to help find an inventory-management system for their growing e-commerce business. He searched for a solution for two or three months but couldn’t find one.
So he built one, in partnership with Slav Ivanyuk. They didn’t know it at the time, but they ended up building the first version of SkuVault in a year and a half and ended up selling it to another company in Ontario, California.
“We thought, ‘Hey, why did we have to build this? There must be a hole in the market,’” Eastes said.
Eastes and Ivanyuk created a web-based version of their platform and launched it in late 2012, founding SkuVault in the process.
All the while, Eastes was still trying to finish school. He said he realized he needed to 100% commit to school or his business and ultimately decided to drop out.
“My thought process was, ‘I can always go back to school, but this opportunity is now; it probably won’t be here in a year,’” he said.
To fund the business, the duo did small, one-off development projects and Eastes ended up with a bunch of credit card debt. It was hard, but necessary, to build the system when it needed to be built — meaning, before someone else recognized the opportunity.
PowerChord, Inc. Promotes William “Bill” Volmuth to Company CEO
On the heels of milestone announcements including a rebrand and new SaaS platform features, PowerChord promotes company President to CEO
PowerChord , a leading SaaS solution company connecting brands to local customers, today announces William “Bill” Volmuth’s promotion from president to CEO. Volmuth joined PowerChord as president in July 2019 and has propelled the company’s vision and mission forward over the last year, most recently leading a company-wide rebrand.
Volmuth is a veteran business and technology expert with more than 25 years of experience driving growth at software, engineering, and cybersecurity organizations across North America, Europe and Asia. As CEO, he will continue to focus on continuing PowerChord’s forward momentum in driving local lead generation for global brands via the company’s proprietary SaaS platform, coupled with digital marketing services to drive lead generation and content distribution.
“Leading PowerChord’s innovative and driven team for the last year has been one of the greatest privileges of my career. Together, we’ve taken the company’s platform and services to the next level, both by further optimizing local lead generation for our customers, and enhancing our platform reporting and visibility. I’m humbled and excited to take on the role of CEO and continue the momentum we have built together,” said Volmuth.
Earlier this month, PowerChord announced updates to its SaaS platform including the pilot of new visualization for the Command Center, availability in five languages: English, Spanish, German, French and Italian, a new library of website design components optimized for lead generation, and an integration with Zapier to open the door to thousands of third-party software integrations a customer might need, such as integrating the platform with a brand’s CRM.
“As President, Bill has been instrumental in aligning the strategic and operational needs for our future growth. His ability to build teams and empower them to collaborate and innovate at a high level is evidenced in the strong momentum seen within our PowerChord Platform. Decisiveness, empowerment and vision are critical in today’s marketing and technology space and with Bill taking on the new role of CEO, he brings a refreshing mix of all these attributes and more to PowerChord’s future,” said Patrick Schunk, PowerChord’s Founder and Chairman of the Board.
“We are thrilled at Bill’s promotion from President to CEO of PowerChord,” commented Ballast Point Ventures’ Robert Faber. Faber continued, “We have admired Bill’s technology and management acumen for a number of years, and we are excited that he will be leading one of Tampa Bay’s most promising technology companies.”
PowerChord currently has several positions open in St. Petersburg. For more information about the company and joining the team, visit www.powerchord.com .
PowerChord makes it easy for brands distributing high-consideration products through independent dealers to remain competitive in an evolving digital landscape through local lead generation campaigns that are scalable and consistent across the brand. PowerChord’s proven SaaS platform and omnichannel digital marketing solutions help brands and local retailers reach more people online and follow the sales journey to convert them into customers. Analytics and insights provide transparency brands have never had before to increase local sales opportunities online through local dealer networks.
Founded in 2001, PowerChord’s customers and campaigns span 28 countries and the platform powers more than 15,000 local retailer website experiences worldwide. For more information, visit www.powerchord.com .