PIUS experienced a year of growth in 2021, and if the first few months of 2022 are any indication, we can expect to outpace that growth significantly, year-over-year. Likewise, as we see more technology companies looking for non-dilutive financing options, and more financial institutions lending to those utilizing insurance for financing, it becomes apparent that insured technology financing is picking up steam in becoming a more widespread alternative to venture debt and traditional loans.
Educating Legal Counsel on Insurance to Raise Capital
PIUS was pleased to partner with the Practising Law Institute (PLI) for a webinar titled, “Insured Technology Financing: Evolving Uses of Intellectual Property to Support Lending in High-Growth Industries.” Cliff Morris, CEO of C3Nano, joined me on the panel, and Joseph Ehrlich, national practice leader for Private Equity, Family Office and M&A at Beecher Carlson served as moderator. The discussion was directed primarily toward in-house counsel and outside attorneys, and we had insurance, finance and other allied professionals interested in learning more about insured technology financing join us as well.
New Hires and Promotions
The PIUS team has continued to grow as we stepped into 2022, with new hires and an exciting new role.
John Elmore joined PIUS as a managing director, bringing more than 15 years’ experience as an expert in the valuation of technology-based businesses and intangible assets, with a focus on patents and trade secrets. John led the IP Valuation Services practice of a boutique valuation firm founded by business valuation icon Dr. Shannon Pratt and has held managerial roles with leading multinational financial advisory firms, including Duff & Phelps and EY. John holds certifications as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), and Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA).
Julie Markoski was hired as a director, and she brings with her more than two decades of experience in technology assessment. Julie has proven herself a trusted advisor in technology transfer, business development, and research and development at university, government, and corporate organizations worldwide. As a former small business owner herself, Julie has successfully completed a Series A funding round for her business and will bring a unique perspective to PIUS’ evaluation process and prospective companies seeking insured technology financing.
Last but not least, Amelia Erickson has further expanded her role as director at PIUS, heading up business development and serving as a liaison for strategic relationships. As one of PIUS’ first employees, Amelia has certainly grown with the company since 2017, and we have all been proud to witness her evolution within and alongside PIUS. Amelia has been invaluable in dozens of transactions over the years, and I am eager to see how she shapes this new role, undoubtedly bringing additional support and advancement to PIUS clients.
Technology Companies Financed
Of course, PIUS continues to work with growing technology companies to secure affordable, non-dilutive financing to provide working capital to scale their businesses. The first few months of 2022 have been quite exciting in terms of numbers and types of companies we have helped attain funding.
January was particularly meaningful, with PIUS securing a third funding round for Tigo Energy. Tigo Energy is the worldwide leader in Flex MLPE (Module Level Power Electronics). The $25 million secured by PIUS will provide the solar energy technology innovator with working capital and growth capital to support new product development and expansion into new markets, ultimately accelerating the adoption of solar energy worldwide. Since the initial financing in February 2018, Tigo Energy has more tripled revenue.
February was an exciting month, with PIUS’ first foray into AgTech, and the securing of $50 million in financing for Cooks Venture, an independent poultry genetics company, working to combat the lack of genetic diversity, and subsequent health and welfare issues caused by the systemic inbreeding of commercial broiler chickens. The company’s proprietary pedigree line, the Pioneer, is selectively bred to grow slower with a stronger immune system than conventional birds, while prioritizing nutritional quality and flavor, and resulting in a robust broiler chicken with efficient feed conversation through better gut health. They have proven to be quite the industry darling, and the deal even landed write-ups in Bloomberg and TechCrunch.
PIUS closed out February with another refinance and $30 million secured in a second funding for Blast Motion, the leader in swing analysis, player development and remote coaching. Not only were we excited to work with Blast Motion again with this second financing, but we were especially impressed with the significant growth to Blast Motion’s IP portfolio. Like many businesses that remined successful throughout the pandemic, covid-19 required Blast Motion pivot to focus on virtual training and recruiting, and ultimately expanding our wearable sports analysis technology beyond its original application.
PIUS rounded out the quarter with $10 million secured for REX Homes in March, which also includes an accordion feature, providing REX the option to increase the amount to $45 million. REX’s fully-integrated platform enables consumers to find brokerage, mortgage, insurance, title, and escrow, all of which are owned by REX in-house to provide for a seamless customer experience. The financing will support REX’s continued business growth and market expansion, including its technology platform and its recently launched Homes Plus, which provides customers cost savings and peace of mind after their purchase, by providing home maintenance, repairs, lawn care, moving and storage, all in one place.
A Strong Start to 2022
The first quarter of 2022 has certainly set the tone for a productive year. We are gearing up for more exciting partnerships, financings, and announcements in the months ahead. If these first few months have been an indication, we look forward to outpacing ourselves in the weeks and months ahead.