A $12 million Series A growth equity investment in Movista is a significant win for Mid-America Angels, as well as for the region, said Laura McCoolidge.
The Arkansas-based startup — which uses a mobile-first, real-time platform to power labor and workforce management software for retailers, manufacturers, and service providers — is among the leading portfolio companies of the Kansas City-based MAA network, said McCoolidge, the group’s managing director.
“It’s always great to see outside money coming in to our neighboring communities,” she said. “It will continue to draw attention to what’s going on in our middle-America states.”
Movista’s deal — among the largest-ever in an Arkansas-based software firm — was led by New York based Level Equity, a software-focused growth specialist with $1.65 billion in assets under management.
“We’ve had the pleasure of watching Movista go through many growth periods through the years,” McCoolidge said. “What’s really exciting is that a company in Bentonville, Arkansas, attracted pretty big venture financing from New York. It’s cool to see a big player like that come to our region and invest in one of our companies.”
MAA funds startups in the Kansas-Missouri region, with an investment range of $250,000 to $1.5 million. MAA typically participates in seed, Series A and Series B rounds. Its portfolio firms include RiskGenius, Flow Forward Medical, MetActive Medical, Hillary’s Eat Well and Bulu Box.
The investment by Level Equity and others in the deal provides for a structured return to early investors like those in MAA, McCoolidge said. While she did not detail the terms of the return to MAA members, McCoolidge spoke in generalities about the process.
“In some situations — not all — when venture money comes in, they provide an exit opportunity for early investors,” she said. “It can be a negotiated share price or some sort of allocation, for example.”
At Movista, funds from the $12 million investment are expected be used to deliver new product features, enhance technology innovation, expand sales and marketing, bolster talent development, and evaluate strategic opportunities under the leadership of co-founders Stan Zylowski and April Seggebruch.
“For the first time since our inception as a bootstrapped business, we now have the freedom to push every technical limit and innovate dramatically,” said Seggebruch, who also serves as COO. “We have plans in place and within 12 months will be installing solutions that were unimaginable even a few years ago.”
The co-founders embody the word “hustle,” McCoolidge said.
“They are very energetic, extraordinarily driven and smart. They know their space really well and have pounded the pavement for a really long time,” she said. “We’re excited that Stan and April are definitely still the leaders of the company. They’ve obviously done great work over the past eight years. It makes sense for them to continue on with the venture funds behind them. It will just take them to new heights of growth.”
More than 40 retail-focused enterprise clients leverage Movista’s smart platform to manage employees and contractors, according to the company. It expects more than 200,000 retail workers to be working via Movista’s software on a daily basis by 2020.