There’s a big argument over whether venture capitalists and even angel investors are doing as many early stage or small deals these days. The general sentiment is that no, they aren’t. Since we began our monthly roundup of Massachusetts venture deals back in June, however, we’ve argued that the data doesn’t support that view: virtually every month, the number of seed and Series A rounds has topped the number of later-round financings, and often by a wide margin.
Now comes what could be another blow to the small-deal naysayers: new data on the extremely small deals—those between $100,000 and $1 million—that typically aren’t reported in financing tabulations. As my colleague Greg Huang, Xconomy’s Seattle editor, wrote in his own look at small deals in the Northwest earlier this week: “Though small in size, these investments need to be included along with the bigger deals that get more press, if you want a more complete picture of the funding landscape in the innovation community.”
It turns out there were 10 of these “under the radar” high-tech deals—7 in Massachusetts, 2 in Connecticut, and 1 in New Hampshire (see table below)—in New England in September, according to data supplied by our partner ChubbyBrain, a New York-based information services company that tracks VC, angel, and other investments in private companies.
Six of the 10 deals involved equity investments; the remaining four were debt financings. And they spanned a wide range of fields from medical displays to tracking tags to new approaches to education. To me, the most interesting was OmniGuide, a Cambridge, MA, company we’ve written about before that took in $249,999 (you gotta wonder why that figure). OmniGuide, which raised $1.8 million in May, $25 million last year, and some $50 million before that (it’s a long story, go here), makes highly precise optical laser scalpels; its chairman is Analog Devices founder Ray Stata, and the CEO is MIT materials scientist Yoel Fink.
As the parent of two teenagers, I was also highly interested in the Westonian Group, which raised $170,250. The Westonian Group doesn’t appear to have a website, but it is the company behind Abroad101, a website for sharing information about study abroad programs.
Here, then, are our 10 “under the radar” deals from September.
Carrot Medical (Waltham, MA) Equity $635,000
Ultra-high-definition displays for medical images
SoundTag (Braintree, MA) Equity $535,000
Tracking tags for priority shipments
TenMarks Education (Newton, MA) Debt $350,000
New approach to math, science, and English education for children
SpecPage (Attleboro, MA) Equity $313,000
Product marketing information exchange for food service and janitorial industries
SeeClickFix (New Haven, CT) Debt $265,000
Technology for reporting and tracking non-emergency issues via the Internet
OmniGuide (Cambridge, MA) Equity $249,999
Designs and manufactures highly precise optical laser scalpels.
Validus DC Systems (Brookfield, CT) Debt $204,000
Direct current power infrastructure for data and telecom centers
Paneve (Florence, MA) Debt $175,000
Software and hardware to reduce the costs of delivery and display of video media content
Westonian Group (Weston, MA) Equity $170,250
Company behind Abroad101, an interactive online community around study abroad programs
EnerTrac (Hudson, NH) Equity $125,000
Fuel, oil, and propane tank monitoring products
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