Under the Radar Deals: 10 (+1) New England October Financings You Never Heard About

11/23/09Follow @bbuderi

The big picture is great. But at Xconomy, we also like the smaller details, which often fill in or round out the big picture—and make everything more clear. So it is when it comes to company financing rounds. We always bring you stories about the main venture deals in the region and a list of the biggest rounds every month. But starting last month, we also began bringing you the most interesting small financings in high-tech, life sciences, and energy.

These are the under-the-radar deals between $100,000 and $1 million that are routinely left out of most reports. But yet, especially in these days of bootstrapping and Web 3.0 and virtual companies, they can illuminate important companies—and trends—that might otherwise be missed.

We found 11 of these smaller deals in New England for October (see list below), thanks to ChubbyBrain, a New York information services company that tracks angel, VC, and other investments in private firms via regulatory filings, user submissions, and other sources.

Virtually all of last month’s under-the-radar financings were in Massachusetts, though one was for a Connecticut firm (unlike last month, we turned up none in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Vermont). Seven were equity financings, and four involved debt (the data doesn’t cover the investors or the stage of financing). But beyond that, there is incredible diversity in what these firm do: infertility treatments, medical devices, Web marketing, computer storage, chip design, energy efficient vehicles, mobile marketing, and more.

We’ve written about a few of these companies before. Levant Power was a finalist for this year’s $200,000 Clean Energy Prize after winning the transportation category. The company is working to perfect an energy-recovering shock absorber for large trucks, military vehicles, and hybrid gas-electric cars. It’s a cool technology, and I’m hardly shocked to see it attracting some funding. We’ve also covered Isabella Products, which puts out Vizit, a device that Wade wrote “masquerades as a digital photo frame but is actually a sophisticated, two-way photo management device connected to a nationwide cellular data network.” These kinds of interactive digital photo frames face lots of competition, though, so we’ll have to see what develops, so to speak.

I’m probably most intrigued by VisEn Medical. Its board chairman is Ed Kania, co-founder and managing partner of Flagship Ventures here in Cambridge, MA. Also on the board is Per Lofberg, CEO of Merck Capital Ventures—so it has some real heavyweights behind it. The Woburn, MA-based company, which says it has some 75 patents or patent applications in its portfolio, develops fluorescence technology for non-invasive in vivo imaging. The company took in more than $12 million in Series B financing in 2007 and early 2008 (the round was expanded). Meanwhile, I’m not sure what I think of ShopText, a company I’d never heard of before but which led the pack with $900,000 raised. The Norwalk, CT-based company helps serve up coupons, free samples, merchandise promotions, tickets, and so forth over mobile phones. I hate the idea, but I love it, too.

Here are those, and the rest of October’s New England under-the-radar deals:

ShopText (Norwalk, CT) Mobile marketing and promotions Equity, $900,000
VisEn Medical (Bedford, MA)

In vivo imaging

Equity, $885,418

Grove Electronics (North Reading, MA)

Division of PA-based Chip Partners that provides computer and networking products

Debt, $865,000

CLK Design Automation (Littleton, MA)

Develops products used for designing high-performance microprocessors and semiconductors Equity, $610,000

INVO Bioscience (Beverly, MA)

Infertility treatment

Debt, $545,000

Levant Power (Cambridge, MA)

Energy-recovering shock absorber for large vehicles and hybrid gas-electric cars

Equity, $400,000

Terascala (Avon, MA)

High-capacity, high throughput computer storage solutions

Equity, $275,000

Isabella Products (Concord, MA)

Consumer wireless products and services

Debt, $250,000

HeartWare International (Framhingham, MA)

U.S. headquarters of Australian medical device company developing implantable devices for treatment of advanced heart failure Equity, $220,000

Wistia (Cambridge, MA)

Video marketing, collaboration, and app for tracking and sharing sales prospects

Debt, $200,000

Terascala (Avon, MA)

A separate deal for previously mentioned Terascala

Equity, $150,000

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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