Maine companies continue to draw strong interest from venture capitalists, with three pulling in close to $6 million in the first three months of this year, according to the latest quarterly report from MoneyTree, PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights.
During the first quarter of 2018, the top Maine deal was listed as $3.42 million invested in Ourly, a York company with a web-based tool to help banks partner with parents to teach children how to earn, save, spend and share money at any age. The money came from a group of angel investors lead by BlueIO, a Boston venture capital firm that contributed about one third of the capital raised, according to Ourly Vice President Allii Ray.
The second-highest amount, $1.49 million, went to Pika Energy, a Westbrook company that makes a home energy storage product with solar photovoltaic and smart battery technology. Its investors were not disclosed.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear of Biddeford, a maker of lightweight outdoors products and outerwear, received $1.07 million from Telluride Venture Fund, TGV Partners and others.
The company, which uses a high-tech polyethylene fabric to make lightweight backpacks, tents and accessories, will invest the money for growth and to hire more people, co-founder Dan St. Pierre said in January after Hyperlite received the investment.
“They’re a prime example of what can happen in a flyover state like Maine,” Chandler Jones, principal at CEI Ventures in Brunswick, one of the investors in the company, said earlier. “They’ve been able to build on a legacy industry [textiles] that had fallen on bad times. They are part of the resurgence of that industry.”
The new investment in Maine came after the highest amount of venture capital investment in 2017 in more than a decade. However, the $228.78 million total for the year was skewed by one large investment in veterinary online portal company Vets First Choice. That company raised $223 million in the third quarter of 2017, the state’s largest single venture deal in the past two decades.
Overall, funding for New England companies increased for the third-straight quarter, with $2.7 billion invested in 125 deals, according to the report. Nationwide, venture capital investing is at a record high.
“The $21 billion we saw invested this quarter is a record high, just the second time we’ve reached this funding level during the last 15 years,” said Tom Ciccolella, PwC’s U.S. venture capital leader.
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