Monday, May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024
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Island Increases Valuation to $3 Billion After Raising $175 Million

Plus: Fintech and real estate platform Backflip raises $15 million, Denver-based STACK Infrastructure to build 100-acre data center in Lancaster, and more.

Cybersecurity company Island, which has pioneered the enterprise internet browser, has closed $175 million in its Series D round. The fundraiser brings the Island’s valuation to $3 billion, doubling the amount in less than a year. The fund was led by new investor Coatue, existing investor Sequoia Capital, along with additional funding from other existing investors. 

So far, Island has raised $487 million in outside investment, including an investment from Capital One Ventures. Island launched its product in February 2022, after two years of technological development. The company is led by co-founder and CEO Mike Fey and chief technology officer and co-founder Dan Amiga. Several Fortune 100 companies are clients.  

“Enterprises require advanced security and productivity features that consumer browsers were never built to deliver,” said Fey. “We knew this would address critical pain points, but we’ve been thrilled at how quickly customers have adopted Island at scale – from major hotel chains and leading banks to national retailers and smaller enterprises. We’re fortunate to have these dynamic companies as our design partners, and this new funding will enable us to invest more in R&D and customer success globally.” 

The Island Enterprise Browser offers advancements such as security, data protection, application access, and productivity features. The Island Enterprise Browser desktop allows organizations to protect users and data. The browser provides full control to security teams from basic protections to more advanced security demands.

Fintech and Real Estate Platform Backflip Closes $15 Million Series A Raise

Real estate and fintech platform Backflip closed its Series A fundraise with $15 million. The round was led by FirstMark Capital, which was an early investor in Airbnb, Shopify, and Pinterest. Previous investors Vertical Venture Partners, LiveOak Venture Partners, Revel Partners, and more also participated in the round. The fundraiser comes after the company exceeded $10 million in net revenue. Backflip grew its year-over-year revenue run rate by five times in 2023, with members analyzing an average of $5 billion in properties each month on the platform.  

Backflip works to help entrepreneurs acquire and renovate single family homes, which supports housing in their local communities. The company’s technology and capital solutions allow members to grow their real estate investment businesses by managing their investment pipelines and securing funding. 

“Backflip is not just about flipping houses; it’s about flipping the script on the why, how and what it means to be a real estate entrepreneur,” Backflip CEO Josh Ernst said. “Over 400,000 homes are flipped every year in the U.S. and growing. Our mission is to help everyone access the funding and tools they need to participate. We put information, support, and capital products designed for entrepreneurs in the hands of more individuals in an industry that has historically had too many barriers to successfully starting and scaling. In doing so, we’re empowering our members to rejuvenate communities one modernized home at a time.” 

Backflip has funded more than 900 homes so far. Members have an average gross profit of $82,000 per property, and typically repay their loans within six months.

TWU, City of Denton, and the Bezos Academy Begin Construction for Tuition-Free Preschool

Texas Woman’s University, the City of Denton, and the Bezos Academy have started construction on a $6 million tuition-free preschool that will serve TWU’s student-parents and families in Denton. Bezos Academy Denton will be built on university-owned land at 1820 Frame St., north of University Drive and east of North Bell Avenue. The Montessori-inspired preschool is scheduled to be completed in 2025. 

“This partnership will have a transformational impact for families in and around Texas Woman’s who struggle with childcare costs,” TWU Chancellor Carine Feyten said. “Texas Woman’s, the Bezos Academy and the city of Denton are committed to providing greater childcare access and developing lifelong learners for members of the Denton community.” 

Bezos Academy Denton will have six classrooms, each with capacity for 120 students aged 3 to 5 years old. One-fifth of spots will be reserved for children in the TWU community, with the rest reserved for Denton families. The preschool will offer full-day services year-round. The City of Denton became a partner in the project after approving $1.5 million for the construction of the school. 

“Right now, about one in five college students in America is a parent, and half of them have children under five,” Bezos Academy President Mike George said. “Bringing tuition-free, full-day preschools to colleges and universities is a win-win for these parents and their kids. Thanks to Texas Woman’s University for helping us make sure that more children can get access to the great start that Bezos Academy preschools provide.” 

Denver-based STACK Infrastructure to Build 100-Acre Data Center in Lancaster

Digital infrastructure partner STACK Infrastructure plans to develop a 220MW datacenter campus south of Dallas. The campus will span more than 100 acres and will be engineered to provide scalability and dedicated power in response to the growing demand for infrastructure supporting the growth of emerging technologies, like generative AI.

The new campus will be in the growing market of south Dallas and will span 1.5 million square feet across six 36MW data centers and will feature committed power from utility provider ONCOR. The location is planned to open in mid-2026.

“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome STACK Data Centers to the Lancaster community,” Lancaster Mayor Clyde Hairston said. “Their decision to invest here is a clear signal of our city’s dynamic and robust economic landscape.”  

“We continue to observe a steady demand for powered, large-scale campuses, particularly in established or growing markets,” Stack Americas CCO Ty Miller said. “This latest announcement reinforces our commitment to providing certainty and scalability for our clients, along with a favorable delivery target of mid-2026.”  

The Willis Law Group Acquires Philadelphia-based Law Firm

The Willis Law Group has acquired Philadelphia-based firm Mintzer, Sarowitz, Zeris, Ledva & Meyers. After the acquisition the firm will open an office in Dallas. Together, the firms will make up one of the largest minority-owned law firms in Texas. The new firm will operate in Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Florida. 

“This was an outstanding opportunity that allowed us to join with a team of experienced and highly skilled colleagues to create a powerhouse firm with a strong record of success in defense of our clients,” Willis Law Group Founder and CEO Kirk Willis said. “We share a commitment to excellence, diversity, and inclusion. Our new firm brings together a team of accomplished trial attorneys with the experience and insight necessary to help our clients solve their legal issues as efficiently and economically as possible.” 

The Willis Law Group was founded in Dallas by attorney Kirk D. Willis, a trial lawyer who has tried more than 100 jury trials. MSZL&M was established in Philadelphia in 1985 and has 10 offices across six states. The firm’s attorneys deal with civil cases at the national level. The combined firm’s client base will include insurance carriers, small, mid-size and large businesses, and public and government entities. The Willis Law Group and the new firm Mintzer, Sarowitz, Zeris & Willis will have a total of 98 attorneys located in seven states.  

“Our new firm will offer clients a combination of top-tier trial attorneys, diverse practice areas, multi-jurisdictional offices, and cyber technologies providing clients with a comprehensive package of legal services designed to meet their most challenging legal needs,” MSZL&M Founder Jay Mintzer said. “My partners and I have known and worked with Kirk and his firm for over two decades. Kirk is a fantastic trial attorney and a true gentleman. We couldn’t have found a better firm to partner with and look forward to a successful future both for our firm and our clients.” 


Celie Price

Celie Price

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