Angel investor groups’ history of investment in EyeVerify and CEO Toby Rush pays off
Mid-America Angel investor network (MAA) portfolio company EyeVerify closed a nine-figure deal with Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, Ltd. on Monday. This is Ant Financial’s first U.S. acquisition.
MAA members first invested in EyeVerify’s 2012, $1.5 million seed round. The group also participated in subsequent Seed, Series A and bridge loan rounds, totaling $2.5 million, $6 million and $3.5 million, respectively. Members of the Women’s Capital Connection (WCC) also participated in all funding rounds. In total, 46 MAA and WCC members injected over $2 million of private capital to help the company refine its prototype, achieve traction and scale business operations over the years.
MAA’s history with key EyeVerify staff extends even further back than the company’s 2012 seed round. MAA made an investment in EyeVerify CEO Toby Rush’s previous venture, Rush Tracking Systems in 2007. Founded in 2003, Rush Tracking Systems opened an early office in the Enterprise Center of Johnson County (a local non-profit organization which operates MAA) nearly fifteen years ago. The RFID tracking technology company was acquired by Pharos Capital in 2009 for an undisclosed sum. That exit was the first liquidity event for the MAA portfolio.
In 2014, EyeVerify was nominated by MAA for the Angel Capital Association’s (ACA) Luis Villalobos Award, which honors the most innovative company recently financed by ACA member angel groups each year. EyeVerify won and Rush accepted that award along with MAA’s Managing Director, Rick Vaughn.
“MAA has a long history with EyeVerify and we couldn’t be prouder of Toby and his team’s great accomplishments. We have been fortunate to have an opportunity to help this innovative company grow and create jobs in the Kansas City area over the past four years,” said Vaughn.
“This exit is the latest in a long string of very favorable exits for MAA investors. It is our hope that those who have yet to participate in early stage investment will grow to see this asset class as higher risk with potentially terrific returns. That has certainly been the case with Eye Verify.” said George Hansen, Executive Director of MAA and President and CEO the Enterprise Center.