Two Austin companies raise money to expand


Two Austin companies – a seller of residential water filtration systems and a software maker – have closed financing deals to fund their expansions.

Aquasana, which sells drinking water filters, shower filters and whole-home filter systems, said that New York-based Praesidian Capital is investing $11.4 million in first-lien debt.

Founded in 1998, the company moved its headquarters from Forth Worth to Austin in 2010 after hiring former Dell Inc. consumer sales and marketing executive Todd Bartee as its CEO.

The company, which was acquired six years ago by private equity firm Catterton Partners of Greenwich, Conn., generates about 75 percent of its revenue through online orders or by phone. The company has about 200,000 active customers, officials said.

Now, Aquasana is making a push into retail, and will soon begin selling its products at Costco, Crate and Barrel and Home Depot.

“We’ll have a couple products at first, and we’ll see if we can grow past that,” Bartee said. “It’s a growing market and we’re also taking our fair share.”

The company, which has 75 employees, plans to add about 10 this year, primarily in marketing and finance.

Meanwhile, software maker Khorus, founded by Austin software veteran Joel Trammell, raised $4 million, which it will use to market its software and accelerate product development.

Two-year-old Khorus (pronounced chorus) sells a business management system that helps CEOs run their companies. Using the Khorus system, the CEO and executive team creates a list of specific objectives, and employees provide weekly status updates on where they stand in meeting them. The idea is ensure that work is on track and to prevent surprises at the end of the period because no one spotted issues in time to address them.

Since launching its product last year, the company has signed 25 customers in industries ranging from finance to healthcare to higher education.

“CEOs don’t need more data. What they do need is actionable information that helps them manage their businesses better,” Trammell said. “The Khorus platform is an early-warning system, showing the CEO and leadership team when they need to adjust and adapt to keep the company moving forward.”

The investment round was led by Trammell and private investor Tom Greig. The company has raised a total of $6 million.

Khorus has 21 employees and plans to add a half a dozen more this year in sales, marketing and engineering.


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