Phunware to go public and enter blockchain in 2018

by Kelly O'Halloran
February 28, 2018
phunware
photo via built in austin

Another Austin tech company is taking a step toward the public sector, following SailPoint’s IPO last November.

This time, it’s Phunware, a monetization, engagement and analytics platform for mobile apps which today announced its merger plans with Stellar Acquisition III, a special purpose acquisition company based out of Athens, Greece, signaling a move toward an IPO.

“Our stated goal has always been to reach every connected device on Earth through mobile applications, and this transaction turbocharges our ability to achieve that vision.”

The merger, which valued Phunware at $301 million, is expected to close during the second quarter, assuming all conditions of the deal are met. According to a statement issued by Phunware, the combined companies will then begin publicly trading under the name Phunware, Inc. and trading symbols “PHUN” and “PHUNW”, respectively.

“Our stated goal has always been to reach every connected device on Earth through mobile applications, and this transaction turbocharges our ability to achieve that vision,” said Alan S. Knitowski, CEO of Phunware, in a statement. “With a current reach to over one in ten devices worldwide, our platform is a formidable foundation to build upon. Merging with Stellar will enable us to scale that foundation through organic and inorganic growth, including the PhunCoin Token Generation Event. We are extremely proud of this important milestone and are excited for the future.”

Additionally, Phunware has plans to enter blockchain by mid-summer, with a Token Generation Event (TGE) in the works. TGEs are essentially initial coin offereings with decentralized funding options open to the public. The difference is in the name — tokens versus coins. Tokens, unlike coins, have multifaceted levels of value, are programmable and are generated solely by smart contracts. Phunware filed for a trademark of its cryptocurrency, PhunCoin, this past December.

Since Phunware’s launch in 2009, the company has accrued more than $80 million in backing from venture capitalists, including Wavemaker Partners (Draper Network Fund), Fraser McCombs Ventures, Maxima Ventures, Samsung, Cisco Investments, World Wrestling Entertainment, PLDT Capital, Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), Baylor Angel Network (BAN) and others.

The company is one of Austin’s fastest-growing tech companies. With the merger, Knitowski will remain in his role as CEO.

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