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Updated: December 8, 2021

Portland industrial software startup raises $3.5M to fund growth

HighByte three co-founders seated at a table with laptops File photo courtesy / Elle Darcy From left, HighByte Chief Business Officer John Harrington, CEO Tony Paine and Chief Communications Officer Torey Penrod-Cambra. The trio founded HighByte in August 2018.

Portland-based industrial software startup HighByte has raised $3.5 million in new capital, including $2.55 million from new investors, to fund its next growth phase.

The news, announced Wednesday, comes about six months after the company won the $50,000 grand prize in Gorham Savings Bank's 2021 LaunchPad competition.

Torey Penrod-Cambra, the company's chief communications officer who has previously talked about winning the "tech-talent war," told Mainebiz that the $3.5 million just raised will go toward new hires.

"The funds are primarily being used for new headcount across R&D, sales, marketing, success and operations," she said.

Currently seeking to fill three open positions, the company aims to more than double its employee total from 13 currently to 28 by the fourth quarter of 2022, she said.

Penrod-Cambra was part of the team that founded HighByte in August 2018, along with Tony Paine, who serves as CEO; and John Harrington, the company's chief business officer.

HighByte's fully subscribed round was led by the family offices of Seth and Cindy Lawry and Soren and Caroline Oberg. Seth Lawry and Soren Oberg served together as long-time partners at Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm. 

In Wednesday's news release, Seth Lawry said, "We are excited to partner with HighByte's tenanted and experienced management team — who previously built Kepware's successful industrial automation solution — to drive HighByte's continued growth."

The lead investment team was joined by CEI Ventures, Maine Venture Fund, Momenta Ventures and several angel investors. 

Chandler Jones, managing director of CEI Ventures said, "The HighByte team is uniquely positioned to understand what customers need to enable digital transformation in industrial manufacturing. Additionally, the company supports all seven components of our Good Jobs definition, a key theme of our latest fund."

Before the latest seed raise, HighByte funded the company through founder contributions, state and federal grants, and convertible debt, which was converted into preferred stock at the close of the round. 

“In the past 12 months, we’ve proven product-market fit across a wide variety of vertical markets including pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, paper and packaging, and industrial products,” said HighByte CEO Tony Paine. “Now it’s time for us to put our foot on the gas pedal. This investment validates our mission and is essential for the next stage of our growth.” 

Torey Penrod-Cambra seated on a chair
File Photo / Jim Neuger
Torey Penrod-Cambra is co-founder and chief communications officer at HighByte.

Penrod-Cambra, who represented HighByte in the Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad pitch contest, was featured in a recent Mainebiz cover story about challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in the male-dominated venture-capital world.

Asked this week about her advice to fellow female entrepreneurs on the fundraising front, she shared three suggestions with Mainebiz: "Use your network and ask for warm introduction to other like-minded investors that will respect you, believe you and care about your mission; schedule time on your calendar to take care of yourself; and remind yourself daily while you're raising funds."

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