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Case Study

Rugged Robotics Fully Automates Their $9.4M Series A

A first-time founder executes an entire priced equity round – from term sheet to close – on one platform.

Key Results

✓ Fully automated $9.4 million Series A financing
✓ 104 signatures collected from 16 stakeholders
✓ Convenience & clarity for attorneys and investors

Who is Rugged Robotics?

Rugged Robotics is a Houston-based construction technology startup. Their first product tackles the challenge of field layout, and replaces slow, error-prone, manual layout with an autonomous robot that marks fully-coordinated A/E designs directly onto unfinished floors.


The Challenge: A first-time founder faces rapid growth

Rugged Robotics, the construction tech startup founded by Derrick Morse and Logan Farrell, was growing rapidly. After incorporating in 2018, the company raised a seed round in late 2019. By 2021 they were preparing for more investment – in the form of a multi-million Series A that would cement Rugged’s growing foothold in the commercial construction industry.

The Series A was a more involved experience than the Seed. The deal included hundreds of pages of legal documents that needed to be reviewed and negotiated by Rugged’s attorneys — followed by review and execution by all investors and board members.

“When we started Rugged Robotics, I knew a few founders, but had zero startup experience,” Morse said. “My days in strategy and management consulting taught me about business models, financial projections, and market sizing. But I had very limited experience when it comes to raising money, working with investors, and managing a cap table.”

Morse and the Rugged team had already chosen [it] as their preferred platform to incorporate and raise their seed capital. From the start, Rugged wanted a solution that scaled with them and automated document execution and cap table management. Morse knew that with the right solution, Rugged could build strong relationships with their legal team and investors. Best of all, such a solution could free up Rugged’s team to focus on one of the most important things, the terms of the deal.


Solution Wishlist

 A single automated platform to manage the entire Series A
 Easy access for growing network of investors and attorneys
 Guidance and expertise for a first-time founder
derrick-morse-rugged robotics

“As someone who builds automated solutions, I strive to build the best overall system, and [Fidelity] has done exactly that. Their automated equity financing and amazing customer support helped us close quickly and easily, and set us up for continued success.”

Derrick Morse, CEO, Rugged Robotics

Fidelity Private Shares℠ Solutions

1. Automated equity financing, a first-of-its-kind feature

Every step of the Series A – from comparing term sheets to closing the deal – was automated on the platform. When the Rugged team began preparing for the Series A, their cap table was already up-to-date; The platform had automatically linked the documents and data from the previous round and securely stored them in their data room.

With the cap table in place, Morse turned to the platform's scenario modeling capabilities. This feature helped Rugged easily capture the proposed terms and generate a pro forma cap table. The platform then automatically drafted a full set of industry-standard, NVCA Series A documents – hundreds of pages – in accordance with the term sheet.

The investors from Rugged’s seed round – and existing board members – already had access. Inviting new Series A investors for document revision and execution took just a few clicks and there were customizable options for document permissioning. Rugged could view activity, oversee revisions, and collect board/stockholder approval with e-signatures – all on Fidelity Private Shares.

When all stakeholders had given their approval, the Series A was complete. All the newly-added data and documents were automatically and securely stored in the data room, and Rugged’s cap table was up-to-date.

2. Diligence mode for investor/attorney collaboration

Rugged stores all of its relevant documents and information on Fidelity Private Shares, including corporate governance, charter, bylaws, and meeting minutes. When the deal entered the due diligence stage, everything was in one place for investors and their attorneys to review. All Morse had to do was turn on “diligence mode,” and every stakeholder had access to only the documents they needed to review and execute.

Morse said his investors recognized the legitimacy of the platform right away, as it made communication and collaboration easier.

“[Fidelity Private Shares] really simplified the due diligence process. It’s a single platform to house and store your fundraising data and documents. Giving stakeholders access was as easy as a click of a mouse.”

3. The Customer Success “Gold Standard” throughout the fundraising journey

As a new founder, Morse endured plenty of “firsts” on his road from incorporation to Seed Funding to a full Series A. Through every signature, equity grant, and term sheet, he leaned on the expertise of the customer success team.

The support team coached Morse through the processes, highlighting key touch points with stakeholders. They answered most of his inquiries within 30 minutes, and took action when necessary to help Morse and his team push forward in their financing.

“As far as customer support goes, the customer support team is second to none. They’re my gold standard for what Rugged’s customer support should look like,” Morse said.

The Results

In March of 2022, Rugged Robotics announced their $9.4M Series A financing, led by BOLD Capital Ventures and Brick & Mortar Ventures. The funding enabled rapid expansion for Rugged’s existing product and continued R&D for future offerings.

Investors executed the deal faster. Attorneys appreciated the efficiency and convenience of collaborating with Rugged on the platform. Most importantly, Rugged leaned on automation to help save time and money, ensure accuracy, and reduce the headache of completing their Series A.

Moving forward, Rugged’s fundraising and equity management data is all in one platform, which may enable easier and faster 409A valuations, board resolutions, option grants, and more. As Rugged likely continues to grow and change the commercial construction industry, they may be better prepared for their next round.

derrick-morse-rugged robotics

“The automated equity financing capability eliminated the need for me to manage multiple versions of documents, send them back and forth to attorneys and investors, and continuously revise a cap table. I was freed up to focus on the terms of the deal.”

Derrick Morse, CEO, Rugged Robotics
derrick-morse-rugged robotics

“I can’t imagine using traditional equity management platforms. Some do one thing well, but fail to deliver a total solution. [Fidelity Private Shares] manages all of our cap table, data room, scenario-modeling, and document-drafting needs.”

Derrick Morse, CEO, Rugged Robotics

About Fidelity Private Shares

Fidelity Private Shares provides end-to-end automated equity management solutions for venture-backed startups. We're reshaping how companies get started, raise capital, and exit and is used by numerous investors, legal teams, and startups, including companies like Burrow, Firefly Health, Rugged Robotics, Day Zero Diagnostics, and many more.

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Source: Rugged Robotics. The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Private Shares LLC cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.

Included are links to websites that are unaffiliated with Fidelity. Fidelity has not been involved in the preparation of the content supplied at the unaffiliated site and does not guarantee or assume any responsibility for its content. 

409a valuations are conducted by a third party.