It’s been 50 years since Venrock established itself to expose investors to venture capital opportunities. Today, the global venture capital industry tracks just south of $200 billion and continues to grow as new entrepreneurs, engineers, financiers, and thought leaders create the economy of tomorrow. The DailyAlts VC channel tracks the trends, opportunities, key thought leaders, and next-generation industries that will generate billions in returns.
Tonal, a startup that makes compact, AI-powered, wall-mounted home fitness equipment, announced Thursday its raise of $110 million. Returning investors L Catterton, Sapphire Sport, Shasta Ventures, Mayfield, Evolution Media, and THVC, participated in the round along with new investors Delta-v Capital, the Amazon Alexa Fund, and Mousse Partners.
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Zwift, which blends serious indoor workouts with the fun of virtual events and video games on its online “connected-fitness” platform for runners and cyclists, raised a humongous $450 million.
Brightseed, a biosciences and AI company based in the U.S., achieved fame with its discovery of a phytonutrient – a substance that plants produce to support their growth and defend against pathogens or predators. However, inside the human body, these compounds display anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective and neuroprotective abilities.
Airtable, whose products deliver the power of a database with the familiarity of a spreadsheet, has raised $185 million. The funding brings the startup’s total fundraising to over $350 million. Thrive Capital led the current Series D round which also saw participation by existing investors including Benchmark and Coatue Management.
A team of marquee investors, led by Silver Lake, invested $650 million in Klarna, the payments and shopping service known for its “buy-now-pay-later” (BNPL) offering. Klarna now ranks as the biggest fintech unicorn in Europe, and fourth globally, after the round valued it at $10.65 billion.
Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) has agreed to acquire Arm Limited from SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO: 9984) and the SoftBank Vision Fund in a $40 billion transaction.
“Access All” is a new, virtual, pitching event for founders from under-represented groups such as blacks, Asians, and other minorities. It is an initiative from a group of U.K.-based VCs to counter the inequities in the venture funding system as visible from a bias in favor of privileged and “more equal” founders, and against certain ethnicities.
Iron Ox pioneered autonomous and robotic farming when it launched its first farm in 2018. Using a combination of machine learning, robotics, and plant sciences, the company addresses issues such as food security and the cultivation of fresh, more consistent production. It announced Wednesday the closing of its Series B funding round worth $ 20 million.
It’s a measure of the interest in business-to-business (B2B) that two VC firms raised an aggregate of $715 million in funds dedicated to such startups in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. Dawn Capital, a large European venture capital fund dedicated to B2B software, today announced the closing of its fund Dawn IV at the hard cap of €333 million ($ 400 million). Meanwhile, DNX Ventures mopped up $ 315 million for its third flagship fund for early-stage B2B startups in Japan and the United States.
According to a Reuters Exclusive, Klarna, the Swedish fintech and unicorn, is talking with investors to raise as much as $ 500 million at a valuation of $ 10 billion. During its previous fundraise in August 2019, Klarna raised $ 460 million at a post-money valuation of $ 5.5 billion. Reuters’ sources said the money would be raised from both existing and new investors. An announcement is likely within days, they said.
Diginex Limited, the owner of digital assets exchange Equos, announced Tuesday its raise of more than $ 20 million through the private placement of a convertible note. Launched on July 30, Equos is an institutional-grade exchange that caters to both individuals and institutions.
Venture Capital: Indian Online Learning Startup BYJU’S Raises $500M Amid Red-Hot VC Interest in Edtech
BYJU’S, the Indian educational technology company operated by Think and Learn Private Limited, raised $ 500 million in fresh funding led by private equity giant Silver Lake. About a week ago, BYJU’S raised $ 122 million from DST Global. The current funding is the fifth tranche in its Series F round.
QuantumScape partners with Volkswagen (ETR: VOW3) on the development of advanced solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. In a $700 million deal announced Thursday, QuantumScape will merge with blank-check company Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp (NYSE: KCAC) and thereby get its shares listed on the NYSE.
Neon Pagamentos, a leading Brazilian fintech, has received a Series C investment of $300 million led by General Atlantic. New investors participated in the round, too. These included funds and accounts managed by BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), as well as Vulcan Capital, PayPal Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst. Existing investors Monashees and Flourish Ventures also took part in the funding, while BBVA participated through existing shareholder Propel Venture Partners.
Startup Auctify has developed Specs, special glasses that are fitted with a camera in their frame. The camera is unique because it can figure out what is occupying your attention currently – a laptop, book, or a person. It does this using machine learning. What’s more, the device also records this information and relays it to a connected app. At the end of the day, or anytime, the user can figure out where their time went.
Owl Ventures, the venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, announced Tuesday the close of two funds raising an aggregate of $585 million. The firm’s fourth fund raised $415 million, while its first Opportunity Fund collected $170 million. The new funds will add further muscle to the firm’s already expansive portfolio in global edtech, spanning China, Europe, India and the U.S.
Erasca, whose mission it is to Erase Cancer, announced Monday the completion of a $36 million extension of its Series B round, originally targeted for $200 million. The new investors this time around were Partner Fund Management and OrbiMed. The original $200 million Series B round was led by ARCH Venture Partners and Cormorant Asset Management. New investors at that time included EDBI, Terra Magnum Capital Partners, and Invus.
BITKRAFT Ventures is a venture capital company that invests in companies and start-ups in the fields of games, media, and esports. BITKRAFT is led by Jens Hilgers, the former ESL CEO and G2 Esports chairman. It announced a raise of $ 165 million for its new fund, exceeding the originally targeted amount of $ 125 million.
StartEngine, a securities crowdfunding platform, has helped raise $200 million for entrepreneurs and companies on its platform. The amount covered funding across 53 industries to 439 companies.
Freenome’s multiomics platform detects key biological signals that portend early cancer. The company trained the platform on thousands of cancer-positive blood samples so that it learnt which biomarker patterns signify a cancer’s stage, type and most effective treatment pathways. Early cancer detection is now possible with a routine blood draw. The biotechnology company announced an oversubscribed series C funding round of $ 270 million.
Alternative Investments: SEC Revamps Definition of “Accredited Investor” For Private Capital Markets
The SEC on Wednesday amended its definition of “accredited investor,” a term that drew a line between high-earning, deep-pocketed investors and retail investors for access to often lucrative opportunities in the private capital markets. Also known as “alternative investments,” these markets include, for example, venture capital, hedge funds, private equity, and real estate.
In a ruling Wednesday, the SEC gave the New York Stock Exchange the green light to let companies raise capital through a “Primary Direct Floor Listing” process. Before this decision, private companies could use the direct method to list their shares on the stock exchange but did not themselves receive any of the proceeds from the IPO. That’s because this route allowed existing investors in those companies to sell their shares on the market (“Selling Shareholder Direct Floor Listing”), with no new capital being raised by the company itself.
Verta, a startup founded by MIT CSAIL graduate Manasi Vartak, develops software to help data science teams manage their Machine Learning (ML) models.
“Between the difficulty of managing model versions, rewriting research models for production, and streamlining data ingest, the development and deployment of production-ready models is a frustrating struggle for small and large companies alike,” Verta says on its website. Verta announced Tuesday its Series A funding of $10 million led by Intel Capital with participation from General Catalyst who led the seed round.
ReliaQuest, a global leader in cybersecurity, protects enterprises from security breaches. It announced Tuesday its fundraising of over $300 million in growth financing in a round led by global investment firm KKR. Ten Eleven Ventures and ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy also participated in the round.