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.
Luxury air travel provider Aero launched its inaugural flight between Los Angeles’s Van Nuys Airport and Aspen’s Pitkin County Airport on Thursday. Tickets are $ 990 each way through February. Aero is backed by Uber’s co-founder Garret Camp. Aerospace engineer veteran Uma Subramanian is CEO. The service offers flights without queues, private lounges for boarding, and in-flight social distancing with just 16 seats per aircraft. The start-up raised $ 20 million in Series A funding.
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Palo Alto, CA-based venture firm Sapphire Ventures announced Thursday that it recently closed $1.7 billion across multiple funds, bringing its total assets under management to $5.7 billion. On the other hand, San Francisco-based VC, Top Tier Capital Partners, hauled in $1.2 billion from investors, with its total assets going up to $7.5 billion.
A star-studded lineup supports a new $72M VC Fund eyeing crypto. Private equity stalwart Glenn Hutchins along with son James Hutchins and partner Travis Scher launched the new fund and attracted hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, Raj and Indra Nooyi (the latter being the former CEO of PepsiCo), and James Todd Smith, a.k.a LL Cool J as investors.
Vivino’s community of 50 million wine enthusiasts have pushed annual growth at the online wine marketplace to 100% for the last seven years. With e-commerce sales of alcohol predicted to grow to over $40 billion by 2024, the future is rosy for Vivino. Investors have therefore readily plunked $155 million into the firm’s Series D funding round.
Zetwerk, an Indian startup, aggregates manufacturing services such as fabrication, machining, casting, and forging of machine parts and offers them to enterprises across the world. Its providers are drawn from the SME sector, while buyers are typically EPCs and OEMs. The firm raised $120 million in a Series D round led by existing investors, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Greenoaks Capital. Continuing investors Sequoia Capital and Kae Capital also invested.
UiPath, which makes software to automate business processes, announced Monday its raise of $750 million in a Series F round co-led by Alkeon Capital and Coatue. Altimeter Capital, Dragoneer, IVP, Sequoia, Tiger Global, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., all existing investors, also participated.
Venture Capital: Robert Downey Jr. Launches FootPrint Coalition Ventures At WEF Digital Davos Agenda
Robert Downey Jr., producer, investor, and Iron Man star, launched FootPrint Coalition Ventures (FCV) at the World Economic Forum’s Digital Agenda on Wednesday. FCV comprises two ESG sector funds that will accelerate groundbreaking technologies to tackle the world’s largest environmental challenges.
Nubank, the Brazilian fintech bank that promised to serve the country’s vastly underbanked population has delivered. The bank now has 34 million customers today, and that number is more than three times its 2019 base of 12 million. After the latest G Round funding of $400 million, Nubank is valued at a solid $25 billion.
A lot of money from pandemic related stimulus measures appears to be sloshing around in the system. According to one opinion, some of that is headed for VC funds. TCV, the eminent Silicon Valley VC firm, raised $4 billion for its 11th fund, its biggest yet. GGV announced Thursday that its latest funds attracted investment worth $2.52 billion in its largest-ever raising.
Hong Kong-based, SoftBank-backed Klook, an online travel agency focused on experiences and attractions, has raised $200 million in a Series E round. Led by Aspex Management, the round also featured investment by existing investors, such as Sequoia Capital China, Softbank Vision Fund 1, Matrix Partners China, and Boyu Capital. The company did not disclose its valuation.
Matrix Partners China, an affiliate of Matrix Partners, the U.S. venture capital firm, has raised $1.2 billion for its sixth China fund according to an SEC filing. It is an early-stage investor in Chinese startups in tech, TMT, Internet, mobile and healthcare sectors.
Indian entrepreneur Nikhil Kamath, who achieved fame and fortune by bootstrapping Zerodha, India’s first discount broker, to unicorn status, is setting up a fund for investing in fintechs. Rainmatter, Kamath’s VC arm, is considering the launch of an Alternate Investment Fund that would be open to Gulf investors, and as well invest in startups in that region.
Cape Town-based Aerobotics, a startup that uses AI for the management of orchards, yield, pest and disease, and problem tree identification, raised $17 million. The oversubscribed Series B round was led by VC giant Naspers with participation from Platform Investment Partners, FMO: Entrepreneurial Development Bank, and Cathay AfricInvest Innovation.
In one stroke, Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ: MARA), a crypto mining company, has pivoted to become a listed, pure-play option for investors seeking a proxy investment for bitcoin. The company announced today that it had bought 4,812.66 BTC at an aggregate purchase price of $150 million through NYDIG, the bitcoin-dedicated, financial and technology services company.
TripActions, a cloud-based solution for business travel and expense management utilized by 4,000 companies across the globe, announced Thursday its Series E funding of $155 million. The round was co-led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz; Addition, founded by Lee Fixel; and investor Elad Gil. Existing investors Zeev Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Greenoaks Capital also participated.
iSTOX, a digital securities platform announced today that it closed a Series A round of $50 million that included commitments from two new government-backed investors from Japan. The company will use the money to expand its operations across the globe and to broaden the scope of its investment offerings.
Electric truck maker Rivian, which is backed by Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Ford (NYSE: F), announced it has received funding of $2.65 billion. The company, which is starting production this summer, said funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. led the round. Fidelity Management and Research Company, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue, and D1 Capital Partners as well as several other existing and new investors also took part.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) is a venture capital firm that invests in cleantech. The term describes companies (or technologies) that aim to improve environmental sustainability including the negative impact of conventional technologies such as coal-fired power. It was established in 2015 by Bill Gates and a coalition of private investors concerned about climate change. The firm has just raised $1 billion (its second raise of that amount) from unnamed investors.
A consortium of investors including India’s Bharti Global and the UK government acquired OneWeb in bankruptcy proceedings. The latest investment, comprising $350 million from SoftBank (TYO:9984) and Echostar (NASDAQ: SATS) owned Hughes Network Systems, will allow OneWeb to continue the deployment of its initial 648-satellite constellation.
According to an exclusive report by TechCrunch, Tiger Global Management is raising its thirteenth venture fund. The $3.75 billion fund is named Tiger Private Investment Partners XIV, however. TechCrunch cited the firm’s recent investor letter, though a Tiger spokesperson did not comment.
Venture capitalists were generous this week, investing $300 million amounts in as many as five startups across multiple geographies. The largesse flowed to Grab Financial, Blend, MX, WeRide, and Rapyd.
Cockroach Labs, which offers CockroachDB, the leading cloud-native distributed SQL database, says it more than doubled revenues and customers over the past year after the events of 2020 forced businesses to digitize and move to the cloud. Investors poured $160 million into the company’s Series E round, valuing it at an impressive $2 billion.
Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced Monday its launch of a new fintech startup to be created jointly with Ribbit Capital, the investment firm whose mantra is innovation in financial services. Ribbit is a backer of renowned fintechs such as Robinhood, Credit Karma, and Affirm. The new venture will deliver tech-driven financial experiences tailored to Walmart’s customers and associates.
Orange Ventures is among the top ten corporate venture capital funds in Europe. Orange, (EPA: ORA) the French telecom giant, has hived off Orange Ventures, its venture capital business, into a separate new entity and allocated it €350 million. It also decided to hand over the management of its Orange Digital Ventures initiative launched in…