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.
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.
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Yesterday we wrote about Heyday and its raise of $175 million within four months of founding. A new fad appears to be catching on, and that is to buy and scale-up Amazon FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) businesses. On Thursday, Berlin-based SellerX, another startup with this business model, secured €100 million of seed round financing.
Heyday, the platform which provides e-commerce sellers with technology, tools, and resources to build brands, emerged from stealth and raised $ 175 million. Investors included General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Arbor Ventures, and executives from Amazon, eBay, PayPal, and Magento. Sebastian Rymarz and Adam Gerchen founded Heyday in August.
Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK), a company that makes software for the engineering and design industries, has acquired Spacemaker, a startup developing cloud-based AI software, empowering users to collaborate, analyze and design real estate sites, and urban planners to envision cities.
AliveCor’s AI-based products provide personal cardiological services. Its FDA-approved KardiaMobile device instantly detects heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, tachycardia, and normal heart rhythm in an ECG. The company’s Kardia platform is AI-enabled and helps in the early detection of atrial fibrillation, which is very highly likely to cause a stroke.
Glint Pay, a currency fintech that encourages people to ‘buy, sell, spend and share’ their physical gold through its app, announced Friday its fundraise of an additional £2.5 million. Of this amount, the startup received £1.25 million as a private investment, with a matching amount contributed by the U.K. Government’s Future Fund.
C3.ai, the software company launched by former Oracle executive Tom Siebel, filed papers for an IPO sized $100 million. The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AI. Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) acquired Israeli voice assistant solutions startup Voca.ai for about $70 million.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, “Resilience,” took off from Florida on Sunday on its Crew-1 mission to transport NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the International Space Station.
Menlo Security, which is based in Mountain View, California, announced its fundraising of $ 100 million led by Vista Equity Partners. Neuberger Berman, General Catalyst, JP Morgan, and other existing investors also participated in the Series E round. The round valued it at $800 million.
SentinelOne announced Wednesday its Series F raise of $267 million in a round led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from Sequoia Capital Global Equities and existing investors including Insight Partners and Third Point Ventures. The same day, Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) announced its agreement to acquire Expanse Inc for approximately $ 800 million.
Carbon Health, the high technology healthcare company that provides both virtual and in-clinic care to patients, announced Tuesday its raise of $100 million. The Series C funding round was led by Dragoneer Investment Group and saw participation by existing backers Brookfield Technology Partners, DCVC, and Builders VC.
Nuro, a four-year-old start-up that is developing self-driving delivery robots, has several firsts to its credit. Earlier this year, it’s R2 robot became the first autonomous vehicle to be approved by the US Department of Transportation. It then became the second autonomous vehicle to be awarded a driverless testing permit in California. Lastly, Nuro has the distinction to be testing R2 for the past few months in the three different states of California, Texas, and Arizona. It announced Monday its new $ 500 million Series C funding round.
Pony.ai, a Chinese company that is testing its autonomous driving technology in California and China, has nabbed $267 million in its latest fundraising, bringing its cumulative financing to over $1 billion. The round saw participation by existing investors Fidelity China Special Situations PLC, 5Y Capital (formerly Morningside Venture Capital), ClearVue Partners, and Eight Roads. Interestingly, the Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP), a fund from the stable of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, led the round.
Udacity, the online education provider famous for its ‘Nanodegrees,’ has arranged a debt facility worth $ 75 million with Hercules Capital (NYSE: HTGC) to continue its growth momentum after turning profitable.
NotCo is a Latin American foodtech startup that uses artificial intelligence in the formulation of its plant-based milk NotMilk. Backed by VCs such as Bezos Expeditions, Maya Capital, Indie Bio, Humboldt, and L Catterton, the company has launched NotMilk at Whole Foods Markets across the U.S.
Clarity AI is a fintech whose proprietary technology platform enables investors to understand the social and environmental impact of their portfolios. It is, therefore, a useful tool in the current times when ESG is front-of-mind for both retail and institutional investors.
10D, the Israeli venture capital firm previously known as Ofek Ventures, led by Itay Rand, Rotem Eldar, and Yahal Zilka (pictured above L-R), announced Wednesday its raise of over $ 110 million. The fund intends to invest the money in start-ups that are a disruptive force through the use of deep technologies, new business models, or exceptional entrepreneurial capabilities.
REEF Technology, which operates North America’s largest parking network, said in a Facebook post on March 28 that it was working to transform its network of 5,000 parking locations into testing sites, delivery hubs for essential goods & services, and much more in the fight against COVID-19. Fast forward to November, and REEF’s business pivot to these “neighborhood hubs” has landed it $700 million in funds.
Conductor, the Brazilian startup that has become the leading payments & banking as a service (BaaS) platform in Latin America, announced Monday its raise of $150 million. The funding was led by Viking Global Investors , with additional participation from investors such as Sunley House Capital Management, an affiliate of Advent International.
Nestle USA, which is ultimately owned by Nestle SA (SWX: NESN), on Friday, signed and closed its acquisition of Freshly, a startup that provides healthy, freshly prepared, and chef-cooked meals that are heat-and-eat in three minutes or less. Freshly’s pioneering direct-to-consumer service is subscription-based in the range of $45.96 to $101.88 per week. Nestle will pay $ 950 million for the purchase, and potentially another $550 million depending upon Freshly’s growth in the future.
London-based Air Street Capital announced Friday its close of a $17 million fund to back early-stage “AI-native” startups. The venture firm positions itself too as an AI-native investor – because “generalism is dead” and its team of Operating Partners combines AI expertise with deep sector-specific knowledge.
Benson Hill, an agtech startup based in St. Louis, announced Thursday its close of a $150 million Series D round led by Wheatsheaf and GV (formerly Google Ventures). It uses biotechnology and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops.
CrowdProperty, a leading crowdfunder/lender to the U.K. SME property sector, has lent over £100 million to development professionals. The funding had a beneficial impact on the UK economy because it catalyzed an expenditure of over £ 80 million on construction-related labor, materials, and services. Notably, all of the funded projects have been fully repaid, with platform investors earning, on average, 8% per annum.
Leading mobile games and interactive entertainment company Scopely raised $340 million in a Series E round within a year of its previous $200 million funding. The company, which boasts of blockbuster games such as Star Trek Fleet Command, Marvel Strike Force, and WWE Champions, “seized the play,” garnering a whopper of a valuation of $3.3 billion. That valuation is twice what it was a year ago.