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.
Supervest calls it a new asset class. Merchant cash advances (MCA) are a form of short-term financing for merchants in the form of a sales agreement in which capital is exchanged for a proportion of future sales. Typically, an MCA is availed by small businesses or startups that need to receive a large amount of money quickly with minimal strings attached. Supervest is a platform where accredited investors and individuals can invest in the high-yielding MCA space.
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Locus Robotics, which provides robotic solutions for automating warehouses, raised $150 million in a Series E round led by Tiger Global Management and BOND. Scale Venture Partners and Prologis Ventures, the venture capital arm of Prologis, the global logistics real estate company, also participated. The round valued Locus at $1 billion, granting the startup the coveted unicorn status.
Stripe, the payments processing company that Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison founded in 2010, has tripled its valuation in the space of the last 10 months. A Forbes report said transactions in the secondary market of the private fintech giant’s shares now value it at $115 billion, more than 3X the $36 billion valuation it garnered in an April 2020 funding raise.
Adjuvant Capital, which finances cures for “high-burden and neglected diseases,” announced today its raise of an oversubscribed $300 million fund from big names in pharma and philanthropy. Diseases such as malaria, shigella, hookworm, tuberculosis, and Lassa fever affect millions of people in the poorer countries.
Eavor Technologies leverages deep drilling expertise from the oil industry to construct a looped well that harvests geothermal energy from deep below the earth. The technology has drawn a $40 million investment, including from Big Oil companies such as the venture arms of BP (LON: BP) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX).
Executives of Figures Technologies, the mortgage blockchain startup launched by ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney, have filed for a SPAC that will raise $250 million. Figure Acquisition Corp I, as it is called, is an affiliate of Figure Technologies and has real estate specialist Elliot Management on board as an investor.
Reinvent Technology Partners (NYSE: RTP), the blank check company (or, SPAC) helmed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and tech entrepreneur Mark Pincus may acquire Joby Aviation, a company developing the next-generation, electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) flying air taxis.
Indian B2B lender and financial services company BharatPe announced today its raise of $108 million in a Series D equity round at a valuation of $900 million. The amount comprised a primary raising of $90 million and a secondary exit for certain angel investors and employees of $18 million. Existing investor Coatue Management led the round. Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo, and Sequoia Capital, other existing investors, also chipped in.
Thrasio, which claims to be “the fastest profitable U.S. company to ever reach a $1 billion valuation,” announced Tuesday its equity fundraise of another $750 million received almost entirely from existing investors including Oaktree and Advent. The company said the money will further boost its acquisitions of FBA (“Fulfilled By Amazon”) sellers on the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) marketplace.
Venture Capital: Brand New VC Firm Panoramic Ventures To Focus On Diversity And Under-Funded Regions
Panoramic Ventures is a new Atlanta-based VC firm. It is a partnership between Paul Judge, a black serial entrepreneur and investor, and BIP Capital. The latter has more than $550 million in assets under management. While announcing its formation, Panoramic also flagged off a new $300 million fund targeted at founders from under-capitalized communities and startups located in the south-west and mid-west regions of America.
Reddit announced in a blog on Monday that it nabbed $250 million in Series E funding from existing and new investors. The Wall Street Journal said the round, led by Vy Capital, valued Reddit at $6 billion. That’s twice the valuation of $3 billion after its previous funding round in February 2019. Andreesen Horowitz and Tencent Holdings are also investors in the platform.
Pony.AI, a Chinese head-quartered autonomous driving startup, announced on February 8 its additional raise of $100 million in Series C. In November, the company had picked up $267 million in that Series, and in the process, earned itself a valuation tag of $5.3 billion.
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.