Discover more from Sourcery
Macro, AI, LA Hardtech Factory Tours ☀️ Cardata, Stampli, Clearco, Loop, Headway, Diana Health, Blackbird Labs, Anduril, Electric Hydrogen, Stoke Space, Mach Industries, Machina Labs, Castelion
Keeping this short
There’s a lot going on right now so we’re just going to supply some links to musings.
Q3 2023 - State of Venture Update, Alexander Kolicich of 8VC
“Return to the old normal” fundraising market, public software multiples, equity risk premium (ERP), inflation, & of course, AI
OpenAI CEO on Artificial Intelligence Changing Society, Joe Rogan Experience
Where are all of the ambitious young founders & scientists? Why has society become so mean? + the impact of sharing on the internet & creating more positivity in the world
Anthropic CEO on Leaving OpenAI and Predictions for Future of AI, Logan Bartlett
Why is it so hard for enterprises to adopt AI? + data wars, big vs. small LLMs, finetuning, open source AI, benchmarks are BS, & why Ali isn’t afraid of today’s AI
Decentralized Data and AI Workloads with Hammerspace CEO David Flynn, FYI by ARK Invest
From unveiling the shortcomings of platforms like Amazon's S3 to pioneering the concept of data orchestration, David takes us on a macro journey through the frontier of data technology
Does SF still offer asymmetric opportunity? + product/GTM timing, markets, narrative violations, AI, & Angel investing lessons
. . .
Last Week (10/2-10/6):
Relevant deals include the 60+ deals across stages below.
I've categorized the deals below into five categories, FinTech, Care, Enterprise & Consumer, HardTech, and Sustainability, and ordered from later-stage rounds to early-stage rounds. Highlighted deals include Cardata, Stampli, Clearco, Loop, Frec, Stitch, Reserv, Mantle, Grow Credit, Headway, Diana Health, Atalan Tech, Prophetic, SuperOrdinary, Pulumi, Blackbird Labs, Saleo, Nextdata, Gradient, Humata AI, ClearFeed, Vera, Induced AI, Centro, Anduril, Electric Hydrogen, Stoke Space, Mach Industries, Machina Labs, Castelion, Sensigo, KittyCAD, Amperon, Kinetic Automation, Cove, Muir AI, Helios; Metropolis/SP Plus, Tenable/Ermetic
Final numbers on STEM subjects catching up at the bottom.
- Cardata, a Toronto, Canada-based platform that creates reimbursement plans for employees that use their personal cars, raised $100 million in funding. Wavecrest Growth Partners led the round and was joined by MassMutual Ventures.
- Stampli, a Mountain View, Calif.-based platform for accounts payable communication, documentation, and workflow, raised $61 million in Series D funding. Blackstone led the round and was joined by Insight Partners, SignalFire, and Bloomberg Beta.
- Clearco, a Toronto-based revenue-based financing provider, raised $60m in Series D funding in a combination of equity and debt-equity swap at a valuation below $1b led by Inovia Capital and Founders Circle Capital. https://axios.link/48Cl4UR
- Loop, a Chicago, Ill.-based AI-powered company that automates audits and payments for logistics companies, raised $35 million in Series B funding from J.P. Morgan Growth Equity Partners and Index Ventures.
- Frec, a San Francisco-based platform designed to provide personal investors with access to tools, like direct indexing, raised $26.4 million in total seed and Series A funding. Greylock led the round and was joined by Social Leverage and others.
- Stitch, a Cape Town, South Africa-based online payments platform for businesses, raised $25 million in a Series A extension. Ribbit Capital led the round and was joined by existing investors PayPal Ventures, The Raba Partnership, and CRE Venture Capital.
- Reserv, a New York City-based platform designed to use AI to process insurance claims, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Altai Ventures and Bain Capital Ventures led the round and were joined by 8VC, Outpost Ventures, Convex Group, AXIS Capital, Anthemis Ventures, and Arch Capital Group.
- Apron, a London, U.K.-based payments platform designed to help small businesses pay and process their invoices, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led the round and was joined by Bessemer Venture Partners and Visionaries Club.
- Rainforest, a Georgia-based embedded payments platform for software companies, has raised $11.75M in Seed funding led by Accel, with participation from Infinity Ventures, BoxGroup and others. The round includes a $3.25 million venture debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a division of First Citizens Bank.
- Mantle, a Toronto, Canada-based platform that uses AI for fundraising management, equity, data, and forecasting, raised $10.5 million in seed funding from Eniac, Craft Ventures, Vaynerfund, Sierra Ventures, Leaders Fund, and angel investors.
- Grow Credit, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based credit-building startup, raised $10m in Series A funding led by USAA. www.growcredit.com
- RQD* Clearing, a New York City-based clearing platform that helps financial traders manage transactions from the time they are agreed upon until the time they are settled, raised $10 million in Series A funding from Nyca Partners and ABN Amro.
. . .
- Headway, a New York-based behavioral therapist network, raised $125m in Series C funding at a $1b valuation led by Spark Capital, with Thrive Capital, Accel, Andreessen Horowitz and Health Care Service Corp. also participating. https://axios.link/48REpl8
- Diana Health, a New York City-based healthcare network that connects women with OBGYN doctors and other care providers, raised $34 million in Series B funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round and were joined by .406 Ventures, LRVHealth, and AlleyCorp.
- Holmusk, a behavioral health real-world evidence company, raised $30m from health care data firm Veradigm (Nasdaq: MDRX). www.holmusk.com
- Connections Health Solutions, a Phoenix-based behavioral health crisis care provider, raised $28m in Series B funding led by Town Hall Ventures, with Heritage Group also participating, per Axios Pro. https://axios.link/3F5Oo8Q
- CoPilot, a Pittsburgh-based remote fitness coach startup, raised $6.5m in additional Series A funding led by Jackson Square Ventures, with TenOneTen Ventures, Hyde Park Ventures, Maven Ventures, Alpha Edison, and Rise of the Rest also participating. https://axios.link/3PG5jnb
- SpecCheck, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based optical care network and billing platform, raised $3.7 million in seed funding. Initialized Capital led the round and was joined by Y Combinator.
- Atalan Tech, a Boston-based clinician burnout and turnover predictions startup, raised $2.5m in seed funding led by Excelerate Health Ventures and OCA Ventures, with angel investors also participating, per Axios Pro. https://axios.link/46yS4LR
- Prophetic, a New York City-based startup building a device to induce and stabilize lucid dreams, raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding. BoxGroup led the round and was joined by O’Shaughnessy Ventures, a16z’s Scout Fund, Spacecadet, Tekin Salimi, and others.
. . .
Enterprise & Consumer:
- SuperOrdinary, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based consulting company that helps brands scale and connects them with influencers, raised $58 million in Series B funding from Manzanita, Puig, Demira Gate, Upper90, and Julian Reis.
- Pulumi, a Seattle, Wash.-based platform designed for computer engineers to build online infrastructure with any programming language, raised $41 million in Series C funding. Madrona led the round and was joined by NEA, Tola Capital, and Strike Capital.
- Transfr, a New York City-based startup creating virtual reality technology for employee training, raised $40 million in Series C funding. ABS Capital led the round and was joined by JPMorgan Chase Impact Finance, Advisory, Lumos Capital Group, Akkadian Ventures, Spring Tide Capital, Firework Ventures, and Album.
- Blackbird Labs, a New York City-based company that creates loyalty and membership programs for restaurants, raised $24 million in Series A funding. a16z led the round and was joined by Amex Ventures, Bolt, Union Square Ventures, Shine, Variant, and others.
- Kafene, a New York City-based platform for leasing furniture, appliances, and technology, raised $12.6 million in a Series B extension. Third Prime led the round and was joined by existing investors.
- Saleo, an Atlanta, Ga.-based product demonstration platform for sales teams, raised $12 million in funding from Emergence Capital and Tech Square Ventures.
- Opsera, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based platform designed to help software developers improve product quality, raised $12 million in a Series A extension. Taiwania Capital led the round and was joined by existing investors Felicis Ventures, Clear Ventures, and others.
- Nextdata, a Cupertino, Calif.-based company building an AI platform to decentralize data analysis and data sharing, raised $12million in seed funding. Greycroft and Acrew Capital led the round and were joined by others.
- Gradient, a Burlingame, Calif.-based API platform for developers using LLMs, raised $10m. Wing VC led, and was joined by Mango Capital, Tokyo Black, The New Normal Fund, Secure Octane and Global Founders Capital. https://axios.link/3Q6DAgE
- Lex, an LGBTQIA+ social app, raised $5.6m in seed funding. Stellation Capital led, and was joined by Slauson & Co, Hope Lab Ventures, Best Nights VC, Great Oaks, Graph Ventures, Female Founders Fund, Alpaca Ventures, Red Swan and Gaingels. https://axios.link/45jl3SK
- Konnect.ai, a Houston, Texas-based AI-powered customer service platform for automotive dealerships, raised $5.5 million in seed funding from Silverton Partners.
- Class Companion, a San Francisco-based virtual classroom platform, raised $4 million in seed funding. Index Ventures led the round and was joined by OpenAI Startup Fund and angel investors.
- Humata AI, an Austin, Texas-based AI platform designed to simplify complex research publications, has raised $3.5M in seed funding from Gradient Ventures, ARK Invest, M13, and others.
- ClearFeed, a Beaverton, Ore.-based platform that aggregates employee and customer requests on Slack and Microsoft Teams, raised $2.7 million in seed funding. Surge led the round and was joined by 8VC and angel investors.
- Vera, a NY and SF-based generative AI safety startup, raised $2.7m in pre-seed funding led by Differential Venture Partners, with Betaworks, Greycroft, and Everywhere VC also participating. www.askvera.io
- Induced AI, an Indian enterprise workflow automation startup, raised $2.3m in seed funding from Sam Altman, Peak XV, and AI Grant. https://axios.link/3PzRir6
- Centro, a Toronto, Canada-based startup designed to autonomously monitor inventory, raised $2 million in pre-seed funding. Ripple Ventures and 2048VC led the round and were joined by Valia Ventures and Comma Capital.
. . .
- Anduril Industries, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based defense tech company, is in talks to raise $400m-$500m in funding potentially via convertible note at a valuation of about $10b, per Bloomberg. https://axios.link/46b1366
- Electric Hydrogen, a San Carlos, Calif.-based company that manufactures equipment needed to produce low cost green hydrogen, raised $380 million in Series C funding. Fortescue, Fifth Wall, and Energy Impact Partners led the round and were joined by bp Ventures, Oman Investment Authority, Temasek, Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, and others.
- Stoke Space, a Reston, Va.-based maker of reusable rockets, raised $100m. Industrious Ventures led, and was joined by University of Michigan, Sparta Group, Long Journey and insiders Breakthrough Energy, YC, Point72 Ventures, NFX, MaC Ventures, Toyota Ventures and In-Q-Tel. https://axios.link/3ZR6q8b
- Mach Industries, an Austin, Texas-based defense tech startup, raised $79m in Series A funding led by Bedrock Capital at a $335 million post-money valuation. https://axios.link/45itCNG
- Machina Labs, a Chatsworth, Calif.-based manufacturing robotics startup, raised $32m in Series B funding co-led by Nvidia's VC arm and Innovation Endeavors. https://axios.link/3Q6CIZM
- Castelion, a Washington, D.C.-based defense hardware startup, raised $14.2m. Andreessen Horowitz and Lavrock Ventures co-led, and were joined by First In, BlueYard Capital and Champion Hill Ventures.
- Bonsai Robotics, a San Jose, Calif.-based company designing farming vehicles that can autonomously traverse difficult terrain, raised $13.5 million in seed funding. Acre Venture Partners led the round and was joined by E14, Congruent, Serra Ventures, Fall Line Capital, SNR Ventures, Andros, and angel investors.
- Peak Energy, a Denver, Colo.-based energy storage company, raised $10 million in funding. Eclipse led the round and were joined by TDK Ventures.
- Sensigo, a San Carlos, Calif.-based AI-powered platform designed to predict part failures, recommend replacements, and procure new parts for automotive repairs, raised $5 million in seed funding from UP.Ventures.
- KittyCAD, a San Francisco-based programmable CAD software startup, raised $5m in seed funding led by Venrex Partners, with USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Gaingels, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Terrell, Undeterred Capital, Liquid 2, Tom Preston-Werner's Family Office, Madrona Venture Group, Bernie Lagrange and Nat Friedman also participating. www.kittycad.io
. . .
- Amperon, a Houston, Texas-based data analytics platform designed to help power grid operators decarbonize their grids, plan for power demand, and optimize energy use, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Energize Capital led the round and was joined by HSBC Asset Management and others.
- Vibrant Planet, a Truckee, Calif.-based wildfire prediction and mitigation startup, raised $15m in Series A funding led by the Ecosystem Integrity Fund, with Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund, Citi Ventures, Day One Ventures, SIG Climate and Globivest also participating. https://axios.link/48CwsQt
- Electric Era Technologies, a Seattle, Wash.-based developer of EV charging stations, raised $13 million in Series A funding. HSBC Asset Management led the round and was joined by SQM Lithium Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, Proeza Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures.
- Osmoses, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that purifies gas for low-carbon energy production, raised $11 million in seed funding. Energy Capital Ventures led the round and was joined by Engine Ventures, Fine Structure Ventures, New Climate Ventures, and others.
- Kinetic Automation, a Santa Ana, Califo.-based electric vehicle service center network, raised $10m in Series A funding led by Lux Capital and Construct Capital, with Haystack Ventures, Automotive Ventures, Shakti Ventures, Qasar Younis, Rick Wagoner, and Gokul Rajaram also participating. https://axios.link/48E3kIF
- Cove, a Los Angeles-based sustainable packing startup, raised $6.6m in additional Series A funding led by Valor Siren Ventures, with Lupa Systems, Litani Ventures and celebrities also participating. https://axios.link/45ibYJO
- Muir AI, a Seattle, Wash.-based that uses AI to track emissions data and provide sustainability insights for companies, raised $3.25 million in seed funding. Base10 Partners led the round and was joined by Madrona Venture Labs, Soma Capital, and others.
- Helios, a Tysons, Va.-based platform designed to predict and mitigate risk in the agricultural supply chain, raised $1.85 million in pre-seed funding. Supply Change Capital led the round and was joined by January Ventures.
Acquisitions & PE:
- Metropolis Technologies, backed by Eldridge, agreed to take SP Plus Corporation, a Chicago, Ill.-based parking management, transportation management, and event logistics provider, private for approximately $1.5 billion.
- Tenable (Nasdaq: TENB) completed its acquisition of Ermetic, an Israeli cloud infrastructure entitlement manager, for upwards of $265m (including $240m in cash). Ermetic had raised over $80m from firms like Accel, Qumra Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Target Global, Accel, Forgepoint Capital, Glilot Capital Partners and Splunk Ventures. www.ermetic.com
- Vista Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in TRG Screen, a New York City-based software company that analyzes how much company’s spend on market data, research, software licenses, and other corporate subscriptions, from Pamlico Capital. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Tiny, a Canadian tech investment and holding company, paid $50m for a a 60% stake in Letterboxd, a social film discussion and discovery platform. https://axios.link/3EXidIq
. . .
- Blackberry is planning to take public its IoT division next year. https://axios.link/3RLWf2Q
. . .
- IronNet, a McLean, Va.-based cybersecurity platform, has shut down. The company went public via SPAC in mid-2021, after securing a PPP loan and raising over $150m in VC funding from firms like C5 Capital, ForgePoint Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Trident Capital. https://axios.link/3RMfysH
- Brookfield raised $12b for its sixth flagship private equity fund. https://axios.link/465Eujf
- Greylock, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture firm, raised $1b for its 17th flagship fund, focusing on pre-seed, seed, and Series A startups in enterprise and consumer software. https://axios.link/3PHYuSb
- Section 32, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm, raised $525 million for its fifth fund focused on AI-powered companies in the software, cybersecurity, data infrastructure, gaming, fintech, precision medicine, and computational biology industries.
- Thrive Capital, a New York-based venture firm, raised about $304m for its eighth growth fund, per an SEC filing. https://axios.link/3PKHryQ
- At One Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, raised $375 million in its second fund focused on eco-friendly companies in construction, energy, transport, agriculture, and food.
- Viewpoint, a New York-based venture firm, raised $150m for inaugural first fund to invest in insurance tech startups. www.viewpoint.vc
- Visa (NYSE: V) announced a $100m corporate VC allocation aimed at generative AI startups. Because why not? https://axios.link/46CRhcV
Man vs. machine
The rise of computer science as a subject is particularly interesting. The oft-repeated “learn to code” mantra likely rings loud in the ears of the 49% of arts and humanities majors who wish they’d studied in a different field, per the most recent Economic Wellbeing of US Households survey. Things might be starting to change, though, as the development of coding bots and generative AI threatens, ironically, computer science’s status as a “safe major”.
Interestingly, advocates of the humanities have been pointing to the burgeoning world of artificial intelligence as evidence of the importance of attributes that students can hone in humanities classes — like situational awareness and developing a personal voice — or “distinctly human skills”, in comparison to coding, as a New York Times writer posited recently.
The material presented on Molly O’Shea’s website are my opinions only and are provided for informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice. It is not a recommendation of, or an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy, any particular security, strategy, or investment product. Any analysis or discussion of investments, sectors or the market generally are based on current information, including from public sources, that I consider reliable, but I do not represent that any research or the information provided is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied on as such. My views and opinions expressed in any website content are current at the time of publication and are subject to change. Past performance is not indicative of future results.