Discover more from Sourcery
OpenAI DevDay, Wozempic, Fred Again.. ☀️ Next Insurance, Charlie, EarlyBird, Covera Health, FusionAuth, Chainguard, Guidde, WraithWatch, P0 Security, Treads, Agentio, Freeplay, Shield AI, Samara
Wow, that happened fast.
To take a brief break from all this AI tech hype.. we’re going to go on both a fibrous & a cultural journey.. & then we’ll get into AI. Feel free to skip ahead (if you’re boring).
After 2 years of living in LA I can proudly say that I’ve officially become an influencer. A tweet of mine about Supergut’s prebiotic fiber bar kind of took off as an Ad for them & it’s now all over IG converting into sales. They then reached out & graciously hand delivered an entire box of product over to me (even included the All-In Summit limited edition “Wozempic” pack - right photo).
(PS I didn’t know about this, I found out after everyone I know has DM’d me the post over the past couple of days - it blew up)
FWIW their bars are delicious & also clinically proven to trigger GLP-1 hormone to reduce hunger - similar to that seemingly ‘magic drug’ called Ozempic (but without side effects). Can confirm their bars work, & I’ve also used their fiber mix to make my morning matcha a bit frothier (secret hack). Happy to help, great products. 😊
Use code: MOLLY for 30% off at Supergut.com
Again Again Again..
Second, an artist near and dear to our heart, Fred Again.. took LA by storm last week as he wrapped up his tour with 8 straight nights playing at The Shrine on USC’s campus. 8 nights! It actually went so well that he tacked on an encore show on Friday to make it 9! Demand was there, & he raked it in. The set was beautiful & engaging, with colorful lights (& twinkly ones!), large screens (one wrapping the ceiling connecting stages), and two stages to play from: the main stage & then a boiler room-esque DJ set up in the middle of the crowd.
If you don’t know Fred Again.. you’re definitely late to the game, but luckily, I’ve written about him 2x over the past two years after seeing him go from the newbie stage at Coachella 2022, all the way to the Main Stage in 2023. He also has a great NPR Tiny Desk performance. Some of his best songs are: Marea (We Lost Dancing) 264M plays ← this one broke out, Danielle (smile on my face), Delilah (pull me out of this), Kyle (I found you).. and of course the new stuff: ten, Jungle, and Baby Again (also a big fan of Lil Baby). If you want to listen to it all: here’s a spotify playlist.
Between him & Baby Keem 17.2M/mo listeners (which Fred Again.. debuted a new song during the show), they might be two of the greatest artists to break out of COVID. Fred Again.. stands out unlike any other artist in a while because his songs are diary-like compilations of personal stories & real world features like clips from videos he’s taken or discovered, thus naming his album “Actual Life.” Unlike most DJs, he actually plays instruments, sings, boops, beeps, picks features, loops them in, adds some kick, & boom, it’s a hit. He’s also just extremely talented.
Anyways, back to the AI..
OpenAI DevDay Recap: OpenAI just obliterated every ‘AI for X’ startup out there
Surprising? Not really. TLDR: as Matt Turck of FirstMark so eloquently put it:
Check out the full DevDay breakdown
Beyond the powerful technical & commercial updates, the marketplace is particularly exciting from a long term growth perspective. If it works.. there’s so much to generate. And if X is any indication, many actually walked away from DevDay very energized to go build. Things are about to get even more competitive.
xAI, Elon Musk’s new company, claims to have built a powerful language model with cutting-edge performance in just two months
Scale AI founder Alexandr Wang: 26-Year-Old Billionaire Powering the AI Industry, Logan Bartlett Show
Alexandr Wang dropped out of college to found Scale AI at 19, and he has since scaled it into one of the most important companies in the world of artificial intelligence today ($7B)
“The Chinese military has been spending between roughly 1-2% of their budget on on AI technologies. And then in that same time period, the U. S. DoD has been spending 0.1-0.2% [00:46:00] of our budget on on AI technologies.”
No Sign of Re-Acceleration in Software, Jamin Ball
Chamath is finally becoming a content creator & also might want to buy WeWork..
Firm struggled to recover from pandemic, failed 2019 IPO
Filing lists assets, liabilities in $10b to $50b range
Recognizing constants that never change, Morgan Housel offers insights on managing risk, seizing opportunities, & living well by understanding these unchanging principles. By focusing on what remains true over time, we can anticipate major developments & achieve success in various aspects of life, not just financial well-being.
Listen → The SECRET to lifelong happiness: Morgan Housel, mbg Podcast
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Last Week (10/30-11/3):
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 Next Insurance, Funnel, Charlie, EarlyBird, Covera Health, Jona, Kara, FusionAuth, Chainguard, ORO Labs, Guidde, WraithWatch, P0 Security, Treads, Agentio, Freeplay, Trips, Shield AI, Samara, Matic, Brickeye, GreenLite, Cedar, Infintum, MangoBoost; Palo Alto Networks/Dig, UPS/Happy Returns, HubSpot/Clearbit, PagerDuty/Jeli, Meter/Interval
Final numbers on NFT marketplace OpenSea has dried up at the bottom.
- NEXT Insurance, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based small business insurer, raised $265m from Allstate and Allianz X. www.nextinsurance.com
- Funnel, a platform offering automation services to renters, property managers, and other teams, raised $32 million in a Series B extension. RET Ventures led the round and was joined by Trinity Ventures and others.
- Charlie, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based banking services provider for retirees, raised $23 million in Series A funding. TTV Capital led the round and was joined by FPV and others.
- Payroll Integrations, a San Diego-based benefit automation provider, raised $20 million in Series A funding from Arthur Ventures.
- Accelex, a London-based provider of AI automation for private markets data, raised $15m in Series A funding. FactSet led, and was joined by Illuminate Financial, AlbionVC, SixThirty Ventures and Expon Capital. www.acelextech.com
- Layr, an Atlanta, Ga.-based platform designed to automate aspects of the insurance process for brokers and small businesses, raised $10 million in new funding. Cota Capital led the round and was joined by The K Funds, HCSM Ventures, Sandbox Industries, and Flyover Capital.
- EarlyBird, a Chicago-based investment gifting app, raised $4.5m in new seed funding from Ideo Ventures, 776 Ventures, Fiat Ventures, RareBreed Ventures, ResilienceVC, Sweater Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Wintrust Bank, Lightspeed Scout Program and Parallel. https://axios.link/46Z2sgv
- Boundless Rider Insurance Agency, a Medford, Mass.-based insurance provider for motorcycle riders, raised $4.3 million in new funding. American Family Ventures led the round and was joined by Assurity Life Insurance Company and Belmont Capital.
. . .
- Covera Health, a New York City-based company using AI to analyze and improve radiology readings, raised $25 million in Series C funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by others.
- Jona, a Stamford, Conn.-based startup that uses AI to analyze gut microbiomes, raised $5m in first-round funding co-led by Breyer Capital and Meridian Street Capital. https://axios.link/3QFpKCp
- Sober Sidekick, a Bentonville, Ark.-based peer support platform for people who struggle with addiction, raised $2 million in seed funding. The American Heart Association and Ikigai Growth Partners led the round and were joined by Nina Capital.
. . .
Enterprise & Consumer:
- Kasa Living, a San Francisco-based hospitality platform that connects travelers with apartments, hotels, and homes, raised $70 million in Series C funding. Citi Ventures and FirstMark Capital led the round and were joined by New York Life Ventures, Fireside Ventures, and others.
- FusionAuth, a Denver, Colo.-based customer authentication and authorization platform, raised $65 million in funding from Updata Partners.
- Chainguard, a Kirland, Wash.-based provider of supply chain security software, raised $61 million in Series B funding. Spark Capital led the round and was joined by existing investors Sequoia Capital, Amplify Partners, and others.
- Graylog, a Houston, Texas-based cybersecurity and IT operations provider, raised $39 million in new funding from Silver Lake Waterman, Piper Sandler Merchant Banking, and Harbert Growth Partners.
- ORO Labs, a San Francisco, Calif.-based platform designed to streamline procurement, the acquisition of goods and services to execute tasks, across different systems, raised $34 million in Series B funding. Felicis led the round and was joined by existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, B Capital, and XYZ Venture Capital.
- Vespa.ai, a Trondheim, Norway-based AI-integrated search engine and data management platform, raised $31 million in Series A funding from Blossom Capital.
- Xage Security, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based cybersecurity company, raised $20 million in new funding from Piva Capital, March Capital, SCF Partners, Overture Climate Fund, and others.
- Radius Agent, a San Francisco-based platform for real estate entrepreneurs, raised $13 million in Series B funding. AXA Venture Partners led the round and was joined by NFX, Cota Capital, and others.
- Guidde, a Belmont, Calif.-based software documentation automation startup, raised $11.6m in Series A funding. Norwest Venture Partners led, and was joined by Entree Capital, Honeystone Ventures, Crescendo Ventures and Tiferes Ventures. https://axios.link/45VCFVl
- Govly, a Denver-based startup that helps companies find federal contract opportunities, raised $9.5m in Series A funding led by Insight Partners. https://axios.link/3FJaGNQ
- Wraithwatch, a Bozeman, Mont.-based company developing defense systems against AI-integrated cyber attacks, raised $8 million in seed funding. Founders Fund led the round and was joined by XYZ Capital and Human Capital.
- Connectly, an SF-based conversational commerce startup, raised $7.9m in Series A funding. Volpe Capital led, and was joined by RX Ventures. https://axios.link/40j6sG6
- Modulus Labs, a Stanford, Calif.-based startup designed to monitor AI accountability, raised $6.3 million in seed funding. Variant and 1kx led the round and were joined by Floodgate, Inflection, Alliance, Bankless, Stanford Blockchain Builders, and others.
- zeroRISC, a Boston, Mass.-based developer of cloud security services, raised $5 million in seed funding. Cambridge Angels led the round and were joined by others.
- P0 Security, a San Francisco-based cloud access security platform for engineers, raised $5 million in seed funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, SV Angel, and angel investors.
- Treads, a Park City, Utah-based car maintenance subscription service, raised $4.6m in seed funding. Mucker Capital led, and was joined by Kickstart Seed Fund, Peak Ventures, Royal Street Ventures and Convoi Ventures. www.treads.app
- Agentio, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based platform for acquiring sponsored creator content, raised $4.3 million in seed funding. Craft Ventures and AlleyCorp led the round and were joined by Antler and others.
- Freeplay, a Boulder, Colo.-based platform for building and testing product prototypes with large language models, raised $3.3 million in funding from Conviction Partners and Matchstick Ventures.
- FERO Payment Science, an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based provider of consumer checkout behavior analytics and insight for merchants, raised $3 million in funding from Coatue, Volta Ventures, and Antler.
- Trips, a platform that helps content creators sell stakes in their IP, raised $2.5m in pre-seed funding. Shima Capital led, and was joined by Animal Capital, Blackwood Ventures, Serafund, Calligraphy Digital, and the Avalanche Ecosystem Fund. https://axios.link/47gpLlH
- Stockpress, a Boston, Mass.-based file management platform for teams managing employees, agencies, and freelancers, raised $1.8 million in seed funding. Argon Ventures led the round and was joined by York IE, Two Lanterns VC, The Fund XX/Everywhere Ventures, and others
. . .
- Shield AI, a San Diego, Calif.-based defense technology company and developer of an AI aircraft pilot, raised $200 million in Series F funding. U.S. Innovative Technology Fund and Riot Ventures led the round and were joined by ARK Invest and others.
- Seurat Technologies, a Wilmington, Mass.-based 3D metal printing company, raised $99 million in Series C funding. NVentures and Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund led the round and was joined by Honda Motor, Cubit Capital, and others.
- Samara, a maker of tiny homes, raised $41m. Thrive Capital led, and was joined by 8VC, General Catalyst, New Legacy, Ron Conway's SV Angel, and Airbnb. https://axios.link/47csrAC
- Matic, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of an AI-powered indoor cleaning robot, raised $24 million in Series A funding from Nat Freidman, Daniel Gross, and John and Patrick Collison
- Kuva Space, a Finnish hyperspectral imagery startup, raised €16.6m in Series A funding. Voima Ventures and Nordic Foodtech VC co-led, and were joined by Earth VC and Springvest. https://axios.link/3FDNYGZ
- Promise Robotics, a Toronto, Canada-based developer of AI-powered manufacturing robots, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Horizons Ventures led the round and was joined by Radical Ventures, Public Sector Pension Investment Board, and others.
- Brickeye, a Toronto-based construction IoT and data analytics startup, raised C$10m. BDC Capital and Graphite Ventures co-led, and were joined by GreenSky Ventures, Brightspark, EDC and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. https://axios.link/3siVlR1
- GreenLite, an Austin, Texas-based platform designed to accelerate the permit approval process for construction, raised $8 million in seed funding. Trust Ventures led the round and was joined by LiveOak Ventures and Chicago Ventures.
- ESG Flo, a Houston, Texas-based ESG platform for industrial, manufacturing, and infrastructure companies, raised $5.3 million in seed funding. Rho ignition and Tola Capital led the round and was joined by Bain & Company and Contour Venture Partners.
- Cedar, an Austin,Texas-based platform designed for real estate developers and professionals to find urban areas where new housing can be built, raised $3 million in seed funding. Caffeinated Capital led the round and was joined by Tishman Speyer Ventures and others.
. . .
- Infinitum, an Austin, Texas-based company designing carbon-efficient motors, raised $185 million in Series E funding. Just Climate led the round and was joined by Galvanize Climate Solutions, NGP, and others.
- MangoBoost, a Bellevue, Wash.-based developer of energy efficiency software for data centers, raised $55m in Series A funding. MM Investment and Shinhan Venture Investment co-led, and were joined by Korea Development Bank, KB Investment, IM Capital, and Premier Partners. https://axios.link/3s4WJqr
Acquisitions & PE:
- Palo Alto Networks (Nasdaq: PANW) agreed to acquire Dig, an Israeli cloud data security startup that had raised around $45m from firms like SignalFire, Samsung, Felicis and Okta Ventures. TechCrunch reports a sale price of around $400m. https://axios.link/47dlv6A
- UPS (NYSE: UPS) agreed to buy LA-based returns software and services group Happy Returns from PayPal (Nasdaq: PYPL), which had acquired Happy Returns in 2021. www.happyreturns.com
- HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS) agreed to acquire Clearbit, an SF-based provider of business intelligence API tools that had raised around $17m from Bedrock Capital, Updata Partners, Battery Ventures and Cross Creek. https://axios.link/49kKqac
- Covera Health acquired CoRead, a Cary, N.C.-based company using AI to improve medical imaging. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- PagerDuty (NYSE: PD) agreed to buy Jeli, an SF-based incident management startup that had raised $19m from Addition, Boldstart Ventures, Harrison Metal Capital and Heavybit. No financial terms were disclosed. https://axios.link/40uL1Sz
- Viome, a Bellevue, Wash.-based maker of home microbiome tests that's raised over $200m in VC funding, acquired Palo Alto, Calif.-based nutrition and testing startup Naring Health, which was seeded by Khosla Ventures. https://axios.link/40q3WOy
- Meter acquired Interval, a San Francisco-based platform for building user interfaces. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Cedar Fair Entertainment agreed to acquire Six Flags Entertainment, an Arlington, Texas-based owner and operator of theme parks and water parks, for approximately $1.88 billion,
- Village Global, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, raised $250 million for their third fund focused on seed-level companies.
- Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Meta, and her husband Tom Bernthal have launched a self-funded venture capital firm, per The Information. https://axios.link/49ofCWa
Not Fully Thriving
OpenSea, the self-proclaimed “first and largest” marketplace for Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), is reportedly laying off 50% of its current staff, as the platform looks to cut costs and reorganize amidst the continued fall of the digital tokens.
The days of tweets selling as NFTs, “crypto punks”, and celebrities going on Jimmy Fallon to talk about their “bored apes”, are now a very distant memory. Indeed, NFT sales on OpenSea have fallen almost 99% from their trading volume heights of ~$4.9 billion, slipping below $50m in October. That’s the lowest figure on record since January 2021 — suggesting that we’re well past “peak NFT”.
At the height of NFT mania, everyone from Paris Hilton and Eminem to Twitter’s founder / ex-X exec Jack Dorsey seemed to be getting involved in buying, selling, and shilling the buzzy tokens. When digital artist Beeple sold an NFT for $69m, it spurred a flood of digital music, art, games, and meme assets that quickly oversaturated the market — which wasn’t helped by high-profile scam allegations.
Although the tokens seem to still hold some cultural worth — they featured heavily in the latest Halloween Simpsons special last night — the diminished standing of the technology seems to have proven the original naysayers right: NFTs were a solution looking for a problem.
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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.