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LA Tech Week Recap ☀️ Varda’s Launch ~ Pigment, Meanwhile, Keeta, Only, Lens Protocol, Payrails, Griffin, Hyperplay, Maza, Apron, Bonside, Upperline, GetHarley, Pomelo, Grapefruit, Cohere, Blackpoint
What a Week.
If it weren’t for back-to-back Coachella endurance training in April, I don’t think I would’ve been able to make it through LA Tech Week from Monday-Saturday night. And no, this wasn’t all fun and games, but it was great to attend meals & events to meet new people and catch-up with existing relationships. And even Evan on our team hit a new record having attend over 30+ events in one week (you probably saw him)!! But wow, was it worth it! From founders, operators, angel investors, LPs, GPs, family offices, entertainment agents, celebrities, the tech curious, etc.. LA has it all! The good vibes were strong. #LongLA
At Upfront we hosted two concentrated events on our scenic rooftop:
"The Future of Aerospace: Founders & Funders Breakfast" with Partner Nick Kim & Jacques Sisteron
“Gaming Founders Podcast Live Recording + Happy Hour” hosted by Partner Kevin Zhang & Kesar Varma, moderated alongside Eden Chen CEO of Pragma, interviewing Raid Base Co-Founder & Product Director Stephen Lim, & Co-Founder & Game Director Trevor Romleski
If you’re curious how the week ended for us… this was it for me.
Ok Space Boy
On Monday June 12th, around 2:35pm PT Varda’s W-Series 1 satellite was launched on a SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base near Santa Barbara, CA to become the FIRST company to manufacture pharmaceuticals in microgravity and offer reentry-as-a-service. Or, in simpler terms, a drug factory in space. This is an enormous accomplishment. Can’t even imagine all of the hard work it took to get to this point. Plus, we were able to ‘spot’ the launch not too far away in Santa Monica on Upfront’s rooftop yesterday. Check it out here.
If you want a deep dive on what Delian and the Varda team has built, read Packy’s latest below. It’s truly fascinating.
Varda: The Space Drug Factory, Packy McCormick
This was one of the better All-In Podcasts in a while, they discussed some very relevant and juicy topics below. My favorite being Messi’s insane athlete (or ‘content creator’) deal structure.
Expanding to the UK, a16z Crypto, Chris Dixon
Regulation and lawsuits are pushing out crypto innovation in an already freezing US market. This is a big move.
How to think about pricing your AI features, Emergence Capital
The AI API : The Twilio Moment for Machine Learning, Tomasz Tunguz
. . .
Last Week (6/5-6/9):
Relevant deals include the 60+ deals across stages below.
I've categorized the deals below into four categories, Fintech, Care, Enterprise & Consumer, and Sustainability, and ordered from later-stage rounds to early-stage rounds. Highlighted deals include Pigment, Meanwhile, Keeta, Only, Lens Protocol, Payrails, Griffin, Hyperplay, Maza, Apron, Bonside, Upperline, GetHarley, Pomelo, Grapefruit, Cohere, Blackpoint Cyber, Red 6, Digibee, Instabase, Curri, EliseAI, Mosaic, Contextual AI, NUVIEW, MatrixSpace, Driver, Rex, Dock, Plot, Dew Drops, Charm, Nori; Brightflow AI, Snyk, Pismo; Cava, Surf Air Mobility
Final numbers on Global Funding by Stage Through March ‘23 at the bottom.
- Pigment, a Paris-based business planning platform, raised $88m in Series C funding. Iconiq Growth led, and was joined by Felix Capital and insiders Meritech, IVP and FirstMark Capital. https://axios.link/3OZWm9o
- Meanwhile, a Bermuda-based crypto life insurance startup, raised $19m in seed funding from Sam Altman, Lachy Groom and Gradient Ventures. https://axios.link/43G8IZ7
- Keeta, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based payments platform, raised $17 million in seed funding from investors including Eric Schmidt.
- Onfly, a Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based corporate travel and expense management software platform, raised $16 million in Series A funding co-led by Left Lane Capital and Cloud9 Capital.
- Lens Protocol, developer of a decentralized social networking ecosystem, raised $15m. IDEO CoLab Ventures led, and was joined by General Catalyst, Variant and Blockchain Capital as a group of DAOs. https://axios.link/3CjFN0Q
- Payrails, a Berlin-based payment operating system for global platforms, raised $14.4 million in seed extension funding. EQT Ventures led the round and was joined by General Catalyst, Andreessen Horowitz, and HV Capital.
- Griffin, a London-based banking as a service platform, raised $13.5 million in Series A funding. MassMutual Ventures led the round and was joined by Seedcamp, Notion Capital, and EQT Ventures.
- HyperPlay, a web3 game launcher, closed a $12m Series A round co-led by Griffin Gaming Partners and Bitkraft Ventures. https://axios.link/3MWbfHo
- Insify, an Amsterdam-based business insurance startup, raised €10m in Series A extension funding. Munich Re Ventures led, and was joined by insiders Accel, Frontline Ventures and Visionaries Club. https://axios.link/3WSrgCJ
- Maza, a Los Angeles-based financial platform providing immigrants with financial identities, raised $8 million in seed funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by SV Angel, Box Group, Restive Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and others.
- Apron, a UK-based B2B payments platform for small businesses, has raised $5.5M in seed funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with angel support from the founders of Melio and Klarna.
- Bonside, a New York-based financing platform, raised $4.35 million in funding. Floating Point, 81 Collection, TMV, Weekend Fund, Starting Line, The Fund, and Spice Capital invested in the round.
- Togai, a B2B SaaS metering and pricing platform, raised $3.1m in seed funding. Together Fund led, and was joined by BoldCap and Core91. www.togai.com
- Rithmm, a Boston-based sports betting technology company, raised $2 million in seed funding. Boston Seed Capital, Counterview Capital, Oyster Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Service Provider Capital, and Permit Ventures invested in the round.
. . .
- Upperline Health, a Nashville-based patient care provider, raised $58 million in funding. Crestline Investors led the round and was joined by Silversmith Capital Partners and Adam Boehler.
- GetHarley, a London-based skincare services and products marketplace, raised $52 million in funding led by Index Ventures.
- Pomelo Care, a New York-based virtual maternal and newborn medical practice, raised $25 million in Series A. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by First Round Capital, SV Angel, Operator Partners, Box Group, and others.
- Carta Healthcare, an SF-based clinical data company, raised $25m in Series B funding from Memorial Hermann Health System and UnityPoint Health. www.carta.healthcare
- Yuvo Health, a New York-based administrative and managed-care solution provider for community health centers, raised $20.2 million in Series A funding. Mastry Ventures led the round and was joined by AlleyCorp, AV8 Ventures, New York Ventures, HLM Venture Partners, Route 66 Ventures, VamosVentures, and Social Innovation Fund.
- RxLightning, a New Albany, Ind.-based medication access and affordability platform, raised $17.5 million in Series A funding. LRVHealth led the round and was joined by McKesson Ventures, Novartis, Onco360, Hearst Ventures, and HealthX Ventures.
- Mend, a New York-based life sciences and digital health company, raised $15 million in Series A funding. S2G Ventures led the round and was joined by iSelect Fund, Touchdown Ventures, Colorcon Ventures, Keen Growth Capital, and others.
- Laudio, a Boston-based management solution for health care, raised $13 million in Series B funding led by Define Ventures.
- Ahara, an LA-based nutrition startup, raised $10.25m led by Greycroft. www.ahara.com
- Karoo Health, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based value-based heart care company, raised $3.4m in seed funding, as first reported by Axios Pro. First Trust Capital Partners led, and was joined by GoGlobal, Inflect Health and insiders Panoramic Ventures and FirstMile Ventures. https://axios.link/3CiuENA
- Grapefruit Health, a Chicago-based remote patient monitoring startup, raised $1.3m from backers like Google for Startups. https://axios.link/3oSpmFq
. . .
Enterprise & Consumer:
- Cohere, San Francisco- and Toronto-based A.I. platform for enterprise, raised $270 million in Series C funding. Inovia Capital led the round and was joined by NVIDIA, Oracle, Salesforce Ventures, DTCP, Mirae Asset, Schroders Capital, SentinelOne, Thomvest Ventures, and Index Ventures.
- Blackpoint Cyber, an Ellicott City, Md.-based provider of cybersecurity solutions for SMBs, raised $190m in Series C funding. Bain Capital Tech Opportunities led, and was joined by Accel, Adelphi Capital Partners, Telecom Ventures, Pelican Ventures and WP Global Partners. https://axios.link/3p0YUtg
- Red 6, an Orlando-based augmented reality technology firm, raised $70 million in Series B funding. RedBird Capital Partners led the round and was joined by Alpha Edison, Boeing’s AEI Horizon X Fund, Lockheed Ventures, Accelerator Investments, Downey Labs, and others.
- Digibee, a Weston, Fla.-based, integration platform as a service company, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Goldman Sachs led the round and was joined by Leadwind, a growth fund at K Fund, Vivo Ventures, Kinea, and G2D.
- EvenUp, a San Francisco-based generative A.I. platform for personal injury lawyers, raised $50.5 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and was joined by Bain Capital Ventures, Behance founder Scott Belsky, and Clio.
- Instabase, an SF-based social platform for business data, raised $45m in Series C funding at a $2b valuation. Existing investor Tribe Capital led, and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital and NEA. https://axios.link/43pFPjn
- Curri, a Ventura, Calif.-based logistics platform for construction and industrial industries, raised $42 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and as joined by Initialized Capital, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Rainfall Ventures, and others.
- EliseAI, a New York-based conversational A.I. platform for real estate, raised $35 million in Series C funding. Point72 Private Investments led the round and was joined by Koch Real Estate Investments, Golden Seeds, Navitas Capital, JLL Spark, and DivcoWest.
- Shift5, a Rosslyn, Va.-based onboard data company for the aviation and defense industry, raised $33 million in additional Series B funding. Moore Strategic Ventures led the round and was joined by Booz Allen Ventures, JetBlue Ventures, and Teamworthy Ventures.
- Mosaic, a corporate financial decision-making platform, raised $26m in Series C funding. OMERS Ventures led, and was joined by Founders Fund, General Catalyst, and Friends and Family Capital. https://axios.link/45O45xp
- Contextual AI, a Palo Alto-based LLM builder for enterprises, raised $20 million in seed funding. Bain Capital Ventures led the round Lightspeed, Greycroft, SV Angel, Elad Gil, Harry Stebbings, and other angels.
- Sourcemap, a New York-based supply chain mapping company, raised $20 million in Series B funding co-led by Energize Ventures and E14 Fund.
- Blumira, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based detection and response technology provider, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Ten Eleven Ventures led the round and was joined by RPS Ventures, Mercury Fund, HPA, and Duo Security cofounder Jon Oberheide.
- NUVIEW, a Lake Nona, Fla.-based Earth observation company, raised $12 million in funding. MaC Venture Capital led the round and was joined by Broom Ventures, Cortado, Florida Funders, Industrious, Liquid2, Veto Capital, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Onebeat, a Tel Aviv-based inventory management platform, raised $10 million in additional Series B funding. Magenta Venture Partners led the round and was joined by AnD Ventures, INcapital Ventures, J-Ventures, Surround Ventures, and Wilson’s Bird Capital.
- MatrixSpace, a Burlington, Mass.-based collaborative sensing solutions company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Raptor Group led the round and was joined by Intel Capital and others.
- Driver Technologies, a New York-based mobility tech company, raised $6 million in funding. IA Capital and CT Innovations co-led the round and were joined by Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, State Auto Labs/Rev 1, The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund, ID8 Investments, C2 Ventures, and Kapor Capital.
- Builder Prime, a Staten Island, N.Y.-based software platform for residential contractors, raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Blueprint Equity.
- 2045, a New York-based network for professionals of color, raised $4.2 million in pre-seed funding. Benchstrength led the round and was joined by NBA athlete CJ McCollum, Miguel McKelvey, AAF, CT Innovations, and others.
- PartnerSlate, a San Francisco-based online marketplace connecting food brands and contract manufacturers, raised $4 million in funding. Supply Change Capital led the round and was joined by Cleveland Ave, ResilienceVC, Pacific Fin Capital, Mentors Fund, Newlin VC, and the MBA fund.
- Rex, a photo-based recommendations app, is launching with $3.96M in funding from Accel, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Future Positive, and angel investors that include current and former leaders from Twitter, Snap, and Pinterest. Rex is based out of NY with a remote team.
- Cuzen Matcha, a San Mateo, Calif.-based matcha maker, raised $3.6m in Series A funding co-led by Digital Garage Group and Joyance Partners. www.cuzenmatcha.com
- Dock, a San Francisco-based customer relationship management platform, raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Craft Ventures led the round and was joined by Jack Altman, Operator Collective, and others.
- Keep Aware, an Austin-based browser security company, raised $2.4 million in funding. LiveOak Venture Partners led the round and was joined by Runtime Ventures and other angels.
- Plot, a Wichita, Kan.-based construction tech platform, raised $2m in seed funding. Groundbreak Ventures led, and was joined by KCRise Fund, Koch Disruptive Technologies, High Alpha and Suffolk. www.getplot.com
- Dew Drops, a Lexington, Mass.-based direct-to-consumer platform that shares digital collectibles via SMS, raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding. Dream Ventures led the round and was joined by VaynerFund, Polygon Technology Fund, Ruttenberg Gordon Investments, and Slow Ventures.
- Oamo, a Montreal-based decentralized data broker, raised $1.25 million in pre-seed funding from White Star Capital.
- Monster API, a remote-based GPU infrastructure and pretrained A.I. models accessibility company for developers, raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding. Carya Ventures led the round and was joined by Rebright Partners.
. . .
- Charm Industrial, a San Francisco-based carbon removal technology company, raised $100 million in Series B funding. General Catalyst led the round and was joined by Lowercarbon, Exor, Kinnevik, Thrive Capital, and Elad Gil.
- Nori, a Seattle-based carbon removal marketplace, raised an additional $6.25 million co-led by M13, Toyota Ventures, Placeholder, and Cargill.
- Magrathea, an SF-based carbon-free metals producer, raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from EQT Foundation. https://axios.link/3NgGQVo
Acquisitions & PE:
- Brightflow AI, a VC-backed maker of cash flow analysis software for small businesses acquired CircleUp, a crowdfunding platform backed by such firms as Union Square Ventures, TPG, Temasek and Rose Park Advisors. www.brightflow.ai
- Raytheon is in talks to sell its flight controls business to Safran (Paris: SAF) for around $1b, per Bloomberg. https://axios.link/3P2S6Gt
- Authentic Brands Group acquired the intellectual property of Hunter, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based outdoor lifestyle brand, for $125 million.
- Printful acquired Snow Commerce, a Cincinnati-based managed service provider for designing and operating e-commerce platforms. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Hydrosat, a Washington, D.C.-based developer of Earth observation satellites that recently raised $20m in Series A funding and grants, acquired IrriWatch, a Dutch provider of irrigation management software. www.hydrosat.com
- Snyk, a Boston-based developer security company valued by VCs at $7.4b, agreed to buy Enso Security, an Israeli application security posture management company that raised VC funding from firms like YL Ventures, CyberArk Software and Merlin Ventures. www.snyk.com
- Firefly Aerospace, an AE Industrial Partners portfolio company, acquired Spaceflight, a Bellevue, Wash.-based orbital space vehicles provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Visa (NYSE: V) is in advanced talks to buy Brazilian banking and payments startup Pismo, which could fetch $1b, per Bloomberg. Pismo has raised over $100m from backers like Accel, Amazon and SoftBank. https://axios.link/3oUKFGx
- BuzzFeed (Nasdaq: BZFD) is exploring a sale of Complex Networks, per The Information. https://axios.link/3WRJEM5
- Bed Bath & Beyond, which filed for bankruptcy in April, is in talks to sell its Buybuy Baby chain to brand investment firm Go Global Retail, per the WSJ. https://axios.link/3WTkSLn
- Prada (HK: 1913) and Ermenegildo Zegna (NYSE: ZGN) acquired a combined 15% stake in Italian luxury knitwear designer Luigi Fedeli e Figlio. https://axios.link/45MYRSt
. . .
- Cava, a Washington, D.C.-based Mediterranean chain restaurant, plans to raise up to $274.44 million through the sale of 14.44 million shares priced between $17-19.
- Surf Air Mobility, a Hawthorne, Calif.-based regional air travel company, filed for an initial public offering.
. . .
Nothing to see here…
- eBay and Techstars launched a joint accelerator program for ecommerce tech startups. https://axios.link/42qTpSn
- Antler, a Singapore-based seed firm, raised $285m for its first growth fund. https://axios.link/3J2aTxv
Global venture capital activity continues to be much cooler than it was in 2022, according to data from Crunchbase.
Deal value rose slightly between April and May, hitting nearly $22 billion, but May 2023 remained down 44% from May 2022. Go deeper.
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.