The Briefing: Perch Raises $775M, Amazon Buys MGM, And More

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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SoftBank Leads Perch’s $775M Series A

Perch is the latest commerce company to attract a significant round of funding as the e-commerce aggregator industry continues its hot streak.

The Boston-based company, which acquires and operates top Amazon third-party and other direct-to-consumer brands, announced a $775 million round of Series A funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The firm was joined in the round by Spark Capital, which led some of Perch’s previous rounds, and Victory Park Capital.

Perch touts this round as “the largest ever Series A raised by a consumer goods company … and, the second largest U.S.-based Series A ever.” It brings the company’s total funding to date to more than $900 million, according to the company.

The company has acquired more than 70 brands to date and said it has many agreements in the pipeline. CEO Chris Bell said in a statement that the company intends to invest the new funding into its team, platform, acquisitions and develop additional channels and geographies.

E-commerce aggregators like Perch have been attracting investor attention for a while now, but investments have heated up in 2021, with companies in this sector raising over $1 billion. In the past week, Heyday raised $70 million in Series B funding.

— Christine Hall

Amazon To Buy MGM Studios

Amazon will acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, the companies said Wednesday. The planned purchase will be Amazon’s second-largest acquisition ever, only behind its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017. MGM Studios is behind hits including the James Bond series and Legally Blonde. The studio, based in Beverly Hills, was founded in 1924.

Amazon’s acquisition of MGM also signals the tech giant’s investment in the entertainment space.

“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”

— Sophia Kunthara


Payments companies Paymentus and Flywire price IPOs

The payments space is heating up further, as two companies in the sector priced U.S. IPOs for shares slated to begin trading today.

Boston-based Flywire, which provides payment processing software to education, health care and technology companies, priced shares at $24, the high end of the projected range. The offering raised $251 million for the company, which will trade under the ticker symbol FLYW.

Charlotte-based Paymentus, a payment network that allows consumers to use their preferred funding method to pay billing companies, priced shares for its IPO at $21 each, the top of the proposed range. The offering raised $210 million for the company, which will trade under the ticker symbol PAY.

— Joanna Glasner


Funding rounds

Yalo secures $50M: San Francisco-based Yalo (formerly Yalochat), a conversational e-commerce platform, raised $50 million in a Series C funding round led by existing venture investor B Capital Group. The company will use the financing to deepen its presence in Latin America and Southeast Asia, and to fund the development of new product offerings.

Obie lands $10.7M: Insurtech startup Obie announced Wednesday that it raised a $10.7 million Series A led by Battery Ventures. The company also introduced its new insurance product offering, which focuses on landlords and investment property owners, according to a statement from the company. Thomvest Ventures, Funders Club, MetaProp, and Second Century Ventures also participated in the funding round.

— Sophia Kunthara

RightBound raises $12M: Sales automation platform developer RightBound has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Innovation Endeavors. The Kirkland, Washington-based startup’s product gathers insights on sales development efforts and makes recommendations to update playbooks and sales processes.

— Joanna Glasner

Calendar assistant Reclaim raises $4.8M seed: Portland, Oregon-based Reclaim, a smart calendar assistant, raised $4.8 million in a round led by Index Ventures, bringing its total funding to $6.3 million. The service helps busy professionals balance their workday with a calendar and task management feature. It is free through 2021 and is currently used by around 4,000 companies. Gradient Ventures, Flying Fish, Operator Partners and Calendly all participated in the funding. 

— Gené Teare

Fintech and e-commerce

SpotOn raises $125M: Software and payments company SpotOn secured $125 million in a Series D round of funding that now values it at $1.875 billion, according to the company. Andreessen Horowitz led the round. San Francisco-based SpotOn provides software and payments for restaurants and retail businesses. It intends to use the new funding on product development and expanding its market presence.

Snappy closes $70M: Snappy, a New York-based gifting platform, completed $70 million in Series C funding to bring its total to more than $100 million since its inception in 2015, according to the company. GGV Capital led the round, which will be used to build out Snappy’s team and on product development and acquisition opportunities.

Tractive brings in $35M: Tractive, an Austria-based company developing GPS devices for dogs and cats, closed on a $35 million growth funding round led by Guidepost Growth Equity. The company serves more than 400,000 active subscribers across 175 countries and intends to use the new funding on technology and product development, as well as customer acquisition. It has also expanded into the U.S. market, beginning in Seattle.

Datacy secures $2.4M: Consumer insights data marketplace startup Datacy announced $2.4 million in seed funding led by a group of backers including Redhawk VC and Trend Forward Capital. The marketplace, based in San Jose, enables users to control and get paid for their anonymized online data, as well as provides businesses with better, more ethically sourced consumer insights.

— Christine Hall

Health care

Clear Labs raises $60M: San Carlos, California-based Clear Labs, providing a fully automated next-generation sequencing platform for turnkey diagnostics, closed on $60 million in Series C funding. The company says the raise will help it enable public health organizations, reference labs, hospitals and epidemiologists to more easily identify and trace all strains of pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2. The financing was co-led by new investor Counterpoint Global, and funds and accounts were advised by T. Rowe Price Associates.

— Christine Hall


TerraClear lands $25M: TerraClear, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, announced $25 million in Series A funding led by Madrona Venture Group. The agriculture technology company is developing a robotic rock picker that can pick, on average, 400 rocks per hour and rocks that weigh up to 300 pounds. Farms can incur anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000 worth of damage and costs annually when their machinery hits rocks during planting, irrigating and harvesting.

— Christine Hall

Autonomous aviation

Merlin Labs raises $25M round: Boston-based autonomous flight company Merlin Labs disclosed it has raised $25 million in funding from GV and First Round Capital. Other investors include Floodgate, Harpoon, WTI, Ben Ling, Box Group, Shrug Capital and Howard Morgan. The company also announced a 46-aircraft partnership with Dynamic Aviation.

— Chris Metinko

Enterprise software

BrightHire lands $12.5M round: New York-based interview intelligence platform BrightHire has raised a $12.5 million funding round led by Index Ventures and includes investments from Next Play Ventures. Existing investors, including Flybridge Capital and Ground Up Ventures, also participated in the new round. The company’s platform attempts to help eliminate bias in the interview process.

— Chris Metinko

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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