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The Week’s 10 Biggest Funding Rounds: Epic Games Scores Huge Round, Circle Loops In $400M Raise

This is a weekly feature that runs down the week’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last week’s biggest funding rounds here.

This was a very 2022-like week, with the metaverse and crypto leading the way. A year ago, that would have been hard to believe. However, here we are, as a large gaming company looking to build its own metaverse raised billions of dollars, while a crypto company raised millions from large traditional financial institutions as a soap opera swirled around it.

1. Epic Games, $2B, gaming: The metaverse is going to be epic—at least that is what both Sony and KIRKBI—the family-owned holding and investment company behind The LEGO Group—are betting on. Both invested $1 billion into North Carolina-based Epic Games, valuing the gaming giant at $31.5 billion. The deal comes just a week after Epic announced a partnership with LEGO to develop a “family-friendly” metaverse for kids, and the company said the new cash will “advance the company’s vision to build the metaverse.” Founded in 1991, the Fortnite creator has raised more than $7 billion to date, according to Crunchbase data.

2. Circle Internet Financial, $400M, crypto: Crypto may be a lot of things, but boring isn’t one of them. Take Boston-based Circle, for instance. In February, the company—an issuer of U.S. digital coin, a type of stablecoin—announced it terminated its previously announced merger agreement with special-purpose acquisition company Concord Acquisition Corp., but had agreed to new terms that doubled the company’s valuation to $9 billion. That was not surprising as USDC’s circulation has more than doubled since the original deal was announced and has now reached more than $50 billion, according to Circle. But then the company went out and raised another $400 million from big names like BlackRock and Fidelity Management and Research this week. The new SPAC deal was expected to close in December, but could extend to the end of January 2023. While it’s likely Circle would like to access that money in the SPAC deal, let’s wait and see what happens.

3. (tied) Newfront Insurance, $200M, insurtech: Seven months ago, Newfront, ABD Insurance and Financial Services merged to form a $1.35 billion brokerage. It seems that merger went well, because this week the firm closed a $200 million Series D led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Growth Equity business and B Capital at a $2.2 billion valuation. The brokerage is trying to modernize the insurance stack through AI and data-analytics.

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3. (tied) Salsify, $200M, e-commerce: We all buy more things online than ever before, and folks that make tools to help retailers improve their e-commerce capabilities are reaping the benefits. Boston-based Salsify was the latest ecommerce software developer to raise a big round, closing a $200 million Series F led by TPG. It follows others this year in the space such as Austin-based Cart.com and Lehi, Utah-based Route in raising big rounds. Salsify—which generated over $110 million in annual recurring revenue in 2021—helps brands customize product information that shows up at online retailers, while also helping retailers more quickly access targeted product information.

5. Pax8, $185M, cloud: While it’s easy for large enterprises to manage their cloud operations, for small and medium-sized businesses it can be much harder. That’s where Denver-based Pax8 comes in. The company, through its thousands of managed services partners, helps simplify the IT process for smaller companies. That business model has made the company a unicorn, as Pax 8 raised $185 million in new equity capital led by new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2 at a $1.7 billion valuation. Founded in 2012, the company has now raised more than $350 million, according to Crunchbase data.

6. Genies, $150M, internet: Los Angeles-based Genies, which helps people create their own avatar ecosystems, closed a $150 million Series C round led by Silver Lake at a $1 billion valuation. Founded in 2017, the company has now raised more than $200 million, according to Crunchbase data.

7. Be Biopharma, $130 million, biotech: Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Be Biopharma, which is developing B cells as medicines, closed a $130 million Series B led by ARCH Venture Partners. Founded in 2020, the company said it has now raised more than $180 million.

8. Observe.AI, $125M, call center: San Francisco-based Observe.AI, an AI-powered call-center platform, raised a $125 million Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Founded in 2017, the company said it has now raised $213 million.

9. Filevine, $108M, legal tech: Salt Lake City, Utah-based legal work platform Filevine closed a $108 million Series D led by StepStone Group. Founded in 2014, the company—whose SaaS platform allows law firms to manage documents and collaborate—has now raised more than $225 million, according to Crunchbase data.

10. Natural Fiber Welding, $85M, manufacturing: Peoria, Illinois-based materials manufacturer Natural Fiber Welding closed a $85 million funding round led by Evolution VC Partners. Founded in 2015, the company has raised more than $155 million, according to Crunchbase.

Big global deals

After the Epic and Circle rounds, the next three biggest rounds this week all came from outside the U.S.

  • Brazil-based identification technology company unico IDtech raised a $346 million venture round.
  • Switzerland-based Beqom, a compensation tool for both sales and HR, closed a $300 million private equity round.
  • China-based Guangdong Gaojing Solar Energy Technology, a solar energy technology company, raised a $251 million Series A.

Methodology

We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the seven-day period of April 9-15. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the week.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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