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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GetYourGuide lands $133M note
Searchlight Capital led the financing round, joined by a consortium of GetYourGuide’s existing investors.
The company said it is anticipating sharp growth in business in 2021 and 2022, based on forecasts for a double-digit rebound for global tourism after the pandemic resolves, traveler confidence increases, and pent-up demand is unlocked.
Founded in 2009, GetYourGuide says it has extended offerings to travelers from over 170 countries, who have booked more than 45 million tours, activities and attraction tickets through its platform to date.
Q32 raises $60M Series B to fight autoimmune diseases
Q32 Bio, a biotech startup working on treatments for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, on Thursday announced the close of a $60 million Series B funding led by OrbiMed Advisors and Acorn Bioventures and said it has started Phase 1 clinical trials of its ADX-914 antibody.
The latest funding comes about five months after Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Q32 emerged from stealth with a $46 million Series A funding round.
The Series B funds will be used to support development of ADX-914, Q32 Bio said, as well as support growth of its pipeline and platform. The ADX-914 antibody was developed to re-regulate and restore healthy immune regulation in numerous autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The company is also working on another antibody, ADX-097, to provide tissue-targeted regulation. That treatment is expected to enter clinical trials in late 2021.
Other investors in the Series B round included Osage University Partners, Atlas Venture, Abingworth, Sanofi Ventures, University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital Colorado Center for Innovation. As part of the funding, Isaac Manke of Acorn Bioventures and Diyong Xu of OrbiMed Advisors will join the Q32 Bio board.
“The closing of our Series B financing and entry into the clinic are pivotal milestones for Q32 Bio,” Q32 Bio CEO Michael Broxson said in a statement. “The initiation of the Phase 1 trial for ADX-914 represents an important achievement and a significant step toward bringing a powerful new treatment option to patients with autoimmune disease. We expect to continue to make major advances over the coming year as we move ADX-097 into the clinic.”
Jiko banks $40M Series A for fintech product launch
Berkeley, California-based Jiko, a fintech startup, said Thursday that it closed a $40 million Series A funding round, co-led by Upfront Ventures and Wafra Inc., with participation from Radicle Impact, NYCA Partners, Red River West and all existing investors.
The latest funding round follows on Jiko’s acquisition last month of Minnesota-based Mid-Central National Bank, for an undisclosed sum. Jiko said that deal was the first purchase ever of a regulated bank by a fintech startup.
The startup, which is part of Jiko Group Inc., a Federal Reserve-regulated bank holding company, said its latest funding will be used for growth and to develop a new consumer finance product. The startup has now raised $47.7 million to date, including equity and debt.
“Money storage is what makes Jiko different from any existing bank or fintech,” the startup said in an announcement of its Series A funding. “Instead of opaquely investing or lending customer deposits, the money in a Jiko account is automatically invested in liquid US government-backed securities, and users receive 100% of the yield. Jiko’s distributed core technology powers this transparent model and allows for cutting-edge banking features in the mobile app. These features allow for added safety with tokenized accounts and card numbers, help maximize earnings with an all-in-one account, offer cashback rewards on all purchases, and much more to come.”
The company said it has more than 50,000 people on its waitlist ahead of launching its product.
• Pulumi raises $37.5M for cloud engineering: Pulumni, a Seattle-based cloud engineering startup, said it has secured $37.5million in Series B funding in a round led by NEA with participation from Madrona Venture Group and Tola Capital. The company said it will use the new funds to accelerate its R&D and sales and marketing efforts. Along with the funding, NEA partner Aaron Jacobson will join S. Somasegar, managing director of Madrona Venture Group and Sheila Gulati, managing director of Tola Capital, on Pulumi’s board of directors.
• Voltus plugs into $25M for energy resources platform: Distributed energy resources platform Voltus said Thursday that it has raised $25 million in Series B funding. The round was led by NGP Energy Technology Partners and included existing investors Prelude Ventures and Ajax Strategies. Voltus said the latest funding infusion will be used to hire and to develop new products.
• Human API raises $20M+ for health platform: Human API, a startup with a platform that lets consumers share electronic health data with companies they trust in real time, said it has raised more than $20 million in a Series C funding round. Investors in the round include Samsung Ventures, CNO Financial Group, Allianz Life Ventures and Moneta VC. Also joining the round were BlueRun Ventures, SCOR Life and Health Ventures and Guardian Life Insurance Company.
• Funding U lands $14M for student loans: Funding U, a fintech startup that provides high-performing, underrepresented college students with loans, said it has closed a $14 million debt and equity round of funding. It has also added Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group to its roster of credit providers, with a $10 million line of credit. Investors in the $4 million equity portion of the funding include Deciens Capital, Valor Ventures, MacKenzie Scott, Next Act Fund and The JumpFund. Funding U said the proceeds from the raise will be used to scale its operations and lending. While traditional banking lenders rely on parents’ credit scores to make student loan decisions, Funding U says its lending platform uses AI and earnings data to assist student borrowers whose parents can’t or don’t wish to co-sign a loan.
• Donut raises $12M for to foster connections in the workplace: Donut, a New York City-based platform that aims to better connect employees in the workplace, said Thursday that it’s raised $12 million in funding led by Accel, with participation from Bloomberg Beta, FirstMark, Slack Fund, and founders from Envoy, InVision and Codecademy. The startup aims to create more human connections in the workplace by making employee introductions via workplace collaboration tool Slack.
• Slingshot Aerospace raises $8M for situational awareness technology: Slingshot Aerospace, a startup working on situational awareness technology, said it has raised $8 million in Series A funds in a round led by ATX Venture Partners. Other investors included Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Techstars Ventures and Okapi Venture Capital. Angel investors that participated in the round include Keith Masback, the former CEO of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and current principal consultant for Plum Run; Gregory Mead and Marie-Alicia Chang, co-founders of Semetric; and Glenn Degenaars.
• Priori Legal gets $6.3M to link companies, lawyers: Priori Legal said this week that it raised $6.3 million in Series A funding for its legal talent marketplace. The startup helps companies hire outside legal counsel. Its Series A funding comes from Hearst Corporation, which the startup noted is also a Priori customer, as well as Great Oaks Venture Capital, Jambhala, Mindset Ventures, Bridge Venture Fund, Orrick’s Legal Technology Fund, and Tim Steinert, former general counsel of Alibaba Group.
• Atmos lands $4M for custom homebuilding: Atmos, a startup to come out of the most recent Y Combinator batch, raised $4 million in a round led by Khosla Ventures, according to Forbes. Other investors in the round include Sam Altman and a group of TikTok stars. Atmos makes it easier for people to build custom homes and is operational in Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, per Forbes.
• Hip eCommerce collects $5.33M for collectibles marketplaces: Hip eCommerce, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based startup behind online marketplaces to connect buyers and sellers of collectibles such as stamps, comic books and postcards, said Thursday that it has raised $5.33 million in a Series A round led by Next Coast Ventures. Hip eCommerce said it will use the latest capital infusion to accelerate its product roadmap and build new features. The company operates the websites HipStamp.com, HipComic.com and HipPostcard.com.
• Agrofy raises $3M for agricultural marketplace: Agrofy, an Argentina-based agricultural marketplace, said this week that it has raised $3 million in Series B funding from Brazil’s SP Ventures and U.S.-based investor Capria Ventures. Agrofy currently operates in Brazil, Argentina and other Latin American countries, but says it plans to enter the U.S. market sometime in the next few years.
• Shotcall scores $2.2M seed round for interactive gaming: Shotcall, an Atlanta-based global interactive gaming platform and marketplace, said it has raised a $2.2 million seed round led by Initial Capital and New Stack and closed by Lerer Hippeau. Shotcall says its platform offers an ecosystem for gamers, creators, celebrities and influencers to better engage with their fans and communities over popular games such as League of Legends, Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone.
Illustration: Dom Guzman