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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Databricks hits $28B valuation
San Francisco-based Databricks closed a $1 billion Series G funding led by new investor Franklin Templeton. The artificial intelligence and data analysis company will use the new funding for research and development, as well to scale its growth globally. The round follows other AI/data companies such as Snowflake and C3.ai hitting the public markets last year.
New investors in the round include Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity Management & Research LLC and Whale Rock, along with new strategic investors Amazon Web Services, CapitalG and Salesforce Ventures1. Existing investors Microsoft, Andreessen Horowitz, Alkeon Capital Management, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Coatue Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, and Tiger Global Management also participated in the round.
According to Crunchbase data, Databricks has now raised nearly $1.9 billion.
Knotel files for bankruptcy
Real estate leasing startup Knotel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy over the weekend after its business took a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York-based company, which was founded in 2016, competed with WeWork. The company signed long-term leases for office spaces in large cities and then rented them out to other tenants.
With many employees still working from home because of the pandemic, office space in general is less occupied. Knotel agreed to be taken over by real estate services firm Newmark Group, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company had raised about $560 million in funding and was last valued at $1 billion in 2019.
Robinhood secures another $2.4B
Record customer growth has Robinhood going after another significant raise, $3.4 billion, which includes the $1 billion announced on Jan. 29, the zero-fee stock trading platform said in a blog post Monday.
Ribbit Capital led the round, with participation from existing investors including ICONIQ Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures and NEA, with terms being finalized, the company said.
The company said the funding would enable it to continue building products and adding capabilities so that more people have access to investing. This comes as Robinhood faced an extraordinarily high volume of trading last week as individual investors piled into video game retailer GameStop and seven other stocks, including AMC Entertainment.
“This round of funding will help us scale to meet the incredible growth we’ve seen and demand for our platform,” said Jason Warnick, Robinhood’s CFO, in the blog. “We are humbled by our customers’ response to our offering, and remain inspired by everyday people taking control of their financial futures.”
Related to GameStop and the other seven stocks, Robinhood also said Monday that it is easing trading restrictions made last week, including raising its trading limit on GameStop to four shares from a single share. However, customers who already own more than four shares of GameStop cannot buy any new shares, CNBC reported.
TikTok rival Kuaishou launches $5.4B IPO
The offering will value the Tencent-backed company at nearly $61 billion. The company’s services in China had 305 million average daily active users in the nine months ended in September.
Shares are expected to start trading on Friday.
The Honest Co. poised to enter public markets
The Honest Co., co-founded by actress Jessica Alba in 2011 and offers baby and beauty products, has raised just over $500 million in total known funding, most recently a $200 million private equity round led by L Catterton in 2018, according to Crunchbase data. Other backers include Fidelity Management and Research Company, Glade Brook Capital Partners and Wellington Management.
- Weights & Biases Lands $45M: Weights & Biases, a startup developing software tools for machine learning, raised $45 million in a Series B round led by Insight Partners.
- Future Meat Technology gobbles up $26.75M: Future Meat Technologies, an Israel-based company developing technology to produce cultured meat, announced an additional $26.75 million in funding through its strategic partners. The company is backed by companies including Tyson Foods, and investors such as S2G Ventures.
- ELSA raises $15M for language learning: ELSA, a language-learning app with a focus on pronunciation, has raised $15 million in a Series B round led by Vietnam Investments Group and SIG.
- Wallbox inks 33 million euros: Wallbox, an electric vehicle charging station company with headquarters in Barcelona, closed on 33 million euros ($39.8 million) in financing, led by Cathay Innovation and WIND Ventures.
- Axoni banks $31M: Axoni, a New York-based provider of financial market infrastructure, announced $31 million equity financing from investors, including Deutsche Bank, Intel Capital and UBS, to give the company a total of $90 million in funding.
- Cellino brings in $16M: Cellino, a personalized regenerative medicine company developing an AI-guided laser editing platform for autologous cell-based therapies, closed on $16 million in a seed round co-led by The Engine and Khosla Ventures.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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