Briefing

The Briefing: Blockchain.com Banks $120M, Sentry Raises $60M, WeWork Slashes Prices, And More

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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Blockchain.com banks $120M

Blockchain.com, a London-based company providing ways to buy, hold and use cryptocurrency, posted that it secured a strategic financing round of $120 million from macro investors to “bring billions of people into crypto and millions of institutions around the world.”

Backers included Moore Strategic Ventures, Kyle Bass, Access Industries, Rovida Advisors, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GV, Lakestar and Eldridge. The new funds give the company $190 million in total funding since the company was founded in 2011, according to Crunchbase data.

Blockchain has a few lines of business, including Wallets and currency exchange.

Peter Smith, co-founder and CEO of Blockchain, said that when the company raised its Series A in 2014, there were just a handful of venture-backed crypto companies, bitcoin was valued at just hundreds of dollars and the company was powering just over 2 million Wallets.

“Six years later, we’ve come a long way,” he added. “Bitcoin just crossed the monumental price target of $50,000. Over 65 million Wallets have been created in 200+ countries. And 28 percent of all Bitcoin transactions since 2012 have occurred via Blockchain.com, representing billions in transaction volume…What excites me most about this moment is the immense optimism about cryptocurrency from serious, institutional investors. In fact, the current bull run is dominated by stories of Fortune 500 companies, investment funds and institutions driving net inflows into crypto. The fact that the best macro investors in the world participated in our latest fundraise is further proof that institutions are taking a serious look at their crypto strategy.”

— Christine Hall

Sentry raises $60M to monitor apps

San Francisco-based Sentry, developer of an application monitoring platform for code developers, raised $60 million in a Series D round led by Accel, New Enterprise Associates, and Bond.

The financing reportedly sets a valuation of  $1 billion for the company, which has raised $127 million to date, per Crunchbase data. Sentry’s software helps developers monitor apps in real time, with the goal of catching bugs early, before they cause more serious problems down the road.

Joanna Glasner

Real estate

WeWork slashes prices: WeWork has reduced prices across the U.S. in the past few months, Bloomberg reports, in the latest indication that a post-pandemic recovery will come slowly for office rentals. The New York-based company reportedly cut prices for most offerings in early November and again in January. The average price reduction overall as about 10 percent, while some locations declined by as much as 25 percent.

— Joanna Glasner

Cybersecurity

CrowdStrike strikes deal for Humio: CrowdStrike bought London-based cloud log management provider Humio for $400 million. The deal is expected to expand the Sunnyvale, California-based cybersecurity company’s extended detection and response (XDR) capabilities by taking in data from any log, application or feed in real time.

The deal further illustrates increased interest in the XDR sector of cybersecurity, which helps provide threat detection and protection beyond typical endpoint protection. Earlier this month, Mountain View, California-based SentinelOne bought data analytics and logging platform Scalyr for $155 million.

Humio had raised $31.8 million in capital, according to Crunchbase data.

— Chris Metinko

B2B technology

Grip raises $13M for virtual networking: Grip, a startup developing a networking app for events, has raised $13 million in a Series A round led by Kennet Partners. The London-based company offers a matchmaking tool for networking at virtual, hybrid, and live events.

— Joanna Glasner

Fintech and e-commerce

  • Varo, Abound, Promise raise funds: Varo Bank, the first all-digital nationally chartered bank, announced a $63 million strategic investment from Russell Westbrook Enterprises, formed by NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. The funding brings the San Francisco-based company’s total known funding to $482.4 million, according to Crunchbase data. This includes a $241 million Series D round last June. As part of the investment, Westbrook joins Varo as an investor and an advisor for where Varo will direct future impact programs inclusive of communities of color and African American communities. Meanwhile, Abound, a marketplace connecting small business owners and independent brands, announced $22.9 million in Series A funding, led by Left Lane Capital, with additional support from RiverPark Ventures, All Iron Ventures and Red Antler. The New York-based company said this was its first institutional fundraise and will go toward international expansion, to grow the team and product development. In 2020, the company added more than 180,000 products to their marketplace and experienced a 20-fold increase in monthly sales volume. Payment technology platform Promise announced more than $20 million in Series A funding to make government payments, such as utilities, child support and parking tickets, customizable and digital. The round was led by Kapor Capital and XYZ. Founded in 2017 by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and Diana Frappier, the company previously raised approximately $3.9 million of funding.
  • Pipe17 bags $8M: Pipe17 closed on an $8 million round of funding led by GLP Capital Partners to develop connected infrastructure for e-commerce companies. The Seattle-based company intends to use the funds on go-to market efforts and to expand the team. Pipe17 provides a no-code, cloud-based service that connects businesses to platforms, marketplaces, fulfillment centers, financial systems and SaaS applications to form end-to-end automated operations.

Christine Hall

Health care

  • Rx Redefined inks $2M: Health tech company Rx Redefined closed on a $2 million seed round of funding, led by Silverton Partners, with participation from Saturn Five. The Oakland, California-based company is developing a platform for physicians to easily and directly order, disseminate and bill for the exact medical equipment with which their patient is trained and familiar.
  • MindMed to acquire HealthMode: MindMed, a New York-based psychedelic biotech company developing medicines and therapies to address addiction and mental illness, said it intends to acquire HealthMode in a cash-and stock-deal that values HealthMode at CAD $41.2 million. HealthMode, based in New York, delivers AI-enabled digital measurement methods to increase the precision and speed of clinical research. It previously raised $3.5 million from DCVC and Promus Ventures.

Christine Hall

VC funds

Adjuvant closes $300M fund: Adjuvant Capital closes its debut venture fund aimed at improving global public health. The fund was oversubscribed at $300 million and will focus on financing medical research that will bring drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and medical devices to market. The firm launched the fund in 2019 and has already backed 14 companies, including Codagenix and ChromaCode, and each investment comes with a commitment to make any successfully commercialized products accessible to underserved populations. There are a long list of backers for the fund, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck, Novartis and the International Finance Corporation.

 

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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