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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Brandwatch acquired by Cision for $450M
Brighton, U.K.-based Brandwatch, a provider of online consumer intelligence with a focus on social media, announced it will be acquired by Cision, a provider of social media management and marketing tools.
Under terms of the agreement, Chicago-based Cision, a publicly traded company, will pay $450 million for Brandwatch, with the deal expected to close in the second quarter of this year.
Founded in 2005, Brandwatch previously raised at least $64.7 million in known venture funding, per Crunchbase data.
— Joanna Glasner
Bessemer closes on $3.3B across two new funds
Bessemer Venture Partners is the latest longstanding VC firm to close on massive new funds.
The firm announced it has raised $3.3 billion across two new funds. The first, $2.47 billion BVP XI, is a flagship fund that will focus on early-stage companies spanning across enterprise, consumer, health care and frontier technologies. The second, its $825 million Century II fund, is designed for growth-stage companies.
Founded 35 years ago, Bessemer today has a leadership team of 21 partners and over 45 investors, advisers and platform operators, with a presence in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, New York, London, Tel Aviv, Bangalore and Beijing.
— Joanna Glasner
Airbnb posts steep loss in first post-IPO earnings report: Airbnb reported a $3.89 billion loss in its first quarterly report since its IPO. The company attributed much of the loss to costs stemming from its public offering. Revenue, meanwhile, came in at $859 million for the fourth quarter, down 22 percent year over year as the pandemic disrupted demand for travel and accommodations.
— Joanna Glasner
Newsela raises $100M: Edtech startup Newsela announced it has raised a $100 million Series D led by Franklin Templeton. With the new funding, Newsela reaches unicorn status with a $1 billion valuation, per TechCrunch. Like many other edtech companies in the age of online learning, Newsela’s seen a boom in business with its 2020 annual recurring revenue growing 81 percent year over year. The company last raised money with a $50 million Series C in March 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
— Sophia Kunthara
Neobank First Boulevard raises $5M seed: First Boulevard, a startup that aims to address the generational wealth gap for Black Americans by providing banking services that support the needs of the Black community, has raised a $5 million seed round led by fintech investor Anthemis and Barclays. The neobank, which is aiming to launch its service in the third quarter of 2021, provides up to two days early access to wages as well as saving features and financial education, and cash back for buying from Black-owned businesses. First Boulevard was founded by CEO Donald Hawkins and COO Asya Bradley both with backgrounds in financial technology.
— Gené Teare
Supplant, Terra Vera raise rounds: Cambridge, England-based startup Cambridge Glycoscience, a biotechnology platform that makes sugar substitutes, is now known as Supplant, and said it brought in $15 million in Series A funding. This brings its total funding to $24 million since its inception 2017. Manta Ray led the round, joining existing investors Felicis Ventures1, Coatue, EQT, Khosla and Y Combinator. Supplant will use the new funding to start commercializing its low-cost sugar substitute made from the waste materials of other plants and building its team, especially in the United States, where Supplant intends to expand next.
Meanwhile, agricultural technology company Terra Vera, developer of mindful crop management tools, closed on a $2 million seed round led by investors that include Gardener’s Supply Co. founder Will Raap. The Albuquerque, New Mexico-based company, which officially launched in January 2021, will use the funding to complete its transition to a commercial market rollout of its services and nontoxic crop management technologies.
— Christine Hall
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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