Briefing

The Briefing: Nature’s Fynd Secures $350M, BYJU’s Acquires Epic, 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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Nature’s Fynd cooks up $350M Series C for alternative protein

Nature’s Fynd, a Chicago-based startup that makes nutritional vegan protein from a microbe, said this week that it has raised $350 million in Series C funding in a round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. New investors including Blackstone Strategic Partners, Balyasny Asset Management, Hillhouse Investment, EDBI, SK Inc. and Hongkou also joined in, along with existing investors.

Nature’s Fynd said its nutritional fungi protein, produced via a robotics-assisted fermentation process from a microbe, is a more sustainable alternative to traditional agriculture that uses less land, water and energy. The latest funding will be used to expand its production capacity, partnerships and product portfolio, it said.

The company already has a couple of products on the market: meatless breakfast patties and a dairy-free cream cheese. It has raised $508 million in funding since its founding in 2012, per Crunchbase data.

Nature’s Fynd is one of an increasing number of venture-backed startups in the alternative protein space, which is receiving intense investor interest. Last year, just under $2 billion was invested in alternative protein startups globally, per Crunchbase data, with at least another $600 million added through April 2021.

— Marlize van Romburgh

BYJU’s acquires Epic for $500M

India-based online learning platform BYJU’s announced that it is paying $500 million to acquire Epic, a digital reading platform for kids 12 and under.

Founded in 2013, Silicon Valley-based Epic previously raised over $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data. Built on a collection of over 40,000 books, audiobooks and videos, the platform reaches more than 50 million kids in homes and classrooms.

— Joanna Glasner

Soldo lands $180M for fintech automation

London-based Soldo, developer of a spend management automation platform for businesses to track spending, raised $180 million in Series C funding.

Temasek led the financing for the 6-year-old company, and was joined by a long list of new and existing investors. The round brings total funding to date for Soldo to just over $263 million, per Crunchbase data.

Soldo says spend volume across its platform, which is built for European markets, has seen 4x growth since its Series B (which closed in July 2019, per Crunchbase data).

— Joanna Glasner

TMRW Life Sciences raises $105M for fertility clinic platform

TMRW Life Sciences, a startup with an automated platform for fertility clinics to track, monitor and store frozen eggs and embryos used in in vitro fertilization (IVF), said this week that it has raised $105 million in an equity and debt Series C financing.

The equity portion of the funding was led by Transformation Capital and includes participation from GV, Casdin Capital, Peter Thiel, Anne and Susan Wojcicki, and existing investors including 5AM Ventures and Life Science Innovations Fund.

The New York-based company said that in the six months since its commercial launch, it has been adopted by several prominent fertility clinics. The company is led by former Shake Shack executive Tara Comonte.

— Marlize van Romburgh

Cybersecurity

Microsoft makes another cyber deal: Microsoft acquired Sunnyvale, California-based cybersecurity company CloudKnox Security. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CloudKnox, which specializes in privileged access security — making sure employees don’t have access to things they should not — had raised nearly $23 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase.

The deal comes a little more than a week after the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant announced it had acquired San Francisco-based RiskIQ, a digital threat management company, for a reported $500 million.

— Chris Metinko

Enterprise software

FloQast hits $1.2B valuation: Los Angeles-based FloQast raised a $110 million Series D led by Meritech Capital with participation from Redpoint Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Coupa Ventures and from prior investors including Insight Partners, Polaris Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. The company has raised a total of $203 million.

The new round gives the accounting workflow automation software company a $1.2 billion valuation.

— Chris Metinko

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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