The Briefing: iCapital Network Raises $440M, Duolingo IPO Pops, 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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iCapital Network raises $440M

Alternative investing platform iCapital Network this week said it has raised $440 million in fresh financing at an approximately $4 billion valuation.

The round was led by Temasek. New investors Owl Rock Capital, MSD Partners, Noah Holdings and Golub Capital joined in, as did existing investors WestCap, Ping An Voyager Partners, Blackstone, UBS, Pivot Investment Partners, BNY Mellon, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

iCapital’s platform connects wealthy investors and their advisers with alternative investment managers. The New York-based startup said it will use the new funding to expand the product types available on its platform as well as pursue strategic acquisitions. It noted that since its most recent funding in March 2020, it has almost doubled the assets on its platform from $46 billion to $80 billion and has made five acquisitions.

— Marlize van Romburgh

Duolingo pops in Nasdaq debut

Shares of Pittsburgh-based language learning platform Duolingo popped 35 percent in their public-market debut on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. The company had priced shares for its IPO at $102 each, above the upwardly revised range of $95 to $100.

Duolingo reportedly raised about $520 million and set an initial valuation above $3.4 billion. The company trades on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol DUOL.

— Joanna Glasner

Marco raises $82M to finance SMB export businesses

Marco, a financing platform for small and medium-sized export businesses in the U.S. and Latin America, said this week that it raised $82 million in funding led by Kayyak Ventures. Miami-based Marco said it also increased its credit line provided by Arcadia Funds to to $100 million.

“Small exporters, especially in LatAm, are burdened with a broken financing system that makes it nearly impossible to compete with larger exporters,” Marco co-founder and COO Peter D. Spradling said in a statement. “Banks aren’t built to serve the needs of smaller companies; they often make SMEs wait around 90 days before rejecting over 50% of trade finance applications. We built Marco specifically to support this disadvantaged market. The seed round will help build a more stable and equitable trade ecosystem.”

— Marlize van Romburgh

Class Technologies lands $105M Series B

Edtech startup Class has raised $105 million in a Series B round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund 2, the company said Wednesday. Class, which launched less than a year ago, adds teaching tools to Zoom meetings, making remote-learning more engaging. The new round brings Class’ total funding to more than $160 million.

— Sophia Kunthara

Brain Technologies dials up $50M, launches AI interface for consumer applications

AI startup Brain Technologies on Wednesday announced the launch of its Natural app and said that it has raised more than $50 million in new funding from investors including Laurene Powell Jobs, Goodwater Capital, Scott Cook and WTT Investment.

The San Mateo, California-based startup describes the Natural app this way: “Natural is the first interface enabling software to be in-sync with your intention. You no longer go to apps, apps come to you. Simply say what you want and the right app forms itself around your words. For example: Instead of jumping between different delivery apps to find the restaurant you’re looking for, ordering sushi is as easy as saying “Order sushi,” and all the restaurants that deliver to you though any platform show up right in front of you. Natural automatically picks the fastest or cheapest delivery platform based on your preference. Simply tap on the one you like and check out with Apple Pay.”

The company said it’s currently focused on commerce use cases including food delivery, buying groceries, travel booking and retail shopping.

— Marlize van Romburgh

LogicGate unlocks $113M Series C

Chicago-based LogicGate closed a $113 million Series C led by PSG, along with participation from Greenspring Associates. The company helps clients identify, assess and continuously monitor in real time potential business risks.

Founded in 2015, the company has raised $156 million in total funding to date.

— Chris Metinko

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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