The Briefing: Kakao Surges In IPO, Stage 2 Launches $80M Fund For B2B Startups, John Deere Buys Bear Flag Robotics, 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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Korea’s Kakaobank surges in IPO

Shares of Kakaobank surged nearly 80 percent in first day trading in South Korea.

The South Korean company is the country’s first digital bank to go public and its largest IPO in  years. Kakaobank launched in 2017 and reported turning profitable in 2019. Its private equity backers include Anchor Equity Partners and TPG.

— Joanna Glasner

Stage 2 launches $80M fund to invest in B2B software startups

Boston-based Stage 2 Capital announced its second fund, an $80 million investment vehicle aimed at helping B2B software startups scale. The firm said it expects to invest in about 20 late-seed stage to Series A companies with the new fund, which has already made investments in DeepScribe, Arcade, QuotaPath, Sales Impact Academy and others.

Stage 2 was founded in 2018 by Jay Po, former investor at Bessemer Venture Partners, and Mark Roberge, former chief revenue officer at HubSpot.

— Marlize van Romburgh

Foodtech and agtech

• John Deere scoops up Bear Flag: Agriculture technology giant John Deere is buying Bear Flag Robotics, a startup developing autonomous technology for tractors and other farm equipment, for $250 million. Newark, California-based Bear Flag has raised $11.4 million from venture investors, per Crunchbase data, including a $7.9 million seed extension in January led by True Ventures. Bear Flag is one of a growing number of agtech startups drawing investor interest. In fact, agtech funding in the U.S. increased from about $1.8 billion in 2018 and $2.4 billion in 2019 to $3.3 billion in 2020. This year already has seen more than $1 billion invested in the space, per earlier Crunchbase News reporting.

• V2Food chows down on $53M:  Australia-based alternative protein company v2Food announced it has raised 45 million euros ($53 million) in funding, led by European impact fund, Astanor Ventures.

Transportation tech

• Voi raises $45M for micromobility:  Stockholm-based Voi, a provider of electric scooters for last-mile transportation, reportedly raised $45 million in a Series C round extension. Founded in 2018, the company previously raised around $356 million, per Crunchbase data.


Illustration: Dom Guzman

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