Venture

The Crunchbase News Briefing: Tues., Sept. 15

The Briefing

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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Klarna raises $650M at $10B valuation

Payments unicorn Klarna pulled in $650 million in a new round of equity financing that sets a mammoth valuation of $10 billion for the Swedish company.

Silver Lake led the financing, joined by GIC, BlackRock and HMI Capital. The round brings Klarna’s total financing to date to more than $2 billion.

Founded in 2005, Klarna is best known for its “buy now, pay later” offerings for online retailers. It gives customers choices such as paying for an item up to 30 days after purchase or breaking up the cost into installment payments.

TikTok to become standalone U.S. company

Popular short-form video app TikTok will become a standalone U.S. company, with Oracle and Walmart as minority investors, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.  TikTok is owned by China-based ByteDance. It has been exploring a sale as the Trump Administration gears up to ban the app in the U.S. on national security concerns.

President Trump and top White House officials are slated to meet today to consider the proposed approach, which would leave ByteDance as a majority investor in TikTok, Reuters reported.

dLocal inks $200M for $1.2B valuation

In South America, dLocal became Uruguay’s first unicorn after securing $200 million to give it a $1.2 billion valuation. Existing investor General Atlantic led the round that also included new investor Addition. The cross-border payment processor, founded in 2016, serves 450 merchants in 20 emerging countries with connectivity to more than 300 alternative payment methods. (Read more here.)

Funding rounds

  • Observe.ai raises $54M for call center AI: Observe.ai, a startup that offers an AI-powered enterprise platform for analyzing customer call center phone conversations, said Tuesday that it had raised $54 million in Series B funding led by Menlo Ventures. The company had previously raised $34.1 million in venture backing, according to Crunchbase data.
  • Volansi lands $50M for delivery drones: Volansi, a developer of drone technology for autonomous deliveries, has raised $50 million in fresh funding. Icon Ventures led the series B round for the 5-year-old San Francisco-based company, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Y Combinator.
  • Varada inks $12M for data virtualization platform: Varada, an Israel-based big data query acceleration innovator, announced $12 million in Series A funding led by MizMaa Ventures with participation by Gefen Capital and existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, StageOne Ventures and F2 Venture Capital. The company is poised to launch its data virtualization platform.
  • Sternum secures $6.5M for IOT security: Israeli security startup Sternum raised  $6.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Square Peg. The company provides an embedded integrity verification technology that ensures an app hasn’t been maliciously altered in some way.
  • ShoppingGives secures $5.5M for donation platform: Chicago-based ShoppingGives, a social impact commerce platform, said it raised $5.5 million in seed funding led by Caffeinated Capital and a group of investors that includes Tuesday Capital, SciFi VC, Background Capital, Red Dog Capital and 20VC. ShoppingGives enables customers to support their favorite causes by creating a donation funded by the retailer with each purchase.
  • Finch raises $1.8M for new type of bank account: Finch, a New York-based fintech startup that integrates the benefits of investing and the flexibility of checking into an all-in-one account, said it raised $1.8 million in seed funding to launch its platform. The round was led by Boston based Mendoza Ventures with participation from Barclays, Techstars Investors and Draper Frontier.

M&A

SafetyCulture acquires EdApp: Workplace safety and quality platform SafetyCulture announced its acquisition of EdApp, a mobile training solution, in a $29 million deal. Both companies are based in Australia. EdApp currently delivers approximately 50,000 lessons per day across over 90 countries, and the acquisition will enable the company to offer a free version of its training platform globally to businesses of all sizes.

Endeavor raises $134M fund for emerging markets

Endeavor Catalyst said it closed on its largest venture capital fund to-date, the $134 million Endeavor Catalyst Fund III. The new fund will be used to invest in Endeavor Entrepreneurs in emerging and underserved markets globally. Since its formation in 2012, the organization has invested in more than 150 companies across 30 different markets.

Corigin Ventures becomes Alpaca VC

Corigin Ventures announced its rebrand to Alpaca VC. In a statement, General Partner Ryan Freedman said its previous name was creating confusion related to its investment strategy and areas of focus. Now as Alpaca, it will better define the firm’s mission and where it invests, including consumer, B2B marketplace and global commerce infrastructure. “The name Alpaca signifies the founder-focused mentality that the firm brings to early-stage companies that are seeking not only capital, but an experienced partner to guide them through the ups and downs of the startup journey. Alpaca is a venture capital firm created by founders, for founders,” the company said.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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