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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Illumina eyes $8B Grail acquisition
News of the potential purchase comes just a week after Grail filed to go public in what has been touted as one of the largest venture-funded biotech offerings in recent years.
Menlo Park, California-based Grail is focused on pioneering new technologies for early cancer detection. Its best-known offering is a multi-cancer early-detection blood test that detects more than 50 types of cancer from a single blood draw.
- Olive raises $106M for AI workflows in health care: Olive, which provides on-site command centers that rapidly deploy and manage artificial intelligence workers to health systems, has announced $106 million in financing. General Catalyst and Drive Capital co-led the round along with Ascension Ventures, Oak HC/FT and SVB Capital. To date, the company has raised over $220 million.
- Finch Therapeutics gets $90M for new microbiome drugs: Finch Therapeutics Group said it closed on a $90 million Series D round of funding to advance its pipeline of investigational oral microbiome drugs. New investors in the round include Baupost Group, Humboldt Fund, MSD Capital, MSD Partners, Octave Group and OMX Ventures. Existing investors participating included Avenir Growth Capital, OCV Partners, Shumway Capital, SIG, SymBiosis, TPTF and Willett Advisors.
- Lava Therapeutics brings in $83M for cancer treatments: Lava Therapeutics, a Dutch and U.S. biotechnology company, said it raised $83 million in an oversubscribed Series C financing round. Novo Ventures co-led the financing with Sanofi Ventures. New investors in the round include Redmile Biopharma Investments, Ysios Capital and BB Pureos Bioventures. Existing investors Versant, Gilde Healthcare and MRL Ventures Fund also participated in the round. The new investment will prepare Lava’s gamma-delta T cell engager platform for clinical trials expected to start in 2021.
- Joint Academy secures $23M for expansion: Joint Academy, a Sweden-based company providing digital treatment for chronic joint pain, announced it raised a $23 million Series B funding round led by Kinnevik. Existing investors Karl-Johan Persson and Alfvén & Didrikson also participated in the round, which will enable Joint Academy to expand in the U.S. and Europe.
- Bunch secures $20M for mobile game socializing: Bunch, a startup that adds a social layer for friends in multiplayer mobile games, has raised $20 million in venture funding. General Catalyst led the round, which also including backing from multiple mobile game developers.
- JupiterOne lands $19M to improve enterprise security: JupiterOne, a Morrisville, North Carolina-based company specializing in cyber security asset management, announced $19 million in venture funding. Bain Capital Ventures led the round with participation from Rain Capital, LifeOmic and individual investors.
- Air raises $12M for workplace productivity: Air, a New York-based cloud collaboration tool for visual work, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Tiger Global led the round, joined by Lerer Hippeau, WndrCo, Slack Ventures, Red Sea Ventures and Advancit Capital.
- AirWorks raises $2.7 seed for new hires: AirWorks Solutions, a Boston-based developer of autonomous processing software for aerial mapping and surveying, announced a seed II funding round of approximately $2.7 million. The round was led by MetaProp and included Innospark Ventures, Creative Ventures, Met Fund and angel investors. AirWorks will use the funds to make sales and customer success hires and product development.
- Zuper raises $1.1M seed, appoints new CEO: Zuper, a Seattle-based intelligent workforce and customer management platform, said it raised $1.1 million in seed funding and appointed former Microsoft product leader Anand Subbaraj as CEO. Prime Venture Partners led the round with participation from Gunderson Dettemer and Gemba Capital.
More SPACs hitting the market: Two new and very large blank check acquisition companies are hitting the market with plans for a future acquisition. VG Acquisition Corp., a blank check company formed by Virgin Group, filed on Wednesday with the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $400 million in an initial public offering. The same day, Apollo Strategic Growth Capital, a blank check company formed by private equity firm Apollo, filed to raise up to $750 million in an IPO.
Illustration: Dom Guzman