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CircleUp Raises $125M To Invest In CPG Startups

Morning Report: Some investors are betting that there is a big future in mid-size consumer packaged goods companies.

We don’t cover consumer packaged goods (CPG) startups much, mostly because they fall outside of our normal wheelhouse of venture-fueled, tech-centered startups. But today something happened that we should note, regardless of our usual biases.

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CircleUp, a San Francisco company that helps consumer goods companies sell equity to individual, accredited investors, has raised more money to invest itself.

The firm has historically invested in CPG companies through a small, $22 million fund announced in 2015. CircleUp’s new fund is a far larger $125 million, and it will supplement the firm’s other financial activities, including loaning companies on its platform money.

Axios reports that CircleUp will invest in CPG startups that have more than $1 million, but less than $10 million in revenue, and that the company “is looking to invest a few million dollars into companies that could sell for $100 million to $500 million.”

CircleUp is a company that I first wrote about in 2012 when it launched its platform. Back then it was more potential and promise than earned market placement. That half a decade later it raised an eighth of a billion dollars to invest in firms that it has long argued, at least implicitly, were worth paying attention to, must feel like vindication.

The company itself has raised $53 million to fund its own operations, most recently picking up $30 million in late 2015. Here are 54 of its known investments, in case you need something to scroll through while you caffeinate.

From the Crunchbase Daily:

Remitly raising up to $115M

  • Remitly, a mobile service for sending money overseas, is raising up to $115 million in a Series D funding round led by Naspers-owned payments service PayU. Seattle-based Remitly previously raised about $100 million in venture funding.

ICOs surge as seed falters

  • As seed-stage capital in the United States slips, ICOs are forging ahead. Amateur investors are piling into new funding mechanisms for nascent projects, Crunchbase News reports, leading to some purported VC panic over the coin offering boom.

Wonder Workshop raises $41M

  • Wonder Workshop, a developer of robots that help kids learn coding concepts, raised $41 million in a Series C funding round that included Tencent, SoftBank Korea, TAL Education Group, MindWorks Ventures, Madrona Venture Group and VTRON Group.

CircleUp launching $125M consumer fund

  • CircleUp, which operates an investment marketplace focused on early-stage consumer brands, has raised a $125 million fund called CircleUp Growth Partners. The San Francisco firm will use the funds to invest in consumer brands, via a machine-learning platform it developed called Helio, PEHub reports.
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