Every Startup Is A Bank, Portland’s Newest Unicorn, And Tech Aims At Wildfires

Welcome to the Crunchbase News Weekend Update. An email form of this post went out Saturday morning. Happy reading!

I swore I would never start a newsletter with “this week at yoga.”

But, here we are. This week at yoga, the instructor told our class to “stop stealing happiness from yourselves.” While it’s really common to be cynical about tech or, a holiday where you dress up in silly costumes, it’s okay to let go of negativity in place for optimism. I promise.

On that note, let’s start with a look at startups doing important work in a sector of evergreen importance: the environment. I chatted with a bunch of startups using data to combat the growing concern of wildfires in California, and around the world.

While those startups are on the smaller side, we also talked unicorns this week. We covered three companies pass $1 billion dollars in valuation: Portland, Oregon-based travel startup Vacasa, Faire, a San Francisco-based online marketplace for retailers, and Scopely, a mobile game publisher in Los Angeles.

After you snap up that big news, let me remind you that unicorns these days haven’t always soared once they enter the public market. For example, Beyond Meat and GrubHub, two public companies, saw their stocks tank this week. Read this Sophia Kunthara piece to learn why.

Now some some fast funding hits. We wrote about Twiga Foods after it raised the largest round of the year in Nairobi, Kenya, and took a broader look at the continent. Also read our pieces on a startup trying to stop online advertisement hijackers raising $40 million, and Leafly, a cannabis website, raising debt funding.

Let’s end with a question we’ve been thinking about for months, along with everyone on Twitter: why is every startup becoming a bankAlex and I took a swing at the growing, lucrative transition of companies, even ones that don’t do banking, rolling out into financial services.

And that’s it for this week. We’ll be back on Monday with fresh takes, bring your fresh eyes!

Until next week,


Illustration: Dom Guzman

P.S. I put out a personal newsletter every Monday, subscribe here if you’re interested!

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