Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: August 17th 2018

Investors are funneling staggering amounts of capital into startups these days. It’s easy to overlook the work that companies outside of the supergiant spotlight are contributing to startup ecosystems around the world. But that doesn’t mean these stories aren’t worth sharing.

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In ‘Last Week In Venture,’ the Crunchbase News will share a selection of this week’s funding rounds which may have flown under the radar. Here, we’re mostly covering seed and early-stage venture rounds in the $100,000 to $15 million range.

Let’s see who’s on deck.


Date Announced: August 15, 2018

Round Type: Seed (More info.)

Amount Raised: $4.5 million

Investors: Led by New Crop Capital.

BlueNalu, Inc. is a San Diego-based company focused on “cellular aquaculture,” its trademarked term to describe growing seafood from cell clusters in a laboratory-like production environment.

Chris Kerr, chief investment officer at New Crop Capital, noted in a statement that the funding represents “the largest seed round to date in this category, and one of the largest that has occurred globally in the entire ‘clean meat’ space.”

ZeroKey, Inc

Date Announced: August 17, 2018

Round Type: Unknown (SEC filing.)

Amount Raised: Yet to close on $1.064 million.

Investors: Unknown

ZeroKey, a Canadian maker of human-machine interfaces for room-scale AR/VR installations, is raising at least $1.064M to extend its $1.2 million in extant funding, according to the filing. Its initial seed round was closed in 2015. The company’s website says it will be shipping its product in 2018.

True Rowing

Date Announced: August 16, 2018

Round Type: Seed (More info.)

Amount Raised: $5 million

Investors: Olympic rower Richard M. Cashin and private equity executive (and noted rowing enthusiast) P. Andrews McClane are investors.

There’s a college in Cambridge, Massachusetts that’s known for its crew team. The surrounding area on the Charles River plays host to at least half a dozen boat houses and rowing clubs. It’s fitting, then, that a company developing a new type of connected rowing machines is based there.

According to a statement, True Rowing’s service, CREW, “creates inspiring live content broadcast straight from the cradle of American rowing, the Charles River in Boston, Mass.” Seems like a company developing Peloton for rowing should grow swimmingly.


Date Announced: August 14, 2018

Round Type: Series B (More info.)

Amount Raised: $15 million on a pre-money valuation of $95 million

Investors: Co-led by Founders Fund and Elsted Capital Partners.

Tel Aviv-based startup Carbyne is developing a national, real-time emergency communication platform. Think of it as a next-generation 911 system manifested in two separate products.

According to TechCrunch coverage of the round, one product is called C-Now, an app which helps emergency reporters “provide instant video, down-to-one-meter location data, and lots of other details when making a report to emergency response call centre.” The other, C-Lite, integrates with legacy 911 systems, letting emergency call center operators send links to a site where reporters can upload images and information for emergency responders.

Ehud Barak, the former prime minister of Israel, is a backer of the company and serves on its board.

Dusty Robotics

Date Announced: August 16, 2018

Round Type: Seed (More info.)

Amount Raised: $2.2 million at a pre-money valuation of $6 million.

Investors: Led by Baseline Ventures. Root Ventures and Cantos Ventures participated.

Not much about this company is known. At time of writing, its website is still being built, which is appropriate enough for a brand-new construction startup.

According to its Crunchbase profile, “Dusty’s mission is to improve construction productivity by automating the dull and dirty jobs performed on construction sites.” The company’s founder and CEO, Tessa Lau, was previously the CTO at Savioke, which you might know as the maker of the autonomous robots which some hotels and apartment buildings use to deliver small items to clientele.


Date Announced: August 15, 2018

Round Type: Seed (More info.)

Amount Raised: $2 million

Investors: Led by Slow Ventures.

In all manner of workspaces – shared offices, open-plan offices, and co-working spots – privacy is at a premium, and the humble phone booth is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Room is a designer and distributor of flat-packed, stylishly appointed, and well-ventilated privacy pods. The booths are noise cancelling, and starting at about $3,500 (plus $350 for in-room assembly), they’re way more affordable than the new phone booths at the EPA.

Read Crunchbase News’s recent analysis of furniture startups here.


Date Announced: August 14, 2008

Round Type: Seed (More info.)

Amount Raised: $120,000

Investors: Led by Y Combinator.

Founded in 2012, it’s been a long road from inception to Y Combinator for Chicago-based HappiLabs. The company helps laboratory managers shop for the best and most cost-effective lab supplies, negotiate pricing, and track spending.

According to TechCrunch, HappiLabs’s 14 employees (“comprising six PhD virtual lab managers and eight support staff”) work with 26 labs across the country. The company took in $1 million in revenue in 2017 and is actively searching for a CTO as it builds out its software capabilities.


Date Announced: August 14, 2018

Round Type: Seed (More info.)

Amount Raised: $473,000

Investors: Led by East Ventures. Golden Gate Venturesparticipated.

Life might move quickly these days but not so fast that we can’t take time to make some friends and play sports. Rovo is “trying to make the process simpler with its niche social network aimed at casual, amateur, and semi-competitive sports players,” according to recent reporting by Tech In Asia. Originally founded as a way for tennis players to network with one another, Rovo eventually expanded to other racquet sports and team sports. It recently acquired Footy SG, a similar company focused on networking for soccer players, for an undisclosed sum, according to Deal Street Asia.

Rovo is one of the many companies starting up in Singapore. Check out Crunchbase News’s survey of Southeast Asian startups and the Singaporean scene for more.


Date Announced: August 14, 2018

Round Type: Seed (More info.)

Amount Raised: $2 million at a pre-money valuation of $6 million.

Investors: Led by Dell Technologies Capital. Oxford Angel Fund, and Alchemist Accelerator participated.

One of the results of the containerization movement in software engineering is the rise of microservices. Basically, the idea is to create a set of discrete but composable parts, each responsible for a certain aspect of the software’s functionality. Netifi’s Proteus platform helps developers build and connect the microservices behind a cloud- native application.

Thumbnail photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash. Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Cover image by Li-Anne Dias.

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