Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: Cent-Splitting Flight Pricing, Bus Booking, And Monkey Business In Baggage

Hello and welcome to Last Week In Venture, a weekly roundup of deals which may have flown under your radar this week. (And, oh gosh, what a week it was.)

But before those though, we go to a highlight reel of some of Crunchbase News’s coverage this week. We dove into news that, in VC, vice is back with a vengeance (and a profit motive) and that new firms are climbing the ranks of VC influence. Tracing paths to exit, we examined IPO filings (and pricing updates) from Change Healthcare, fashion exchange The RealReal, and Livongo. Not to be abandoned at the side of the road, Apple bought the IP of autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai, an exit of a different sort.

We also looked at big new rounds raised by high-tech 3D printing startup Carbon, billion-dollar sneaker and streetwear exchange StockX, ride-hail giant Grab, and corporate travel management firm TripActions, among others.

This is just a fraction of what we covered, which in turn is the barest sliver of all that transpired at the intersection of tech and capital. There are plenty of companies operating outside the unicorn limelight, but that doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth sharing. There are trends to be found in their deals too.

Let’s dive into the week that was in venture-land!

Startups Are Going Places

It’s now solidly summer, and for many that means it’s time for all manner of jaunts, trips, and tours. So let’s talk about some startups in the travel sector that announced new capital raises this week.

If you’re an air traveler, it pays to get your jets set at a low price. But who has time to track all that? Not you. And it’s that information asymmetry that airlines can exploit with dynamic pricing, which is the more palatable phrasing of an economic term: price discrimination. And it’s in selling the same service for different prices where profits can be carved out. FLYR is a San Francisco-based upstart which works with major airlines to help them sell more seats and extract more revenue from fliers using micro-adjusted pricing that’s responsive to “market conditions, inventory state, competitor pricing, and the variety of itinerary options,” according to the company’s website. FLYR raised $10 million in Series B funding. Backers of this round weren’t disclosed, but the company has previously raised capital from the likes of JetBlue Technology Ventures and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, among others.

Don’t have enough cash (or willpower, because the TSA is a thing) to fly? Take the bus! Booking busses is a big business. Montreal-based Bus.com raised CA$19.6 million (approximately $14.9 million USD) in a Series B round co-led by Cycle Capital and Autotech Ventures.

And how do you bring your stuff with you on your journey? We all carry a little baggage. BABOON is a NYC-based company making bags and luggage of simple materials with bright styling and a touch of whimsy. (The company’s website is baboontothemoon.com; its intimidating legal name is Baboon Mega Corp., Inc; and BABOON says its bags are meant to go “[f]un places, scary places, weird places and places maybe you shouldn’t be.” Branding game is on point.) BABOON bagged $2.9 million in an angel round involving Behance founder Scott Belsky and Trunk Club CEO Brian Spaly, alongside several small venture funds. One of which is Amity Supply, a $10 million investment vehicle driven by partners in PR firm Derris, which helped establish brands like Warby Parker, Harry’s, and Everlane, according to Recode.

A Chief Supporter For Women In Leadership

Longtime readers of Last Week In Venture might remember our coverage of female-first business leadership network Chief’s $3 million seed round back in October 2018. Well, this week, the company announced it raised $22 million in a Series A round, which was co-led by General Catalyst and Inspired Capital Partners, a firm co-founded by former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Alexa von Tobel, previously founder and CEO of LearnVest.com.

Cofounder Carolyn Childers said in a press release that “[w]e created Chief to address the dearth of specialized networks and services for women in leadership positions who are paving the path for future generations.” Since its January launch, the company says its “membership has grown to more than 700 of the most formidable women executives in New York,” The company plans to use its new capital to expand to other cities to keep up with demand.

And on that note we’re done for the week! We’ll see you back here real soon.

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Ishan, via Unsplash.