Hey, how are you? Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here for Last Week In Venture, the weekly rundown of venture deals which may have flown under your radar.
But first, let’s queue up a highlight reel of the Crunchbase News team’s work this week.
We found that the birth rate of female-founded unicorns is on the rise and launched a column covering Texas venture and startup activity. We covered all manner of transactions, ranging from big M&A deals (like Google’s $2.6 billion buyout of Looker) and IPO rumblings (Peloton’s confidential filing, TheRealReal’s filing, and updates to Crowdstrike’s pricing come to mind) and too many venture rounds to list here individually. It’s been a heck of a week.
This is just a fraction of what we covered, which in turn is just a fraction of all that happened at the intersection of money and technology this week. There’s a lot going on outside the big tech and unicorn spotlight, and there are lessons and trends to be found a little closer to the entrepreneurial metal.
Let’s check out some interesting rounds from the week that was in venture-land!
You may be one of the people leaving massive open social platforms and heading into the digital dark forest. If that’s too menacing a metaphor, consider the cocoon. Founded by former Facebookers Alex Cornell (who previously founded UberConference) and Sachin Monga, San Francisco-based Cocoon is building “a dedicated [digital] space for the most important people in your life.”
A hiring page shared on the company’s Notion account says that “[keeping] a single group tight-knit over time and distance is a sacred and important task that deserves specialized tools and spaces, so that’s exactly what we’re building: the digital version of home.” The very early-stage small-group social platform company has raised $3 million in seed funding from investors including Y Combinator, SV Angel, and Shrug Capital, among several others.
We all want what’s best for our pets. When they get sick, they need medicine. But have you ever tried to give a pooch a pill? Easier said than done. Ever need a specific, nonstandard dose of a medication? That’s when you call a compounding pharmacy, which produce customized dosages and medication blends for specific patients’ individual needs.
Mixlab is a New York City-based compounding pharmacy catering specifically to furry, four-legged clientele, as well as their human caretakers. If your pet needs a specific medication or a special preparation (like adding flavoring) to make it palatable, Mixlab will mix and deliver medicines to your home, same-day or next-day. Mixlab raised $8.5 million in seed funding this week. Global Founders Capital led the deal; participating investors include the likes of Monogram Capital, Brand Foundry, Lakehouse Ventures, Mars Petcare, and others.
Based in Bloomington, Indiana, FormAssembly helps companies learn more about their customers using its web form and data management tools. The company raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by New York-based investment firm Level Equity, according to an announcement posted to the company blog.
FormAssembly’s round is the second-largest Series A raised by an Indiana company in the last 18 months, according to Crunchbase data. The largest, some $25 million, was raised by company communications infrastructure provider Kerauno.
Guys, let’s talk about sperm. With age, the body’s ability to produce healthy sperm naturally declines, alongside basically everything else except for mortality rates. Sad times for those little swimmers in the future, for sure. Men have long had the option to bank their sperm for the future, freezing genetic material in time (and a lot of liquid nitrogen).
But the process of getting sperm into safekeeping is changing. Legacy is in the genetic banking business, and it just raised a $1.5 million seed round from Bain Capital Ventures. Legacy offers an at-home sperm collection kit, as well as male fertility testing and secure, geographically distributed genetic material storage. In the February 1 edition of Last Week In Venture, we covered a competitor to Legacy, Dadi, which raised $2 million in seed funding. In other words, it’s not just female fertility that’s attracting venture backing, which is great for all involved.
Gatik is a two-year-old venture which aims to help businesses move stuff relatively short distances using its autonomous vehicle technology. This week, the company launched out of stealth, announcing in a press release that it raised $4.5 million in seed funding and secured a partnership with Walmart. Innovation Endeavors, a venture firm co-founded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, led the deal. The company’s other financial backers include AngelPad, Dynamo, Fontinalis Partners, and Trucks Venture Capital.
Two of the company’s three co-founders, Gautam (CEO) and Arjun (CTO) Narang are brothers who “have been working together in the field of robotics, AI and machine learning for 10+ years, also previously working with Apeksha Kumavat, Gatik’s third co-founder, to develop autonomous outdoor security robots.”
And with that we are done! Here’s to hoping your weekend is summery and bright.
Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by David Clode, via Unsplash.