Hello and welcome to Last Week In Venture, the weekly roundup of rounds you may have missed.
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This week, the Crunchbase News team was hard at work shipping the last of our quarterly reports on the state of VC in Q3 2018. If you haven’t already, check out recent full-time hire Mary Ann Azevedo’s analysis of the Texas VC market, Gené Teare’s coverage of the state of funding female-founded ventures, Savannah Dowling’s reporting on the wild and woolly world of VC in China, and my attempt to briefly explain how international growth fuels the VC market today.
However, the market waits for no one, let alone a news team in the middle of a quarterly reporting cycle. As public-market investors took a serious beating, private-market investors continued funneling huge sums of money into startups like Snowflake Computing, Egnyte, G2 Crowd, and a vegetable company we’ll discuss shortly.
It’s easy to overlook what companies outside the spotlight are contributing to startup ecosystems around the world. But that doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth sharing.
Let’s dive in!
Market Hotspot: Grocery And Food Startups
Earlier this week, we covered a preposterously large venture round raised by a vegetable delivery company, of all things. Meicai, a China-based company which connects vegetable farmers to small and medium-sized restaurants, may have raised somewhere between $600 million and $800 million in a Series F round at a valuation of $7 billion, according to reports initially surfaced by Bloomberg.
With this in mind, we wanted to highlight a few smaller rounds in the food sector from this past week:
- Waste is the seamy underbelly of the food system. Untold tons of produce, protein, and dairy are tossed out every day. The fuzzy green leftovers in your fridge are just one part of the waste problem. Supermarkets throw out a lot of food too. Tel Aviv-based Wasteless is betting that dynamic pricing—the practice of adjusting prices on the fly—will help grocery stores move perishable goods off shelves faster. On Wednesday, the company announced $2 million in Series A funding in a round led by Dutch firm Slingshot Ventures.
- Kettlebell Kitchen is a New York City-based company that lets fitness and health-conscious customers develop a “meal plan” that meets their caloric and macro-nutrient needs. The company in turn prepares and delivers meals to the gym, the office, or customers’ homes. This week, Kettlebell Kitchen announced it raised $26.7 million in Series B funding from investors including North Castle Partners and Spring Bay Ventures.
- Once Upon A Farm is a San Diego-based baby and kid-friendly food company. You may have seen its squeezable pouches of pureed fruits and veggies in the aisles of your local grocery store. On Tuesday, the company announced a $20 million Series B led by CAVU Venture Partners.
- Goldbelly, an online marketplace for specialty and artisanal foods, also raised $20 million in a Series B round it announced on Monday. New York City-based restaurateur Danny Meyer led the round through his firm Enlightened Hospitality Investments; Intel Capital, 645 Ventures, and 500 Startups participated.
Other Notable Rounds
- In venture finance, it’s pitch decks all the way down. Pitch is collaborative presentation software for what the company calls “generation Slack.” The startup closed $19 million in Series A funding in a round co-led by Index Ventures and BlueYard Capital. Slack Fund and at least a half-dozen individual investors participated in the deal. Makes you wonder what they used to build their deck.
- One is never really finished with “learning to code,” but Lambda School is one of the places to start. It’s an immersive program for aspiring software engineers, and graduates of the program don’t pay until they land a development job making $50,000 or more. The Y Combinator-backed company announced $14 million in Series A funding on Monday. GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) led the deal. Stripe, Riverside Ventures, and Bow Capital participated in the round.
- Madison, Wisconsin is home to Understory, a weather data company. According to Understory’s website, its patent-pending weather stations “generate the most granular weather data available.” Given recent weather events like Hurricane Michael, it’s obvious why the insurance industry is a target market for Understory, which also markets itself to utility and agricultural companies. Understory raised $6.5 million in Series B funding, according to SEC filings covered by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
And for those of you who made it to the end, a lagniappe: an interesting paper about celestial bodies of the lunar variety and a gif of an Apollo 17 astronaut having a hard time finding his footing. We’d be over the moonmoon to know you’ll have a great weekend. 🌚
Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Cover photo of an eclipse is by Celso, and the thumbnail image of a blood moon was taken by KT. Both photos were sourced from Unsplash.
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