Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: Knowledge Construction, Breathing Easy, Cash SaaS, And Bridging The Financial Divide

Hello and welcome back to Last Week In Venture, a weekly roundup of venture deals that may have flown under your radar this week.

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But before we get to those, here’s a quick look back at some of our coverage from the week. Apparently, everyone is either going public or looking to go public; we covered whatever can be covered (which is to say, not much) about The We Company’s confidential S-1, rumors that SoftBank may take its Vision Fund public, and a juicy IPO from Beyond Meat. We reported on Andreessen Horowitz’s big new growth fund and profiled Touchdown Ventures, a venture firm investing in startups on corporations’ behalf. We also looked at supergiant (>$100M) venture capital rounds raised by companies like Rappi ($1 billion, with a “b”), UiPath ($568 million), and Divvy ($200 million). There’s a weird valence to the $200 million number, because it popped up elsewhere: streaming news site Cheddar sold for $200 million, and, sadly, after raising around $200 million, AI robotics toy manufacturer Anki shuttered operations.

That’s just a sample of what we covered, which, in turn, is a small fraction of all that happened at the intersection of tech and money. There are plenty of other startups outside the public spotlight that deserve a mention too.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at a few other companies that raised rounds in venture-land.

Some Interesting Rounds From The Week

  • Golden raised $5 million in a seed round from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, SV Angel, Liquid 2 Ventures, Gigafund, and a flight of angel investors which also contributed to the round. The company’s tech platform aims to build an alternative to Wikipedia which, instead of relying exclusively on human editors, augments and extends contributions by individuals with artificial intelligence. Its machine learning models are trained to identify, extract, and validate key information from web resources added by Golden’s community of contributors. Golden generates revenue from team and enterprise options which feature a more advanced querying interface, as well as private knowledge bases for companies. Golden was founded by Jude Gomila, who was previously co-founder of mobile ad network Heyzap, which was acquired by Fyber for $45 million, more than five times what Heyzap raised from VCs. We’ll have to wait and see what sort of markups Golden can shake out.
  • Chances are, if you’re reading this, you decidedly sit on one side of the “digital divide.” Also, considering this is ostensibly a column about startups raising money, chances are you’re also on one side of the “financial divide”. This is to say, you probably have ready access to a computer (and likely more than one) and you probably have a bank account of some sort. Hundreds of millions of people around the world don’t have the same privilege. Talking about digital and financial inclusion can be a challenge for some, which is why UK-based We Are Digital secured £1.5 million in venture funding: to begin to bridge that gap. SI² Fund, Triple Point Ventures, Ascension Ventures Limited, and impact-focused investment bank ClearlySo Ltd. committed capital to the round. According to a post on ClearlySo’s website, “We Are Digital work to tackle social exclusion by upskilling vulnerable people with limited technological skills, providing them with essential digital and financial training to enhance their everyday lives in an increasingly digitised world.”
  • Cash rules everything around a business. To this end, Trovata is a San Diego-based company which develops and sells cash management, financial position visualization, and forecasting software as a service. This week, the startup raised $5.5 million in seed funding co-led by JP Morgan and FINTOP Capital. As part of the transaction, Tim Murphy—who currently serves as the treasurer at Square—joined the company’s board of directors.
  • Every once in awhile, it’s important to have a moment to yourself and take a deep breath. But how would you know if the air you’re breathing is clean? Awair is a San Francisco-based startup which aims to bring air quality monitoring technology into your home. On Thursday, the company announced that it raised $10 million in Series B funding led by clean-tech investor The Westly Group. Altos Ventures, Emerson Electric, iRobot (makers of Roomba robot vacuum cleaners), and Nuovo Capital participated in the round. Awair’s sensor products come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from a clock radio-sized countertop boxes to plug-mounted models which double as nightlights. Its sensors detect and monitor temperature, humidity, and ambient levels of CO2, chemical fumes, and fine particulates. As climate change catalyzes ever more severe weather and natural disasters like wildfires, expect the market for air quality monitoring to pick up over the coming decades.

And with that, we’re done for the week! Here’s to what’s hopefully a restorative and relaxing weekend for you, your friends, and your kin. See you back ‘round these parts next time!

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