Welcome to Last Week In Venture, a weekly roundup of funding rounds raised by interesting companies that you may have missed.
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There have been plenty of distractions, including emerging drama between Google and the U.S. president (while alternative search engines raised money), SurveyMonkey’s S-1 filing, a huge Toyota-led corporate round for Uber, an ambitious public valuation target for a Chinese electric car company, and—on a more somber note—memorial services for Arizona’s senator and the queen of soul.
During all that, investors continued to funnel staggering amounts of capital into startups. It’s easy to overlook what companies outside the unicorn spotlight are contributing to startup ecosystems around the world. But that doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth sharing.
Let’s take a look!
Seed Spotlight: (Summer) Travel
In summer’s waning days, it’s time to fit in that last trip. Whether you’re into the beach, the mountains, or exploring new cities, a crop of recently seed-funded travel startups would no doubt love to help you set your travel plans.
- After going through the most recent Y Combinator batch, Duffel raised $4.7 million in a seed round led by Blossom Capital. Kima Ventures, Index Ventures, and Crankstart Foundation (Michael Moritz‘s impact investing fund) also invested. A rather stealthy outfit based in London, the company is “building a platform from scratch that will completely redefine the nature of travel experiences booked on web or mobile,” founder Steve Dormin told TechCrunch.
- Kimkim (which the company stylizes with a lowercase “k”) raised 43.7 million in its most recent seed round. Investors in its prior seed tranches include Lightspeed Ventures, NFX, and iAngels, among others. According to the company’s Crunchbase profile, “kimkim connects travelers with a team of local experts in order to help customers book their trip” with the help of its chat and collaboration interface.
- Syncbnb, a channel management tool for vacation rental owners, raised €380,000 in a seed round led by Velocity Partners. Syncbnb is one of the many privately-held companies based in Athens, Greece.
- And for all you over-packers, there’s Paravel. Paravel designs and manufactures luggage and packing cubes that collapse flat for storage, or for packing an extra suitcase in your suitcase. The company picked up $3.2 million in seed funding on Thursday from 8VC and Fitz Gate Ventures, among others.
Other Rounds From Interesting Companies
In this weekly roundup, we also like to share a selection of funding rounds that may have flown under the radar.
Let’s see what’s on deck.
- Loot Crate raised $23 million in a Series B round led by Atalya Capital. Loot Crate is a direct-to-consumer subscription box company catering to fans of certain books, movies, video games, and other media properties. It’s not the only company in the pop culture fandom business to raise recently. Appropriately enough, Wikia raised $106 million for its platform, Fandom, back in June.
- SkyRyse makes a smart helicopter that might just help realize the flying car future only a few of us really want. According to a statement, “SkyRyse has built a first-of-its-kind advanced pilot assistance system (APAS) that combines Artificial Intelligence, a flight perception suite, and decision-making algorithms.” The company came out of stealth this weekto announce it’s raised $25 million across seed and Series A rounds led by Venrock, which had participation from Eclipse, Stanford University, Industry Ventures, Trucks VC, Cantos, and Engage Ventures.
- New Knowledge, an Austin, Texas-based cybersecurity firm, is working on an interesting problem: defense against disinformation targeting highly-visible brands. According to its website, the company “provides brands with access to the social media threat detection technology and resources they need to identify disinformation attacks online, and proactively provide brand manipulation protection.” This isn’t fake news: this week, New Knowledge raised an $11 million Series A led by GGV Capital.
For those who made it to the end, a lagniappe: check out a gif of this adorable crustacean cheering you on. It’s Labor Day Weekend, everyone. No need to be crabby! 🦀
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