Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: Loot Crate, SkyRyse, Duffel, And Defending Brands From Fake News

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.

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! 🦀

Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Cover and thumbnail by NASA on Unsplash.

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