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5 Interesting Startup Deals You May Have Missed In July: NFTV, Too Many Drones And Katy Perry

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This is a monthly column that runs down five interesting deals every month that may have flown under the radar. Check out last month’s entry here.

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July has come and gone, and there were a few interesting rounds that may have flown under the radar as everyone tried to beat the heat. Here are some startup deals of note that may have been overlooked last month:

I want my NFTV

Trustless Media: What do you get when you combine NFTs and TV. Thanks to Trustless Media, we are going to find out.

The Web3 production house launched last month out of stealth with a $3.25 million round led by FTX CEO and crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. The new round will be used to help launch “NFTV” shows in which community members can own content of the shows.

The company will sell NFTs which will allow its community to both co-create and co-own its shows. The Web3 production hub’s first NFTV show will be Coinage—unsurprisingly a show that will “explore crypto’s biggest stories and questions with a skeptical eye.”

Have as many as you want

De Soi: The non-alcoholic drink market—now estimated at $820 billion—is roaring.

Katy Perry has noticed.

Los Angeles-based De Soi, premium non-alcoholic aperitifs co-founded by Perry, raised a $4 million seed round last month led by Willow Growth. The round also included participation from entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency, which represents Perry.

Perry met co-founder Morgan McLachlan in early 2020, when they both were both pregnant and looking for ways to unwind—but without booze. Now, two years later, the startup has created a line of drinks that includes “Golden Hour” and “Champignon Dreams”—which is made with reishi mushroom and passion flower.

De Soi is already available in a handful of stores and through online sites, but the company hopes to use the capital to expand its retail footprint and bring De Soi to shelves nationwide.

Too many drones

Dedrone: Once upon a time it was startups that created drones that raised money. Now it is companies that try to detect drones and secure airspace that receive the cash.

​​San Francisco-based Dedrone—a smart airspace security firm—closed a $30 million Series C-1 financing round led by technology company Axon. Just last December, Dedrone raised a $30.5 million Series C.

The company’s solution can detect, identify, locate, analyze and mitigate nearly 300 different types of drones. That has become a necessity as drone usage has exploded through the years and law enforcement, critical infrastructure and entire countries are trying to increase airspace security.

Its counter-drone system is used by four of the G-7 nation governments, nine U.S. federal agencies, including the Department of Defense; and more than 20 airports.

Clean AC

Blue Frontier: July was hot in most of the U.S. and August likely will be too. Unfortunately, the way most of the country stays cool—air conditioning—is not entirely environmentally friendly due to high energy consumption and the use of refrigerants.

Startup Blue Frontier is looking to change that and now has money from Bill Gates’ energy venture firm behind it. The Boca Raton, Florida-based company raised a $20 million Series A led by Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, 2150 Urban Tech Sustainability Fund and VoLo Earth Ventures as it looks to decarbonize building cooling.

Air conditioning is sometimes an overlooked energy-eating culprit. According to Blue Frontier, electricity use for air conditioning currently exceeds the world’s capacity to deploy renewable energy and storage systems. The company’s AC system replaces the normal refrigerant with a proprietary salt solution that can both cool and dehumidify. With the salt solution as a liquid desiccant, it also can store energy and help users avoid using more energy during peak—and expensive—times. The company estimates its AC system can reduce electricity use by 50% to 90%.

Fair’s fair

FairPlay: Doing what is fair sounds simple, but society has proven through history it’s difficult for many. Now just like most things, we can have it “as-a-service.”

Los Angeles-based Fairplay is a “fairness-as-a-service” provider solution for algorithmic decision-making. The startup just landed a $10 million Series A led by Nyca Partners.

The company uses AI to help reduce algorithmic bias for people of color, women and other historically disadvantaged groups. The company already has launched two APIs that analyze loan applications and lending.

Fairplay will use the new proceeds to move its services into the insurance coverage, advertising and fraud industries.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


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