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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After all, you were probably busy keeping track of the U.S. political situation, or engrossed in tech news headlines about Tesla competitors’ conflicts, Uber’s financials, Slack’s hypergiant Series H and all the work chat titan’s buyouts. It was one heck of a news week.
Investors are funneling staggering amounts of capital into startups these days. It’s easy to overlook the work that companies outside of the supergiant spotlight are contributing to startup ecosystems around the world. But that doesn’t mean these stories aren’t worth sharing.
Let’s take a look!
Market Hot Spot: Residential Real Estate Tech
A house is probably going to be the single largest expense the average person makes in their life. For most folks, rent accounts for the largest chunk of their budget. Bottom line: residential real estate presents a big market with lots of niches.
This past week had a cluster of funding announcements from residential real estate startups:
- Bungalow launched “a new residential real estate platform” this week that matches roommates looking to rent. The launch came with $64 million in new funding: $50 million accessible through a debt facility and $14 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures. The company had raised nearly $7 million in seed funding prior to this round. (Note: Bungalow’s is not the only board Khosla MD Keith Rabois joined this week; he also joined a stealthy self-driving car startup, as Crunchbase News reported.)
- Sonder announced $85 million in Series C funding as it builds out a network of furnished fancy-ish rental properties. A profile of the company in Forbes explains that, “Compared to your typical Airbnb, no one ‘lives’ in Sonder apartments except for its guests. Each rental comes with a living room space and kitchen so people can cook and relax like they would in their own home.” How these stylishly appointed apartments will continue to shape urban real estate markets (potentially pricing out locals in the process) is something to watch
- Latch, maker of smart locks that can be opened with a connected smartphone, announced that it raised $70 million in a Series B round led by Brookfield Asset Management. Brookfield, a real estate investment group, agreed to install Latch devices across its multifamily property holdings, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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.
- Softwheel raised $25 million in a Series C round, led by Musashi Seimitsu Industry, in a deal which values the company at $140 million, post-money. The company’s technology—wheels with internal suspension for use in bikes, cars, and wheelchairs—claims to be the “most energy efficient wheel created since 3,500 BC.”
- Nylas, maker of enterprise email, calendar, and contacts syncing APIs for enterprise, raised $16 million in a Series B round led by Spark Capital. Participating investors included the Slack Fund, 8VC, and others.
- Nura (which the company stylizes with a lower-case “n”) is a Melbourne, Australia-based company designing and developing what it calls the “nuraphone.” According to the company, the $399 (USD) nuraphone is “a new headphone that integrates unique technology to automatically measure your hearing (from the outer ear all the way to the brain) and adapt music perfectly to you.” The smart headphones also recognize who is wearing them, according to the company. This week, nura announced a $15 million Series A, led by Blackbird Ventures.
- Although Braavo Capital initially filed paperwork with the SEC back in June, the NYC-based company announced its $6 million Series A this week. Braavo “provides integrating financing for mobile app businesses,” allowing them to flatten out sometimes bumpy revenue. Another startup helping companies cash in on accounts receivables is Oxygen, which pitched at YC Demo Day this week. Whereas Braavo lets app developers borrow on app store receivables, Oxygen lets freelancers borrow against billed hours and future client payments. This continues to prove that there’s gold to be found in them there invoices.
And, for making it to the end, here’s a badass gif of a humpback breaching in the rain. Have a whale of a good time this weekend! ?
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