Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: Chills And Pills, LatAm Scooty-Scoots, & A League Of Exceptional Women

Greetings and welcome to Last Week In Venture, a weekly roundup of venture rounds you may have missed.

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Over the past week, we on the Crunchbase News team have covered some pretty big news. On the funding side, The SoftBank Vision Fund led a $111 million funding round into Brazilian logistics company Loggi. Grocery delivery service Instacart nabbed another $600 million, an India-based Yelp analog took down $210 million, and we found out that containerization giant Docker is raising more money. On the venture fundraising side, we covered the launch of a new $100 million venture debt fund, and filings hinting that First Round Capital is raising its largest venture fund to date.

But lots more happened than even all that. It’s easy to miss what companies outside the spotlight are contributing to the global startup ecosystem. But that doesn’t mean their stories aren’t worth sharing.

Let’s dive into the week that was in venture-land.

Market Hot Spot: Online Pharmacy

Ever since Amazon acquired mail-order pharmacy Pillpack for $1 billion in June, we’ve noticed a lot of investor interest in online pharmacy startups, many of which cater to specific medical issues.

Three deals from the last week illustrate the different sides of innovation in the pharmacy market.

  • Vertical Pharmacy Service. There’s a lot of reasons to be losing your hair these days, and genetics is probably chief among them. Lots of folks, men especially, deal with hair loss in their life, and Keeps is one of the companies developing and delivering its own hair loss prevention solution: a mix-and-match regimen of minoxidil (generic Rogaine) and finasteride (generic Propecia, an FDA-approved hair loss drug with some side effects) delivered by mail following an electronic consultation with a doctor. Following the recent trend of verticalized pharmacy startups raising lots of money, Keeps raised $15.3 million in Series A funding from Northzone, Maveron, and others.
  • Prescription Delivery. Mountain View, CA-based NowRx raised a $7 million Series A round through equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest. The company aims to pick up and deliver patients’ medications from a central dispensing facility, within one hour, all for a $5 service fee. The company’s application also features direct video chat with its on-staff pharmacists, as well as prescription reminders.
  • Treatment Adherence. Online pharmacy and smart pill dispenser company Hero launched this week with $12 million in venture backing. Hero’s medication dispenser that “automatically dispenses a patient’s medication at the correct time, but it holds them accountable by alerting their caregivers via the Hero App when pills have or have not been taken,” according to a statement the company provided to Crunchbase News. Hero also offers a refill service which keeps patients’ medications stocked via at-home delivery.

This shift in the pharmacy and wellness sector—especially the emergence of vertical pharmacy companies like Keeps, Hims, Ro, and others—is likely one that merits further investigation.

If you’ve heard of other companies offering subscription pharmaceuticals through an app, or have a credible argument for why these companies are springing up now, let us know. Email the writer at jason [@] crunchbase [dot] com.

Other Interesting Rounds

  • Grin, an electric scooter startup, raised approximately $45.7 million in a Series A round. Though the electric scooter market is increasingly crowded in the United States, it’s still open season on Grin’s home turf, Mexico City, and the rest of Latin America.
  • Swedish image analysis startup SuperAnnotate AI raised an unspecified amount of pre-seed funding from SmartGate VC. Its secret sauce is an edge detection algorithm that can segment and tag objects in complex image data like satellite images or self-driving car footage. Its technology is still early in its development, but it could streamline machine learning pipelines by letting humans parse and refine training data with added ease.
  • Costanoa Ventures led a CA$20.8 million Series A raised by Kepler Communications. The Toronto-based company has a simple premise—”we are building cell phone towers in space,” they say—with big implications. A wireless network in space could prove useful to a new generation of satellite companies taking and beaming down pictures and other data from around our pale blue dot.
  • Chief raised $3 million in a seed round co-led by Primary Venture Partners and Flybridge Capital Partners. The company, based in NYC, is building a private network of “exceptional” women. The goal is to connect women professionals with the ultimate goal of landing more women in leadership positions in business. According to Fortune’s coverage of the upstart network, Chief has “a founding class of 200 women based in New York” who will participate in workshops, networking, and fireside conversations discussing the challenges and opportunities of being a woman in leadership.

And for those of you who made it to the end, a little lagniappe: a cetacean friend popping up to say hello. We know Halloween is coming and we should be spooky or something, but instead we leave you with a message of affirmation: You too will find your porpoise in life. 🐬

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles.  Featured image by Jeremy Bishop; thumbnail image by Fabrizio Frigeni. Both were sourced from Unsplash.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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