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The Week’s 10 Biggest Funding Rounds: Axiom Space Rockets To Top Spot In Out-Of-This-World Week

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Want to keep track of the largest startup funding deals in 2023 with our new curated list of $100 million-plus venture deals to U.S.-based companies? Check out The Crunchbase Megadeals Tracker.

This is a weekly feature that runs down the week’s top 10 announced funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last week’s biggest funding rounds here.

This week made us check the calendar to make sure we aren’t still living in the free-money days of 2021. Eight rounds this week topped nine figures, and three of those were more than a quarter-billion dollars. This may simply be coincidence — or companies wanting to announce rounds before what is likely a slow news week with the Labor Day holiday — but nevertheless, it is surprising considering the current state of the venture market.

1. Axiom Space, $350M, space: Space tech funding to startups may be down, but that did not stop Axiom Space from hitting the top of the list this week. The space tech startup scooped up a $350 million round led by Saudi Arabia’s Aljazira Capital and Korean health care company Boryung Pharmaceutical. Axiom did not release a valuation, but told Bloomberg it is now valued at more than $1 billion. The Houston-based startup is building a commercial space station. The station’s first module is under construction and is scheduled to launch by 2026. The firm also has a long-term NASA contract worth $1.26 billion to provide “Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services” and spacesuits for use on the moon and in other space programs. Despite Axiom’s big raise, funding in space tech has had problems taking off this year. Space tech funding rocketed in 2021, hitting an all-time high of $12.1 billion in more than 450 deals. Then, despite the slowdown in venture funding last year, the sector only saw about a 25% decline, with space tech startups raising $9 billion in just under 400 deals. However, this calendar year space tech has seen less VC love, raising under $3 billion in about 200 deals, per Crunchbase data. Founded in 2016, Axiom says it has now raised $505 million.

2. Ramp, $300M, fintech: Down rounds are very much a thing right now. New York-based Ramp, a corporate card and expense automation platform, became the latest startup to raise one when it locked up a $300 million round at a $5.8 billion post-money valuation — a 28% drop from its previous valuation. The new cash comes just 15 months after the fintech startup raised $750 million in debt and equity in a financing that set a valuation of $8.1 billion. Thrive Capital, Sands Capital, General Catalyst, Founders Fund and other existing investors participated in the new financing. Many startups have had to recalibrate their valuations as investors have pulled back on funding and put more value on profitability and cash flow. Large private companies such as Klarna and Stripe also have raised down rounds as the venture market has continued to slow since its highs of 2021. Just last month, Atlanta-based OneTrust became one of the latest unicorns to raise a down round, as it locked up a $150 million round at a $4.5 billion valuation — a 12% drop from the $5.1 billion valuation the privacy and security startup garnered after it raised a Series C in late 2020. Founded in 2019, Ramp has raised $1.7 billion, per Crunchbase.

3. Cellares, $255M, biotech: The third and final quarter-billion-dollar-plus round this week went to a South San Francisco, California-based biotech startup. Cellares raised a $255 million Series C led by new investor Koch Disruptive Technologies. The company specializes in cell therapy manufacturing and plans to use the new money to launch a commercial-scale “integrated development and manufacturing organization smart factory,” which combines robotics, technology and interconnected software. Founded in 2019, the company has raised $355 million, per Crunchbase.

4. Hugging Face, $235M, artificial intelligence: It wouldn’t seem like a weekly top 10 list without an AI company. This week it’s Hugging Face. The New York-based startup raised an approximately $235 million round led by Salesforce Ventures 1 at a whopping $4.5 billion valuation. The startup allows companies to store and use AI software and hosts hundreds of thousands of open-source AI models that developers can use for AI applications. The new round doubles the startup’s valuation from May 2022, when it raised a $100 million round at a reported $2 billion valuation. The deal comes just a couple of months after Salesforce Ventures said it would double its fund size to $500 million. Founded in 2016, Hugging Face has raised more than $360 million, per Crunchbase.

5. Genesis Therapeutics, $200M, biotech: Artificial intelligence and biotech are two of the sectors that have remained hot with investors even amid the current sluggish pace of venture capital spending. So it’s not surprising a startup at the intersection of the two led this week off in a big way. Genesis Therapeutics closed a $200 million Series B co-led by previous investor Andreessen Horowitz Bio + Health, as well as an unnamed “U.S.-based life-sciences-focused investor.” The company is using AI to develop small-molecule drugs and make drug discovery more successful. The Burlingame, California-based startup plans to use the fresh cash to evolve into a clinical-stage company, invest in its AI platform, and expand its discovery pipeline. An AI or biotech startup — or, in this case, both — raising a monster nine-figure round is nothing new this year. More than 130 U.S.-based companies have raised rounds of $100 million or more in 2023, per The Crunchbase Megadeals Board. Biotech startups raised 34 of those rounds — the most of any sector — while artificial intelligence startups received 13 such rounds. Just last week, biotech startup Abcuro had the biggest raise of the week with a $155 million round, while AI firm Anthropic also landed a $100 million financing. Founded in 2019, Genesis has now raised more than $280 million, per the company.

6. Rapport Therapeutics, $150M, biotech: Boston-based Rapport Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing precision medicines for neurological disorders, raised a $150 million Series B led by Cormorant Asset Management. The company had just announced its $100 million Series A in March. Founded in 2022, the company has raised $250 million, per Crunchbase.

7. SpyCloud, $110M, cybersecurity: Austin, Texas-based SpyCloud, which protects digital identities, closed a $110 million growth round of primary and secondary capital led by Riverwood Capital. Founded in 2016, the company has raised nearly $169 million, per Crunchbase.

8. Modular, $100M, artificial intelligence: Palo Alto, California-based AI software developer Modular raised a $100 million Series A led by General Catalyst. A report earlier this month said the startup was looking to raise at a $600 million valuation. Founded in 2022, the company has raised $130 million, per Crunchbase.

9. Gympass, $85M, wellness: New York-based wellness platform Gympass closed an $85 million Series F led by EQT Growth at a valuation of $2.4 billion. Founded in 2012, the company has raised $605 million, per Crunchbase.

10. Nursa, $80M, health care: Salt Lake City-based Nursa, a nurse staffing and recruiting platform, raised an $80 million Series B led by Drive Capital. Founded in 2018, the company has raised $103 million, per Crunchbase.

Big global deals

Despite the big week in the U.S. for fundraising, the biggest round went to a battery startup abroad.

  • Swedish lithium-ion battery producer Northvolt raised $1.2 billion through a convertible note.


We tracked the largest announced rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the seven-day period of August 19 to August 25. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the week.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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  1. Salesforce Ventures is an investor in Crunchbase. They have no say in our editorial process. For more, head here.


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