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The Year’s 10 Biggest VC Funding Rounds: OpenAI, Stripe And Anthropic Top The List For Biggest Raises In 2023

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This is a year-end wrap up of our weekly feature that runs down the week’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. Check out last year’s here. You can track funding deals of $100 million or more to U.S. startups on the Crunchbase Megadeals Board.

While funding continued to trend down in 2023, big raises were there to be had. Fifteen startups in the U.S. — many of them AI startups —  raised $500 million or more in funding rounds and some got a lot more than that.

Let’s take a look at the biggest rounds of the year.

1. OpenAI, $10B, artificial intelligence: The top deal comes as no surprise. After having been rumored for weeks, Microsoft confirmed in late January it had agreed to a “multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment” into OpenAI, the startup behind the artificial intelligence tools ChatGPT and DALL-E. The exact dollar amount was not confirmed, but Semafor reported in January that Microsoft was in talks to invest as much as $10 billion. The deal followed a $1 billion investment in 2019 from Microsoft into the AI startup. It also helped position Microsoft in what will be an all-out battle for AI dominance with other tech giants such as Alphabet and Amazon — although regulators are now looking into the relationship.

2. Stripe, $6.5B, fintech: The second-biggest round of the year went to payments giant Stripe, but it is not the typical huge, late-stage growth round. The South San Francisco-based company raised a $6.5 billion Series I at a $50 billion valuation. The valuation is a significant drop, as the company was valued at $95 billion in March 2021, and earlier this year it was reported this round would be at a $60 billion valuation. The company said it would use the new cash to provide liquidity to current and former employees, and help offset a tax bill that will come due when it modifies employees’ stock grants that are set to expire (which we’ve talked about before). No lead investor was announced, but firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and General Catalyst participated.

3. Anthropic, $4B: San Francisco-based Anthropic raised nearly $7 billion in funding this year alone — so it was busy. However, this September round was the largest. The ChatGPT rival inked a deal with Amazon for the e-commerce and cloud titan to invest up to $4 billion in the AI startup. The new investment gives Seattle-based Amazon a minority stake in Anthropic. The immediate investment is $1.25 billion, with either party having the right to trigger another $2.75 billion in funding, Reuters reported. As part of the deal, Anthropic will now use Amazon Web Services data centers, as well as AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips to build, train and deploy its models. No valuation was given with the round.

The new investment is just the latest in what has become a fundraising spree for Anthropic this year.

4. Anthropic, $2B: Like we said earlier, Anthropic was busy this year. This was the company’s second-biggest deal of the year. In October, the WSJ reported previous investor Google agreed to invest up to $2 billion in the OpenAI competitor. The deal includes $500 million upfront and an additional $1.5 billion more over time, per the report. In February, it was reported that Google also had invested between $300 million and $400 million in the startup.

5. (tied) Inflection AI, $1.3B, artificial intelligence: Palo Alto, California-based Inflection AI raised the second-biggest AI round of the year. The startup is building what it says will be the “largest AI cluster in the world” and has created large language models to allow people to interact with its AI-powered assistant called Pi, or Personal AI. Pi lets people quickly receive relevant information and advice on their interests. To build the platform, the startup locked up a huge $1.3 billion round led by Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and new investor Nvidia, which values Inflection AI at $4 billion, according to Forbes, which first reported the news. The new funding brings the total raised by Inflection to more than $1.5 billion, per the company. Founded last year, the generative AI platform is a competitor to other AI firms such as OpenAI and Google. It was co-founded by Mustafa Suleyman, who previously co-founded the Google-owned AI lab DeepMind and serves as CEO at Inflection.

5. (tied) Juul, $1.3B, consumer goods: This one may come as a surprise to many. Embattled San Francisco-based e-cigarette maker Juul raised about $1.3 billion in November, according to a regulatory filing reported on by Reuters. Earlier this year, Juul laid off about 250 people to reduce operating costs and agreed to pay $462 million to settle claims by six U.S. states that it unlawfully marketed to minors. Investors were not disclosed for the new round. The company also raised cash in November 2022, after cutting jobs and costs.

7. (tied) Metropolis, $1.1B, computer vision: One may not expect to find a parking startup on this list, but here we are. Los Angeles-based checkout-free parking startup Metropolis raised $1.7 billion in debt and equity led by Eldridge and 3L Capital. The company has raised $1.05 billion through a Series C offering and $650 million of debt financing. The funding was used to take logistics firm SP Plus private in a deal worth approximately $1.5 billion. The deal is the biggest M&A transaction of the year by a VC-backed company, per Crunchbase data. It even beat out Databricks’ purchase of San Francisco-based language models training startup MosaicML for $1.3 billion in June. Metropolis has developed a computer-vision system that enables drivers to park without using a credit card or even cash. Instead, drivers can use the app and enter information such as name and payment method. Metropolis then tracks the car and charges the owner. It can even email a receipt as they’re leaving the parking lot. Founded in 2017, the company has now raised $1.9 billion, per Crunchbase.

7. (tied) Generate Capital, $1.1B, renewable energy: While OpenAI’s raise happened in January, the first big round of the year went to this San Francisco-based green infrastructure investor and operator. Generate raised $1.1 billion, per SEC filings and reports. The raise came just about 18 months after it raised $1 billion in 2021. Generate invests in an array of infrastructure projects, from community solar systems to municipal wastewater treatment to electrifying fleets. Founded in 2014, the company has raised $4.2 billion, per Crunchbase.

9. (tied) Redwood Materials, $1B, renewable energy: Figuring out how to get the raw materials for the batteries needed for electric vehicles is attracting big money these days. Swedish lithium-ion battery producer Northvolt raised $1.2 billion through a convertible note in August. Berkeley, California-based mining startup KoBold Metals raised a $195 million round in June at $1.15 billion. And battery materials firm Redwood Materials followed suit with a massive $1 billion-plus in new funding in August. The round was co-led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Capricorn Investment Group‘s Technology Impact Fund and funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates. The Carson City, Nevada-based battery recycling startup creates sustainable materials for circular EV supply chains. That is not the only big money Redwood has seen this year. In February it received a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a recycling and remanufacturing facility in Nevada. Founded in 2017, the company has raised $3.8 billion, per Crunchbase.

9. (tied) Stack AV, $1B, autonomous driving: Brand-new self-driving, commercial trucking startup Stack AV hauled in a big round in 2023. The company was founded by the same folks behind autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI — which was shuttered last year —  and just like the previous company, Stack has brought out big-name investors with cash. Bloomberg reported SoftBank Group is backing the new venture with more than $1 billion. The round is the third-largest ever for a Pittsburgh-based startup — per Crunchbase data — behind only two of Argo AI’s rounds.

Big global deals

No startup could outdo the raises by OpenAI and Stripe, but there were large raises abroad.


We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies in 2023. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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