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The Week’s 10 Biggest Funding Rounds: Stack AV And Ascend Elements Lead Another Huge Week

Illustration of gardener holding a rake. Venture

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.

Two weeks ago we marveled at the fact that eight rounds topped $100 million and amazingly, here we are again. It seems like investors are all-in on big rounds again — at least for the last three weeks or so. One round was even worth a reported $1 billion.

Once again, those big, big rounds also ran the gamut from autonomous trucking to AI, and from fintech to batteries. It may not be 2021, but these last few weeks make us wonder.

1. Stack AV, $1B, autonomous driving: Brand-new self-driving, commercial trucking startup Stack AV leads the way in what was a big week. The company was founded by the same folks behind autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI — which was shuttered last year —  and just like their previous company, they have 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.

2. Ascend Elements, $460M, batteries: Just like last week, we’re talking about EV batteries. A week ago, it was Houston-based battery recycling startup Redwood Materials snagging a massive $1 billion-plus round. This week, it’s Ascend Elements snapping up a $460 million Series D. The Westborough, Massachusetts-based startup is a manufacturer of sustainable battery materials for EVs. The round was led by Decarbonization Partners — a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek focusing on companies in the decarbonization space — Temasek and Qatar Investment Authority. Founded in 2015, the company has now raised $1.5 billion.

3. Nimbus Therapeutics, $210M, biotech: It was just about a year ago that Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Nimbus Therapeutics made this list, and now it’s back. The clinical-stage medicine developer is back again, collecting a $210 million round co-led by new investor GV (Google Ventures) and existing investors SR One and Atlas Venture. In March, Nimbus sold a still-experimental psoriasis drug to Takeda in a deal that could be worth as much as $6 billion. Founded in 2009, the company has raised $637 million, according to Crunchbase data.

4. Imbue, $200M, artificial intelligence: Research lab Imbue is the first AI startup to make the list this week, nabbing a massive $200 million Series B that values the AI research lab at $1 billion. The new round included participation from Astera Institute, Nvidia, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, Notion co-founder Simon Last, and others. The San Francisco-based startup, formerly called Generally Intelligent, trains foundation models optimized for “reasoning,” which the company is first applying to develop AI agents that can code. The company says its goal is to enable anyone to build custom AI agents. Founded in 2021, the startup has raised $220 million to date, per Crunchbase.

5. PayJoy, $150M, fintech: San Francisco-based Payjoy locked up a $360 million capital raise this week that was a mix of $150 million in equity and $210 million in debt. The round was led by Warburg Pincus. Payjoy helps underserved people in emerging markets acquire smartphones and access financial systems for loans. Its smartphone-based finance tech has provided more than $2 billion of credit to over 8 million customers in Mexico, South Africa and South and Latin America. Founded in 2015, the company has raised more than $407 million, per Crunchbase.

6. Boston Metal, $112M, cleantech: Boston Metal announced it had closed its Series C fundraising, with $262 million. That comes after it had previously announced $120 million of the Series C in January and then an additional $20 million round in May — so we are saying the close is another $112 million. No lead investors were announced. The startup is creating equipment that is able to take heavy greenhouse gas emissions out of steel production. Founded in 2012, the company has raised nearly $333 million, per Crunchbase.

7. D-Matrix, $110M, artificial intelligence: Santa Clara, California-based chip designer D-Matrix closed a $110 million Series B led by Singapore-based Temasek. D-Matrix, founded in 2019, has raised $154 million, per Crunchbase.

8. Inceptive, $100M, biotech: Palo Alto, California-based startup Inceptive raised $100 million in a new funding round led by Nvidia‘s NVentures and Andreessen Horowitz. The company aims to use artificial intelligence to discover vaccines and therapeutics. Founded in 2021, the company has raised $120 million, per Crunchbase.

9. Star Therapeutics, $90M, biotech: South San Francisco, California-based biotech startup Star Therapeutics locked up a $90 million Series C led by Sofinnova Investments. Founded in 2018, Star Therapeutics says it has raised more than $190 million.

10. (tied) Certa, $35M, enterprise software: San Francisco-based third-party management platform Certa raised a $35 million Series B led by Fin Capital, and Vertex Ventures. Founded in 2019, Certa has raised $50 million, per the company.

10. (tied) Tentarix Biotherapeutics, $35M, biotech: San Diego-based biotech startup Tentarix Biotherapeutics raised a $35 million Series B led by Amplitude Venture Capital. Founded in 2020, the company has raised $85 million, per Crunchbase.

Big global deals

Stack AV’s round was impressive, but it was not the biggest announced this week globally.

  • Sweden-based H2 Green Steel, which produces steel with less carbon dioxide emissions, raised a venture round worth more than $1.6 billion.


We tracked the largest announced rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the seven-day period of September 2 to September 8. 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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