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The 10 Biggest Rounds Of May: AI And Biotech Startups Get Big Bucks, Led By Anthropic And ElevateBio

Illustration of blue ribbon and trophies-Monthly Top 10

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This is a monthly feature that runs down the month’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. See last month’s top rounds here.

You had to go big in May to get on this list. Each of the 10 biggest rounds last month was well above $100 million, so it seems like investors opened their checkbooks a little more.

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Not surprisingly, AI again led the way, but biotech also remained strong in the last full month of spring. Other sectors including cleantech, network software and even crypto (it’s been a while) also had large raises.

1. Anthropic, $450M, artificial intelligence: If Anthropic looks familiar to you on this list, there’s a reason. In February there were reports that Google had invested between $300 million and $400 million into the San Francisco-based startup. That was followed in March by reports that Anthropic was raising another $300 million round at a pre-investment valuation of $4.1 billion. Finally last month, Anthropic — a ChatGPT rival with its AI assistant Claude — announced it had raised $450 million in Series C funding led by Spark Capital with participation from the likes of Google and others. Anthropic itself previously announced a $124 million Series A in 2021 and a $580 million Series B in 2022 — led by none other than disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Of course, nothing has been hotter than AI this year. The raise was only topped by the $10 billion investment into OpenAI reportedly by Microsoft in January.

2. ElevateBio, $401M, biotech: Biotech had a big May. First up is Massachusetts-based gene therapy startup ElevateBio, which raised a $401 million Series D led by the AyurMaya Capital Management Fund, a VC fund managed by Matrix Capital Management. The startup has multiple platforms for things such as drug development and manufacturing that interconnect with one another, making it an end-to-end biopharma company. The company has multiple drug development pipelines as demand grows for gene therapies that help the immune system fight its way through disease. Founded in 2017, the company has now raised $1.2 billion, per Crunchbase.

3. ReNAgade Therapeutics, $300M, biotech: This brings us to our second big biotech raise. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based ReNAgade Therapeutics locked up a $300 million Series A led by MPM BioImpact and F2 Ventures. That money would be big for any round, but a $300 million Series A in this venture market borders on the amazing (yes, it can be difficult to figure out how long a round took to raise, but still). ReNAgade is developing RNA therapeutics (hence the name) to fight disease. The company already has established a joint venture with Orna Therapeutics. Founded in 2021, this is the company’s first outside funding, per Crunchbase.

4. Gradiant, $225M, cleantech: Gradiant became one of the newest unicorns last month after raising a fresh $225 million in a Series D led by BoltRock Holdings and Centaurus Capital. The water tech startup is now valued at $1 billion. The startup develops technology to reduce water usage and build wastewater treatment systems for companies in the pharmaceutical, semiconductor, food and beverage, and other water-demanding industries. The funding is the largest in the wastewater treatment space, at least since the beginning of 2022. Founded in 2013 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the company has now raised more than $392 million, according to Crunchbase.

5. CoreWeave, $200M, cloud: AI keeps the hits coming. Just more than a month after raising $221 million, New Jersey AI cloud infrastructure startup CoreWeave raised another $200 million from existing investor Magnetar Capital. Unlike some of the generative AI application startups that have received huge funding rounds, CoreWeave provides some of the plumbing necessary for AI to work. The specialized cloud provider — which actually started out as an Ethereum mining operation — offers cloud infrastructure with better processing that will be needed to train large language models for AI. Coreweave, which competes with cloud providers Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google, has now raised $576.5 million in total funding, per Crunchbase.

6. Strive Health, $166M, health care: Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers, 37 million U.S. adults live with kidney disease, but about 9 out of 10 people with kidney disease don’t know they have it. That’s a problem, as early care is pivotal in trying to control the situation. Denver-based Strive Health raised a $166 million Series C led by NEA to help people get that care. The startup offers value-based kidney care, as it partners with healthcare providers. Strive Health uses a unique combination of technology-enabled care interventions and seamless integration with local providers to help patients suffering from chronic kidney disease get care at all stages of the fight. Founded in 2018, the company has now raised $386 million, according to Crunchbase.

7. Lightmatter, $154M, hardware: Along the same lines as CoreWeave, Boston-based Lightmatter also has its hands in AI, but not creating applications. Rather the startup uses light to link computer chips together and to do calculations for deep learning necessary for AI. However, the use of light allows for this to happen faster and more energy-efficiently. Investors see that need apparently, as the Boston-based company locked up a $154 million raise from the likes of GV, the venture capital investment division of Alphabet, and Fidelity Management and Research Co. were among the round’s investors. Founded in 2017, the company has raised $267 million, per Crunchbase.

8. Carmot Therapeutics, $150M, biotech: Berkeley, California-based biotech firm Carmot Therapeutics closed a $150 million Series E led by Deep Track Capital. The startup is developing therapies for metabolic diseases including obesity and diabetes. Carmot has several therapeutics in its pipeline and the new cash infusion to add to its portfolio. Founded in 2008, the company has raised nearly $385 million, per Crunchbase.

9. Restaurant365, $135M, accounting: It’s hard to run a restaurant — as anyone who has watched several reality shows based on doing so knows. Restaurant365 tries to make that a little easier and last month the Irvine, California-based startup added some big-named backers. The company nailed down a $135 million round co-led by KKR and L Catterton. The new round values the company at $1 billion, per its release. Restaurant365 offers enterprise management software for restaurants, helping them take care of accounting, payroll, supply chain and more. The company has surpassed $100 million in revenue and is used in more than 40,000 restaurant locations. Founded in 2011, Restaurant365 has raised over $260 million, per Crunchbase.

10. Tools For Humanity, $115M, crypto: It’s Sam Altman’s world — we’re just living in it. Worldcoin developer Tools For Humanity — co-founded by Altman — raised a $115 million Series C led by Blockchain Capital. The San Francisco-based startup is building tools in support of Worldcoin, an Ethereum-based token currently in beta. Its World ID platform is attempting to create unique digital identities — based on blockchain technology — for people by scanning their eyes with a small orb. The startup has raised many questions surrounding AI, data and privacy. While such an identity platform could be useful as AI makes it more difficult to know who or what one is dealing with over the internet, the scanning of people’s eyes to create a digital identity and how that information could be used raises obvious privacy and data concerns. The company did not reveal a valuation, but an earlier report said it is looking to raise money at a $3 billion valuation.

Big global deals

Despite all the big deals in the U.S., the biggest occurred across the pond.


We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies in May. 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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