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.
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.
Last month, we talked about how hot it was for big funding deals in August.
September did not cool down.
There were two raises of $1 billion or more this month, and it took at least $210 million to make this list. Of course, AI played a role, but so did autonomous driving, biotech, batteries and more. Let’s take a look at exactly what all made the list this month.
1. Anthropic, $1.25B, artificial intelligence: Many startups are having difficulty fundraising, but not Anthropic. The San Francisco-based company — a ChatGPT rival with its AI assistant Claude — 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 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. Anthropic did not announce a new valuation with the round. The new investment is just the latest in what has become a fundraising spree for Anthropic this year. In February, it was reported that Google had invested between $300 million and $400 million in the startup. In May, the company raised a $450 million Series C led by Spark Capital. Finally, just last month, Anthropic raised a $100 million round from SK Telecom.
2. Stack AV, $1B, autonomous driving: Brand-new self-driving, commercial trucking startup Stack AV blasted onto the scene in September with this round. The company was founded by the same folks behind autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI — which shuttered last year — and just like their previous company, they have brought out big-name investors with cash. Bloomberg reported that SoftBank Group is backing the new venture with more than $1 billion. Crunchbase data shows the round is the third-largest ever for a Pittsburgh-based startup, behind only two of Argo AI’s rounds.
3. Databricks, $500M, data: AI-enhanced data analytics company Databricks raised more than $500 million in a Series I led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates. The deal values the company at $43 billion, a boost from the $38 billion valuation San Francisco-based Databricks received after raising a $1.6 billion Series H led by Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global in 2021. The new round also included chip-making giant Nvidia, which has been busy of late investing in AI startups. Databricks also says it’s recently passed some impressive financial milestones, including surpassing the $1.5 billion revenue run rate at more than 50% revenue year-to-year growth during the second quarter ended July 31. The company says it ended that quarter with more than 10,000 global customers. Since being founded in 2013, Databricks has raised more than $4 billion, per Crunchbase.
4. Ascend Elements, $460M, batteries: There have been big raises recently when it comes to the EV battery market. Carson City, Nevada-based battery recycling startup Redwood Materials snagged a massive $1 billion-plus round. Then Ascend Elements snapped 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, Ascend has now raised $1.5 billion.
5. Denodo, $336M, data: One of the less talked about deals of the month was a big investment into data management firm Denodo. The Palo Alto, California-based company received a $336 million Series B from TPG. The transaction included both primary capital and a secondary sale of shares by HGGC — which invested in the company’s Series A back in 2017. Denodo provides customers with a data integration, management and delivery platform.
6. Sierra Space, $290M, space: Space tech funding isn’t what it used to be, but don’t tell Sierra Space. The Louisville, Colorado-based commercial space startup raised a $290 million Series B co-led by MUFG, Kanematsu Corp. and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance. The round values the company at $5.3 billion. Sierra has been in the development stage of the first commercial space station for five years and will use the new cash to forge new partnerships. In 2021, the company closed a $1.4 billion Series A investment led by General Atlantic, Coatue and Moore Strategic Ventures.
7. Mapbox, $280M, logistics: SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son told investors months ago that his multinational investment holding giant would again be shifting from “defense mode” as it looked to be a leader in AI. He has seemed to keep his word, as just days after the successful initial public offering of SoftBank-owned U.K. chip designer Arm — arming the firm with even more cash — SoftBank led a $280 million funding round for San Francisco-based location-mapping startup Mapbox. The startup, whose platform is used by the likes of Toyota and General Motors, is trying to bring AI to help with automated driving and safety. Founded in 2010, the company has raised more than $600 million, per Crunchbase.
8. Generate Biomedicines, $273M, biotech: The Sommerville, Massachusetts-based startup, which has developed a generative AI platform designed to rapidly invent new drugs, raised a $273 million Series C financing. The company did not name a lead investor, but mentioned one of the new investors is NVentures, Nvidia’s venture capital arm. Founded in 2018, the company has raised nearly $700 million to date, according to Crunchbase data.
9. Indigo, $250M, agtech: Boston-based Indigo locked up a $250 million round co-led by Flagship Pioneering, State of Michigan Retirement System and Lingotto for its agriculture sustainability platform. Indigo says its platform helps farmers maximize their profit from sustainability practices while also improving soil quality. Founded in 2013, the company has raised $1.4 billion, per Crunchbase.
10. 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 collected a $210 million round co-led by new investor GV 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.
Big global deals
Anthropic’s raise was big, but not the biggest.
- France-based Verkor, a manufacturer of low-carbon batteries, raised a Series C of approximately $2.1 billion.
We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies in September. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late.
- 5 Interesting Startup Deals You May Have Missed In September: Tesla For Boats, Managing Relationships, And Learning Something New
- AI Race Gets Hotter As Amazon To Invest Up To $4B In Startup Anthropic
- Battery VC Investment Gets Supercharged
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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