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.
August brought the heat — and huge rounds.
In July, a startup could make this list with an $80 million raise. But August was a very different story — the final two companies on this list raised $200 million. Of course, a handful of big rounds does not mean the venture market is bouncing back, but large growth rounds were the first raises many VCs pulled back on when the downturn hit. We’ll see what the fall brings.
In the meantime, here are August’s largest funding deals to U.S.-based startups.
1. 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 last month. 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.
2. Peregrine Energy, $700M, energy: Another energy-related round comes up high on the list. Boulder, Colorado-based clean energy platform Peregrine Energy secured a $700 million mixed round — credit, equity and debt financing — in an agreement with funds managed by AB CarVal to help fund its pipeline of energy deals, including standalone battery, solar and wind technologies. Founded just last year, the company is a partnership between Peregrine Energy Management and asset management firm Castlelake. It is the company’s first outside financing, per Crunchbase.
3. Axiom Space, $350M, space: Space tech funding to startups may be down, but that did not stop Axiom Space from hitting this month’s list. 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 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.
4. Ramp, $300M, fintech: Down rounds are very much a thing right now. New York-based Ramp, a corporate card and expense automation platform, became one of the latest startups 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. In July, 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.
5. Neuralink, $280M, neuroscience: Last month, Elon Musk’s brain-implant company Neuralink announced (on Musk-owned X, of course) it had raised $280 million in new funding from investors to develop its technology. The round was led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. No valuation was released, but in June, Reuters reported that the company was valued at about $5 billion after secondary stock trades. Neuralink, which is attempting to have people communicate with computers through brain function, received approval for its first in-human clinical trial earlier this year. The company has not been without controversy. Last year, it was reported the company was rushing surgeries on animals to try and get government approvals. Founded in 2016, the company has raised $643 million, per Crunchbase.
6. Cellares, $255M, biotech: South San Francisco, California-based 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.
7. Hugging Face, $235M, artificial intelligence: It wouldn’t seem like a monthly top 10 list without an AI company. This month 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 few 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.
8. (tied) ADARx Pharmaceuticals, $200M, biotech: San Diego-based ADARx Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage startup developing next-generation RNA therapeutics, locked up a $200 million Series C led jointly by Bain Capital Life Sciences and TCG Crossover. The 4-year-old firm has developed RNA platforms and tech for editing target mRNA and is developing therapeutics for treating genetic, cardiovascular, central nervous system and other types of disease. Founded in 2019, the company has raised $332 million, per Crunchbase.
8. (tied) 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 that a startup at the intersection of the two was able to secure a nice chunk of cash. 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.
10. Nile, $175M, networking: Enterprise networking can be a hard sector for a startup to break into, as it has long been dominated by tech giants. Nevertheless, San Jose, California-based networking startup Nile was able to catch investors’ eyes with a $175 million Series C less than a year after emerging from stealth. The company was co-founded by former Cisco Systems executives John Chambers and Pankaj Patel. Chambers served as CEO of the networking giant for two decades. The round was co-led by March Capital and Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund Sanabil Investments. Nile is attempting to disrupt the networking industry by offering network-as-a-service with more secure wired and wireless services enhanced with monitoring, analytics and automation. The idea is to help companies simplify their modern networking needs and offer optimum security while going head-to-head with goliaths such as Cisco and Juniper Networks. The startup did not offer a valuation. The round brings Nile’s total amount of capital raised to $300 million since being founded in 2018, per the company.
Big global deals
The U.S. was not the only country to see some big raises in August.
- Swedish lithium-ion battery producer Northvolt raised $1.2 billion through a convertible note.
We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies in August. 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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