This is a monthly feature that runs down the month’s top 10 funding rounds in the U.S. Check out the biggest rounds of last year here.
Sometimes January can be slow as everybody is coming off their holiday hangover. But that wasn’t the case last month, as 13 companies all snatched rounds of $100 million or more.
1. Generate Capital, $1.5B, renewable energy: If the name looks familiar, that’s likely because this company has made the list before. Early in 2023, the San Francisco-based green infrastructure investor and operator raised $1.1 billion, per SEC filings and reports. That raise came just about 18 months after it raised $1 billion in 2021. Now Generate is back with a $1.5 billion round raised from a variety of investors, including California State Teachers’ Retirement System. 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.
2. Recurrent Energy, $500M, energy: This large round may have gone under the radar for many, but Austin, Texas-based Recurrent Energy secured a $500 million preferred equity investment from BlackRock. The company — a utility-scale solar and energy storage project development, ownership and operations platform — will use the new capital to grow its “high value project development pipeline.” Recurrent is a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, and that company will continue to own the remaining majority shares of Recurrent after the investment closes. Founded in 2006, Recurrent has raised about $1.4 billion, per Crunchbase.
3. Quantinuum, $300M, quantum: Quantinuum locked up a fresh $300 million equity fundraise at a pre-money valuation of $5 billion, as investors are clearly excited about the possibilities of quantum computing. The new funding was led by JPMorgan Chase. The Broomfield, Colorado-based company was spun out of Honeywell in 2021 and merged with Cambridge Quantum Computing. Quantinuum says it has now raised approximately $625 million. Last year, funding to quantum computing startups hit nearly $1.2 billion, per Crunchbase data. That number dwarfed the less than $800 million raised in 2022 — making quantum one of the few sectors to see an increase in venture funding in 2023. While it’s too early to say venture funding will again increase in the sector this year, it is evident investors see the potential in both quantum technology and its ability to produce big financial returns.
4. Flexport, $260M, logistics: Logistics giant Flexport raised $260 million from partner and e-commerce titan Shopify after burning through hundreds of millions of dollars last year, per a report in The Information. The huge fundraising event is just the latest headline for the San Francisco-based startup that hit a peak valuation of $8 billion almost exactly two years ago after raising a massive $935 million round. Flexport and Shopify are no strangers to making deals with each other. Last May, Flexport announced the acquisition of the assets of Shopify’s logistics business for a 13% equity interest in the private company. Shopify also gave Flexport a $40 million cash infusion as part of the deal, per The Information report. Of course, that was far from the only reason Flexport was in the news last year. In September, the big news hit that Flexport’s then-CEO Dave Clark was abruptly leaving the company after just a year, and founder Ryan Petersen was coming back to take the reins as the company struggled with shipping volume declines after the pandemic boom. Flexport also made headlines in November after acquiring the assets of shuttered Jeff Bezos-backed digital freight startup network Convoy. It’s also had at least three rounds of layoffs in the past year, per reports. Flexport had raised nearly $2.4 billion in equity and debt before the new Shopify round. Some of its noteworthy investors include Andreessen Horowitz, MSD Partners and the SoftBank Vision Fund.
5. Bilt Rewards, $200M, loyalty rewards: Everybody loves loyalty rewards, and investors must know that. Bilt Rewards raised a $200 million round led by General Catalyst at a $3.1 billion valuation — more than double the number after its last fundraising in 2022. The New York-based startup allows consumers to earn rewards on the rent they pay. Bilt plans to use some of the proceeds to expand its network to include local dining, grocery stores, ridesharing and other retail purchases. The company also appointed some big names to roles in the company, naming Ken Chenault, former chairman and CEO of American Express, as its chairman, and Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, as an independent director. The company reported its annualized member spend is nearing $20 billion. It also became profitable on an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization basis last year. Those metrics must have impressed investors, as Bilt saw its valuation shoot up after raising a $150 million Series B at a pre-money valuation of $1.4 billion in October 2022. Founded in 2021, the company has raised a total of $413 million, per Crunchbase.
6. Kore.ai, $150M, artificial intelligence: Of course there’s a big round for a generative AI startup. AI enterprise conversational platform Kore.ai raised a $150 million round led by FTV Capital. The round also included participation from Nvidia, which of course has been one of the sector’s most active investors. The startup is not new to the AI scene — it’s a decade old — and offers an array of artificial intelligence-related tech from virtual assistants to no-code tools to build AI apps. Founded in 2013, the company has now raised nearly $224 million, per Crunchbase.
7. Zum, $140M, transportation: AI and school buses may not seem like a natural match, but startup Zum would disagree. The Redwood City, California-based transportation company raised a $140 million Series E led by GIC at a $1.3 billion valuation. The new round is a significant jump in value for a company that last raised money in October 2021 — a $130 million Series D — at what was a reported $930 million valuation. The 40% valuation jump is even more impressive considering 2021 was a very different time in the private markets, with venture capital funding hitting all-time highs. Since then, many companies have seen their valuations significantly cut. Zum tries to help school districts increase efficiencies and reduce the costs of managing bus fleets through its proprietary platform — that, of course, uses AI. The platform gives districts visibility so they can optimize routes and even deliver real-time updates to parents. In addition, the startup also has its own fleet of EV buses for districts to use. Founded in 2015, Zum has raised $350 million, per the company.
8. Cour Pharmaceuticals, $105M, biotech: Chicago-based Cour Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotech firm, raised a $105 million Series A co-led by Lumira Ventures and Alpha Wave Ventures. The firm focuses on the development of disease-modifying therapies to treat patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Founded in 2015, the company has raised nearly $136 million, per Crunchbase.
9. Inari, $103M, agtech: Agtech startups don’t often make this list, but Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Inari raised a $103 million equity round at a $1.7 billion valuation. Inari uses AI-powered predictive design and multiplex gene editing to develop corn, soybean and other higher-yielding seeds that require less water. No lead investor was named, but it included investment from the likes of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Rivas Capital. Founded in 2016, Inari has raised $575 million, per the company.
10. Four companies tied on the list for the last spot, each raising $100 million rounds: Seattle-based network detection and response startup ExtraHop, Los Angeles-based game development studio Second Dinner, and biotech firms Lykos Therapeutics and OnCusp Therapeutics.
Big global deals
While Generate and Recurrent topped all rounds worldwide, there was a big round abroad.
- Netherlands-based Picnic, a mass-market home delivery platform for consumer goods, raised a $381 million venture round.
We tracked the largest rounds in the Crunchbase database that were raised by U.S.-based companies for the month of January. Although most announced rounds are represented in the database, there could be a small time lag as some rounds are reported late in the month.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.